Posts Tagged ‘beets’

Grilled Vegetables

Grilled vegetables are a wonderful summertime treat. Below is a description of how to grill zucchini, eggplant, onions, peppers, beets, and tomatoes. You can grill on either a charcoal or gas grill, and roasting in the oven works too, though without the “grilled” taste. Also, you can grill your vegetables ahead of time – then later reheat or eat at room temperature. Grilling ahead of time (minutes, hours, or even a day or two) is especially useful if you have other main-dish items to grill for the meal. These recipes ideas are adapted from an article by Susie Middleton in the July 2002 issue of Fine Cooking magazine.

General Vegetable-grilling Tips:
* Most vegetables should be liberally brushed with oil (ideally olive oil) or any oil-based marinade before grilling to help lock in the juices. The oil can cause a flash flare-up – just put the lid on tightly or sprinkle on water to extinguish it.
* Charcoal users should build a two-zone fire. Pile the coals so that there is a cooler edge on one side of the grill.
* Grill on high heat. If you need to move a vegetable to lower heat, move it to the side of the grill or turn one gas burner down.
* Cook peppers, beets, garlic, and onions. They don’t need to be watched too closely or turned frequently. Grill the zucchini and eggplant together since the need to be check every minute or so.
* Don’t undercook vegetables. The great flavor of vegetables comes from their juices caramelizing at high heat.

Zucchini and Summer Squash:

To prepare: Trim off both ends. Make either lengthwise slices or cut on diagonal to make oval-shaped pieces – all slices should be about 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick. Brush both sides of each piece with olive oil and season with salt just before grilling.
To grill: Place squash pieces on the grill at a 45-degree angel to the grates and grill, covered, until well-browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Move slices around as necessary so that they brown evenly – don’t undercook them.

Eggplant:
To prepare: All eggplant can be grilled, though oriental varieties (long and skinny) are particularly well-suited. Cut stem end off eggplants. For oriental varieties, slice in half. For other round varieties, cut crosswise into rounds about 3/8 inch thick. You can also use a vegetable peeler to peel lengthwise strips off the round eggplants (they’ll look striped) to eliminate some of the tough skin.
To grill: Put eggplant pieces on the grill and cover. Grill for 3-4 minutes per side, until well-browned and limp. Check occasionally and move if necessary so that all pieces are browned evenly. Move the slices from the heat and stack them to finish cooking – either on a cooler upper deck in your grill or wrap with foil off the grill. Let sit 15-20 minutes (thicker eggplant pieces will often still be raw in the middle without this last step of letting the residual heat steam the flesh).

Onions:
To prepare: Trim off both ends, peel off outer skin, and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. Thread slices on metal skewers or soaked wooden skewers. Brush liberally with olive oil and season with salt.
To grill: Put onion skewers on grates and cook until slices are well-browned on both sides, about 15 minutes total. Move the slices from the heat and stack them to finish cooking – either on a cooler upper deck in your grill or wrap with foil off the grill. Leave them sit for about 10 minutes to finish cooking.

Tomatoes:
To prepare: Make sure to use “plum” or “processing” tomatoes. These tomatoes have a lower water content and are best for grilling (as well as sauce and salsa). Cut each tomato in half and gently remove the seeds with your fingers. Rub lightly with olive oil and salt cut sides.
To grill: Grill on medium heat with cut sides down for 7-9 minutes. Then carefully turn over and move them to the lowest heat. Cook for 10-12 minutes more, until most of the moisture is gone. With a spatula, press them gently to flatten and help release moisture. You can let them cook as long as possible – the longer the better.

Sweet Peppers:
To prepare: Red peppers are best, but can also use Italian frying peppers (long, pointy pungent peppers). Red peppers should be left whole and dry. For frying peppers, cut in half and remove seeds and thin dividers (membranes).
To blacken red peppers: Put the peppers on the grated, cover, and cook until the skins are blackened on all sides. Turn peppers several times to make sure all sides of pepper are charred and black, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from grill and put all peppers into a single brown paper bag (such as a grocery bag) to cool completely. When cool, peel off blackened skin under running water. Then remove stems and seeds, reserving the flesh and juices. (Note that this method also works for Anaheim hot peppers)
To grill green peppers: Put oiled pieces on grill and cover. Cook until browned and tender.

Garlic:
To prepare: Clean off all dirt (remove a layer of skin if necessary) and cut off tip. Brush liberally with oil.
To grill: Grill on high heat for 10-15 minutes. When done, the cloves should be very soft – the inner flesh should squeeze out when head is compressed. If not soft, return to grill until done. We love to eat the garlic spread on small pieces of toast or crackers.

Beets:
To prepare: Clean off all dirt, and cut of the leaves, leaving 1/4″ of leaf stems. Do not peel the beet. Brush liberally with oil.
To grill: Grill on high heat for 10-15 minutes. When done, the beet should be tender – you should be able to easily spear with a fork or knife. When done, the skins become loose – when eating you can slide off the skins, and slice if you like.

Beet Chocolate Cake

Beet Chocolate Cake

From Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook, by the  Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition

2 cups sugar
2 cups white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 – 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
4 eggs
1/4 cup oil
3 cups shredded beets

Heat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease two 9-inch cake pans.  Whisk dry ingredients together.  Melt chocolate.  Cool chocolate; blend thoroughly with eggs and oil.  Combine flour mixture with chocolate mixture, alternating with the beets.  Pour into pans.  Bake until fork can be removed from center cleanly, 40 – 50 minutes.

Grated Raw Beet Salad

This recipe is from the New York Times “Recipes for Health” by Martha Rose Shulman.  This section contains a wealth of recipes that are organized around a particular produce or pantry item.

1/2 pound beets
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon minced chives, mint or parsley (or a combination)
Salt to taste
Leaves of 1 romaine heart

1. Peel the beets with a vegetable peeler, and grate in a food processor fitted with the shredding blade.

2. Combine the orange juice, lemon juice and olive oil. Toss with the beets and herbs. Season to taste with salt. Line a salad bowl or platter with romaine lettuce leaves, top with the grated beets and serve.

Yield: Serves four.

Advance preparation: The grated beets can be dressed and kept in the refrigerator, covered well, for a couple of days. They become more tender but don’t lose their texture, and the mixture becomes even sweeter as the beet juices mingle with the citrus. Toss again before serving.

Radish or Turnip Soup

makes 6 cups

This is modified from a Chinese recipe that calls for pork, but you can make it using tofu (instead of pork) and vegetable stock (instead of water).  The recipe does not call for the greens on the radishes and turnips, but I think they make a tasty and nutritious addition to the soup.  The soup can be made hours or a day in advance.  The original recipe is from David’s favorite Chinese cookbook “The Key to Chinese Cooking” by Irene Kuo ( Knopf, 1977).  The book is out of print, but available from used-book sellers online – David got his for $10.

½ to 1 lb of pork shoulder or butt, cubed, or meaty spareribs, chopped.  OR  1 lb firm tofu, cut into ½” cubes.
½ lb radishes or white turnips, including greens, all sliced
4 cups water OR 4 cups vegetable stock
4 quarter-size slices of peeled ginger
salt to taste

Bring the 4 cups of water or vegetable stock to a boil with the ginger.  Add the meat or tofu, and when the water boils again, turn the heat low, skimming the surface until clear.  Bring to a boil again and then adjust the heat to maintain a weak simmer.  Cover and simmer for 1½ hours for pork (30 minutes for tofu), stirring once in a while.  Season with salt to taste.

Add the radishes or turnips and simmer for another 30 minutes, covered.  Remove the excess fat (if present) by spooning off the transparent layer; scoop out the ginger and discard.  Adjust the salt to taste.

Sautéed-Steamed Beets

Serves 2-3

This recipe, modified from a recipe in “The Way to Cook” by Julia Child, is good for beets, turnips, and carrots. Grate the beets, older turnips and carrots, but slice small roots into 1/4-inch thick pieces. Turnips and carrots should cook for 5 minutes, while beets should cook for 10 minutes. When using baby beets, you can add the greens towards the end of cooking.

1-2 cups sliced or grated roots
1 TBS butter
Salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
1 tsp vinegar (best with red-wine or raspberry vinegar)

Melt the butter over moderate heat in a frying pan, add the roots, and toss about to coat with the butter. Toss with 1/8 tsp salt, some pepper, and 1 tsp of vinegar, then add 1/4 inch water. Cover and cook about 5-10 minutes, until tender and liquid has evaporated (add more water during cooking if needed).

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