Roasted Beets ‘n’ Sweets

Roasted Beets ‘n’ Sweets

I was never served beets as a child, perhaps because it was one of the few foods my father refused to eat. Even as an adult, I am reluctant to eat beets; perhaps because they look so much like cranberry sauce, which is a favorite of mine, but their taste and texture is very different.  I like this recipe for Roasted Beets ‘n’ Sweets from Allrecipes for a number of reasons.  Not only does it make good use of this seasonal vegetable, and contains all of the beautiful purple and orange colors of autumn, but it also includes that  that superfood, Sweet Potatoes.  This recipe is also very versatile–it can be used to top a salad or makes a great side dish to serve at Thanksgiving. Stop by Colchester Neighborhood Farm today and pick up some freshly harvested beets.

 

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. In a bowl, toss the beets with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to coat. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and sugar in a large resealable plastic bag. Place the sweet potatoes and onion in the bag. Seal bag, and shake to coat vegetables with the oil mixture.
  4. Bake beets 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Mix sweet potato mixture with the beets on the baking sheet. Continue baking 45 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes, until all vegetables are tender.
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Arugula and Kale Harvest Salad

Arugula and Kale Harvest Salad

Here is a great recipe that uses many of the fall veggies that are being harvested right now and combines them into a dish that is both healthy and delicious. This salad from Good Housekeeping uses some of those “super foods” (think avocado) that are being touted as the secret to good health and a slim waistline.  And because the dressing is home made and free of any the preservatives you find in the ones sold in grocery stores, this salad is perfect for serving for lunch or even a light supper.

Ingredients
Salad
8 c. arugula
2 c. kale
1 1/2 c. avocado
3/4 c. thinly sliced carrots
3/4 c. chopped cooked butternut squash
1/2 c. sliced apple
1/2 c. sliced bell pepper
2 oz. salami
1 c. croutons
Vinaigrette
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp. lemon (or lime) juice
1 tbsp. vinegar (red wine, sherry, champagne, cider or white balsamic)
finely chopped small shallot (or garlic clove or green onion)

Directions

Make Salad:
In a large bowl, combine arugula, kale, avocado, carrots, butternut squash, apple, bell pepper, and salami.
Make Vinaigrette: 
  1. Whisk olive oil, Dijon, sugar, salt, and pepper with lemon juice, vinegar, and shallot. (Makes about 2/3 c.)
  2. Add just enough vinaigrette to salad to lightly coat, tossing. Garnish with croutons.

 

When it comes to health benefits…beets can’t be beat!

When it comes to health benefits…beets can’t be beat!

Beets are one of those vegetables that may not have the prestige and popularity of green beans or even potatoes but these purple root vegetables should not be underestimated. Packing so much nutritional value as well as some ancillary benefits that are sure to boost your life in a number of ways, beets deserve a spot right next to sweet potatoes and avocados on the list of today’s popular “superfoods.”  From lowering blood pressure to boosting your mood, beets are one of those vegetables that, if you haven’t incorporated them into your diet, it might be a good idea to find a place for them at your dinner table. Here are just a few of the nutritional benefits and some other advantages of eating beets.

  1. According to the website, lovebeets.com, beets are good for the mind, body, and spirit. Because beets contain betaine, a substance that relaxes the mind and is used to treat depression, eating beets can elevate your mood. Along with that substance, the vegetable also contains tryptophan, which is also found in chocolate and contributes to an overall sense of well being.
  2. Ancient Romans believed the beet to be an aphrodisiac. And they may have been on to something. Beets contain high levels of boron which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.
  3. Beets can be made into a wine that tastes similar to port.
  4. Beets are a traditional food eaten at Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
  5. In 1975 it was giant step for beets when, during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, cosmonauts from the USSR’s Soyuz 19 welcomed the Apollo 18 astronauts by preparing a banquet of borscht (beet soup) in zero gravity.
  6. Beets enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame when Dwight Schrute, a character from the hit television show The Office declared himself a devoted beet farmer, often referencing the sweet root vegetable in different episodes of the show.
  7. Little flakes of dandruff on your shoulders? Try boiling beets in water and then massaging the cooled down water into your scalp each night; it is believed to be an effective cure for dandruff.
  8. Move over tulips. According to theredrushblog.com, the biggest beet in the world weighed over 156 pounds and was grown by a Dutchman.
  9. Beet juice has been used on city streets to remove the ice because it doesn’t damage cars like sand or salt.
  10. Pickled beets on hamburgers in Australia are as integral as tomatoes on a hamburger here in the US.
  11.  Beets are often called nature’s candy
  12. According to legend, if a man and woman eat from the same beetroot, they will fall in love.
  13. You can use beet juice as hair dye, though it will wash out rather quickly.

There’s no denying that there are plenty of nutritional and other advantages to eating beets. This week, Colchester Neighborhood Farm is packing this root vegetable into its CSA shares. Stop by the farm and pick up a few organically grown, freshly harvested beets…it could be just the pick me up you are looking for. Tell us your favorite recipe for cooking up beets.

Fresh from the farm is an experience

Fresh from the farm is an experience

Buying fresh fruits and vegetables from a local farm stand not only demonstrates healthy eating habits to children, it can teach them the value of supporting local agriculture. If we’re lucky, the trip to the farm can result in a few cherished memories. There is no denying that tomatoes or lettuce picked the same day  taste better than the produce purchased from the grocery store. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of harvesting food from a backyard garden rather than a refrigerator, you will agree that the “chore” itself could be as fun as the food was tasty. I remember picking vegetables with my grandfather; he taught me how to choose the ripest and sweetest tomatoes and how to determine when peppers were ready to be picked. Even sweeter than those tomatoes are the memories of the experience that I still carry with me today.

 

By today’s standards, however, we are not always as diligent about taking time to smell the roses…or as the case may be, the basil. In our rush to complete all of our errands, making a special trip to a local farm, exclusively for the purpose of buying cucumbers and tomatoes, can seem like an added chore and one that could easily be eliminated, if we just purchased our produce at the local grocery store, along with all of the other items on our list. But sometimes, these everyday chores are the same ones that create an experience and in the process, a lasting memory, for children and parents, alike. If we eliminate these so-called chores, we may be denying ourselves and our children the pleasure of true, quality time spent together.

 

When you buy your fruits and vegetables from Colchester Neighborhood Farm, consider blocking out an extra 15 minutes or 30 minutes for the “chore” because it could easily turn into a fun and wonderful experience. Colchester Neighborhood Farm is a social enterprise in every sense of the word. Employing adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities who are more than happy to wait on their customers at the farm stand, they are also eager to show off their farm, which includes chickens, a friendly donkey named Dapple, and some goats and their babies…yes the kids love the kids! A visit to Colchester Neighborhood Farm is more than just buying fresh fruits and vegetables, it is an opportunity for our children to learn about agriculture, to see how their food is grown and where it comes from. And going home with a few good memories along with some fresh tomatoes, organically grown cucumbers, and a bouquet of fresh flowers isn’t bad either.

Roasted Potato Leek Salad with Herbs

Recipe Courtesy Susannah Locketti

Ingredients:

  • 5 lbs organic potatoes any type
  • 1 cup flavored oil such as basil or garlic (feel free to adjust based on dietary needs of program)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 leeks trimmed and sliced into thick rounds (FYI-use leeks the same way you would use onions)
  • ¼ cup minced fresh herbs

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Rinse potatoes and cut into medium size cubes.
  • Place in a large bowl along with the leeks.
  • Add ½ the oil, and ½ the herbs to the bowl along with salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly.
  • Pour out onto a large cookie sheet (or two) lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  • Roast for an hour until browned and softened tossing midway through.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit. Drizzle the remaining oil and herbs over the potatoes and place in a nice serving bowl. Enjoy! This recipe can be served hot, cold or at room temperature. Great for a cookout because it is not made with mayonnaise and you don’t have to worry about it spoiling.

Meal Planning Notes:
Feel free to roast leftover veggies you have in the fridge with the potatoes such as red or green peppers, onions, squash from the farm etc. The recipe will still come out great!! This recipe is just a starting point for your meal planners to get ideas and learn how to roast vegetables. Just make sure all the vegetables you are roasting are the SAME SIZE so they cook at the same time.
Make sure you don’t cook too many potatoes on the same cookie sheet. They need room to breathe. If there are too many they will steam instead of brown up. To solve the problem, use two cookie sheets on separate racks in the oven.

Nutritional Notes:
Leeks are a great natural cleanser. Good source of fiber, B6, folate and iron.
Potatoes are gluten free, great source of fiber, low in fat, and a good source of potassium and manganese.

Easy Glazed Carrots

Courtesy of Susannah Locketti

Ingredients:

  • 1lb. carrots sliced into coins
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 2 TB brown sugar
  • Dash cinnamon
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Method:
Boil carrot coins in salted water until fork tender. (about 5-10 minutes depending on thickness of the coins) Drain the carrots when soft.
Heat a skillet over medium/high heat and add the oil and drained carrots. Toss to coat.
Add the brown sugar and spices, stir frequently and allow the sugar to melt and caramelize the carrots.
Serve warm!

**Feel free to double or triple this recipe based on how many people you are feeding.