Eating better food for less and other tales from a no-moneymoon

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Beets Beeter Beetest

I love beets. Mr. Lemon does not. So when beets crop up in the CSA line up (a little agri-humor for you), I get excited, but know that there's a dinner challenge ahead. Hearts and stomachs must be won over with some creativity:

Beet this.

What's great is that in one lovely fresh bunch of beets you've got two veggies with two different flavors. So off come the tops to become the centerpiece of a quiche and into the oven the pretty magenta roots go for an hour of roasting to make them soft and sweet.

I've made quiche before with swiss chard and liked how the creaminess of egg and the nutmeg worked out the kinks of a bitter green. So the beet greens were an experiment. Also an experiment? A potato crust. I've wanted to try one of these out for a while and I would definitely make it again. While I am quite familiar with my rolling pin, sometimes make a pastry crust seems a little fussy to me. And with the potatoes, there's starch for sure, but not the fattiness of a full butter crust.

And as it turned out, this us an unbeetable combo for a healthy, but filling veggie dinner.

Potato Crusted Beet Green Quiche
4-5 red potatoes, medium, peeled and grated
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch beet greens (tops), washed and rough chopped
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 leek, sliced thin and soak to get out any grit
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup low fat milk
freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper

Heat oven to 425F. Grate 4-5 medium sized peeled red potatoes. Mix this with olive oil to coat (about 2 Tablespoons) and add salt and pepper. In a cake pan or tart pan with a solid bottom, brush lightly with olive oil and press the potato mixture into the bottom and up the sides. Mine was pretty thick (about 1/2 inch thick) but I'm betting you could cut down on the potato. Bake for 30 minutes. Mine could probably have gone longer in order to get the "crust" out more neatly. Next time I might also add a little flour or egg to glue the potato together better.

In a saute pan, add a drizzle of olive oil and the beet tops, rinsed thoroughly and chopped into 1 inch pieces. Saute over medium high heat and add 3 cloves of grated garlic. When the greens are wilted and the stems look day glow bright, pull them off the heat and into a bowl or plate to cool. In the same pan add a little more olive oil and add 1 leek, rinsed and sliced into disks. Over medium high heat, these leeks will cook quickly and any brown bits on the bottom will come up and combine with the leeks. Cook until soft and add to the greens.

In a separate bowl, whisk 4 eggs and 1 cup low fat milk. Grate fresh nutmeg (more than you might expect) and some salt and pepper.

Scatter the greens and leeks into the potato crust and pour the egg mixture over it. Pat down any stems that pop up and pop the whole thing in the oven at 350F for 30 minutes until a knife inserted in to the middle comes out clean. Let sit for five minutes then slice and serve!

Meanwhile, there are those lovely pink globes of goodness roasting away...

Roast Beet and Arugula Salad
5-6 beets, tops trimmed
2 cups arugula
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper

Trim off the tops and rinse the beets. Wrap each individually in tin foil and put on a baking sheet. Roast these at 425 for 45 minutes, while you're baking the potato crust and then a bit longer while the potato crust is cooling. Let cool in the tin foil and use a paper towel to rub off the skin. Slice and dice and add to a vinaigrette of 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard + 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar and 2 Tablespoons olive oil plus salt and pepper. Serve over arugula.

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