Beet salads became rather ubiquitous on restaurant menus a few years ago, and there’s a good reason why: beets are delicious, nutritious, inexpensive and very pretty on the plate. I’m also a big fan of rhubarb, another bright-coloured vegetable (often mistakenly called a fruit). It’s been a great delight to find local rhubarb available in wintertime, now that it’s being grown in darkened barns in many northern hemisphere countries. The best part? This forced variety is even sweeter than what gets harvested outdoors in early spring. The combination of rhubarb and beets in a salad makes for an explosion of colour as well as a balanced, sweet-tart flavour. To make this a complete meal, you could serve the beet and rhubarb salad over cooked quinoa or couscous.
This drop-dead gorgeous salad tastes as good as it looks, thanks to zingy rhubarb, sweet roasted beets with a tangy balsamic dressing and creamy goat cheese.
- 5 lbs (700 g) beets (a mix of red, golden, candy cane is really pretty)
- ¼ cup (60 mL) olive oil, divided
- 3/4 lb (300 g) rhubarb, washed and cut in 1 inch / 2.5cm pieces
- 4 tsp (20 mL) white sugar
- 2 tsp (10 mL) cider vinegar
- 2 tsp (10 mL) Balsamic
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) maple syrup
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
- 1/8 tsp (.65 mL) ground cinnamon
- 1 small shallot, very thinly sliced
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup (100g) goat cheese or feta, crumbled (omit for vegan version)
Winter or forced rhubarb is typically sweeter than what’s grown outdoors. You can tell the difference thanks to the pale leaves and darker stems.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Scrub beets and trim ends. Leave small beets (less than 2 inches / 5 cm in diameter) whole; cut larger beets into halves or quarters to approximate that size. Lay the beets in a baking pan and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Cover pan with a tight lid or foil.
A combination of golden, candy cane and red beets makes this salad even prettier.
- Roast beets for 40 – 50 minutes, until the largest pieces are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
- While beets are cooking, combine rhubarb and sugar in a bowl, then transfer the mixture to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake alongside the beets for 8 – 10 minutes, until tender-crisp (think al dente pasta). Set aside to cool.
- While rhubarb and beets are cooking, add the cider vinegar, balsamic, maple syrup, remaining olive oil, cinnamon and shallots to a jar with a tight lid. Cover and shake to combine well.
- When beets are cooked, let them cool for a few moments then then peel and cut into 3/4 inch (2 cm) cubes.
- To assemble, put the cooked beets in a serving bowl and drizzle the dressing over them, stirring gently to coat the beets. Taste and add salt and/or pepper to your liking.
- Just before serving, add the rhubarb and any accumulated juices plus salt and pepper to taste to the beets. Sprinkle with cheese and parsley.
Posted in Fruits and vegetables, Salads, vegan, Vegetables, vegetarian
Tagged bake, balsamic, beets, chèvre, cider vinegar, cinnamon, colourful, feta, fresh, gluten-free, goat cheese, maple syrup, olive oil, parsley, rhubarb, roast, roasted vegetables, salad, shallots, spring, sugar, vegan, vegetarian
If you’ve never had a Dutch Baby, you’re really missing out. A fluffy, baked pancake, usually cooked in a cast iron pan, this is what all breakfast foods wish they could be. When I spied both apples (from Hall’s Apple Market) and Apple Butter (from Barkey’s Apple Orchard) in my winter Farmers’ Feast basket from the Ottawa Farmers’ Market, I knew right away this was what I wanted to make. I enjoyed it with maple syrup, though my patient, taste-testing husband was really happy to slather his portion with more apple butter. Either way, it’s a fantastic breakfast treat!
The Dutch Baby – as light, flavourful baked pancake filled with apples and apple butter – is kind of the champion of breakfast foods. It’s deceptively light yet satisfying.
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) butter
- 1 apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) Apple Butter
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) all-purpose flour
- Apple Butter and/or Maple Syrup for serving
- Preheat oven to 425. Place butter in a 9” cast iron pan. Add apple slices then put the pan in the oven to heat and partially cook the apples minutes while you are making the batter.
- If the apple butter is extremely thick (like peanut butter thick), heat it gently and briefly in a heatproof dish in the microwave, so it softens and becomes a little thinner in consistency. Stir and set aside.
- In medium bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer or hand whisk then add the milk, apple butter, vanilla and sugar and beat to blend thoroughly.
- Add flour to egg mixture and beat until smooth.
- Pour the batter into the hot, buttered, apple-filled cast iron pan and return it into the oven.
- Reduce oven heat to 375F and bake for about 20 minutes, until the pancake is puffed and golden.
- Cut into wedges and serve immediately with apple butter and/or maple syrup on the side.
Posted in Baking, Breads, Breakfast
Tagged apple, apple butter, baked, butter, cast iron, Dutch Baby, eggs, Farmers Feast, flour, maple syrup, milk, Ottawa Farmers' Market, pancake, sugar
Oat Groats, Naked Oats or Rice of the Prairies … three names for one of the newest darlings of the Canadian farming scene: Cavena Nuda. It’s an amazing variety of hull-less (naked, get it?) developed by researchers at Agriculture Canada and now grown across the country, in places where rice could never flourish. This grain looks and cooks like rice, but has a much more impressive nutritional profile along with a chewier texture and nutty flavour. High in fibre and protein, they’re gluten-free and a good source of iron. Castor River Farms at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market is a great local source – they call it “local rice”, in fact. For this winter Farmers’ Feast dish, the squash came from Bryson Farms, the shallot from Roots Down Organic Farm and the Hillbilly Cheese, a more flavourful alternative to Parmesan, came from Canreg Dairy. Use this recipe as a starting point and add in your favourite vegetables to make it your own! The omnivores, vegetarians and vegans in your life will all thank you.
Hull-less oats, also called oat groats, Cavena Nuda, Rice of the Prairies or local rice, is a delicious and nutritious alternative grain. It is great in soups and makes delicious risotto as well!
- 1 small squash, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) cubes
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil, divided
- 3 cups (750 mL) vegetable stock *
- 1 large or two small shallots, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 5 cups (375 mL) oat groats or Cavena Nuda
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup grated Hillbilly or Parmesan (use a non-dairy cheese for vegan version)
- Additional grated cheese for garnish
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
* purchased, low-sodium vegetable stock is fine, but it’s really easy to make your own! Combine 1 shallot, quartered, 1 carrot, scrubbed and chopped with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. Strain and refrigerate until needed.
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- In a small roasting pan, toss the cubed squash with 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of the olive oil. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 – 30 minutes, until squash is tender and edges are starting to caramelize.
- Transfer roasted squash cubes to a bowl and set aside until ready to prepare risotto (can be made up to 8 hours ahead).
- For risotto, heat remaining olive oil in a medium sized pot, over medium heat. Add chopped shallots and sauté for 2 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute more. Add Cavena Nuda and stir to coat grains well with oil; cook for 1 minute to lightly toast the Cavena.
- Add the vegetable stock to the pot and partially cover with a lid.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cook at a simmer until oats are tender but still a bit firm (like al dente pasta) – about 45 minutes. If most of the liquid gets absorbed, add a few tablespoons of water so you can maintain some liquidity (I like to serve this dish a little on the ‘soupy’ side).
- When Cavena is tender, add roasted squash and grated cheese to the pot; stir gently to combine well. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve the risotto and remaining broth in heated soup plates; garnish with chopped parsley and a little bit more cheese.
Serves 3 – 4.
Posted in One dish meals, vegan, vegetarian
Tagged Bryson Farms, Canreg Dairy, Castor River Farm, Cavena Nuda, Farmers Feast, garlic, Hillbilly cheese, local rice, Oat Groats, oats, Ottawa, Ottawa Farmers' Market, parmesan, rice, Rice of the Prairies, risotto, Roots Down Organic Farm, shallot, squash, vegan, vegetarian, winter