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Salsas & Dips

Beet-O De Gallo

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Beet-O De Gallo

For me, beets are nostalgic. They remind me of family dinners and of my father.  Even way out in Hawaii, he always managed to bring beets to our table, along with stories of Californian farming and summers spent on river bottoms.  Lately, in my house, beets have been finding their way into the most unexpected of dishes.  New favorite: using rich, tangy and colorful beets to liven up salsas.  Take this delectable Beet-O De Gallo: Beet-O De Gallo

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cup diced tomatoes (1-2 tomatoes)

1 cup of diced, roasted beets

1/4 cup diced red onion

1 tablespoon diced jalapeño

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Two small limes, juiced

3 tablespoons loosely chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

1) To roast beets, first wash, then place in a large piece of tinfoil. Drizzle them with olive oil, salt and pepper and loosely wrap the tinfoil around them. Beets should be roasted at 400 for 20-40 minutes (or until they can be easily pierced).

2) Once the beets are soft, remove them from the oven and foil and let them cool for 5-10 minutes.

3) While the beets are cooling, combine all other ingredients in a bowl to make a classic Pico de Gallo base.

4) When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel.  If fully cooked, this should be easy enough to do with just your hands, although a small paring knife can be used as well.

5) After removing the skin, dice the beets and mix them into your tomato salsa base.

6) Transfer all ingredients to your serving bowl and season with salt, pepper and fresh chili powder to taste.

*My favorite way to eat this salsa is on a veggie-heavy tostada!

 

The Skinny

Why eat beets? Because beets, (especially the greens), are packed full of vitamins C, A, calcium and iron.  They also have high levels of folic acid, magnesium and potassium and are excellent sources of fiber.  They have long been used in treating liver disorders, by stimulating detoxification as well as for lowering cholesterol.

Beets have also gained attention for their anti-cancer properties.  The bright red pigment that gives beets their color, AKA betacyanin, is a powerful antioxidant and cancer-fighting agent.  Betacyanin works to inhibit cancer-causing cell mutations, specifically in the stomach.  To top it all off, the excellent fiber found in beets helps to increase bowel function and heighten detoxification, helping to cleanse the body of its toxins. (Micheal Murray, 2005)

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Kale and Roasted Pepper Pesto

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Kale and Roasted Pepper Pesto

Sauces and spreads are one of those foods generally bogged down with additives and preservatives.  Luckily, they are also one of the most simple things to make and even easier to freeze for later.  I like to put my pesto into an ice-cube tray, so that I have the perfect serving size for small dinners. So bust out your food processor and up the flavor and nutrients of tonight's meal. I found this recipie on the fabulous food blog Cooking on the Weekend, by Valentina Kenney Wein.  I LOVE her use of kale (of course) and also the smoky, burn of the bell pepper.

 

Kale and Bell Pepper Pesto

INGREDIENTS

2 cup Pecans, roasted

1 medium Red Bell Pepper, roasted

1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 to 4 large Garlic Cloves, roasted

4 cups packed green Kale Leaves (about 1/2 bunch)

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS
  1. To roast the pecans: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and spread the nuts evenly on a baking sheet. When the oven is preheated, put the baking sheet in and roast until the nuts look a bit oily and are very aromatic, about 4 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. To roast the pepper: Place it directly on top of a high flame on the stove and let it cook for a few minutes. You’ll hear it crackle as the skin begins to char. Use metal kitchen tongs to turn the pepper as each side chars. It should be mostly, but not completely black. Then place the pepper in a bowl and cover it tightly with plastic wrap and let steam for about 5 minutes. Remove the plastic and let the pepper become cool enough to handle. Gently peel the skin off the pepper. Break or cut the pepper into a few pieces and then use a paring knife on the inside to remove the white membranes and seeds. Set aside.
  3. Wash, dry, and remove any tough stems from the kale.
  4. In a food processor, make the pesto by blending the kale with the roasted pecans, roasted pepper, and roasted garlic. Once it’s smooth, gradually pour in the olive oil and blend until it’s fully incorporated. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
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Beet-O De Gallo

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Beet-O De Gallo

CSA Challenge, Part II For me, beets are nostalgic. They remind me of family dinners and of my father.  Even way out in Hawaii, he always managed to bring beets to our table, along with stories of Californian farming and summers spent on river bottoms.  Lately in my house, beets have been finding their way into the most unexpected of dishes.  New favorite: using rich, tangy and colorful beets to liven up salsas.  Take these two delectables:  Beet-O De Gallo and Roasted Beet Salsa.

Why eat beets? Because beets, (especially the greens), are packed full of vitamins C, A, calcium and iron.  They also have high levels of folic acid, magnesium and potassium and are excellent sources of fiber.  They have long been used in treating liver disorders, by stimulating detoxification. And for lowering cholesterol.

Beets have also gained attention for their anti-cancer properties.  The bright red pigment that gives beets their color, aka betacyanin, is a powerful antioxidant and cancer fighting agent.  Betacyanin works to inhibit cancer causing cell mutations, and when combined with beet's excellent fiber, helping to cleanse the body of its toxins. (Micheal Murray, 2005)

Roasted Beet Salsa

INGREDIENTS

2-3 medium red beets, roasted

4 ripe tomatoes  (Roma's work great)

1/2 an onion

1 jalapeno (adjust for heat)

3 cloves garlic (in their skins)

1 lime

handful of fresh cilantro

2 teaspoons of cumin

salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

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Heat the oven to 400.  Slice tomatoes and jalapenos length wise, remove seeds and stem. (Set aside half of the fresh jalapeno to add later.) Chop the onion into large chunks.  Add all the chopped veggies, plus the garlic cloves with skins intact, to a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with cumin, salt and pepper.  Roll the vegetables around on the pan to evenly coat. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes, flipping half way through.

To roast beets, first wash then and then place all the beets in a large piece of tinfoil. Drizzle them with olive oil, salt and pepper and loosely wrap the tinfoil around them. Beets should be roasted at 400 for 20-40 minutes (or until they can be easily pierced.)

Once the tomatoes, onions and jalapenos are roasted, add them to a food processor along with a handful of cilantro (stems included), juice of 1/2-1 lime (to taste) and 1 teaspoon of ground cumin. Remove garlic from their casing and also add to the food processor.  Blend until smooth.  At this point taste the salsa for flavor and adjust cumin, lime, salt and pepper to your liking.  Cayenne pepper can also be added to increase the heat.

Put the roasted tomato mixture into a bowl.

Once the beets are soft, remove them from the oven and foil and let them cool for 5-10 minutes.  Once roasted, the beet skin should be easily removed by hand.  Remove skin and dice the beets.  Mix them into your roasted tomato salsa.

Enjoy with grilled or roasted meats, scrambled eggs, crustini with goat cheese, and of course, tortilla chips.

Note: the longer the beets sit in the salsa, the more sweet and purple the dish will become. I recommend making the night before.

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Beet-O De Gallo

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cup diced tomatoes (1-2 tomatoes)

1 cup of diced, roasted beets (see recipe above on roasting beets)

1/4 cup diced red onion

1 tablespoon of diced jalapeno

1 tablespoon of minced garlic

Juice of two small limes

3 tablespoons of loosely chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients. Season with salt, pepper and fresh chili powder.

*My favorite way to eat this salsa is on a veggie-heavy tostada!

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