Thursday, January 29, 2009

Can you feel the beet?


Simply Pickled Beets

2 lbs Beets Roasted
5 Shallots thinly sliced into rings
1 Cup Rice Vinegar + 1 Cup Water
1/3 Cup Honey
1 tbsp Salt

To roast the beets: Coat them liberally in vegetable oil, salt & pepper. Wrap them together in tin foil and roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. To peel beets I use a paper towel to rub the skin right off, it helps immensely if the beets are still warm

For the brine, bring the vinegar, water, honey and salt to a boil in order to dissolve.

Slice the beets (about a ¼ inch thick) and toss with the shallots, pack them tightly into your pickling vessel of choice and pour the hot brine over them allowing time for the air bubbles to escape. If you have a tight lid, you can give a a gentle jiggle to help the air out.

In 24 hours you have a pickle, but the more time in the brine, the better. (These pickles are good for about 4-6 weeks, but remember, they're not "canned", so they won't last forever.)

This recipe is simply delicious, but for some variations on this recipe you can add herbs like thyme or tarragon to the beats. I like them spicy, so I add a healthy tablespoon of fresh ground black pepper, and a few Thai chilies.

In addition to simply eating them, these pickle have a lot of uses.They are great in salads and the juice makes for a fabulous vinaigrette. They happen to be a great addition to a burger. Finally, for some reason, unknown even to myself, I go ga-ga for them over with cottage cheese.

Some notes on beets: I go for medium ones, the big ones can be woody inside, and the small ones require too much peeling. The greens are a great indicator of freshness and yes, you CAN eat them, they’re great sautéed simply with onions and garlic.

To top it all off, beets are very good for you. A great source of Vitamin C, Potassium, Magnesium and dietary fiber all while being surprisingly low in calories. They have more that their fare share of antioxidants and cancer fighting agents.

What the heck do I do with a Brussels sprout?

Don't over cook them! That's the first rule. When Brussels sprouts, or certain members of the Brassicaceae family (cabbage, broccoli, kale) are cooked too long they take on a sulphuric taste and smell. Their bright green color turns brown and the otherwise snappy texture becomes soft and mushy. This is how so many people have come to know them (my mom certainly cooked the heck out of them) and Brussels sprouts, as a result, are a target of mass dislike.
Our advice is to choose just one cooking method. Either steam OR roast OR boil OR saute. We've learned that folks think sprouts need to be boiled first, then sauted and we say no, no no. There is no need for a two step process. It's much easier that that.
In deciding your technique Josh explains that with steaming or boiling, you are essentially adding water to your sprouts. Water is flavorless and therefore dilutes the flavor or the vegetable. If you choose to roast or saute, the water is being cooked out. This helps to concentrate the natural flavors and makes your food tastier. Logic in the kitchen!
Here is a recipe for exactly that. It's a high heat roast in which you place your sheet pan or baking dish in the oven first, and then you add your prepared veggies to the hot pan and continue to roast. This helps speed up the crispy caramelization on the outside of the Brussels sprouts while the inside cooks through, but not too much. Try this method with any of your favorites...carrots, cauliflower, onions, parsnips, broccoli, etc.


1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt and black pepper to taste

• Place a metal sheet pan in the oven and heat it to 450 degrees.
• To prep your sprouts: nip off the stem end, remove any nasty looking leaves and cut them in half.
• Toss the halves in oil with salt and pepper.
• Dump the Brussels sprouts onto the sheet pan and spread them out evenly.
• Roast for 12 minutes giving them a good stir half way through.

Courtesy of

Once roasted, they are delicious as is but you can add all sorts of things to them to make them even better. Toss them with roasted nuts, crumbled bacon, blue cheese, goat cheese...the list goes on. We will turn you all into Brussels sprout lovers yet!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Got a great butternut squash side dish?

Yes! It's a little bit spicy and a little bit sweet and of course, the color is intense. Show off your winter veggies...
This recipe for calls for the main ingredient to be peeled and cubed. It may seem like a daunting task at first, but once you cut the squash down into easily managed pieces it can be diced up in a snap. Check out the step-by-step photos below to see what we mean.... Enjoy!

1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into one inch cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease a baking sheet. In a large bowl, mix oil with all ingredients except butternut squash. Mix well and taste to check seasoning. Toss squash pieces in spice oil to coat and arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet.
Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, stirring once, until cooked through and still holding their shape. Serves 4 as a side dish.

How do I peel a butternut squash?

There are so many super winter vegetables to chose from that even though we can't wait for spring to come, we hope it doesn't arrive before we get to use up all of the products that this time of year has to offer. Sweet potatoes, beets, celery root, leeks, fennel...a veritable rainbow! Oooh. And all of the fabulous types of winter squash* are worth trying too. We have a general rule when it comes to 'squash experimenting' and that is:
1. cut said squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
2. Rub each squash half with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. Roast the pieces cut-side-down in a 400F oven until they can be easily pierced through with a skewer or thin knife.
(The time will vary depending on the type/size of squash.) The soft flesh can then be scooped out and used in soup, in a mashed, etc...
*a few different varieties of squash we recommend are acorn, butternut, delicata, kabocha, dumpling, spaghetti and so on and on.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Creative Commons License
Grill-a-Chef by Joshua Stokes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.