Sunday, October 17, 2010

Magenta Beet Medley

The beet has a long history of cultivation stretching back to the second millennium BC. So I'm making the most of this old friend, and cooking a warm beet salad to go with any dish. My family had a tradition of making a warm beet salad in South America. This salad is variation of their recipe, mixed with a slice of California and sprinkle of my travels in Italy.  At my local Organic Farmers Market I found these two different varieties: Burpee's Golden (orange skin/yellow inside) & Red Ace (dark purple skin, beautiful deep red/magenta inside), perfect for this medley to sing hymns of joy in your mouth. I've also made two different presentations of this salad to give you ideas on how to serve.

8 medium to small beets
1 medium cucumber
1/2 small red onion,
1 clove of garlic
4 small heirloom tomatoes
1 tablespoon of parsley
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of basil
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon or lime
2 tablespoons of olive oil

First, boil beets till they are easily pierced with a fork. Sometimes it helps to cut beets in halves if they are on the larger side. While those are boiling, cut up the cucumber, tomatoes, press 1 garlic glove and do a fine chop of the red onion, fresh basil is always preferable to dried, but we  do what we can. When beets are ready, give them a quick rinse in cold water, let them cool down a bit before taking skins off. The skins should easily come off, and beets will leave your hands died while handling them. On a cutting board, chose which presentation you would like before you decide how to cut beets. Length wise or in small cube bites. (The platter style is good for larger parties - look how gorgeous it looks!) I like to add the beets to the salad while they are still warm, they make a great comfort food. Lastly, in separate bowl, make the dressing with the 2-1 olive to lemon juice, use salt to neutralize the acidity of the lemon juice, and add spices. Wisk dressing with a fork lightly. Pour over your salad. The more you mix salad the more it will turn dark red. Enjoy & sing a song of joy! 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Punky Pumpkin Soup

Feeling Autumn's cool breezes, leaves falling from the Oaks, and a little like snuggling? Here is a seasonal recipe, that I conjured up with my dear friend Sharon. This recipe is perfect for warming up your home and welcoming the harvest. This is the hot shot of all pumpkin soups, and it will knock everyone's socks off with delicious flavors.

2 cups of chopped pumpkin
3/4 cup of yellow squash
3/4 cup of mushrooms
1/4 cup of red onion
1 cup of chopped tomatoes
3 cups of chicken broth
1/2 cup of fresh basil
1/2 cup of ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon of chopped ginger
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil 
Dashes of garlic
Dashes of black pepper
Dashes of paprika
Dashes of cayenne 
Dashes of sea salt

First carve out pumpkin and get the meat of the pumpkin to cut into bite size cubes. You can save the seeds to roast later. Next chop all vegetables into small bite size pieces. In a 10 quart stock pot, use olive oil to saute onions and ginger. Add pumpkin and squash, cooking until they are softened. Adding a splash of water can speed up the softening process. Continue sauteing while adding mushrooms. Next add chicken broth making sure liquid covers all vegetables. Next add tomatoes, stirring and attending to soup in medium to low heat. Add season to your liking. Simmer uncovered for another 30 minutes, stirring soup infrequently, add more salt if needed. When you are ready to serve, lastly add ricotta cheese and basil, but stirring lightly. Serve into soup tureen for showing off! Enjoy with bread sticks or warmed baguette and salted butter.  

Recipe serves 2 comfortably.
You can double the ingredients of the recipe if you need to serve more people.

Happy Autumn Days!