Thursday, August 31, 2017

summer beets

It used to be granddads garden. Now my father grows vegetables, mainly onions and salad for spring season and tomatoes, always tomatoes, as all of us in a family are addicts and instead of blood homemade tomato juice is running trough our veins. Here and there plum trees, one pear tree and two apple trees. Stars of this modest garden of ours are sour cherries, two beautiful, medium in high cherry trees, jewels of the garden.
This year I got involved in seeding and growing process. I needed badly something that will distract me from my daily routine, a temporary occupation that keeps mind clean and body tired, a game where servant falls asleep right after sunset. The idea was to grow lots of herbs, flowers and different sorts of vegetables. I drew a specific plan for seeding and had bag of seeds, leek, zucchini, carrot, basil, chives, green beans, chard, beets, onion, garlic, chamomile, pumpkin, sage, parsnip, marigold, nasturtium, cucumber, lavender, wild peas..
I imagined greens all around, buzzing bees collecting nectar from blooming flowers, us picking romano beans. I am laughing now. Weather was tricky and cruel so far for this year, freezing in spring, stormy winds, few ice storms, caterpillar season and drought. I guess we are lucky to have anything, especially without irrigation system and protection
August has come to an end and garden looks like it's late fall, burned, and this scenery is present since July. Tomatoes, beets and chard survived, surprisingly, onions were great, as they escaped drought season, and lavender joyfully sunbaths. Caterpillars ate all plum and apple leaves. Some fruits are still hanging from the leafless branches but no one dares picking them up causing caterpillar rain.  
As said already beets are bit a surprise for this year, and they are rather small but very sweet and it takes only half an hour to cook them trough, if you are not planning using them fresh. Color is dark, purple. I don’t mind having differently colored beets but my hurt goes to purple ones, and these are packed with their well known ‘hard-to-define’ earthy flavor.  They are many, many ways to use beets, but below you can find few ideas of how to use cooked beets and one of them is by far my favorite.

Beetroot hummus
about 400g cooked beets
can of chickpeas (400g, drained 240g)
2 cloves of garlic
one tsp tahini paste
juice of 1/2 lemon
one tsp cold water
salt to taste

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and mix until smooth, until you get hummus like paste. Taste and add more lemon juice and salt if needed. The color is out of this world and so is the taste!

Serving options: tortilla wrap filled with pink beetroot humus, avocado, goat cheese, fresh basil and thyme.

 Pink pasta for two
100g of pasta flour
100g semolina

Making pasta dough: mix cooked beets (just one half) with few drops of cold water, just enough to be able to drain purple liquid trough the sieve. Use this liquid to form pasta dough. Once the dough is formed, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest for half an hour before start roiling it.

Serving options: cook pasta in vegetable broth with some leftover parmesan rind and serve with egg yolk.

Blueberries and beet smoothie
one frozen banana (about 100g)
180g fresh blueberries
20g cooked beets
100ml almond milk

Place everything in a blender and pulse at intervals until you get a smooth consistency. 

Stay tuned for finding out how to preserve garlic best way.