Sunday, June 05, 2011

Beets are the new Breakfast

Morgantown celebrated summertime with our fifth Farmers Market of the season yesterday. Since I have to work, Keith and Delia went down and brought home some deliciousness. One bunch of chard, two green and two red tomatoes, some local honey, and my first bunch of beets of the season. They also got a cat grass plant, for Naomi's birthday as a gift for her cat Sharkey.

Since Delia was away this morning at the sleepover, I had the chance to make VEGETABLES FOR BREAKFAST, which is like a dream come true. I started out searching Swiss Chard recipes on Epicurious, and ended up intrigued by this one. But the beets were calling to me, and the chard will keep for supper. I made these little guys with the beet greens. I think I will call them...

BEETCAKES

If you think of beets as little slices that come in a can or a jar, you are missing out on over half the plant's bounty. Beet greens can be cooked just like any other greens, and they are an excellent source of carotenoids, flavonoid anti-oxidants and vitamin A. To prepare, chop the actual beet root off, leaving an inch of stem attached - this cuts down on bleeding. Then rinse the whole mess of greens in some cold water, I just put them in my biggest Fiesta bowl and swish them around, but cold running water works fine too. Then I shake them out a little and cut the leaves from the stems.

roots, stems and leaves

I like to cook the stems a bit more than the leaves, because they are kind of tough and stringy sometimes, and if you put everything in to cook together the leaves get all mushy by the time the stems are tender. So for this recipe, I chopped up the following:
One Bunch of Beet Stems
Half a Huge Onion
Two Cloves of Garlic

These were sauteed in a dollop of bacon grease plus a generous glug of olive oil in my trusty cast iron skillet. If that grosses you out of course you can use one of those heinous nonstick jobs coated with a light mist of canola oil or whatever babies cook with...

Once the onions start to turn translucent (and also the edges will turn all pink from the beets, it is super cute), add
A Splash of Red Wine Vinegar
A Tentative Pinch Of Ground Coriander
A Vigorous Shake of Dry Mustard
Tiny Pinch of Salt
Mix that up to distribute the spices and inhale deeply. Then toss in your chopped leaves and mix it up again, finally covering the whole mess for 2 minutes or so to let the greens wilt a bit.
MMMM GREENS!

Take the lid off and turn the fire up and evaporate out as much of the liquid as you can in the next sixty seconds. If it looks really wet, go ahead and strain out the juice. I put it in a strainer over a bowl in the fridge for a little while to cool. You don't want to add hot veggies to your eggs or it will end up all kinds of ugly. While that cools, make some breadcrumbs.

I made this loaf, and I get paid to do that so you don't have to!

You need about a cup of breadcrumbs, more or less, for this mess of pancakes. My current favorite is the West Virginia Wheat from the Bakery. I like to give a couple of slices a pulse in the food processor, but you could toast it and pulverize it a plastic bag with a rolling pin, or tear it apart meticulously with your fingers.

Once your veggie mixture is sufficiently cool (and not before!), into a large mixing bowl crack about 4 eggs. Add salt and pepper here if you like, beat them severely, then stir in the breadcrumbs. Stir in the beet mixture. Pretty cool looking, eh? All kinds of PINK.

Drop a heaping spoonful of this onto a medium hot skillet well lubed with bacon grease and olive oil, and fry!

It took about 3 minutes a side. Then you can keep them warm in a 300 degree oven till you finish frying up the rest, or just eat them at room temperature. I ate mine with a dollop of sour cream, Keith ate his with some awesome horseradish mustard, and I think the ultimate sauce would be the stuff Maxwells serves with their Spinach Balls - because that's what my taste testers said these beetcakes were evocative of.

4 comments:

Prisoner of the Universe #2-16 said...

Beets - the new chocolate?

Serafina said...

Indeed, I must say they are running neck and neck at this point!

Bryan L. Smith said...

do beet greens taste like beets?

Serafina said...

Bryan, beet greens taste more like swiss chard. In fact, the two are closely related.