Friday, June 22, 2012

Market Bounty: Beet Carpaccio and Ginger-Lime Carrots

It's pretty much a given that I will spend at least one day on the weekend at a farmers market. The produce really can't be beat and there's also really tasty treats to be eaten. 
Last weekend my husband was in town (he travels back and forth between NYC and Denver until we figure out our next move, but one which will hopefully keep us near the Rocky Mountains). We decided to go to the big and always-crowded farmers market at Cherry Creek. It's a lot easier to keep track of the boys when there are 4 hands on deck.
There was tons of seasonal produce. I snagged a huge bunch of carrots and three kinds of beets (golden, red and chioggia) and while I didn't have a scale with me, I would approximate that I was shlepping about 15 pounds of produce around with me the rest of the day. Good bounty, indeed!
I also ate some fantastic pupusas. I had green chili & cheese, but there were tons of options including pinto and black bean & corn. They reminded me a lot of the ones I used to eat at the Brooklyn Flea...but without the hour-plus wait. Mine was topped with curtido (a fermented slaw) and a tomato-based sauced, plus a big dollop of avocado. Perfect.
We met up with some friends and hung around the market for about an hour. Then we ventured over to the 47th annual Greek Festival. More food, some dancing and lots of "Opa!" But that's a story for another post....
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I use beets in soup (Lithuanian Borscht) and I've made my fair share of beet salads: Beets with Blood Oranges, Arugula and Macadamia Nuts, Beet and Apple Salad (with horseradish and pistachios), and Roasted Beets With Chiles, Ginger, Yogurt and Indian SpicesI try not to be too repetitive in my recipe selection, but I felt an intense desire to make another beet salad using the gorgeous vegetables I had just picked up at the market. I mean sometimes it's just hard to beat...beets. (Sorry, that was a bad one.) This time though I was making a salad without greens, and the beets were thinly sliced-- just like beef carpaccio, but with beets! The salad has goat cheese crumbles, but you can omit them if you are vegan or otherwise averse to dairy. I made a few modifications: I added the shallots to the vinaigrette in order to cut their bite a bit and I also made the salad with and without chives. I'm not convinced the chives added much. In contrast, the mint popped and it was an absolutely essential element to the dressing. 
I made a note below (see Preparation) about the time it took me to roast the beets. I also drizzled them with olive oil and sprinkled a bit of salt and pepper on top before putting them in the oven.
I think this is a super elegant presentation of beets with goat cheese. It's delicious too. 
Beet Carpaccio with Goat Cheese and Mint Vinaigrette (Courtesy of Bon Appetit, via Epicurious)
12 2-inch beets, trimmed
1 cup crumbled soft fresh goat cheese (about 5 ounces)
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup walnut oil or olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
(Preparation follows)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place beets on sheet (if using both light- and dark-colored beets, place them on separate sheets to prevent discoloration). Sprinkle beets lightly with water. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until beets are tender when pierced with fork, about 40 minutes. (Note: after 40 minutes on 350 degrees, my beets were not even close to being done. I turned the temperature up to 425 and kept them in for another 35 minutes. That did the trick.) Cool on sheet. Peel beets. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Place in resealable plastic bag; chill.)
Using cheese slicer or knife, slice beets very thinly. Slightly overlap slices on 6 plates, dividing equally. Sprinkle with cheese, then shallot, salt, and pepper. Whisk vinegar, mint, oil, and sugar in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over beets. Sprinkle with chives.
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Ginger-Lime Baby Carrots (Courtesy of Richard Blais for Food & Wine Magazine
{I'm re-posting this recipe, which I made last year. It's a simple baby carrot recipe. The carrots are so sweet--this is really the time to be making them.}  
Serves 4


24 baby carrots, tops trimmed to 2 inches
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
Pinch of cinnamon
1/2 cup chicken stock (I used vegetable)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha
1 tablespoon furikake (see Note)

In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the carrots until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain the carrots.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil.  Add the carrots, ginger and cinnamon and cook over moderate heat, tossing occasionally, until the ginger is fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Add the chicken stock and boil over moderately high heat until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and let cool for 30 seconds.  Swirl in the butter, lime juice and Sriracha and season with salt.  Arrange the carrots on a platter and spoon the ginger-lime sauce on top.  (Sprinkle with the furikake and serve.)

NoteFurikake is available at Asian markets and many specialty food stores.  It is a mixture of dried and ground fish, sesame seeds and chopped seaweed.  I added a a few sesame seeds instead of making a pilgrimage to a Japanese market.   
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  1. What kind of work does your husband do that necessitates so much traveling? I made the beet, apple, etc salad last year. It was delicious!

  2. Hi Dara!
    Glad you liked that salad- wasn't it delicious?! He's a lawyer (we met in law school). We all came out here on a paternity leave package when Theo was born- hoping to make some permanent changes. In that time he searched for jobs. Six month expired and he was due back at work. Nothing panned out in the legal market here (it's kind of provincial and it's a terrible market)-- we were two NYers who came looking for gold, so to speak :) but with little to no professional associations. It's all who you know, and we didn't really know anyone. So, he's back in NY practicing and I'm here with the kids. He flies out to see us. It's ridiculous, but living in New York City, with two boys and an elderly Rottweiler, in 600 square feet or less...well, is even MORE ridiculous! That's the scoop. How are you?!

  3. The photos of these beets makes me want to try them and I'm not the biggest beet fan. I read the comment section and you are correct, it is a very bad legal market in DEnver. Hopefully there will be an uptick soon. I would hate to lose you and your Denver-based blog. Wishing you the best.-Anna McGreevy

  4. HI Anna,
    Beets are so great-- and I'm not talking about the ones from the can :) Just make sure you roast them till they get soft-- hard beets are not very good. But when they can be easily be cut with a fork or knife, they are perfect-- and sweet! Yes, I hope the legal market picks up. Otherwise we really can't stay...and that would be a shame. Feel free to email me if you hear of ANY openings or ANY solid job leads! I'll cook you a meal for your efforts :)

  5. i love beets and goat cheese. that is so pretty with the different colors.

    1. This salad really hit the spot. Please feel free to suggest your favorite beet and goat cheese's so hard to go wrong with the combination. Thanks for your comments Dina!

  6. Absolutely LOVE these Denver posts! Gorgeous food, gorgeous colors and a gorgeous city! Please keep it up.

    1. Thanks for your comments Nina. I appreciate it :) Have a great weekend.

  7. The beet shots are so vivid and tempting! Keep up the mouth-watering work!

    "Has anyone seen my friend?"