I taught my first ever cooking demo a few weeks ago.
It took place at Golden Earthworm Organic Farm here on Long Island. The farm, which also happens to be my CSA, hosts an annual harvest festival for its members offering local food, music, and a few cooking demonstrations. It’s a beautiful day out.
Though the colorful autumn trees framed a sunny blue sky, the temperature dipped to an unexpected chill. It was freezing. Like 2 degrees, freezing! And because of the weather, I assumed no one would show up. I pictured myself talking to an empty room (“is this thing on?”). But as cold as it was, that didn’t stop the crowd.
My kitchen was set up in a gorgeous rustic barn complete with bails of hay for the audience to sit on.
They packed in like sardines.
I was squirming.
After only a few minutes taking about squash, yellow onions and how to properly wash leeks to a room full of complete strangers, I was totally in my element.
Even if my nose was running the whole time…
And I couldn’t feel my fingers.
I made a big pot of butternut squash soup from my cookbook.
It was the perfect anecdote for warming our hands and keeping our bellies full. Unfortunately, it’s too soon to share the recipe on the blog (cookbook will be out in February). But I wanted to share another farm inspired creation: buttered beets.
This inspiration comes from my CSA host, Maggie. She boils the beets, and tosses them with a few pats of butter, salt, pepper and a squeeze of orange juice.
It’s simple, and utterly delicious.
I tried the beets two ways: boiled beets vs. roasted beets / orange juice vs. orange juice + orange zest.
Here’s what I found:
How you cook the beets is up to you. I liked both methods. Roasting intensifies their flavor, but the simplicity of boiled beets works really well with creamy butter. It’s light and delicate.
For the orange juice, I preferred juice only as opposed to including the orange zest. I’m a big fan of citrus zest in general, but thought it was too bitter paired with the sweetness of the beets. Either way, it’s an excellent fall side dish. The beets can be prepared a day or two in advance and warmed through with butter, to serve. Easy.
On the way back home from the farm, we stopped at a few pumpkin patches to explore…
What are some of your favorite fall inspired recipes? Beet dishes? Farm-to-table creations?
- 1 large bunch baby beets, washed, skin on, leaves removed
- 2 tbsp of unsalted butter
- 1-2 clementines
- splash of balsamic vinegar
- coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper
- For roasting the beets, wrap in a foil package. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast @ 425 for 30 minutes- 1 hour depending on size. The beets are ready when a paring knife comes out easily when inserted. Alternatively, boil the beets in a large pot of water until tender. When cool enough to handle, remove the skin (I do this with my hands). Cut in half or quarter if the beets are large.
- In a skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Add the beets and toss to coat. Add the juice of one clementine and season with salt and pepper.
- For more orange flavor, add the remaining clementine and/or a splash of balsamic vinegar for extra tang. Adjust seasoning, if necessary.
- Serve warm.