By Mita Dutta
The farm is producing beautiful beets! While harvesting them it occurred to me that I have never prepared them before, so I brought some home to give them a try. Last weekend, my parents also came to town and we did a mini “farm to table” dinner featuring the beets. They saw the farm and were astounded at what was being produced a few steps from the hospital! That evening we enjoyed roasted beets and carrots with fish (see recipes below). The fresh beets and carrots were beautifully colored and deliciously sweet. Roasting is my new favorite way to prepare root vegetables… all I have to do is toss them in oil, sprinkle some seasoning, and put them in the oven at 425 F. It is so easy and leaves you time to do something else, like chat with your guests. When you buy beets, don’t forget about the greens. I mixed mine into a lentil soup, but you can prepare them like any other greens (e.g. spinach). One last word on beets… they are beautiful, but as I learned they don’t work well with a pale-colored carpet! I’m happy to report that a few dabs with soap and water can work wonders.
When I was thinking about my beet story, I realized that being surrounded by vegetables all day has inspired me to try different vegetables and recipes. Yes, we cultivate crops in farms and gardens, but these sites can also produce food for thought (apologies for the pun, I couldn’t resist!). While working with Dan on the Farm, many questions have come to mind. Some relate to dietetics (What are alternative ways to present nutrition information beyond the clinical setting? How can I expand my “food horizons” to better serve as a dietitian in the future?) and others are personal (What vegetables do I shy away from? How can I be more mindful of the environment and sustainable practices at home and at work?). I can certainly imagine how valuable school gardens are to educate children about agriculture, promote healthy eating and physical activity, develop cooking skills, and so much more. After all, what better way to learn about healthy living, healthy eating, and sustainability than by planting, tending, and harvesting produce?
In keeping with the theme of discovering new veggies and recipes, please stop by the Farmer’s Market on Wednesday and taste samples that highlight a vegetable grown at the Farm. We love to share recipes with you, hear your ideas, and chat about veggies and healthy eating. Hope to see you soon!
Roasted Cod with Scallions and Carrots
(Modified from Real Simple)
For easy clean-up, line baking sheets and/or casserole dish with parchment paper. You can also replace carrots with any root vegetables that you like, just adjust the cooking time as needed.
1 pound carrots
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
salt and black pepper
1 ½ pounds Pacific cod (or other white fish)
3 scallions, chopped
Heat oven to 425° F. In an oven-proof casserole dish or rimmed baking sheet, toss the carrots
with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the chili powder, salt and pepper.
Roast, tossing once until tender (30-40 minutes, depending on the size of the carrots)
While the carrots are roasting: With a vegetable peeler, peel strips of lemon zest from the
lemon. Thinly slice the strips and reserve the lemon. Put fish on another rimmed baking sheet
and top with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt, pepper, and strips of lemon zest.
After carrots have roasted for about 20-30 minutes and are almost tender, put the fish in the oven. Roast until it is opaque throughout and flakes easily with a fork (about 12-15 minutes). Remove vegetables and fish from oven, and serve with lemon wedges.
(Modified from “à la di Stasio”, by Josée di Stasio)
Unpeeled, roasted beets can be kept in the fridge for about 5 days. Enjoy them plain or toss them with a vinaigrette.
1 ½ pound beets
olive oil (or any vegetable oil)
Preheat oven to 425 F. Oil beets and wrap them in aluminum foil. Roast for about 45 minutes, until the beets feel tender when you prick them with a fork. Peel and serve (or serve unpeeled if the skin is very thin). Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
Mita Dutta is spending a month on The Farm at St. Joe’s as part of her dietetic internship at the U of M’s School of Public Health.