Thursday, July 28, 2011

Easy Beet Greens Recipe

If you purchase beets with the greens intact, don’t throw those greens away!!! You can cook up a nice dish using the greens (and if you don’t buy beets with the greens, then you need to make an adjustment in your shopping habit).

1 bunch beet greens
½ red onion (chopped)
1/3 Red bell pepper (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Lemon juice or vinegar (optional)

Remove the greens from the root and wash thoroughly –greens always seem to need a good washing, especially beet greens. I like to separate the green leaf from the thicker stem since the leafy greens will need far less time to cook. Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil on med-med high heat. When the oil is hot, add onions and garlic. I chop the onion big and the garlic thin. Stir for a minute and then add the red bell pepper and stir for a few minutes more. I use about a third of a red pepper, not too much—it’s more for color than to influence the taste of the dish—it’s a nice contrast to the dark greens. Add a little water if needed, but not too much, the greens will release plenty of water. Add the beet green stems; these will soften pretty fast, so a minute or two will be plenty of time (overcooked veggies are a drag, man). Add the leafy greens. Initially, I don’t mix the greens with the ingredients; I just cover the skillet for a minute or two and give the greens time to wilt. Remove the lid and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir a minute more. That’s about when they’re ready. Camera Girl likes to add a splash of lemon, but I can take it or leave it (some folks like vinegar with greens). Remove from heat and serve hot.
Beet greens make a great side, especially with chicken or a cheap cut of meat. I serve greens as a main dish, over quinoa, which is a seed that acts like a grain and is an excellent source of protein.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Delicious Raw Kale and Beet Salad

Kale is a rough and tough cabbagee-thingy that's a little less than friendly in it's natural state, but massaging salt into the raw leaves can turn Kale into a delicious salad green. Here's my favorite raw kale recipe:

Raw Kale and Beet Salad

Kale (8-10 leaves)
2 Beet roots (medium-sized)
2 Tomatoes (small...I use plum tomatoes)
2 Carrots
1/2 cup Golden Raisins
Salt (to taste...I use approx. 1 tsp.)
Pepper (to taste)
Olive Oil (1 Tbsp)
Balsamic Vinegar (2 tsp)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove greens from beets and cut root bulbs into smaller pieces, about 1/2 inch squares. Spread the beet pieces onto a baking pan and add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook for 25-35 minutes, remove and allow to cool.
While beets are cooking, remove the spine from the center of the kale leaves and tear kale into salad pieces. Kale is rough, but adding salt to the greens will draw out moisture and soften the leaves, making them darker. Gently massage salt into the kale until it achieves a desirable consistency, this may take several minutes. Grate carrots into the greens, add raisins, then toss and divide portions into salad bowls. In a separate bowl, add diced tomatoes and cooled beets, then add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper and mix together. Spoon beet/tomato mixture over kale greens and serve.

This is a delicious way to enjoy and optimize the benefits of raw kale. I'm not usually a big raisin fan, but I find the raisins work really well in this salad. I've contemplated tossing minced ginger into the mix, but haven't gotten around to doing so, although I might next time I whip this dish up. If you give it a try, let me know what you think.

This is one of the healthiest dishes I routinely prepare, but be aware, eating beets can cause some rosy changes when you answer "the call of nature". (Don't be alarmed, you probably won't be fact, you'll probably be doing a lot better.)