We got the most beautiful beets in our Full Earth Farms CSA boxes this year. I always love beets, but I get especially excited when the beets have the greens still attached. When I am lucky enough to have fresh looking beet greens, my favorite thing to make is a warm beet greens salad with roasted beets, topped with goat cheese. Beets are naturally sweet and pair well with a tangy goat cheese. The greens are earthy like Swiss chard, but have more texture.
The salad is quite simple to make and only requires a few ingredients:
1 Bunch beets with greens
2 Sprigs of fresh thyme
2 oz Goat cheese
1 Tbsp red wine (or vinegar)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the greens from the beets, leaving a little bit of the stalk attached to the root, and set aside. Place the beet roots on a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle the beets with a tablespoon of olive oil. Season the beets with fresh thyme, 1 tsp of coarse salt, and 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper. Fold the edges of the aluminum foil over the beets to form a pouch. Roast the beets in the oven for 35 minutes (or longer for large beets).
While the beets roast, wash the beet greens and pat them dry with a clean towel. Remove the stems and cut the beet greens into 1 inch strips.
After roasting, let the beets cool until you can handle them without burning yourself. With a pairing knife, remove the skins from the beets and slice the beets in half (or quarters for large beets).
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Toss in the beet greens and saute until slightly warmed, about a minute. Add a tablespoon of red wine to the pan and let the resulting steam wilt the greens.
Plate the greens and top with the roasted beets. Crumble the goat cheese over the salads and serve. The oil and wine from cooking the greens act as a vinaigrette, so salad dressing is not necessary.
Over the past few years, eggplant have grown exceedingly well in my garden. This is a good thing, given how much Jill and I both like it. Experimenting with new ways to prepare eggplant, I came up with this simple, delicious stuffed eggplant recipe.
The first step in preparing the stuffed eggplant is to roast the eggplant. Slice two eggplant in half lengthwise. Season each of the four halves with salt and pepper. Drizzle the eggplant liberally with olive oil and place them cut side down on a baking sheet. In a 400 degree oven, roast the eggplant for 20-25 minutes, until the flesh of the eggplant have a nice golden brown color. Remove the eggplant from the oven and let them cool.
While the eggplant cools, brown a pound of ground beef in a skillet. I used ground beef because I made this while Jill was out of town. I’ll probably make it with ground turkey next time. Stir in a can of diced tomatoes (I used diced tomatoes seasoned with garlic and oregano). Use a spoon to scoop the roasted eggplant flesh out of the eggplant skins, being careful to avoid tearing the eggplant skin. Mix the eggplant flesh into the ground beef. Season the mixture with about two teaspoons of Turkish seasoning (or a blend of salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, paprika, and coriander).
Crumble a little bit of goat cheese (about an 0.5 oz) into the mixture and stir to help bind the ingredients together. Stuff the eggplant skins with the mixture and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake the stuffed eggplant in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mozzarella melts and bubbles.
Although this recipe was completely an experiment to begin with, it turned out to be one of my favorite things I’ve prepared in a while. The meal was quick, tasty, and only used a couple of ingredients. The most time consuming part of this dish is waiting for the eggplant to roast, but you can save time by prepping the other ingredients during this time. The Turkish seasonings infuses the ground beef with flavor and complements the eggplant. With several more eggplant currently growing in my garden, I will be making this recipe again and will continue to experiment with new eggplant recipes.
This is quite possibly the easiest dinner I have ever assembled. Short of a freezer meal.
Last week, there was one night I didn’t get home until almost 10pm. After work I went shopping and then I went running and then I had to pick up a few things at Target. By 10pm I was hungry and tired and not in the mood for a lot of fuss. But I still wanted something tasty and relatively healthy. Enter this beautiful creation.
In a bowl, toss together:
1/2 cup cannellini beans (from a can that has been drained and rinsed)
a handful of artichoke hearts, quartered (also from a can that has been drained)
1/2 a pint of cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 of a small avocado, diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
a generous sprinkle of goat cheese
salt, pepper, Garlic Gold
I served this with a big glass of water and one of my grandpa’s homemade whole wheat rolls topped with a smear of Earth Balance.
I was surprised at how quickly this meal came together and pleased with the tastes, textures, and nutritional balance. The artichokes and tomatoes were sweet and light, providing a contrast to the rich, buttery avocado and beans. The beans provided fiber and protein, the avocado and olive oil provided healthy fat, and the tomatoes and artichokes contributed to my 5 – 9 daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
I highly recommend keeping some pantry staples (beans and canned veggies) on hand to mix with fresh veggies when you are crunched for time but still want to eat real food. I can definitely imagine this combination appearing in my life again for a quick, light summer lunch or dinner.