Friday, January 11, 2013

Beets, Beets, They're Good For Your Heart ?

Okay, so maybe I have the wrong ditty for the right vegetable! Beets are truly good for the heart. Very high in anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory, exceedingly high in folate, and with lots of magnesium and Vitamin C, beets are power packed with nutrients. And on top of all that, they have 15 grams of fiber per cup serving, and that is exceptional good news for the colon, too!

Beets seem to be a "love them or hate them" kind of root vegetable. With their color and earthiness, some people can't cope. Those of us who love beets just enjoy them because we can. I love beets. You may have guessed? I haven't met many beets I haven't liked. My Serbian Grandmother made a condiment for Easter Ham, using canned (or home canned) beets, shredded finely and mixed with prepared horseradish to taste and a little bit of sugar to make it all yummy. This was put on ham slices, or ham sandwiches with equal abandon. To this day I always make this when having ham for any occasion. It's not just for Easter anymore! Not around my house. I will be making it again, soon.

Beet and Apple Relish

Beet and Apple Relish
Meanwhile, craving beets again, I decided to make a recipe for Beet and Apple Relish. I made it last night and allowed it to meld flavors overnight. It is such a beautifully vibrant dish. A simple and healthy recipe, take one pound of beets of similar size (about 3 medium) and clean them, leaving skins and root and stem ends intact. Wrap them in foil and set on a small baking sheet. Bake them for about an hour at 400 degrees, or until they are tender.

While the beets bake, saute a coarsely chopped half onion in some olive oil, or try using coconut oil for a real treat. I did this last night and it is delicious that way. Peel and core 2 Granny Smith apples and dice them. When the onions get to a soft and translucent state, add in the apples and toss until they just begin to soften. You do not want applesauce. Mix together 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar and 3 tablespoons honey. Add to the apple mixture with a little salt and pepper and set aside. When the beets are baked, allow them to cool in the foil packet until they can be handled. Gently rub off the skins and ends and then cut them into small dice. Add them to the apple mixture and combine. Allow to rest and meld flavors at least 2 hours, or overnight. 

This makes about 4 or 5 cups of relish. It makes a lovely side dish, with just the right sweetness. It would be good with chicken, turkey, pork. Anything that is good with a slightly sweet accompaniment. 

Beet and Apple Relish

Beet & Apple Relish

Makes about 4 or 5 cups

1 pound beets
2 Granny Smith Apples, or apple of your choice
½ medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Nutmeg - a few grinds, to taste

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Wrap beets, clean but not peeled, in foil. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours, or until very tender. Remove from oven and allow to come down to just warm, still wrapped in the foil.

Combine the honey, vinegar, salt, pepper and nutmeg and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet with the olive oil and add in the onions. Saute until soft and translucent. Peel and core the apples (may be left with skin on, if preferred) and cut them into ¼ inch cubes. Add to the softened onion in the skillet and toss until the apples are just slightly softened. Pour on the dressing to combine and remove from heat. Slip skins off the beets and cut into ¼ inch dice and add to the rest of the mixture and allow to rest for at least 2 hours for flavors to meld.

If you note the green stuff in the background on the photo at top, I also made a take on Michael Symon's Sweet Pea and Feta Dip. My proportions are different, and I did add just a tad too much salt. I think the Feta was quite salty; I should have tasted that first. But it is so good. It was suggested to serve on toast for appetizers. I had some of my No-Knead Bread that was getting dry. I toasted it and had the dip on the toast slices for lunch.  OMG. That will be discussed in another blog....

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website, on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.