Roasted Beet and Beet Green Salad

Farmer's Market Beets

Farmer’s Market Beets

I love it when a cool dense fog settles on the Santa Cruz Mountains this time of year. The Sunday morning farmer’s market is quieter with its offering of squash, root vegetables and dark hearty greens. This week I picked up a beautiful cluster of beets. I always use the greens, washing them carefully, and either quickly sauté with garlic and olive oil or blanch them and dress with a vinaigrette. Today I decided to use the beets and the greens together in a salad.

Wash the greens well and scrub the beets of all the dirt that still clings to them.

Washed Beets and Greens

Washed Beets and Greens

Wrap the beets in foil and roast at 400 F until a fork pierces them – about an hour depending on the size of the beets. Run the beets under cold water and peel the skin off with a pairing knife. Slice into rounds.

Blanch the greens in boiling water for about 3 minutes. Using tongs remove the greens and drop into ice water to stop the cooking. When they have cooled down remove from the water – squeeze dry and chop into bite sized pieces.

Blanched Beet Greens

Blanched Beet Greens

Make a vinaigrette: finely chop one clove of garlic, add to 3 tbsp of olive oil , 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, and a tsp of Dijon mustard. Mix well and pour over the arranged beets and greens. Salt and pepper generously.

Beet Salad

Beet Salad

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Summer Salad

Grapefruit Slices

Grapefruit Slices

I grill a lot of our meals in the warmer months of summer. I love to offset the charred meats and vegetables with a refreshing, crisp salad. One of my favorite salad ingredients is grapefruit. I take a whole grapefruit and slice off the rind – white pith and all – with a sharp knife. This is similar to removing the outside skin of a cantaloupe melon. Then, using the knife, slice out the grapefruit sections leaving the inner membrane behind. Squeeze all of the juice from the remaining membrane into a bowl to use as dressing.

Today I had some celery, radishes, cucumber, avocado and cilantro in my vegetable drawer. You can use lettuce, parsley, tomatoes, carrots – any fresh vegetable on hand that can be eaten raw.

Salad Ingredients

Salad Ingredients

I make the dressing by taking three tablespoons of the grapefruit juice, one tablespoon of red wine vinegar, and three tablespoons of olive oil. Shake these ingredients in a small jar or just whisk in a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste.

Fresh Summer Salad

Fresh Summer Salad

Arrange the ingredients on a plate or shallow bowl. Spoon the dressing over the salad making sure to evenly distribute. Enjoy!

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Kale Chips – Addictive and Easy

There is something intriguingly addictive about kale chips. It might be that they are salty and crunchy and good for you – but once I start munching on them I can not stop until the batch is gone. One large bunch of kale does not make much so you may want to make a few batches if you have a group to feed. This is the most simple preparation and takes about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Take a large bunch of green kale and remove the large stems from the center of the leaves.

Kale

Kale

Stems removed

Stems removed

Tear the leaves into rough bite size pieces. Put all of the leaves into a lettuce washer and clean in a few changes of cold water. Spin dry. Place the leaves into a bowl sprinkle with olive oil and salt – toss to coat the leaves. You do not need a lot of olive oil. Just enough to toss without any remaining in the bowl. Spread these out on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. If you don’t have parchment paper – make these right on the cookie sheet – I just like the easy clean-up that parchment provides. The next time you are at the grocery store getting plastic wrap or tin foil pick up some parchment. It is great.

Kale ready to roast

Kale ready to roast

You may want to sprinkle with more salt once it is on the tray. Roast this in the oven for about 15 minutes. Test a leaf to make sure it is crisp, but not burned. Don’t let them brown.

Remove from oven and enjoy!

Kale chips and snacks

Kale chips and snacks

Serve with roasted chick peas, hummus and crackers, cubed feta cheese and olives as a really healthy appetizer.

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Cherry Bomb!

If you could find me braiding “Mother Nature’s Hair” with a babysitter in the 1970’s, you can probably guess what I was doing in the early 1980’s. That’s right – rocking to Joan Jett at the college pub! When I saw these Cherry Bomb peppers at the farmer’s market this weekend I had to smile.

Cherry Bomb Peppers

Cherry Bomb Peppers

The woman selling them warned that they are “really hot”. The question now was what to do with twenty one “really hot” peppers. I decided to roast them, stuff them with a cooling cheese filling and store them in olive oil to use later as an appetizer.

Carefully remove the tops of the peppers with a sharp knife. Using the tip of the knife, scrape out all of the seeds and membrane. Be very careful not to touch your face while preparing these!

Carefully remove tops and seeds

Carefully remove tops and seeds

Place all of the cored peppers top down on a parchment covered cookie tray, drizzle with olive oil and roast at 400 F for ten minutes.

Roast at 400 F for 10 minutes

Roast at 400 F for 10 minutes

Meanwhile, roughly chop a handful of parsley and a small bunch of scallions. Add to a log of goat cheese and a half package of cream cheese. Using a fork blend together in a bowl until all ingredients are fully incorporated.

Ingredients for filling

Ingredients for filling

Once the peppers are cool start filling them with the cheese mixture. I use a less expensive brand of olive oil to gradually fill a Mason jar while layering the peppers. I sprinkled some dried oregano between the layers.

Gradually fill the jar while stuffing the peppers

Gradually fill the jar while stuffing the peppers

Store the final product in the refrigerator and use within a week. Serve the peppers cut in half, and drizzled with the oil, on sliced baguette.

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Roasted Peppers

You know you live in California when your husband comes home from a business meeting with a gift bag of freshly picked heirloom tomatoes and peppers. After washing the bounty, I arranged a tumble of colorful peppers in a bowl to display and enjoy as a centerpiece for a few days. Last night I decided to roast them and serve as an antipasto.

Colorful Peppers

Colorful Peppers

Simply grill the peppers until blistered and charred on all sides.

Peppers on the Grill

Peppers on the Grill

Once they are grilled – place them in a paper bag and roll closed. Letting them sit in the bag for about 10 minutes allows the steam to loosen the skin and make for easier peeling.

Peppers Ready to Peel

Peppers Ready to Peel

Peel the skin off of the peppers and remove tops and seeds. Slice into thick strips. Roughly chop a clove of garlic and some fresh basil. Toss the garlic, basil, peppers, and some olive oil in a bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. This can be served immediately or refrigerated and used within a week.

Roasted Peppers

Roasted Peppers

These are also delicious on sandwiches.

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