Tuesday, July 1, 2008

TK said to me today, "I love coming home to find out what you're cooking." Isn't that sweet? It has been so fun, experimenting with all new foods and recipes. Some are winners, some are losers (I haven't yet blogged about my strawberry gel-ly debacle, but believe me, my strawberry jam was a loser). But it's all fun.

I love vegetables, but I've found that I'm pretty tame in what I buy: if I'm at the store, I get what I know. Zucchini, green beans, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions. I love that the CSA is forcing me to branch out a bit. One of the vegetables we got that I had no idea how to prepare was kohlrabi. Honestly, I don't think I've ever even SEEN kohlrabi in the grocery store. I searched around online and found a recipe that appealed to me: kohlrabi and carrots in honey butter sauce. I figured, carrots: good. Honey: good. Butter: good.



The recipe was simple and I followed it pretty closely (although for some unknown reason, I halved the kohlrabi and carrots amounts but forgot to half everything else so it ended up a bit soupy. Operator error on that one but easily corrected as I just used a slotted spoon to remove the carrots and kohlrabi).

It was tasty, but somehow wasn't quite outstanding. The carrots were better than the kohlrabi. I'm not sure if I don't love kohlrabi, or if this just wasn't the best dish to showcase it, but I'd probably try a different recipe if we get kohlrabi again.

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Next it was time for the beets. I must admit, I'm not a beet fan. I've mainly had them at salad bars and have come to conclude they're just there to fill out the salad bar without the restaurant having to worry that anyone would actually want to eat them. But, as always, I'm game to give something a try.

I got my inspiration from this recipe to match roasted beets with goat cheese. However, I thought this was a bit fussy with cutting everything into perfect rounds and having different oils and vinaigrettes and glazes. And I didn't have two different kinds of beets...just the golden ones. And I'm probably admitting to my pedestrian tastes, but I'm just not a big fan of towers of food. That's just weird in my admittedly non-gourmet opinion to have stacked food, unless it's a club sandwich.

So I just tossed the beets in a few tablespoons of olive oil, put them in a baking dish covered with aluminum foil, and baked them at 350 degrees for about an hour (for my small beets) until a toothpick easily pierced the center. You can peel them after they've been roasted (and cooled a bit). The skin just peels off with your fingers.

I sliced the beets thinly and alternated them with slices of herb and garlic goat cheese. (As an aside, the goat cheese was local as well, from Westfield Farm. It was outstanding cheese!)


My final vote: it was pretty good. I'm not a huge beet fan, but the goat cheese/beet combination was perfect. TK thought this was incredible, but he likes beets far more than I do. Three year old twins: liked the goat cheese, wouldn't try the beets.

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As we were picking up the beets, the guy working the distribution mentioned that beet greens were delicious. Darn it, now I have no excuse for not cooking them!

I found a recipe for preparing beet greens (or kale, or collard greens) that used vinegar and bacon. Hey, that sounds good to me! As an aside, have I mentioned my theory of preparing these odd, new (to me) vegetables, or vegetables I haven't liked in the past? I try to pick a recipe that includes an ingredient I like. Goat cheese, bacon, honey...something familiar that I know I'll like.

Here's a link to the recipe I used. I made some changes, though, fairly significantly altering quantities:

Ingredients:

Green from 5 beets
1/2 large onion, finely diced
2 strips of bacon
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar
Sprinkle red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Directions:

Wash beet greens, remove thick stems, and tear leaves into bite sized pieces. Set aside.

Fry bacon until crispy and set aside on paper towels to drain.

Add onions to the bacon grease and cook over medium heat until slightly translucent. Add the garlic, stir, then add the water, sugar, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Stir in the greens and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes (the original recipe calls for 30 minutes if you're using kale or collard greens). Add the vinegar, cook for about 1 minute, then you're done! (The original recipe is a little unclear; if you're using kale or collard greens you may have to cook for an additional 20 or so minutes....basically, if you're using kale or collard greens, you should probably just head on over to the original recipe linked above).

Place the greens on a plate and garnish with crumbled bacon.


These were interesting. It was definitely my first time eating beet greens. They were sweet and sour; a touch spicy and a hint salty. That sounds like a lot of competing flavors, and it kind of was. But somehow it worked. TK and I cleaned this up...there wasn't a bite left. At the end of dinner, we even ate the little bits we'd put on the boys plates that they had totally ignored. Well, except for picking the bacon off to eat.

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If you look closely at the picture of the beet greens, you can see in the background that we had quinoa with it. In the last 3 minutes of cooking the quinoa, I tossed in some spinach. It was a great addition and a good way to use up some of that spinach. I'm not even going to include a recipe...just cook the quinoa however you normally do (or follow the directions on the bag/box if you don't normally prepare quinoa), then toss in some chopped spinach. Yum!

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Random totally related thought: The last CSA newsletter had a link to a brand new blog, The Veggie Project. It's basically a bunch of folks eating local in the greater Boston area. Their only flaw is that it's a vegetarian blog, so I highly doubt they share my love affair with bacon.

There's only a few recipes there at the moment, but I'm pretty excited about the blog since I was looking for something exactly like this when I first started on my eat-local adventure. If anyone is eating local in New England, or just looking for in-season veggie recipes, you may want to check them out!

Oh, double PS~~I just noticed Snickollet is a contributer to the blog! That's weird...Snick, how did you find out about this blog that's only existed for a week or two??

3 comments:

Snickollet said...

The blog has been brewing for a while . . . it grew out of a conversation that took place on the Arlington Listserv between a bunch of us who are veggie and wanted to share easy, family-friendly meals. It turned into a blog to share recipes and talk about eating locally.

I'm a contributor, but don't think I'll be posting a lot. I think it will be a good resource, though.

Mary Ellen said...

I love beets! They're fabulous with goat cheese -- and I like to throw some orange segments in there too. But I never cook the beet greens. I don't know why... it's so wasteful! You have inspired me.

Maggie said...

We haven't gotten anything too exotic yet, but I'm waiting! Brian insisted we get veggies this week, despite the trip. I may try to bring some stuff with us to your house if I can keep it relatively cool on the trip. We got 2 lbs tomatoes (which I know you've been wanting!), 4 ears corn, 3 onions, a butternut squash, a cantaloupe, and some basil. YUM!