Beets, more beets, and vegetable confit

Yes I love beets, and I think they are underappreciated, so I’m always looking for more things to do with beets. From Cook’s Illustrated the article on “Turn the Beet Around” has some suggestions: Charred beet salad among some others. If you search Kitchn for beets you get lots of recipes. Some look good, others, maybe not so good. I have found beet hummus in the grocery store (a reputable brand that does do good humus) and, explorer and beet lover than I am, I did try it. It’s good, and should I find it again (it’s since disappeared) I would buy it again, but make it? I don’t think so. Just as I’m unlikely to make pickled beets. However, chocolate beet bundt cake, might just be a possibility. I mean we do eat carrot cake, so why not?

I do have a beet liqueur that I love, too.

However, cold beet soup is still a summer favorite, and easier now that it is possible to buy already cooked beets or frozen sliced beets. I’ve griddled beet slices and the caramelization that takes is a whole new level of flavor from them

Stahlbush Island Farms

My latest discovery of beets is poached beets. Yes, no kidding. I was reading my email from Mark Bittman’s eponymous website just a day or two ago and found an article titled “Charred Olive-Oil-Poached Beets. I don’t know why that struck me as so startling. I didn’t fire up the grill, but I did pitch some of these on my cast-iron griddle and they were really good!

While it may be controversial, I’m familiar with making vegetable confit and even vegan rillettes. After some thought this really didn’t seems so strange–maybe just that beets are underappreciated vegetables. So, beet confit! The recipes I’ve reviewed on vegetable confit suggest that if covered with oil they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three–yes, 3 months.

This seems like a great way to handle extra veggies when you’re doing single-serving cooking. So, controversial or not, I’ll likely be trying some more vegetable confit when the summer bounty is in the farmers’ market.

A son gôut!

†

From Mark Bittman, Charred Olive-Oil-Poached Beets

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Red Cabbage and Beet Salad

It is probably obvious that I consider beets and cabbage both to be under-appreciated vegetables. After making  cabbage steaks this recipe for Warm Roasted Red Cabbage and Beet Salad from Will Frolic for Food just really clicked with me.

It’s not  complicated, nor does it take that long even with the separate preparation for the beets and the cabbage–but well worth doing. It’s a veritable symphony of flavors with the roasting providing all sorts of additions to the flavor. This has been added to my list of awesome recipes!

I’d agree it could be a meal with the chickpeas added. I omitted the chickpeas with part of it and used it as a side (only the one) for both roasted chicken leg quarters, as well as for griddled pork steak and I’d do it with lamb steak, too.

If you have not got red cabbage on hand, it’s worth doing with plain old white cabbage–though not quite as striking in color–still very tasty!

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Beets in a surprising place

bottle and glass of Beatnik

Beatnik liqueur

If you’re any sort of a “regular” here I’m sure that you are aware that I think beets are under-appreciated vegetables. I’ve posted a number of beet recipes that I’ve found on other blogs and that I like. Last week I got an unusual (I mean they don’t bombard you with emails) from the Brothers Vilgalys who produced the Krupnikas about which I posted.  Well the email introduced some new liqueurs. (Note that this is a liqueur; it is not a cocktail called beatnik.)

The first that I’m sampling is the Beatnik. I don’t know what that conjures up for you, but it is a fantastic taste.  (You aren’t surprised, are you? Not given my fondness for beets!)

I suppose that the last place you’d expect beets to show up would be in a liqueur.  I was surprised when I read the description, but I just had to try it.

So, here is a liqueur with beets in it, described in the email as “An unusual liqueur made with Beets & Savory Herbs. Draws a bit of inspiration from an old Estonian liqueur I read about. Goes great with Gin drinks.”

I can tell you it is awesome! The beets are tempered/seasoned with orange zest, rosemary, thyme, sage, and fennel. I doubt that you could pick each one out as they blend so smoothly.  I’m sampling it “straight” this evening, but I’m going to try a splash of seltzer, as I’ve found that the Krupnikas (for warm weather) does nicely with that.

There are three others. I had a telephone call from the Woodcroft ABC store this afternoon to let me know that these had arrived. The Beebop was missing (that one has rhubarb and other goodies), but Jabberwock (coffee, chickory and some spicy things) and Zaphod (which is a fruity, minty one) were available.  I’ll be reporting on those in the fairly near future.

I’m just entranced by the nose of the Beatnik. The beets are certainly not obscured by the herbs and the orange zest–it all just blends together into a lovely earthy, beety, resiny, woodsy flavor.  In a word, awesome.

It gives me some ideas for seasoning beets as a vegetable too.

Beet pizza

Looking through the WordPress blog reader, I found a lovely picture–it was a beet pizza  post on Dinner for (N)one.  Looks really good, given how much I like beets.  I wanted to re-blog it because it looked so great, but somehow the electronic world of cyberspace is being obstreperous this afternoon.  So, I’m just posting the link without the gorgeous pictures.

Beet salad with feta

I’m in a work rush with a close deadline on a book that I’m indexing and that means that any heavy duty cooking (anything that requires turning on the stove, or pushing a button on the microwave) is out for the next few days. In need of lunch, I perused the fridge contents.

There was a package of Melissa’s Produce steamed, peeled, baby beets that I  brought home from the  supermarket produce section; toted home and put in the vegetable bin (sometime ago, and not yet used) so I made the easy beet salad from Chef Mimi’s blog this afternoon. This was a great light, quick,  warm-day lunch.

The beets are vacuum sealed in heavy plastic.  The texture is perfect–just like I’d steamed and peeled them myself–and they have a long shelf-life so I can always have them around without feeling that I absolutely HAVE to have beets today, or even tomorrow.

It’s not that cooking beets is difficult, but when there’s a really pressing deadline and I need lots of work time, I go for convenience and speed  but I don’t want to sacrifice taste. That usually rules out canned vegetables (except for beans and tomatoes) though I admit to not have checked out canned beets in ages because I really never liked the taste;  I can see that I need to revisit the canned ones again, too.

These vacuum packed ones just moved beets right up with canned beans as a convenience item in my pantry.

(Let me be clear about my comments on any products mentioned in my posts:  I have no connection (except as a consumer) with Melissa’s Produce, nor with Stahlbush Island Farms (mentioned below.  I get no remuneration for comments or use of these products.)

Now, I tasted the beets straight from the package and then made my salad.  I didn’t spiralize them, so my salad wasn’t as pretty as that pictured on Cher Mimi’s blog, but it was tasty.  I doubt that I could tell those vacuum-sealed, pre-cooked beets from ones that I had steamed and peeled myself (unless I looked at the color of my hands).  You could put those in a bowl and serve as a vegetable without anything except warming them and adding seasoning of your choice.

I have one more “convenience” product that I want to check out:  Stahlbush Island Farms sliced frozen beets that I found in the frozen food section at my local Harris Teeter.  I didn’t go to the frozen foods section expecting beets (probably the farthermost thing from my mind just then–I was looking for chopped kale) but right next to the Stahlbush Island Farms chopped curly kale, were sliced beets. As slicedbeetswebyou’ve probably gathered, I’m incapable of leaving something like that in the store.  So, I have those in the freezer to try next.

One of my other summer favorites is beet soup. I can certainly speed up making that if I use one of these products!  I can replace the beet greens with Swiss chard–maybe even find it frozen as well.

One of the appealing things about the frozen beets is that I can use some and put the remaining ones back in the freezer without having leftover veggies.  Since they are sliced, but uncooked, I have more flexibility. With the vacuum packed ones or a can, you have to do something with  the rest of the beets so that they don’t linger too long in the fridge and grow interesting colors of mold, and eventually find the way to the garbage.

My only “regret” with the Melissa’s beets was that I really like  beets roasted instead of steamed.  The first way I’ll try the frozen ones is roasted as suggested on the website.

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Until I found these products in the frozen food section, I’d never heard of Stahlbush Island Farms, but after looking at the website and the products, I’ll certainly follow up to check out some of the grains and legumes that are frozen, as well as fruits. (Again, no connection, except as a consumer, and picky at that.)

I noticed black raspberries on the product list. I’m a fanatic about black raspberries–there’s a big difference in flavor from the red ones that we see in the stores, not that those aren’t good, but black raspberries are what I grew up with, and thus my idea of what raspberries should be.

Roasted beet soup

I really think that beets are right up there with cabbage as under-appreciated vegetables. I’ve another cold beet soup recipe some time ago, but I wanted to share this one with any beet lovers out there. Enjoy–either hot or cold.

Wendy's Place

Spring is here and I’ve got little baby beet seedlings in the greenhouse but I can’t wait 65 days for them to make beets.

Roasted beet soup-7So until then I’m getting organic beets at the store. They are a vegetable, in my opinion, that spans all seasons. We ate this roasted beet soup hot and cold and both were delicious. So if you’re still freezing your tush off- heat it up. If you are in CA and it’s gone straight from winter to summer- keep it cool.

PRINT RECIPE: {ROASTED BEET SOUP}

  • 1½ lbs roasted, trimmed beets (about 4-6 medium-lg beets)
  • 2 ½ qts chicken stock- or veggie if you prefer
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 5-6 cloves garlic
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 2-3 T sour cream or crème fraîche

It is super simple. The beets are roasted with skin on. I…

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Beet Chips

An interesting option for beets when there are more than you can use fresh.

Emmy Cooks

Welcome to Emmy Cooks!  You can see some of my favorite recent recipes by clicking the “My Favorite Recipes” category on the sidebar (here are April, May, and June).  If you like what you see here, you can sign up on the sidebar to receive a daily recipe by email and to follow Emmy Cooks on Facebook or Twitter.

During my first pregnancy, I had an occasional craving for citrus.  Grapefruit, oranges, pomelos, lemons, limes, anything.  During my second pregnancy, nothing.  And during my third pregnancy, I had no cravings, but one aversion: beets.

Other vegetables were okay: I would happily have eaten butternut squash tacos with chipotle and feta or a pound-of-greens frittata.  Those risotto-stuffed chard leaves were popular in my kitchen that year, and a simple arugula salad was just my speed (the arugula comes up in the garden by itself on years…

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