Friday, April 29, 2011

Swedish baked beets

Swedish baked beets are traditionally eaten with salted fish. They are also delicious served with beef, lamb, bison, or wild fowl. Eat this dish however you choose: hot out of the oven, at room temperature, or cold as an alfresco summer picnic dish.

Swedish baked beets

                                                                               Yield: 4-6 servings

Oven: 240℃  (460℉)


3 medium-sized beets
1 large red onion
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
½ - ¾ cup commercial soured cream
Garnish: 5 -6 sprigs fresh dill


1. Wash beets. Remove beet leaves, leaving about 2.5 cm. (1 in.) of stem attached to the roots.

2. Using 1 tablespoon of olive oil, coat beet roots in oil. Place whole beet roots in an aluminium foil cooking wrap, add a dash of salt and pepper, and close the foil wrap securely. Place the foil wrapped beet roots in a heat-proof baking tray. Bake at 240℃   for approximately 1.5 hours. 

Cooking time required will vary with the beet's size, origin and type, and with your elevation above sea level. Wearing heat-proof oven mitts, test the roots for doneness by gently pressing the them with your fingers.If the root gives way slightly, baking is complete.

3. Peel red onion and slice into 8 to 16 wedges, depending upon the size of the onion. Place onion wedges on a baking tray. Drizzle with the other tablespoon of olive oil. Add salt and pepper, if preferred. Bake at the same time as the beets. The onion wedges should require approximately 20 - 30 minutes if placed below the beet roots. Less time will be required if the wedges are placed high in the oven. 

When the onion wedges are just slightly singed on some tips, remove from the oven, loosely cover, and set aside.

Roasted red onion wedges

4. When the beet roots are baked, remove them from the oven. Slip the peels off. Quarter the beets into wedges and, possibly, divide the wedges again into bite-sized wedges, depending upon the size of the beets.

Baked beets, fresh from the oven

5. Arrange baked beet and red onion wedges in a serving dish or on a serving plate. Either add dollops of sour cream over the vegetables, or place the sour cream in a separate serving dish. Garnish with fresh dill. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Moroccan chard with lamb

Fresh lamb is readily available in the shops during this spring season. Many prefer lamb to ham for Easter meals. 

If you liked the Moroccan chard recipe, you'll love this dish. It comes to you courtesy of a Moroccan colleague who liked my Moroccan chard recipe. He strongly recommended using vegetable oil because of the high temperature required for searing the lamb. I, however, do not use vegetable oil. I noted his instructions but adapted the ingredients to my own taste. I used coconut oil in this, my own version of the dish he described.

Moroccan chard with lamb, steaming hot and fresh from the pan

                                                                              Yield: 4 servings


4 lamb chops
2 large red-stalked chard leaves, washed
2 large white-stalked chard leaves, washed
1½ cups red onion, diced small
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground paprika
¼ teaspoon ground red (cayenne) pepper
1 tablespoon coconut oil
fresh ground sea salt
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


1. Slice the stalks away from the washed chard leaves. Slice the stalks, crosswise, into 5 mm. (¼ in.) slices. Set aside.

Chopped chard
2. Slice the chard leaves crosswise, to produce strips about 1 cm. (less than ½ in.) wide. Then roughly chop these strips crosswise. Set aside.

3. Slice away and discard the fat from four lamb shops. Pare the meat from the bones. Slice the meat into bite-sized pieces. 

4. In a saute pan, heat the olive oil and add the diced red onion. Saute over low heat for about 3 minutes until the onion becomes translucent. Add the sliced chard stalks, cayenne, black pepper, cumin and paprika.  Cook over medium heat for 3 - 4 minutes. 

Sauteed red onion and chard stalks

5. Remove contents of the saute pan to a heat-proof holding dish.

6. Return the saute pan to the heat. Add the coconut oil and raise the heat to high. Add the chopped lamb and the bones to the sizzling hot coconut oil. Sear the chunks of lamb on all sides to seal in the juices, then reduce the heat to medium and fry for up to 5 minutes, until the inside is still slightly pink. 

Seared lamb

7. Add the contents of the heat-proof dish to the saute pan and heat through.

8. Add the sliced chard leaves and cook without stirring until leaves are wilted. Add sea salt to taste.

Chard slices wilting over seared lamb, chard stalks
and red onion

9. Remove from the heat and turn out into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Beet greens smoothies

Beet greens, beet leaves, beet tops: call them what you will but whatever you call them, know that they are nourishing food. And when eaten as raw cuisine, they deliver the maximum essential nutrients.

These beet green smoothies are made with the minimum of fuss. They are perfect for our busy modern lifestyles. They taste delicious and, what's more, they provide hefty portions of the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables.

So don't throw those beet greens away. Drink them instead.

Beet greens, star fruit and cucumber smoothie

Beet greens and dragon fruit smoothie

Beet greens smoothie

Beet greens and celeriac greens smoothie