Posts Tagged ‘beet’

I have written before about how much I enjoy beets, so I was highly anticipating an entire Good Eats episode devoted to them. We didn’t really eat beets when I was a kid, so I suppose I really didn’t discover my love of them until I was an adult. These days, beets are in regular rotation at our house, as Ted loves them too.

Pickled Beets

Not only do I love beets, but I also happen to be a fan of anything pickled, so a pickled beet recipe was right up my alley. To make a couple quarts of pickled beets, you’ll need about six medium-sized beets; some of my beets were large, so I cut them in half.

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Some of my beets were large, so I cut them in half before roasting.

Place the cleaned beets on a sheet of foil, along with 2 t olive oil, 2 peeled shallots, and 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary.

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Beets, rosemary, olive oil, and shallots.

Fold the foil up around the beets, crimping the edges to form a packet. Roast the beet packets for 40 minutes at 400 degrees.

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Beets, rosemary, olive oil, and shallots, wrapped up in a packet.

While your beets roast, prepare your pickling brine by combining 1 C water, 1 C tarragon wine vinegar, 1/2 C sugar, and 1 1/2 t Kosher salt. Note:  I made my own tarragon wine vinegar by soaking fresh tarragon in boiled white wine vinegar for a few days. I later found tarragon wine vinegar at a store, so I made one jar of beets with my vinegar and the other jar with the purchased vinegar.

Bring the brine mixture to a boil in the microwave, which should take about three minutes on high. When the beets are done roasting, peel and thinly slice them.

You will also want to French one red onion. To French an onion, cut it in half through its stem. Cut a small piece out of each end of the onion halves, as this will allow the pieces to separate. Holding the onion with one hand, angle your knife and cut radially up to the center of the onion. Turn the onion half the other direction, and repeat.

Fill two quart jars with alternating layers of beets and onions, and pour over the hot brine. Let the beets cool before refrigerating.

Ideally, you should let these sit for a week before digging in, and they will last for about a month in the refrigerator. I have two main gripes with this recipe, the first being that the beets needed more time in the oven. The roasted beets had amazing flavor and aroma from the rosemary and shallots, but they were still a bit too firm. My other complaint is that Alton’s brine recipe just does not make enough. I found that one batch of brine was the perfect amount for just one quart of pickles, so you will likely need to double the brine. Aside from my beet pickles being a tad too crunchy, the flavor on these is fantastic.

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Pickled beets and onions after refrigerating for a week.

They are tangy and slightly sweet, and they add beautiful color to the plate. We have been putting pickled beets and red onions on our salads, and they add a lot of texture and flavor. I haven’t added these to pizza yet, but that’s on my list. I plan to make these again once we run out, but I will be roasting my beets for at least 10 minutes more. Oh, and I am re-using my pickle brine to make beet pickled eggs, so we’ll see how those turn out. I simply boiled my brine and poured it over hard-cooked eggs.

Glazed Baby Beets

My mother-in-law happened to serve baby beets at dinner just a few days before I was going to be making this recipe. It turns out that she had ventured to the local farmers market to get her baby beets, so I followed suit and used pretty baby beets from the market.

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Fresh baby beets from the farmers market.

Wash/scrub about 20 baby beets, trimming their greens and leaving just a small stem.

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Cleaned baby beets.

Put the beets in a lidded skillet with 2 C of apricot juice, and place them over medium heat.

Cover the pan and let the beets cook for 10 minutes.

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Baby beets cooking in apricot juice for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, add 3 T white balsamic vinegar and 2 T honey to the pan. Place the lid back on the pan and decrease the heat to medium-low. Cook the beets for an additional 10 minutes.

You want your beets to be fork-tender and for a shiny glaze to be left in the pan. If your liquid has evaporated before your beets are tender, add 1/4 C of water to the pan and cook the beets for three more minutes with the lid on over low heat. Conversely, if your beets are done cooking, but there is too much liquid in the pan, remove the beets from the pan and allow the glaze to reduce before adding the beets back to the pan. I actually found that my beets were not tender enough after the 20 minutes of cooking and I also had too much liquid, so I cooked my beets a few minutes longer than Alton recommended, removed them from the pan, and let my glaze reduce before adding the beets back in.

The resulting beets were shiny, ruby red, and had tart sweetness from the combination of apricot juice, white balsamic vinegar, and honey. I wondered if the beet skins would be noticeable, but they really were not.

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Glazed baby beets.

These were pretty, easy, and really quite fast to make, especially compared to most beet recipes. Try these for a pretty side dish while baby beets are still in season.

Beet Green Gratin

If you are looking for a way to use your beautiful beet greens, Alton has a recipe for you to do just that. You will need a full pound of beet greens for this, which, for me, equated to the greens of three bunches of baby beets.

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A pound of fresh beet greens.

Begin by melting 1 T butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 cloves of minced garlic.

Add 12 ounces of sliced mushrooms, cooking them until they are brown and tender.

Next, add your pound of cleaned/stemmed beet greens. I found that it took several minutes for the beet greens to wilt and cook down.

Meanwhile, in a bowl combine 4 egg yolks, 1/2 C grated Parmesan, 1 C ricotta cheese, 1/2 t Kosher salt, and 1/4 t pepper.

Add this cheese mixture to the beet green mixture, stirring to combine.

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Egg/cheese mixture added to the skillet.

Spoon the beet green mixture into a greased casserole dish (with a lid), sprinkling 3/4 C of crumbled Ritz crackers over the top.

Place the lid on the casserole dish and bake it for 45 minutes at 375 degrees (the online recipe tells you to bake it with the lid on for only the first 30 minutes).

I would not go out of my way to make this again. The proportions here seemed a bit off to me, as it was predominantly beet greens.

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Beet green gratin

If you want to taste umami, you will get that here. I think this would be better if the beet greens were chopped, and if the ratio of eggs/cheese to greens were higher. For example, I could see adding chopped, sautéed beet greens to Alton’s refrigerator pie recipe from episode 30. While I like the idea of using my beet greens, this recipe just was not a favorite of mine.

 

It is always fun in this project when I get to watch an episode of Good Eats that I have not previously seen; episode 80 was one I had definitely not seen before. The premise of this episode is that Alton goes on a local, schlocky morning show to discuss coleslaw. When the other scheduled guest fails to show, Alton becomes the main attraction, continuing on with recipes for other types of slaw. Now, I’ll be honest that I don’t get too overly excited about slaw, but Alton did make some slaws in this episode that looked pretty tasty. So, how did they turn out?

Coleslaw

A classic coleslaw was first in this episode. This recipe requires some forethought because the prep needs to begin a couple hours in advance. Start by combining 1/2 a head of green cabbage, 1/2 a head of red cabbage, and lots of Kosher salt in a colander. Leave the cabbage for a couple hours to drain any excess moisture.

For the dressing, combine 1/2 C buttermilk, 2 fluid oz mayo, 2 fluid oz plain yogurt, and 1 T pickle juice.

Whisk the dressing thoroughly, adding 1 t dry mustard and 1 T chopped chives.

When the cabbage has drained, rinse it very well with cold water and give it a few whirls in a salad spinner.

Add the cabbage to the prepared dressing, along with one sliced carrot, and toss to coat.

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A bowl of Alton’s coleslaw.

This coleslaw was good, but not exciting. I did like how the powdered mustard contributed a slight kick of heat, while the pickle juice added some tang. Otherwise, though, it was really just a classic coleslaw that you could buy in any deli. It would, however, make a nice condiment for a pulled pork sandwich.

Beet Slaw

After watching the episode, I was most excited about Alton’s beet slaw because I love anything with beets… and Asian pears… and goat cheese. Yep, this one appeared to be right up my alley. Before you do anything else in this recipe, you will want to steam a few beets until they are tender (it took about 15 minutes for my beets to be tender).

To make the dressing, combine in a large bowl 1/4 C red wine vinegar, 2 T lemon juice, 2 T honey, 1/4 t Kosher salt, and 1/2 t pepper.

Whisk in 1/4 C olive oil until emulsified.

To the dressing, add 2 C of jicama, peeled and cut into matchsticks.

Next, thinly slice 3 C of fennel; this is easiest on a mandolin. Add the fennel to the slaw, along with 1/4 C of grated onion.

Again with the mandolin, if you have one, thinly slice one Asian pear and add it to the mix.

Finally, peel and spiralize your beets until you have 4 C. Add the spiralized beets to the bowl.

Toss all of the vegetables with the dressing and crumble in 6 ounces of goat cheese to finish.

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Goat cheese added to slaw.

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Beet slaw.

I happened to make this slaw when my brother was visiting, and he declared that he really liked this slaw despite not typically liking beets. Ted and I thought this was great also. This recipe is a fantastic marriage of flavors and textures. The jicama, fennel, and Asian pear are light and crispy, while the beets and onion are tender, and the goat cheese adds a lovely creaminess. Flavorwise, the earthy sweetness of the beets was great with the sweet Asian pear, nutty jicama, and spicy onion. The fennel added subtle anise hints. The dressing was tangy with a hint of sweetness, and the goat cheese gave a creamy tartness. All-in-all I was really happy with this one and will make it again. I will say that it is most aesthetically pleasing the day it is made, as the beets turn everything purple as the slaw sits.

Marinated Slaw

I actually started this blog a couple days ago, but am only just now finishing it. As I type, I am sandwiched between our two Coonhounds. Brixie, our beloved little “dogter,” had a rough day today, having a lump removed from her paw that could potentially be malignant. We’re all crossing our fingers and paws that we get a good biopsy report in the next few days. Now, back to the food.

If you are looking for a make-ahead slaw, Alton’s marinated slaw may be the one for you. Essentially, this is a pickled slaw that develops flavor for three days before you eat it. I don’t know about you, but I love anything pickled. For this slaw, grate 1/2 a head of Napa cabbage, and julienne 2 red bell peppers and 2 green bell peppers (I used yellow peppers, instead of green). Alton tells you to drain the vegetables in a colander for two hours, though this is really quite pointless without adding salt to the vegetables, as nothing drains away.

Once your vegetables are prepped, bring to a boil 3/4 C cider vinegar, 1 C sugar, 2 T Kosher salt, 1 t celery seeds, and 1 T mustard seeds; I found that this recipe did not yield enough marinade, so I had to make a second batch of marinade.

Pack your vegetables tightly in a mason jar (as tightly as possible, or they will float to the top), and pour in the hot marinade. Refrigerate the slaw for three days before eating.

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Hot marinade poured over slaw.

I made this slaw before leaving town for a few days, and it was ready just when I returned home.

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Alton’s marinated slaw.

The flavor of this slaw reminds me of bread and butter pickles, as the marinade is both sweet and tangy. The mustard seeds add some great pops of crunch and zest, and the peppers retain a lot of their crispy texture. This is a bright slaw that would be a good addition for a barbecue or picnic, or just as a side dish to dinner.

Asian Slaw

After making a coleslaw, a beet slaw, and a marinated slaw, what other type of slaw could you possibly make? Asian slaw is the final recipe from this episode, and it piqued my interest the most (along with the beet slaw) when I watched the episode. Alton also happened to mention that this Asian slaw is a favorite of his.

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Dressing ingredients: soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and peanut butter.

In a large bowl, whisk together 1 T soy sauce, the juice of a lime, 2 T sesame oil, 1/2 C rice wine vinegar, and 1/2 C peanut butter.

With tongs, add the following items to the dressing, tossing to coat:  2 T minced ginger, 2 minced serrano peppers, 1 shaved carrot (use a vegetable peeler), 1 julienned red bell pepper, 1 julienned yellow bell pepper, 2 T chopped mint, 2 T cilantro, 3 chopped green onions, 1 head of shredded Napa cabbage, and 1/2 t pepper.

Toss everything together until well-coated.

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Asian slaw, tossed to coat.

We both liked this slaw a lot, and it had fantastic Asian flavor from the ginger, sesame oil, lime, and peanut butter.

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Alton’s Asian slaw.

We ate this only as a side dish, but I would like to make it again, taking Alton’s suggestion of serving it as an entree; for a vegetarian entree, this slaw could be served with noodles or tofu, while you could serve it with flank steak for meat lovers. Personally, I can totally picture us eating this with steak as a summer entree on the deck.

Alton did a good job in this episode of demonstrating the diversity within the realm of slaw. Most of us probably see the word “slaw” and think of one thing:  coleslaw. For me, the standouts in this episode were the beet slaw and the Asian slaw.