Tag Archives: fall vegetable

Beet the Heat

16 Aug

Beets are the best.  Roasted.  Pickled.  Sautéed.  Cold.  Hot.  Beets are great as a side dish with balsamic vinegar and goat cheese.  They are delicious roasted along side other vegetables.  I’ve even eaten them right out of the can.  Being raised in the midwest, vegetables were always on our dinner table, but somehow beets got overlooked. So how did I get hooked?

My love affair with this herbaceous plant began in adulthood.  The first time I tried beets was a happy surprise.  I was tired of my usual repertoire of veggies and decided to try beets.  In the grocery store one day, I impulsively grabbed a fresh bunch of beets with the intention of simply roasting them.

I brought them home, put the beets on the counter, and stared them down.  Hhhmmmm.  This would be an adventure.  I washed them and laid them on paper towels.  Off came the green tops.  I peeled the fresh beets, placed them on a baking sheet, drizzled some olive oil over them, and into the oven they went.  The beets cooked up beautifully.  One taste and I was hooked.

But the thought of those greens going to waste was unthinkable.  Out of curiosity, I pinched off a green and popped it into my mouth expecting it to be tough and woody.  I was delighted to find the greens tender and flavorful.  Oh heck yes!  I would find a way to eat the greens too!  That was many seasons ago…

Now summer is on the horizon. I am beginning to think grilled, chilled and easy.   I do not want my oven on this time of year.  What is the best way to enjoy beets this season?  Piled on a garden fresh crisp salad!

But first, let’s chat for a second about the virtues of beets.  Some would say they are not a desirable or sexy vegetable, or even a popular one.  But since they are packed full of vitamins and minerals, and so versatile, beets cannot be overlooked.

The health benefits of including beets in the diet are numerous.  They are a good source of fiber, have lots of vitamin C, and are high in folate and potassium.  Beets are also a rich source of antioxidants, compounds that prevent disease and the damaging effects of oxidation of cells throughout your body.  They are very low in fat, and certainly don’t need a lot of added fat to make them taste good.

While they come in many varieties, we most often see the “blood turnip”, or red beet. They are a root vegetable, like a carrot or potato and they like to grow in cool weather.  They are available canned all year long, but we see them seasonally featured in the spring and the fall.

And remember how I said it was not considered a sexy vegetable?  Well think again.  Fruits and vegetables, like herbs, were used in ancient times as medicine.  One of the first known medicinal uses for the beet was as an aphrodisiac in ancient Greece.  There.  I said it.

Anywhoooo….beets are very easy to prepare.  If they are fresh, they can simply be peeled, drizzled with olive oil and roasted.  They are also wonderful diced and  sautéed.  Canned beets are fabulous hot or cold.  Simply open the can, rinse the beets, and toss them on a salad.  They can also be heated and enjoyed as a simple side dish.

Back to those green tops for a minute.  If you have fresh beets with the greens, do not throw those away!  The greens are also a nutrient dense food and adaptable to many dishes.  Like beets, the greens can be enjoyed raw, such as mixed with other greens in your summer salad.  They can also be sautéed much like spinach, in a little olive oil.  Season them a bit with salt and pepper, and you’ve got another phenomenal side dish.

If you’ve tried beets and didn’t like them, try them again.  If you’ve never tried them, its time to add some variety to your diet.  The health benefits  of beets are plentiful, they are budget friendly, and just plain delicious.  Let your own impulses go wild, pick up some beets up at the farmers marker or grocer, and begin your own adventure!

Delicious cold beets piled on a fresh summer salad! Yum!

Delicious cold beets piled on a fresh summer salad! Yum!

True Story…

5 Dec

It is turning REALLY chilly.  I have soup on the brain…again!  But I also have yummy fresh fall produce on the brain too.  Gosh…can those two be related?  Oh yeah!

So true story.  This morning leaving for work I catch a glimpse of a big butternut squash sitting on the kitchen table (I always have a platter of fresh fruits and veggies on the kitchen table ready to go).  I hung on to that thought.  Once I got to work the thought of that big flavorful squash was pushed from the front to the back of my mind while I concentrated on work, but it was still there.

I really had food on the brain, and that was going to make its way out to a yummy dinner for my family.  I kept thinking…what could I do with that squash?  Then it struck me.  I had some beautiful lump crabmeat in the fridge to use up too, and I was determined to get those two things together.

Denis has been talking about making soup lately, and any soup he ever makes is fabulous.  Hey, how about soup with butternut squash and crab? Yes!  that was it.  I thought my head would explode because it sounded so good (plus I’d had a tiny breakfast and was hungry!!).  I texted Denis.  I knew one text would hook him on the idea too.  And it did.

I walked into the house after work.  Even thought my dog was happy to see me and jumping around my ankles in joy at my return, I stopped dead in my tracks.  I did not bend down and talk to her as I usually do.  My head went back.  My eyes closed.  I breathed in deep.  I knew instantly that Denis was there and cooking.  It smelled amazing.  I had to take it all in.  The house smelled incredible.

After a minute of taking the scents and aromas in, I gave my sweet dog some attention.  Then off I went in the direction of the kitchen.  Dinner was fantastic.  Soup was perfect for that chilly night!  What do you have on hand to  make soup with tonight?

 

The butternut squash crab soup and a glass of wine made the perfect cold night dinner!  See the beautiful plate of veggies on the table?  It is great to be veg ready!

The butternut squash crab soup and a glass of wine made the perfect cold night dinner! See the beautiful plate of veggies on the table? It is great to be veg ready!