Beets Me!

My Monday’s usually begin with a Bikram Yoga class at 6:30am followed by a stroll through the Union Square Market in NYC to think about the weeks eats. I know some of you are saying, “what posses her to get up at an ungodly hour and immerse herself in a 105°F oven?”, that answer would be for another blog and may bore some, but one of the benefits is being at the USQ Market first thing in the morning. I had just come off of the North Fork Foodie Tour the day before and was pondering the great places I visited and some of the “yummies” which were awaiting to be married with something I may find. I went to my usual spots and chatted it up with the market folks. I had my camera with me that morning and someone asked, “what are you taking photos of?” I said, “The market to get some inspiration on something to make for dinner!” They said, “What do you think that may be?" I said, "Beats Me!" And as I said goodbye, just south of me were a row of the most beautiful Beets I have ever seen! All sorts of varieties: Chiogga Beets, Golden Beets, Forono Beets, Red Beets, White Beets.  Beets! Beets! Beets! A color palette most designers would hope Pantone would replicate! 

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Inspired, I picked up some Golden Beets and Yellow Carrots and went on my merry way.

Roasted Golden Beet, Carrot and Ginger Soup

Ingredients

  • 2lbs of golden beets (2 bunches). If you have beets with their green tops reserve for a delicious side dish.
  • 3 large golden carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 celery stalks (plus tops if you have)
  • 1 garlic head (cut across middle)
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 small orange zested
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 pats of butter (optional)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 10 cups of home made vegetable stock (see recipe below) or use store bought.

Garnish

note: I tend to make enough food to feed an army, it is in my Italian genes! You never know who may stop by or not. Also, soup season is coming so you might as well make more while you are at it; freeze for later, and it will save you time in the long run when you need to quickly heat that homemade something up! If you half this recipe it will feed 4 comfortably.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and have a baking sheet ready for roasting the veggies.
  2. Clean and peel the beets and carrots. Thankfully the beets are golden yellow, so you do not have to worry about the red juice going all over the place or wearing gloves for that matter.
  3. Chop beets, carrots, onions and celery into 1-inch chunks.
  4. Grate the fresh ginger and zest one small orange.
  5. Cut the garlic head in half, drizzle with some olive oil and wrap in tinfoil to place in oven for later.
  6. Drizzle veggies with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and put in oven with garlic which is wrapped in tinfoil.
  7. Roast for 35 – 45 minutes, or until the veggies are soft and tender when poked with a fork.
note: If the beets have the greens intact when you obtain them reserve for a delicious side dish. (recipe below)
note: garlic needs to be wrapped in tin foil to keep the garlic from burning.

Making the Soup
Once out of oven, take the garlic and squeeze the garlic meat into a large pot. You may want to give the garlic a few minutes to cool before handling. Then add the roasted veggies, ginger and orange zest into the pot, along with 10 cups of vegetable stock. Once the ingredients come to a boil turn the heat off and use an immersion blender (hand held).

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note: If you do not have an immersion blender you will need to work in batches to puree the soup in the blender. Dump some of the vegetables and garlic into a blender with some of the vegetable stock to puree. In order to be safe, it is recommended when you blend hot liquids that you never fill the jar more than half full, that you put the lid on and then cover it with a dry towel and hold it down by hand.  Also, use as slow a speed as possible to start. I once made a critical error of doing the opposite and had gotten liquid all over my tiny NYC apt, my dog Trixie and I. Thankfully we were not scortched and was able to laugh afterwards. Trixie was thrilled, it was like a giant treat explosion!

Once the mixture is puréed and incorporated in the pot place the remaining ingredients: butter pats (optional), sherry vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until the ingredients dissolve.

Pour into bowls and serve with your favorite garnish: My choice: a dollop of Catapano Chévre Goat Cheese and Koppert Cress Amaranth Cress  garnish and maybe even a beet or carrot chip.

note: I realize the items listed above you may not have access to since it pertains to "local ingredients". You can very easily substitute the above garnish items with what you have locally. Be creative! Some suggestions may be chives or scallions and of course a favorite goat cheese or other cheese like ricotta that you have access to. Or, simply have the soup by itself!

Vegetable Stock

Vegetables

  • 1 large leek
  • 1 large onion
  • Fennel stalks (lop off at base of fingers which includes fronds)
  • 3 large celery stalks
  • 3 large carrots
  • handful of mushrooms (cremini or button)
  • 1 large head of garlic sliced

Aromatics

  • Thyme
  • 1 large bunch parsley
    (tie together thyme and parsley)
  • 2 bay leaf

Additional Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp peppercorn
  • 1.5 gallons of water or less (approximately)
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil

Directions

  1. Chop leeks, onions, fennel, celery, carrots and mushrooms into 1-inch chunks.
  2. Heat olive oil in a soup pot. Add the chopped vegetables and cook over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the head of garlic sliced, parsley and thyme bundle, bay leaves, salt, peppercorns and 1.5 gallons of water (Approximately).
  4. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, for 1 hour. 
  5. Strain and discard vegetables.
note: You can use your imagination here when it comes to stock. If you have leftover vegetable scraps use what you have.

Beet Greens

Ingredients

  • Roughly chop the beet greens
  • 5 cloves of garlic chopped
  • ½ tsp peperoncino flakes (red pepper flakes)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. 2 tbsp olive oil in skillet over medium-low heat.
  2. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes until light golden brown (do not burn).
  3. Add peperoncino flakes after 1 minute.
  4. Sautée beet tops until they are wilted and tender.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
Now Let's Eat!