Wednesday, August 1, 2018

August 2, 2018 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring Green Top Beets

Cooking With This Week's Box:

 This Week’s Summary of Recipes and the Vegetables They Utilize:

Zucchini or Yellow Summer Squash: Zucchini Grinders

White Spanish Onions: Western Omelet Quesadillas; Golden Beet Risotto with Crumbled Ricotta Salata and Sautéed Beet Greens (See Below); Cauliflower, Broccoli & Pepita Salad

Sunorange Tomatoes: Sweet Corn Panzanella

Italian Frying Peppers and/or Green Bell Peppers: Western Omelet Quesadillas

Sun Jewel Melons: Slice and serve!

Sweet Corn: Sweet Corn Panzanella

Green Top Golden Beets:  Golden Beet Risotto with Crumbled Ricotta Salata and Sautéed Beet Greens  (See Below)

Happy August!  We’ve got a beautiful box for you this week including a bit more sweet corn and tomatoes.  We’ve just started picking our larger varieties, so we’re hoping to have more to send your way next week.  Lets start this week’s cooking with the featured vegetable, beautiful green top golden beets.  Gold beets are the beet variety most likely to be embraced by all—both those who love beets and those who are still learning to like them.  This week we’ll use the beets and their tops to make Golden Beet Risotto with Crumbled Ricotta Salata and Sautéed Beet Greens  (See Below).  Risotto takes a little time to make, but it’s really pretty simple and the end result is elegant.  Serve it with a glass of white wine and you’re set.

Creamy Pineapple & Cucumber
Smoothie, photo from Minimalist Baker
Our cucumbers in the second planting are approaching their peak production this week.  We’ve had a great run on cucumbers and zucchini this year, but there are so many ways to use these vegetables that we consider them to be summer staples.  This week I’m going to use cucumbers to make some refreshing summer smoothies.  I like this recipe for Creamy Pineapple & Cucumber Smoothie as a breakfast smoothie.  I also want to try this recipe for a Savory Cucumber Smoothie which is based on the concept of a Middle Eastern yogurt drink.  This recipe has dill, basil and mint which are excellent herbs to pair with cucumbers.  This drink is also finished with club soda, so it’s a little thinner than a smoothie and will make for a great afternoon refresher.  As for the zucchini and summer squash in this week’s box, I’m going to take the suggestion from one of our members who posted this recipe for Zucchini Grinders.  In her household the kids refer to these as “Pizza Subs.”  Sauteed zucchini is piled into a sub roll and topped with diced tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.  Wrap the sandwiches in foil and pop them in the oven.  What a great idea!

This recipe for Sweet Corn Panzanella popped into my inbox this week from Love and Lemons blog.  I love this version of panzanella featuring this week’s sweet corn, sunorange tomatoes and fresh basil.  This salad can serve as a main dish dinner.  Finish off the meal with slices of sun jewel melon and that’s what we call a simple summer meal.

This week I want to try the Cauliflower, Broccoli & Pepita Salad from  It looks pretty simple.  You chop the cauliflower and broccoli in a food processor, toss it with onions, minced jalapeno, sesame seeds, dates or other dried fruit and a light vinaigrette.  Top it off with toasted pepitas.  She says you can make it a day in advance and it travels well, so this will likely be served for dinner one night with a piece of grilled fish or steak.  Leftovers will be packed for lunches.

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
Picture from Eat Yourself Skinny
I’ve been on a western omelet kick lately since I’ve had green bell peppers and the delicious white Spanish onions on my counter.  This week I’m going to make Western Omelet Quesadillas for our breakfast item as long as the peppers last!

This week’s carrots will be used to make Carrot Cake Oatmeal Breakfast Bars.  These will make a great snack or may be breakfast for one of those days when we’re short on time in the morning.  I might even put some in the freezer for back-up to pull out on a week when I don’t have much time for baking or cooking and need a healthy option.

I think we’ve worked our way through this week’s box with a nice mix of some items to serve for dinner, a few ways to incorporate your CSA vegetables into breakfast and a few ideas to serve as snacks or light meals on the go.  Start pulling out your favorite pepper, tomato and corn recipes.  We’ll have more of these summer vegetables coming soon!  Have a great week!

—Chef Andrea

Featured Vegetable: Green Top Beets

Chioggia, gold, and red beets at our market stand.
Beets are a crop we have available starting in mid to late June with availability extending through December and sometimes even into January and February.  There are some beets better suited to harvest for storage and others that are intended for harvest with the green tops.  We grow three different colors of beets including the traditional red beet as well as chioggia beets (candy striped inside) and golden Beets.  At our market stand, we’re often asked to explain the difference between the different colors of beets.  In general, all of our beets, regardless of color, taste like beets.  Red beets have more of that traditional earthy beet flavor.  The chioggia and golden beets are generally more mild in flavor, but typically are as sweet or sweeter than the red beets.  Individuals who don’t care for beets generally like and will eat golden beets.  One of our market crew members calls golden beets “the gateway beet” that is a good starter beet for those who are still learning to like them and may not care for the earthiness of red beets.

Both the beet root as well as the green tops are edible and both are very nutritious.  Beet greens are generally eaten cooked, but may also be chopped finely and enjoyed in their raw form.    When cooking them, treat them like chard and lightly saute them or steam them until wilted and tender.  You can substitute beet greens in any recipe that calls for chard.  Beet greens can also be blended into smoothies.

Beets are usually cooked, but may be eaten raw.  Thinly sliced or grated beets are a nice addition to salads and slaws.  As for cooking, beets are generally either boiled or steamed on the stove top or roasted in the oven.  The cooking time will vary depending upon the size of the beet.  The general recommendation is to cook beets with their skins on and the root tail intact.  For red beets in particular, this minimizes the leaching of the water-soluble color compounds from the beet.  Once the beets are cooked, cool them so you can handle them and the peel should be easy to remove.  You know a beet is fully cooked when the beet easily slides off a skewer, fork or cake tester stuck into the middle of the beet. 

Red beets do contain a water-soluble nutrient called anthocyanin.  This is an antioxidant that also gives red beets their color.  It will stain your hands (temporarily) and the color will bleed onto other ingredients if you’re using them in a salad, soup, or otherwise.  Golden beets and chioggia beets don’t lose their color or bleed color onto other ingredients.  If you are looking to preserve the beautiful candy-striped interior of a chioggia beet, it is best to roast them.

Once cooked, beets may be used in salads or just simply reheated with a pat of butter and some salt.  You can also blend beets into hummus or make a delicious white bean & beet dip to eat with vegetables, crackers or use it as a spread for pizza or flat bread.  Beets pair well with a lot of other ingredients including vegetables such as fennel, celery, carrots, red onions, shallots, arugula and other salad greens as well as other root vegetables.  They also go well with fruits including apples, oranges, lemons, pears, avocadoes and pomegranates.  Additionally, beets pair nicely with goat cheese, feta cheese, blue cheese, butter, nuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds to name just a few ingredients.

It is best to store beets in the refrigerator.  If you get beets with the green tops still on, remove the tops and store them separately in a plastic bag.  Try to use them within 5-7 days.  Store the beets in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer.  They will last longer than the greens.

Golden Beet Risotto with Crumbled Ricotta Salata and Sautéed Beet Greens

Yield:  4 servings as a main course
Photo from Summer Tomato

2 medium golden beets, trimmed, peeled, and cut into ¼-inch dice

6 cups chicken stock or broth
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
⅔ cup diced white onion
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
Kosher or fine sea salt, to taste
1 cup dry white wine
Sautéed Beet Greens (see below)
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 oz ricotta salata cheese, crumbled
2 Tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. In a 2-qt saucepan, combine the beets and stock and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Cook the beets until tender yet still quite firm when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes (They should be slightly underdone, as they will finish cooking in the risotto.)  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beets to a bowl and set aside.  Adjust the heat so the stock barely simmers.
  2. In a heavy 4-qt saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 Tbsp of the butter and then add the oil.  Add the onion and sauté until translucent but not brown, about 3 minutes.  Add the rice and 1 tsp salt and stir until the grains are well coated with the butter and oil, about 1 minute.  Add the wine and let it come to a boil.  Cook, stirring constantly, until most of the wine is absorbed.
  3. Add the beets and 2 cups of the stock to the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice has almost completely absorbed the liquid.  Adjust the heat so the risotto is kept at a slow simmer.  Repeat, adding 1 cup of the liquid at a time, stirring until it is almost fully absorbed before adding more.  Reserve ¼ cup of the liquid for adding at the end.  
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the sautéed greens as directed and keep warm.  
  5. After about 18 minutes, the rice will be plump, creamy, and cooked through but still slightly chewy and the beets will be tender when pierced with a fork.  Stir in the remaining ¼ cup stock.  Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 Tbsp butter, the Parmesan cheese, and about half of the ricotta salata, and the parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Spoon the risotto into warmed shallow bowls.  Mound a portion of the beet greens on top.  Garnish with the remaining ricotta salata and serve immediately.

Sautéed Beet Greens

Yield:  2 servings on its own

1 bunch beets, with green tops attached
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Kosher or fine sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
  1. Trim off the greens, leaving 1 inch of the stem attached to each root.  Reserve the roots for another use.  Stack the leaves, then cut the stack in half lengthwise through the center vein.  Chop the greens crosswise into large pieces, about 2 inches wide.  Rinse the greens in several changes of cold water until they are clean and the water is clear.  Dry them in a salad spinner or blot dry with paper towels.
  2. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat and swirl to coat the pan bottom.  Add the garlic and sauté until soft but not brown, about 1 minute.  Add the greens and toss with tongs until wilted but still crisp-tender and bright green, about 3 minutes.  Add the lemon juice, season lightly with salt and pepper, and then give the greens a final toss in the pan. Serve immediately.

This recipe comes from Diane Morgan’s cookbook entitled Roots.

No comments: