Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wow! The Holidays Are Upon Us Once Again! How About Some Beets?

I am a little taken aback at how fast this year has flown. I have been remiss in posting recipes, especially as I now have a real kitchen again, and am no longer living in the RV. I must admit that living in a motor home leaves much to be desired if you are a cooking type person. Learning to deal with little to no counter space or oven capability is frustrating at best.

However! I am now getting settled in my new house and getting back on track slowly but surely. I've even had my first houseguest! Which was wonderful and I think we had a good time.

A little thing about me. I absolutely LOVE to try new recipes or read some and come up with my own variation of them. I love wholesome foods and the fact that I now live in a state where there is so much produce (fruits and veggies) available to me either at the farmer's markets, in the local markets, or even in the wild! Wild things to enjoy like all kinds of berries throughout the year, wild mushrooms, wild veggies. Sometimes I think I died and went to food heaven when I moved here! Even though I'm getting a late start, it's been fun to try new things.

I recently discovered new fruits I hadn't heard of that are completely edible growing all over, things like the Strawberry Tree fruit, Japanese Dogwood, etc. Which you can make jams, jellies and liqueurs from. I can't wait to get out and pick and can and create with all these goodies next year. Though I am proud to say, I did get some quince for the first time ever, and made vanilla quince butter. I think I have a new toast spread favorite now. I have enough fruit left to make a maple caramelized quince tart or two also.

Anyhow, as I've strayed off the goal of what I set out to write about today (hey, I got excited talking about all the new tasty things around here!), I guess I'll get around to it now.

I got this recipe in my email inbox a few weeks ago from Saveur. As I absolutely LOVE beets, and love goat's cheese this looked like heaven to me. And I happened to have a bunch of gorgeous organic beets in my fridge from the University's Agricultural Students' organic growing club (1 buck a bunch! ). So I set out to make this for my houseguest and myself for supper one evening. Except, like usual, I modified it!

First let me give you the link for the original from Saveur: Smashed Beets with Goat Cheese

And this is what I did, or my variation of it:

4 medium red, orange, or yellow beets, scrubbed, ends trimmed (I had those gorgeous dark ruby reds)
4 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste (I used freshly ground pink Himalayan sea salt)
2 to 4 tbsp. coconut oil (I only needed 2)
4 oz. soft goat cheese
6 or 8 cloves of roasted garlic, sliced

Put the scrubbed beets, 4 tbsp. vinegar, 1 tbsp. olive oil, thyme, and bay leaf into a 4-qt. saucepan. Pour in just enough water to cover the beets by about an inch and season them with some salt and pepper. Bring them to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and let them simmer until they are tender and a fork slides easily into them, around 40 minutes. Drain the beets and let cool slightly. Working with one beet at a time, put a beet between 2 sheets of parchment paper and press with your hand or a bottom of a dessert plate (if they're still too warm to smash with your hand), to partially flatten it so that it still remains mostly intact. Repeat with the remaining beets and set aside.

Heat the coconut oil in a 12" cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until very hot and a drop of water sputters. Gently set in the smashed beets, season with a little more salt and pepper, sprinkle the garlic slices, and sear the beets, flipping once with a metal spatula, until the skins (or the bottom and top) are are crisped, which is about 3 minutes a side. When you flip them, place the sliced soft goat cheese on top and let it heat up some while the other side crisps.


This recipe says it serves 4, however, they were so delicious, in my humble opinion it was enough for two of us! I'll definitely be making them this way again! Heating the cheese on top when you flip the beet over made it creamier, and was the perfect compliment to sweet ruby red beets. I think we preferred them over the crab we had with supper that evening!

It was an easy dish to make. I do imagine you could do this with blanched sliced beets that you may have put away in the freezer. That will be how I try it next, just perhaps cook them for just a few minutes in the seasoned water (like above) and then fry them with cheese and garlic. Oh boy!

Yeah, sorry, I am always thinking about new ways to create, so sometimes my thought processes are hard to follow. Maybe the next project will be the maple caramelized quince tart, or a beet and goat cheese tart. Although I just realized I need to prebake a bunch of pies for next weekend, so quince tart and pecan pie and my silky buttermilk pie are probably going to be made.

I'll honestly try to remember pictures next time!

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