So things have gotten weird since our last blog post. The novel coronavirus has caused a global pandemic, and we’re starting to see an uptick in COVID-19 cases in our area. The past week at work has been incredibly stressful, with a lot of confusion and worry. We actually are now on vacation for two weeks, though our trip to Istanbul was obviously cancelled. So we’re staycationing and are grateful to take a break from work while this is going on. We just found out this afternoon that the governor cancelled all school through the end of the school year and ordered all non-essential businesses to close for 30 days. What a crazy new reality we all are finding ourselves in. I have a lot of thoughts and worries about all of this, but as we’ve mentioned before, this blog is supposed to be light-hearted and an outlet, so we’ll skip those for now.
Tonight’s side dish is another from this month’s Cookbook Club selection – Deep Run Roots, by Vivian Howard. The first one we shared was Smoky Spiced Pecans from earlier this month! This is a different way to eat beets for us and is really an easy side dish option. She serves it with lamb kebabs, but we had ours with some steak and that was a nice accompaniment. We both liked this recipe and decided it’d be even better with a little feta on top!
Roasted Beets in Herb Yogurt
Adapted from Deep Run Roots, by Vivian Howard
- 2 medium beets, scrubbed
- 1/3 cup “Greek”-style yogurt
- 1 lemon, zested & juiced
- Zest of the whole lemon
- 1 tbsp juice
- 1 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the beets in half and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining ingredients.
- Once beets are done, allow to cool enough to handle, then peel and slice into large chunks.
- Toss the beets in the yogurt sauce and serve.
Serves 4 as a side dish
Since having our baby girl, we realized that having friends and family over for dinner is a little more difficult than it once was. We love cooking and hosting, but given that she goes to bed in the 6 o’clock hour and lets be honest, most people are coming over to see her and not us anyway, dinners just weren’t that convenient. Instead of giving up, we decided to start having people over for brunch! Everyone loves brunch ,and the baby is super friendly and cute in the mornings! We call our brunches “Hedgehog Brunch,” because the baby’s nickname is Hedgehog. (Side note, I think that’s how we’ll start referring to her on here, since “the baby” is a little generic. We’re not comfortable sharing her name and face with the wild, wild west of the whole internet.)
And no, these Sour Beets are not on our brunch menu. That usually consists of Selim’s biscuits (recipe forthcoming…), fruit, sausage and/or bacon, and eggs. But because we eat such a big brunch in the late morning, we’re frequently not that hungry at dinnertime on those nights. We usually just want something lighter and frequently just eat some vegetables for dinner. Hence our dinner tonight of this beet dish! This recipe comes from February’s Cookbook Club selection – Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking, by Toni Tipton-Martin. This book is beautiful and educates the reader about African American culinary influence, a legacy that is often overlooked. I thought this particular recipe would be a great place to start because Selim loves beets, but only tolerates vinegar, while I love vinegar and only tolerate beets! Perfect right? As we were eating, Selim deemed this “hot beet slaw,” which is exactly what it is! He didn’t love it (too vinegary), but I really enjoyed it! We also thought next time we might add some carrots too.
(Adapted from Jubilee, by Toni Tipton-Martin)
- 2 tsp neutral oil
- 1 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Black pepper
- 1 large beet or 2 medium beets, cut into matchsticks (~3 cups)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1 Granny Smith apple, sliced to similar thickness as the beets
- 1/4 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onions to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes. Season with a few turns of black pepper.
- Add the beets to the pan, stirring to combine with other ingredients. Cook for just another 1 minute.
- Then add the water, salt, sugar, and vinegar. Bring to a boil and then cover and lower the heat to so the liquid is simmering. Cook like this for 15 minutes. (If you like your beets a little softer, go for 20 minutes.)
- Remove the lid, add the apples, and cook at a vigorous simmer for another 5-10 minutes, until a lot of the liquid has evaporated and the beets are your desired texture!
- Stir in the lemon zest and juice prior to serving. Adjust salt and pepper if need be.
Serves 4 as a side
Beets are one of those vegetables that you either love or hate. I’d had beets just once that I can remember prior to when Selim and I started dating, and I hated them that one time. So for years, I never tasted another beet. Selim likes them a lot and eventually convinced me to try them again. I was skeptically, but he converted me into a beet-eater.
A lot of times we just grate a beet in with whatever other salad ingredients we’re using that day. But I wanted to make a salad that showcased the beet itself. You may think it sounds ridiculous to roast some of the beets and not others – after all, once they’re all mixed together they barely look any different! But I’d give it a whirl. The roasted beets have a different texture and flavor than the raw ones. It gives this salad a greater depth of flavor, I think.
Two-Way Beet Salad
- 2 medium beets
- Olive oil, divided (2 tsp + 1 tbsp)
- Salt & pepper
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 2oz feta, crumbled
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Take one of the beets – scrub clean, peel, and chop into small rectangles/squares.
- Toss the beet cubes in 2 tsp of olive oil and a few dashes of salt & pepper. Spread on a foil-lined cookie sheet and place in the oven on a middle rack. Roast for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, take the other beet and similarly clean it. Grate this one via one of the larger holes on your grater. Place in a large bowl.
- Whisk together balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp olive oil, thyme, and a few more turns of black pepper in a small bowl.
- Once the roasting beets are done, add them to the bowl with the raw, shredded beets. Toss with the vinaigrette.
- Top with feta and serve.