When the Beets Go On
(and On and On), Get Creative
Autumn boasts a bounty of fresh and delicious vegetables and when farmers’ markets are overflowing with produce, I can’t stop myself from purchasing in bulk. I’m like a kid in a candy store, and nothing gets me quite as excited as the humble beet.
I love finding it sitting quietly in the corner of the market, removed from the popular picks of corn, apples, squash and kale. I love its humility, with dirt and roots still intact, as if it has nothing to prove, although when cooked correctly, there’s barely anything that this little veggie can’t do.
While you won’t find a bigger enthusiast for this diverse food, after a week or so of beet binging I find myself ready to move on to the next vegetable. So this year I decided to shake up my cooking repertoire and instead of eating beets every day for a week or two, I dished up one delicious meal, chock full of beet goodness, that would satisfy my beet craving and leave me happily content with my beet intake (that is, until my next trip to the market).
From appetizer to dessert, I pickled, boiled, puréed, sautéed and baked beets into one delicious and healthy meal. The result was nothing less than delectable. More importantly, using one ingredient in different fashions was a great way to get the most out of my farmers’ market find. Below you’ll get a flavor for my beet-filled meal.
About our meal:
We started off with quick pickled beets and onions served with toasted bread, cured olives and other charcuterie accompaniments. This easy appetizer was a simply delish! For our entrée I made a beet pesto sauce with walnuts and basil from my garden, which I served over fettuccini with a side of sautéed beet greens. It was such a fun surprise for my friends to see a bright pink pesto and there’s nothing better than using the entire veggie—from root to stem is my kind of cooking!
We ended on a sweet note with a rich and decadent chocolate cake. But, of course, keeping with the theme, I infused my favorite chocolate cake with puréed beets. The beets kept the cake incredibly moist and gave it a healthy kick.
Give these recipes (pages 21, 23, 24, 25) a try and the next time you find yourself sick of a particular bumper crop, get creative in the kitchen. You’ll never know what a simple vegetable can do until you let it shine!
Matthew LaBombard, is a publicist at Storey Publishing in North Adams. A native of Berkshire County, he currently lives in Williamstown. An avid cook, Matt spends his free time entertaining and cooking for friends and family.
Matt LaBombard, a 2011 graduate of Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts, is associate publicist and social media coordinator at Storey Publishing in North Adams, Massachusetts. Upon returning to the Berkshires, he has found the perfect balance between work, family and friends while enjoying all the pleasures of good home cooking.