Sides and Snacks

Beets

Roasting brings out such lovely components in root vegetables, and with beets, it’s also one of the simplest (and least messy) ways to prepare them. Just cut the greens off, and be sure to save the leaves for a salad or sauteed side dish. Place the beets, skin on, on a sheet of foil. Drizzle them with olive oil, salt and pepper, then throw in a fresh sprig of thyme or rosemary. 

Seal the foil into a package, and roast in a 400-degree oven. The amount of time in the oven depends on the size of the beet, you can start to check them with the tip of a paring knife for tenderness around 20 minutes.

Once the beets are easily pierced with the paring knife, it’s time to rub off the skins, once they’ve cooled a bit. Use a paper towel to hold the beet in the palm of your hand, then cradle paper towel around the beet with your opposite hand, gently pulling pulling the skin down from top to bottom.

 That’s the best less-mess tip about peeling your beets with a paper towel after they have roasted: the skin easily slides off, and your hands don’t turn pink. I also slice them with a paring knife while holding them in the same paper towel, then I store them in an airtight container until I’m ready to use them in a salad. For a quick, easy salad that helps you follow the philosophy of eating from root to greens, wash your saved beet leaves, stack them up on top of one another, and roll them into a large cigar. Cut them into a fine slice, or chiffonade, then toss them with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Top them off with the roasted beet slices and some crumbled goat cheese. Such a lovely combination of flavors; sweet, earthy, bitter, creamy and tart.

Green Beans

We’ve been getting a generous share of green beans this fall, and as is typical of too much of a good thing, we are getting a bit over-saturated. Roasted green beans, blanched green beans, green bean casserole, green bean stir fry. The list rolls on like Bubba going on about shrimp in Forrest Gump. As plentiful the green beans are, I never grow (that) weary of them. My favorite way to dress them up? Sauteed with olive oil and a few of my favorite Mediterranean flavors like tart, sweet sundried tomatoes, toasty pinenuts and zingy mint. Use the shallots in your farm box for an earthy base.

Green Beans with Sundried Tomatoes, Pinenuts, Mint and Fresh Mozzarella

2 shallots, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 pound green beans, stems trimmed

1 cup oil-packed sundried tomatoes, cut into slices

½ cup chicken stock

½ cup fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large skillet and drizzle with olive oil. When oil is heated, add shallots and garlic, and cook until softened. Add green beans and sundried tomatoes, and cook until green beans begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cover. Cook green beans until crisp but tender, then add cheese, mint and salt and pepper.