Newsletters: 10 Aug, 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 10 Aug, 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the garden
The WSU Master Gardeners suggest sowing extra beets and spinach for fall harvesting this month, ordering fall bulbs, and harvesting all your beautiful produce (or in my case, the pea; I’m a lousy gardener).

In the kitchen
I’ve been thinking about beet recipes for several weeks now; this week I finally did something about it.

Beet Chocolate Cake
1.75 cups flour
0.5 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1.5 cups pureed beets
1 teaspoon vanilla
1.5 teaspoons baking soda
1.5 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 oz. melted and cooled unsweetened chocolate
powdered sugar, for garnish
Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Combine sugar, eggs, and oil; beat with an electric mixer set at medium speed for 2 minutes. Add beets, chocolate, and vanilla. Gradually add dry ingredients, beating well after each addition. Pour into greased 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 25 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pan on rack; cover and let stand overnight to improve flavor. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar if desired.
Source unknown.

Beet relish/strong>
4 c chopped cooked beets
4 c chopped cabbage
1 c chopped onion
1 c chopped sweet red peppers
2 T grated horseradish
1.5 c sugar
3 c vinegar
1 T salt
Mix all ingredients and bring to a boil for 10 min. Pack into hot sterilized jars and seal.
From: The home canning and preserving book / by Ann Seranne. Barnes & Noble Books, 1975.

Grilled whole beets with fresh ginger-orange sauce
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
4 Tbsp orange juice
1/2 c unpeeled, grated ginger
2 lb. large beets (at least tennis-ball size), scrubbed
Combine mayonnaise and orange juice in a non-reactive container. Gather the grated ginger into your hands and squeeze tightly to express as much of the juice as possible; add ginger juice to mayonnaise mixture and refrigerate. Preheat a gas grill with all the burners on high for 10-15 min. Trim tops and roots from beets. Turn one burner off and reduce the other(s) to medium. Place beets over the burner that is off, close the lid, and cook 20-40 min., turning occasionally, until tender and easily pierced with a sharp knife. Peel and slice the beets and top with sauce.
From: The gas grill gourmet : great grilled food for everyday meals and fantastic feasts / A. Cort Sinnes with John Puscheck. Harvard Common Press, c1996.

Index to all blog posts.

Newsletters: 2 June, 2010

Partly for fun and partly to avoid work, I thought it would be interesting to republish the less ephemeral bits of some old newsletters. Besides, why should recycling be limited to stuff? In an attempt to retain some seasonality here, I’ll be posting them at what I calculate to be the opposite time of year as the original post — so if this blog turns out to have any readers in the southern hemisphere (and if there is anyone, please drop me a line to say hi and make my day, I’m at TTCFMweb[“at” sign], they should be just about in the right season for you.

Some of the recipes will have already been posted here once, but they’re on a different context here. Besides, as I already mentioned, I’m avoiding work this winter.

Oh, and please be assured, I will be writing new posts this winter as topics occur to me (or are suggested by readers, hint, hint), so there will be some fresh info showing up as well.

So here we go. Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 1 June, 2011 (there were earlier ones, but this is the first to include non-market information and recipes). View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

I got rushed and forgot to put [a recipe] in last week, so I’ll send two this week. They’re from Pleyn delit, a classic book of medieval recipes interpreted for the modern cook. The first is fifteenth century English; no date is given for the second, Middle Eastern one. Enjoy!

Buttered Wortes (buttered greens)
2-3 lbs beet greens, spinach, or other greens, plus some parsley
2-3 leeks
2 Tbsp (or more) butter
4-6 slices bread, diced and lightly toasted
Blanch greens and leeks in a large pot of boiling, salted water for 3-4 minutes, no longer. Drain in a colander; squeeze out excess water with a potato masher or broad spoon, then chop roughly by running a knife through the mass in the colander. Combine with butter and 1/2 cup fresh water in a pan; stir, cover, and leave over very low heat for another five minutes. Salt to taste and serve mixed with the bread cubes.

Isfanakh Mutajjan (fried spinach)
2 lbs fresh spinach, washed and trimmed
2-3 Tbsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp salt
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tsp)
1/4 tsp each ground cumin and coriander
pinch ground cinnamon
Parboil the spinach in a large pot of salted water for 2-4 minutes. Press out excess water and chop the spinach roughly. Stir-fry in the oil until fragrant, adding the spices towards the end; or put in a heavy saucepan or casserole with the oil and spices, stir, and leave to cook over very low heat another 10-15 minutes; or cook, covered, in a low oven 15-20 minutes (or microwave 3-4 minutes if that doesn’t seem too weird).

Index to all blog posts.

Roots in cream

any combination of celeriac, potatoes, and/or kohlrabi*
whole milk, half-and-half, or cream
sprinkle of nutmeg, optional

Peel the roots and slice into 1/4-inch thick disks. Arrange in an oven-proof dish and add enough milk to just cover, then sprinkle with nutmeg if desired. Cover dish and place on a baking sheet (optional but highly recommended, because chances are it’ll boil over and make a mess and possibly a smell; for easy clean-up dig out that old baking sheet you’ve been meaning to throw out anyway or spring for one of those disposable foil oven liners). Bake 45 min. at 375F, then uncover and bake another 10 min or until slices are tender.

*possibly beets would be good too.

From Dana Huffman.

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Beef and greens soup

1/4-1/3 lb. stew beef, in small cubes (if purchased cut for stew, cut each cube in half)
about 1/2 small onion, diced
drizzle olive oil
plenty of garlic powder or 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed; or to taste
pepper to taste
dash ground ginger (optional)
about 2 cups beef broth
greens from 2-3 beets,* washed, picked over, and larger stems removed; boiled until just wilted and drained, if desired**
generous handful of spinach leaves,* washed and picked over
small handful pasta, rice, or barley, uncooked (optional)

Brown stew meat and onions in just enough oil to keep them from sticking; season with garlic, pepper, and ginger while cooking. When beef is mostly cooked through and aswim in its own drippings, add broth and adjust seasonings if needed. Bring to a boil and simmer until beef is tender, half an hour to an hour in most cases. Add beet greens, spinach, and rice or barley if using, return to a boil, and simmer 5 minutes or so, until greens are mostly cooked. Add pasta if using and continue cooking until all ingredients are done. Serves one hearty appetite as an unaccompanied main meal or two with a side salad and toast.


*The amounts are not critical; use whatever suits your taste and feel free to include other greens such as kale in the mix. You may need to adjust cooking time for tougher greens.

**If you find beet greens to be unpleasantly bitter, try pre-cooking them like this to draw off most of the bitterness.

From: Dana Huffman.

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Penne with beet greens and garlic

6 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
16-20 oz. beet greens in 1-inch pieces
1 lb. dried penne or rigatoni, cooked
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
salt and pepper to taste

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil, add garlic and stir about 2 minutes. Stir in greens and cook 5-10 minutes until wilted. Remove from heat and stir in remaining olive oil. Pour over pasta and top with Parmesan cheese. Toss quickly and serve with extra cheese.

Adapted from Peterson, James, Vegetables. William Morrow, 1998. ISBN: 0688146589

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Beet greens

Native to: Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East
Local season: spring-fall, best in spring
Beet greens are sometimes lumped together with things like turnip greens and mustard greens and called “dark green leafy vegetables” (DGLV), often touted as a source of calcium. Looked at by themselves, however, they turn out to be a better source of magnesium than either turnip or mustard greens. They’re also a good source of the carotenoids lutein and beta-carotene, and provide lots of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as the various Bs.

Did you know that beets are a close relative of Swiss chard? If you like chard, you’ll probably like beet greens (if you don’t, try changing the water halfway through boiling either of them to reduce the bitterness; that’s what works for me). The greens are actually more nutritious than beet roots, and lower in sugar.

Mostly when you buy beet greens you get the roots as well, which means you can get two meals out of a bunch if the beet roots are big enough. If the roots are very small you can cook them with the greens, but it can be difficult to get all the grit out of the area where the greens join the root. You might prefer to cut the roots off, trim and perhaps peel them, and then throw them in with the greens. If you need to store your greens, which you can do for a few days, cut them off the roots and consider putting the cut ends in a glass of water in the fridge, like a bouquet, to extend their keeping time. Very young, tender greens can be used in salads and juiced with other greens, citrus fruits, and perhaps a cucumber. More mature leaves and stalks are better cooked.

Beets as we know them evolved from wild seabeet, which is a native of coastlines from India to Britain. Sea beet was first domesticated in the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, where it was grown for its leaves.

Read more:, including cautions about oxalic acid and vitamin K for certain health conditions

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.