Simplicity and quality ingredients are always the best way to go. When sourcing ingredients for a dish, I try to find the highest quality products from local organic farms where things are done with love. If you have a farmers market of any kind in your community, I highly recommend making weekly trips while it’s in season.
This week’s recipe is common in our house and is perfect for a healthy side dish or on its own. The credit for this particular dish has to go to my lovely partner who introduced me to it – I hope my recipe does her’s justice. If you are vegan, you can replace the feta cheese with a substitute or leave it out. For those of you who have seed or nut allergies those can also be left out or replaced with something crunchy that works with your needs.
Enjoy and I’ll see you next time!
Roasted Beet Salad
3-4 large organic red beets with tops attached (locally grown possible, if they are small use about 6)
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup toasted pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
5-6 basil leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (the good stuff)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (the good stuff)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Pre heat oven to 425 degrees F
Remove green tops from your beets, wash them well and set them aside. Toss your beets with olive oil and move them into a baking dish, cover with foil. Bake them on the center rack at 425 degrees F for 1-2 hours (depending on size) gently rolling the beets inside the pan every 30 minutes until you can easily stick a fork into them.
Once your beets are done remove them from the oven and allow them to cool uncovered until you can handle them. Once you are able to handle them you will want to peel them with paper towels by gently rubbing the skin from the outside. This can be tricky and you may want to wear an apron and rubber gloves if you have them.
Place your beets in the refrigerator and allow them to cool completely. Once the beets are cool you can build your salad.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of salt. Chop your beet tops fine and add them to your olive oil vinegar mixture and whisk for about 30 seconds. Cube your beets 1/4 inch and toss them in your dressing. Season with Kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Top with crumbled feta cheese, basil and toasted pepitas.
Here’s some upcoming food events that focus on organic farms and fresh, seasonal ingredients:
Thursday, August 22 I Millsap Farm Wood-Fired Pizza Night – Springfield, Missouri Every Thursday this summer Milsap Farms invites you to their farm for pizza. Their delicious wood-fired pizzas are cooked in a handmade New Mexico style Horno wood-fired earthen oven at ~800 degrees taking less than 2 minutes to cook. The pizzas are served buffet style where three pizzas are chosen according to seasonal produce and they always offer cheese. Each week they harvest seasonal, fresh, organically-raised produce and create different kinds of pizzas that also feature other local meats, cheeses, sauces and vegetables.
Saturday, August 24 I Poulsbo Farmers Market’s Picnic at the Pig – Poulsbo, Washington This year marks the first ever Poulsbo Farmers Market Picnic at the Pig! What, you ask, is…a picnic at the pig? Why, it is a farm picnic at Slippery Pig Brewery in Poulsbo, of course! Come to the Pig after market for a fun family-friendly evening of good food, good beer, and more! They will be serving a pulled pork picnic dinner with live music, farm games and contests, a raffle, and a silent auction featuring goodie bags and baskets generously donated by local businesses and regular PFM vendors.
Saturday, August 24 I Top Chef Farmers Market Food Tour & Cooking Class – Wilmington, North Carolina Stop wondering how a top chef is inspired by the farmers market. Get in the kitchen and cook alongside a pro. Join culinary tour guide Liz Biro for a coffee tasting and morning treats at Hot Pink Cake Stand or Port City Java. Then, stroll to downtown Wilmington’s abundant Riverfront Farmers Market to see and sample at some of Liz’s favorite vendors. Pickled N.C. peanuts, authentic Italian pastries, ginger wine made with local grapes. The array is always delicious and interesting. Afterward, it’s off to Aubriana’s for a hands-on cooking lesson featuring ingredients purchased at the market. Aubriana’s is one of Wilmington’s best restaurant and home to top chef Tyson Amick. For the class, Chef Amick demonstrates how to use the local bounty in creative American dishes with European flair, like those served at Aubriana’s. You’ll never consider frozen vegetables again.
Sunday, August 25 I Oxbow Public Market Tomato Tasting with Napa Valley TomatoWorks – Napa, California Oxbow Public Market and Napa Valley TomatoWorks invite tomato lovers to enjoy their favorite fruit at the height of the season at the inaugural Oxbow Public Market Tomato Tasting at the popular Public Market, located at 610 First Street in Oxbow District of downtown Napa. Enjoy a glass of wine, a hail Mary, or a refreshing tea, along with “tomato talks” with tomato experts, authors and chefs. A walk around tomato tasting and judging featuring up to 30 varieties of tomatoes on the Oxbow River Deck is included, where guest votes will determine the favorites. Several Oxbow Merchants will feature special tomato menu offerings for purchase, along with advice on how to grow, preserve and savor this popular summer fruit.
Wednesday, August 28 I Uncommon Ground Presents… 5th Annual Slow Food Chicago Summer Vegetarian Harvest Dinner – Chicago, Illinois Please join Uncommon Ground Edgewater as they celebrate the bounty of the “1st certified organic roof top farm in the country.” Slow Food, is the notion that our environment, culture and economy are profoundly affected by what we choose to eat. Uncommon Ground believes that everyone should have access to high-quality food produced in a sustainable and equitable way. Slow Food first began as a small Italian association in 1986. Led by Carlo Petrini, Slow Food was created as a grassroots response to the increasing industrialization of food and standardization of taste. Carlo recognized that with the rise of fast food, thousands of food varieties and food traditions were disappearing, and that people were losing the connection between the plate and the planet. To counter the fast food trend, Slow Food promotes alternatives to industrial food and farming, raises awareness of how our food impacts the environment, and supports the workers who produce our food. For the full menu, click on the link above.