Wow. I’m still riding the wave from my trip to Kinston last week. I’m thrilled that so many of you are making plans to head that way! Now carry through on that plan because you know I believe in less talk and more action.
I wanted to clarify that the hotdogs at the Boiler Room are in limited supply, so if they run out order the burger and the oysters. Hell, eat anything they have on the menu! I didn’t even mention the desserts, I was too full to partake.
I posted this picture on face book from my market haul last Saturday and I have had several people ask what I’m going to do with those beets. And Jeez!! Who knew there were so many beet haters?? I’m not going to try to strong arm the beet haters into beet lovers, but if you do like beets stay with me on this.
Also, before I walk you through my beet recipe I want to address the ginger questions and the reason I keep fresh ginger in my house. I really wonder how many eye rolls I have endured from friends, customers and employees over my answer to every sniffle, complaint and cough? My response has always been Hot Ginger Tea.
I believe in modern medicine. I believe in folk medicines too. But mostly I believe that eating foods from a known point of origin and practicing good hand washing and sensible germ avoidance is key to surviving all the bad cold germs going around.
There are studies that say fresh ginger helps build immunity. I just know it makes me feel better when I am feeling punky. So that is why I keep fresh ginger in my house. I cut it into chunks and boil it in water. Actually I bring it to a boil and then simmer for at least twenty minutes. I have been known to keep a small pot simmering for as much as a day. When I pour out a cup of spicy hot goodness I add a fresh cup of water back to the pot and simmer it some more. I do this until all the ginger is depleted and then I start over. Add honey if you like some sweetness and to help soothe that scratchy throat. Do I have science to back this up? Not really. Do I have about 2000 years of human experience to back this up? Yes. I like ginger and it makes me feel better.
Back to the beets.
I cut the tops off the beets and set them aside for later use. I rinsed the beets and wrapped all of them together in a large piece of foil with a bit of olive oil and roasted them at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. While I had a hot oven going I also cut the tops off of two heads of garlic, placed them in foil , added a drizzle of olive oil and some kosher salt and wrapped them tightly. I tucked them in beside the beets to roast. The beets are done when they are soft enough to slide a knife into the center.
Cooked red beets will stain everything they touch, so when they were cool enough to handle I used a paper towel to gently peel the skin off the roasted beets. I quickly washed my hands to keep the stain from setting in.
I love, love, love the color of red beets. And I love the smell. Beets smell like freshly tilled garden soil ready for spring planting. Perhaps they are an acquired taste but paired with a bit of salt, some goat cheese and roasted garlic they are deeply satisfying.
Next I sautéed the beets greens along with the kale from the market in a bit of olive oil, salt, garlic and red wine vinegar. I served the quartered beets topped with the goat cheese and roasted garlic on top of the greens and called it dinner.
I’m not going to write out a recipe for this. The technique is covered in the simple directions above. I allowed the goat cheese to soften to room temperature and then squeezed 1 head of the soft roasted garlic into a bowl and mashed the goat cheese and garlic together with a fork. I chilled the goat cheese along with the beets until I was ready to cook the greens for dinner. So yes, make the beets ahead if you would like. Start thinking of cooking things together in a hot oven all at once. While I was roasting the beets, I added the garlic wrapped in foil and also had a pan filled with butternut squash and another pan with some chicken thighs. Essentially I used the oven once to prepare three meals.
Waste not, want not.
Oh, now you want to know about the butternut squash? I’ll save that for the next blog post.