Tag Archives: beets

Beet, Orange and Goat Cheese Salad

I made this salad tonight and within one bite I knew I wanted to share. It’s not fancy or fussy, but is brilliantly hued and surprisingly sweet. I don’t have much to say – no deep thoughts about life, just a nod to how much I enjoy food. This salad is a shining example of why I love my CSA. The salad greens were amazingly robust and flavorful. And the beets … oh my, this season’s beets have been wonderfully balanced between earthy and sweet.

This is a breeze to put together … I had a conference call to Singapore this evening (I am still in hard-core work mode) and managed to throw this together in a matter of minutes. Of course, I had the foresight to roast the beets earlier this week (and in the morning no less, while my apartment is still blessedly cool).  Pairing the beets with citrus was amazing. I had bookmarked this recipe some time ago, as I am always looking for inventive uses for rhubarb. And I attempted to cook the rhubarb as described – but just wasn’t feeling it for a salad (stay tuned for how I re-invented it …), so I ended up omitting it. I swapped goat cheese for feta, simply because I had some in my refrigerator, and these days I just don’t have time for extra trips to the grocery store.

I am smitten with this salad. For the colors and the flavors. My only hope that there are more beets in this week’s CSA…

Beet, Orange and Goat Cheese Salad
modified from Bon Appetit, April 2010
1 generous entrée-size salad
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon orange juice 
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
mixed salad greens
1 medium beet, roasted and thinly sliced
1 orange, peeled and segmented
1 1/2 ounce goat cheese, crumbled

Whisk orange peel, orange juice, lemon juice, vinegar, honey, and olive oil together. Season dressing with coarse salt and pepper. Toss with salad greens, sliced beets, orange segments and goat cheese.

Tickled Pink … Cupcakes

I spent last week thinking about beets. I know it’s not the first time I’ve discussed them (or even the second … and then there was that borscht incident earlier this summer that I thought best not to share). But last week I was thinking about making something sweet with them. Similar to a carrot cake? Or zucchini cake? No … I was thinking about using beets in red velvet cake. (Or cupcakes, as the case may be).

I am not exactly sure why. I am pretty sure that I’ve never eaten red velvet cake and certainly have never made it. From what I’ve read and heard on the street, people just eat it for the cream cheese frosting. But the idea of using my single, solitary beet from the CSA to turn my cake pink, well, it tickled my fancy. And it makes the cupcakes healthy, right?

I’m not going to lie. There was a moment as I was adding the beet puree into the cupcake when all I could smell was the deep earthiness of the beets. And thought Why the hell did I ruin cupcakes by putting beets in them? But, as it turns out, it didn’t ruin the cupcakes. Not at all. It turned them brilliantly pink.

And you know how I love color.

I got the cake recipe here. I chose it because it called for both a bit of lemon juice and vinegar to maintain the proper pH, which is uber-important for maintaining the pink/red color. It also has cream cheese in the batter, not just in the frosting, so it really is more of a pink poundcake than a true “red velvet cake.” But I am more than okay with that – in fact I prefer it.

Beets in cupcakes … who knew?

Tickled Pink … Cupcakes

adapted ever-so-slightly from Sophistimom

makes 1 dozen cupcakes

1 large beet
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup butter
4 oz cream cheese
1 cup sugar + 3 tablespoons
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (not dutch-processed – it will mess with the pH!)
Cream Cheese Frosting
4 tablespoons butter
4 oz cream cheese
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Peel and quarter the beet and place in a small baking dish with 1/4 cup water. Cover dish with aluminum foil and roast at 350º for about an hour. Transfer beets and water to a blender, add lemon juice and apple cider vinegar and puree until smooth. Should make about 3/4 cup of beet puree.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time and add in vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa powder. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients slowly.

Add the beet puree. And watch your batter turn from drab brown to a beautiful burgandy. And try not to smell the beets … or at least don’t be frightened when you do. The cupcakes will be delicious and won’t taste like beets.

Scoop into a lined muffin tin. Bake at 350º for about 30 minutes. Let cool before frosting.

Beat together cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla until well-blended and smooth. Frost cupcakes and enjoy!

Roasted Beet Risotto

The weather is turning. And not for the better.

I am always surprised by the arrival of fall. I should know that it comes every year, but somehow September seems much too soon for such chilly weather. I had to shut my windows and am currently cozy-ed up on my couch under a blanket. I love autumn, but this year I feel like I am running scared from it, in a desperate hope to hide from the oncoming winter.

All I want to eat is comfort food. To help ease me into the slow descent into winter. And it starts with risotto. Rich, creamy, buttery risotto. Made magnificently red by some roasted beets. It’s a splendid combination.

And beautifully hued.

Roasted Beet Risotto

3 beets + beet greens
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup aborio rice
1/3 cup white (or rose) wine
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup shredded gruyere

Peel and chop beets into 1/2 inch pieces, reserving beet greens. Toss with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a shallow baking sheet and roast at 350º for about half an hour.

In a large, deep-dish frying pan, heat a tablespoon of butter and add the chopped onion, cooking until soft and translucent.

In a small saucepan, warm chicken stock over low heat. Add rice to onions and cook for a minute or two. Pour in the wine (all I had was a rose – but I think it goes with the theme rather well) and cook until absorbed. Slowly add in warm chicken stock, a little bit at a time, making sure not to add more liquid until the previous batch is absorbed. It should take about 25 minutes or so.

Since the bottle of wine is open…

While you are slowly adding the chicken stock, take a moment to wash, de-rib and chop the beet greens. Add them to the risotto, finish adding the chicken stock and cook until greens wilted and all of the liquid is absorbed.

Fold in the roasted beets, gruyere and butter. And watch the whole thing turn, well, beet-red.


The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious …The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip … The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime. The beet is what happens with the cherry finishes with the carrot. The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies”

-Tom Robbins

That’s the beginning of Jitterbug Perfume. It’s a madcap adventure through time about immortality and true love and the greatest of all perfumes. The beet, or mangel-wurzel, is featured prominently, as is Seattle, Paris and New Orleans. To say that I love this book is an understatement. I love just about everything Tom Robbins writes. I think he is pure literary genius and this particular novel tugs at my most romantic heartstrings. I am not sure how many times I’ve read it, but every time I do, I fall in love with it all over again. With the book and with beets.

So, when I spied some beets at the store I knew that I needed to bring them home with me.

I peeled them, chopped them and roasted them along with some butternut squash.

Then I tossed with them some salad greens, feta cheese, sweet and spicy walnuts and some balsamic vinegariette. A hearty pre-Spring salad (I know the calendar technically claims that it is springtime, but the weather outside says otherwise).

The best way to describe the flavor of the beet is that it is undeniably earthy. In fact I have no other way to describe it.

Go forth and read Jitterbug Perfume, fall in love and eat some beets.