Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fall Bounty

I mentioned Paffenroth Farms a few weeks back in my Guide to the Greenmarket post...great purveyor of root vegetables?  Probably one of the vendor descriptions that you skimmed and then moved on from.  But let me tell you, they are really in their element at this time of year.  The beets, particularly the golden beets, are unbelievable at the moment.  I've been eating a fairly absurd number of them lately.  Here's my lunch the other day, in raw form:

A golden beet, a white sugar beet (the one with the Don King-esque tangle of roots) , and a wonderful sweet potato from Cherry Lane Farms.  Below are the beets after I roasted and peeled them:

How beautiful is the gradation of color on that golden beet?  

Roasting is my favorite way to prepare beets (and conveniently enough, it also happens to be one of the easiest).  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, wash and scrub beets, wrap them each in aluminum foil, and roast for approximately forty-five minutes (or until a knife is easily inserted AND removed from the beet).  Immediately upon removing the beets from the oven, unwrap the aluminum foil and, cradling the beet in a few paper towels, nudge the skin off of the beets through the towels with your fingers.  It should come off very easily without any knives or other implements.  My mother has, after many years of peeling beets this way, decided that she is "too old for this crap", so she now peels them beforehand with a vegetable peeler.  I personally prefer the taste of the beets peeled after cooking, and don't think the paper towel thing is that big of a deal, but each person should make this decision on his or her own.

The sweet potato can be cooked in essentially the same way as the beets (I always put it in the same pan) but you do not need to wrap it in foil (just slash an x in it with a knife instead), and if it is significantly larger than the beets the cooking time may be longer.  When it is done, cut in half, add a bit of butter to melt over the flesh, et voila.  Dessert in a vegetable.  

Lovely, lovely cold weather food.

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