Friday, February 25, 2011

Stove-top beet casserole

Yield: 4 - 6 servings

Enjoy the many health benefits of beets while using up left-over cooked chicken or turkey. The addition of Raincoast Crisps makes this beet casserole into filling brunch. In this instance, I used the fig and olive variety of Raincoast Crisps .
Beet casserole brunch with Raincoast Crisps

This highly-coloured beet casserole provides the nutrient value of two cups of cooked beet root. 

Fresh sweet peppers, shallot, oregano and thyme
Sweet peppers increase the amount of phytonutrients without adding starches or gluten. The aromatics -- thyme, oregano and shallot -- season the beets and poultry while contributing small amounts of vitamins (A and C) and minerals (calcium and iron).

The stove-top beet casserole is made in two stages. First, relish is made and set aside to enable the flavours to mingle. Next, the casserole is prepared in a saute pan on the stove top. When the casserole has been cooked, the relish may be spread on top  before serving, or it may be presented as an accessory to the casserole.

Chopped thyme


Ingredients (relish):
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
¼ teaspoon hot chilli sauce
½ shallot, finely chopped
½ of a 300 ml. jar flame roasted sweet red peppers, drained, chopped
2 tablespoons liquid honey

Chopped shallot

Preparation (relish):

1. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Combine. Set aside in refrigerator.

Relish prepared for beet casserole
Beet Casserole

1 cup chopped cooked chicken
2 cup chopped cooked beets
¼ green pepper, finely chopped
¼ yellow pepper, finely chopped
¼ orange pepper, finely chopped
½ shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 egg
½ cup commercial soured cream
1 tablespoon coconut oil
¼ cup fine dried bread crumbs


Beet casserole mixture and bread crumbs
1. Combine the first nine ingredients together in a mixing bowl.

2. Break egg and add to soured cream. 
Stir, then add to the combined ingredients
in the mixing bowl, folding all together.

3. Place coconut oil in saute pan over medium heat. When the oil has melted, add the contents of the mixing bowl to the saute pan, spreading it evenly. 

4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and allow the casserole to steam in the saute pan for approximately 15 minutes. 

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle bread crumbs over the surface and allow to heat through for approximately 5 minutes.

6. Turn out the casserole to a serving dish. Spread prepared relish over the top.

Beet casserole side dish
A small portion of this beet casserole makes an interesting side dish to a main meal.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tamarind beet salad

Tamarind beet salad with blood orange
                                                             Yield: 2 servings

Tamarind beet salad is slow food. The sweet-sour character of tamarind, together with the added spices, renders this dish a prime accompaniment for roast beef, moose, venison or bison, or for game birds.

Tamarind beets

Tamarind puree is made in the old-fashioned way, requiring slow and careful stirring of the mixture by hand. When the puree is cooked, it is stored to cool. Cooked beets are then sliced and the puree is added to the beets, along with a sliced and segmented blood orange.

Tamarind puree
                                               Yield: approximately ½ cup puree

Soft dried tamarind

¼ cup soft, dried tamarind (approximately), without seeds
7 - 12 tablespoons hot water
½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon whole fennel seeds
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of garam masala


1. In a heat-proof bowl or small cooking pot, place tamarind and 3 tablespoons of hot water. Squish, stir and generally do what you must to loosen and soften the tamarind, liquifying it into a puree. Add hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture becomes a liquid puree rather than a paste. It may take 20 minutes to reach the puree stage, depending upon how soft the block of tamarind was initially.

Even although there are not supposed to be seeds in the tamarind block, often there are. Remove seeds and discard them.

2. In a small cooking pot, place the tamarind puree over medium heat until steam rises, then reduce heat to simmer.

3. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir gently and continually for 5 - 20 minutes, allowing the spice flavours to be released and to mingle.

Tamarind puree

4.  Decant into a tightly-lidded container and store in refrigerator to cool.

Tamarind beet salad

Chopped beets, blood orange and fresh mint

4 small beets, cooked according to your preferred method, peeled, sliced and chilled
1 blood orange, peeled, sliced and segmented
3 tablespoons prepared tamarind puree
fresh mint

Blood oranges
Place  all ingredients in a bowl and fold them together. Spoon into serving dishes and garnish with mint.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Nutritional value of beets - Part 5: Beet greens (raw)

Raw beet greens

Beet cultivation originated in the Mediterranean basin well before the Greeks became a predominant force. Beets were valued for their leaves rather than their roots; they were commonly known as blood root. Thus, when we use beet leaves, we are reverting to the original use of the plant.

Beet greens are also called beet leaves and beet tops. Whatever you wish to call them, they are a rich source of nutrients and nourishment.

This article discusses only those nutrients present in the highest quantities in beet greens. For a more extensive list of nutrients and their associated values, please refer to the USDA National Nutrient database.

The nutritional values of beet greens are most abundantly represented in the following listed vitamins and minerals:

Measure: 38g (1 cup)
Calories: 8

Nutrient value
 % of RDA*
 M --- F
2404 IU
48 - 60
152 mcg
19 - 19
11.4 mcg
190 - 190
290 mg

26.6 mg
7.4 - 8.9
0.1 mg

IU = International Units; mg = milligram; mcg = microgram
RDA = Recommended Daily Allowance; M = male; F = female

* RDA has been made obsolete by the USDA and so, as of March 2011, when I do mention it, it shall only be as a quaint matter of historical interest. RDA has been replaced by three other measures which are (a) unrelated to RDA and (b) meaningless for all practical purposes at this time. This will remain the case until such time as the new measures are sufficiently and comprehensively developed to the point of serving a meaningful purpose.

For a broad overview of one of the new, incomplete standard measures, check out Dietary Reference Intake .