Field to Feast: Eat Your Beets

Good advice, I’d say, but it does reinforce the air of obligation beets already have about them; we’re admonished to eat them because they’re good for you, rarely because they’re delicious. Despite that crushing sense of duty, flavor is a great reason to chow down on beets, and now that local crops are veering toward root vegetables, there couldn’t be a more perfect time to sample them.

I think a lot of people have negative associations with beets after some childhood dining trauma, but they weren’t on my radar when I was young. In fact, I’m pretty sure I never tasted a beet until they started popping up in salads with goat cheese and frisée sometime in the ’90s. But that only takes care of the root — what about the greens, which also deserve a chance to shine? When Gil and I first moved in together (long before the dogs came to live with us), I exercised on the treadmill pretty regularly. Most of that treadmill time was spent watching Lidia Bastianich’s show where I learned, well, all sorts of things, one of which was that preparing beet greens is pretty simple. Her roasted beet salad stuck with me through the years and it’s always on the menu when I come home with some beautiful beets from the market.

Roasted Beet Salad | Minimally Invasive

I used golden beets this time instead of the deeper red ones because those were already spoken for. If you hate worrying about stained hands from preparing beets, you can wear gloves or just buy these golden beauties. They’re not quite as earthy as their darker cousins, but I love them just the same.

Veselka Borscht | Minimally Invasive

Of course, I can’t let a post about beets go by without pushing borscht on you. But this wasn’t just any borscht! No, I broke out my Veselka Cookbook and got to work on the lengthy process of cooking their most famous dish. Making it involved cooking three stocks — beef, pork and beet — along with much straining and simmering and work. So Much Work! The end product was satisfying and rich with a depth of flavor my regular borscht doesn’t have, but was it worth the extra five hours and four pots to make? For me at least, the answer is no because I can make it to the restaurant any time I want. But I did love their suggestion to use the strained beets from the stock in a salad composed of nothing more than beets, prepared horseradish and salt. I was skeptical, but found the combination addictive and kept nibbling away at tiny portions until I’d consumed an entire meal’s worth.

Veselka Borscht | Minimally Invasive

I somehow managed not to stain my newly white walls with any drips from the process of cooking, which we all should consider a miracle. All in all, it was a very successful beet week!

Update: I’m starting a new feature over at Amy Roth Photo called (provisionally, anyway) How I Got the Shot. I’m discussing the opening shot of this post for my very first entry. Take a look and let me know what you think! 

From the Market: Week 4

Veggies, veggies, and more veggies from the Ringwood Farmers’ Market … and I actually didn’t include everything in the picture above. Of everything I picked up, I was most excited to get my hands on some golden beets from Bialas Farms, as it’s been almost a year since I last had them.

Instead of torturing the beets in an over-the-top recipe (as I’ve been known to do), I treated them simply, roasting in a medium oven until cooked through, tossing with freshly shelled peas, and lovely lettuce and dill from Nina’s Red Barn Farm, then lightly dressing it all with a sherry-shallot vinaigrette. When food is this abundant and delicious, it makes sense to savor the flavors as nature intended.

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Another dish I’ve been looking forward to since this time last year was this light and tasty chilled soup, which gets its fresh color from an unlikely source — pea pods:

What a great way to recycle. Because if you’re going to go to all the trouble of shelling a bunch of peas, why throw away the pods until you’ve wrung every last bit of usefulness from them? I got the idea/recipe from the innovative Clotilde of Chocolate & Zucchini, making only one change to the recipe by deleting the nutmeg because I simply don’t care for it. The peas were shelled in two batches with the pods from last week spending some time in the freezer until I could make up the difference with this week’s haul. This soup is the very essence of a warm spring day and the most refreshing lunch you can imagine. Do give it a try the next time you’re up to your elbows in peas; you won’t regret it.

Some spring cleaning

Hello, and welcome to Spring!

We had CRAZYGOOD weather this weekend, which finally gave me the kick in the pants I needed to cook/take pictures again. Those winter doldrums are no joke, and my whole existence turned into a daily grind just to make it through. But here I am on the other side, and no worse for wear!

So here you go — a little spring cleaning from the past month or so, and a wrap-up of recent goings-on in our neck of the woods.


Pasta e ceci from Rachael Eats. We had this weekly for a spell and while I love it beyond any other soup I made over the winter, I’m looking forward to something less filling.


Shirley Corriher’s Touch of Grace biscuits with butter & fig jam. Made a damned fine breakfast, but not as good as scrambled eggs and morels will be in a few weeks.


French “peasant” beets from Food52.


He really wanted my attention.

More pictures after the jump.

Continue reading “Some spring cleaning”

B is for borscht

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Also for beets…

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One spring weekend, I had a craving for Veselka‘s Christmas borscht and started a furious search for an online recipe. The only mentions I found praised it to the heavens, but had no recipes attached. I did, however, find an approximate recreation of their everyday borscht, which I finally got around to making this afternoon. So, so, so good. This is going into heavy rotation this winter.

recipe after the jump

Continue reading “B is for borscht”