Meatless Monday Celebrates Fall Harvest

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Meatless Monday published my Harvest Vegetable Tart in their Fall Harvest recipe  roundup.  Check out my recipe featuring root vegetables like sweet potatoes, parsnips, purple carrots and butternut squash cut into leaf shapes using small cookie cutters.  This is a savory vegetarian pie with a creamy rich filling of vegetables braised in vegetable broth, coconut milk and parmesan cheese, although goat cheese would work well too for the filling.  Harvest Vegetable Tart Recipe on goodmotherdiet  By the way, goodmotherdiet has 99,771 hits to date.  Who is going to be the 100,000?

Meatless Monday has compiled a nice assortment of recipes from bloggers like me, pastas, curry, lentils, squash, beets, enchiladas, etc. For the full list of Fall Harvest recipes click HERE

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Join me in supporting the Meatless Monday movement.  Even if you’re not ready to skip meat altogether, going meatless one day a week helps.  Choosing to go Meatless Monday can help fight diseases, reduce the risk of diabetes, and improve heart health. It also conserves land, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, saves water, and saves energy. Meatless Monday is in over 40 countries and over 20 languages.  Check out their website for more information. Meatless Monday Website

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Graphic Image created by Danielle Russell for Meatless Monday.

Wheatless Wednesday – Roasted Beet and Tomato Salad

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If tomatoes are the star in summer, beets are a bold and intense showgirl.  Together they are a showstopper!   Fresh and easy, pretty enough for a party, this Roasted Beet and Tomato Salad is a Summer Showcase!  Sun-ripened tomatoes in reds and yellows paired with dark-ruby roasted beets, resting on a bed of mixed greens and topped with crumbled feta and fresh herbs is a pure delight.  I love the simplicity of this five ingredient salad drizzled with a simple vinaigrette.  Each flavor is strong enough to stand on it’s own, and tossed together they make a colorful and flavorful salad, good enough for company but tasty enough for family.

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Photo Credit: Dr Oz

Roasted beets are not to be compared to the tasteless canned variety.  Roasting them intensifies their flavor as none of the juice is lost in boiling water. Beets are very low in calories, contain no cholesterol and small amount of fat and they are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants.  All of that glorious color has to mean something!

I feel like a word of caution is in order here.  As I mentioned, dark beets have a vivid color and when roasted with olive oil, some of the escaped juices are quite vibrantly red, which I found out looks remarkably like blood when spilled.  Yes, I tipped the foil and juices leaked out; on the counter, down the cabinet and on the floor.  Even my bare feet looked like they were splattered in blood.  It looked like someone cut off their arm in right in my kitchen.  Note to self for next gory Halloween costume…  Also, beet juice can stain wood cutting boards, so I recommend plastic washable cutting surfaces or a ceramic plate.  Otherwise, beets are lovely.

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Do we even need to talk about tomatoes?  If you aren’t convinced, click  HERE to read how eating tomatoes can make you healthier.  If you love beets but not tomatoes so much, here are a few other Goodmotherdiet salads that were also inspired by beets:

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Beet and Citrus Salad with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts

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Layered Beet Salad with Glazed Pecans and Citrus Vinaigrette

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Roasted Beet Salad with Ripe Peaches and Goat Cheese

TIPS:  If you were lucky enough to buy beets with the greens still attached, don’t cut them off and discard them.  The greens are delicious raw, thinly sliced into salads or sauteed and stirred into pasta or prepared any way you would use chard, kale or any other dark leafy green.  They have a slightly bitter taste that mellows with cooking and adds flavor and nutrients to your meal.  Beets can be roasted a day or two ahead of time and refrigerated until ready.  Note that beet juice stains porous surfaces, like wood cutting boards.  Use non-porous surfaces for preparation and slicing.

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ROASTED BEET AND TOMATO SALAD

1 lb beets (3-4 medium)
2 lbs tomatoes, mixed
1 bunch arugula or mixed greens
3 oz feta, sliced or crumbled(optional)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped or sliced
1/4 cup olive oil+
1/4 cup apple cider or red wine vinager
salt and pepper to taste

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  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut away beet greens without cutting into the skin and place beets on a large piece of foil, separately or together.  Drizzle with olive oil and tightly close foil packet. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet until tender, about 75 minutes.

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  • When cool, use a paper towel to remove skins.

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  • Slice into rounds on a plastic cutting board or plate.

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  • Slice large tomatoes into 1/4′ rounds, and halve cherry tomatoes.

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  • Place greens on the bottom of a serving platter and arrange the beets and tomatoes on top.

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  • Whisk together the olive oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Top tomatoes with feta, cilantro, basil and drizzle with dressing.  Serve with more herbs and feta on the side.

Roasted Beet and Tomato Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1 lb beets (3-4 medium)
2 lbs tomatoes, mixed
1 bunch arugula or mixed greens
3 oz feta, sliced or crumbled
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped or sliced
1/4 cup olive oil+
1/4 cup apple cider or red wine vinager
salt and pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut away beet greens without cutting into the skin and place beets on a large piece of foil.  Drizzle with olive oil and tightly close foil packet. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet until tender, about 75 minutes.
  • When cool, use a paper towel to remove skins and slice into rounds on a plastic cutting board or plate.
  • Slice large tomatoes into 1/4′ rounds, and halve cherry tomatoes.
  • Place greens on the bottom of a serving platter and arrange the beets and tomatoes on top.
  • Whisk together the olive oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
  • Top with feta, cilantro, basil and drizzle with dressing.
  • Serve with more fresh herbs and feta on the side.

Meatless Monday – Farmer’s Market Pasta & Balsamic Marinated Beets

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Do you know where your food has been?  Do you care?  I finally got around to checking out the Farmer’s Market at Marin Country Mart in Larkspur (California) and I can’t believe it took me so long.  I have really been missing out! This is an open air market where you can buy gorgeous fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts, wild caught seafood, artisan cheeses, flowers and baked goods, all locally grown and crafted.

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While I perused the various stands, my husband stood in line at the Santa Rosa Seafood stand.

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It was a beautiful sunny day.   The only problem is that I had a terrible case of buyer indecision.  I wanted everything, even to grind my own flour!   Do I buy gluten free goodies from Flour Craft Bakery or Granola from Café Fanny?  Why didn’t I bring my knives which could really stand to be sharpened?  Why didn’t I learn to knit? (I almost bought the yarn anyway…)

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This market is also a great family destination with live music, kid crafts and several hot food stands, including one that specializes in grilled cheese. Yum!  It’s open Saturdays from 9am to 2pm. Click here for a listing of vendors and schedule of events. (http://marincountrymart.com/farmers-market)

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Why buy local?
Buying locally-produced food is good for your body, for the earth, and for our local economy.  Because your food doesn’t travel long distances to get to you, it is more nutritious.  Fewer fossil fuels are used in distribution and shipping when you buy local.  Supporting GROWN LOCAL helps keep farming families in business and our dollars in our own communities. (www.buylocalmarin.org )

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To find a farmer’s market in your area, check out the USDA National Farmers Market Directory, an interactive site with information on farmer’s markets all over the US.   (http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/)  Here is another great (and more complete) source for finding farmer’s markets, , family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area http://www.localharvest.org/.

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So what did we end up with?  My husband came home with two kinds of oysters (which I will get to on Wednesday so oyster lovers stay tuned).  After much agonizing, I bought a gorgeous bunch of multi-colored beets, purple asparagus (which I couldn’t resist because of the color) and a bag of mixed greens (chard, kale, mustard and a few I don’t recognize).  I also bought Devil’s Gulch cheese from Cowgirl Creamery and Fig and Black Sesame Jam from Blue Chair Farms which made an excellent and simple appetizer.  Just add crackers.

Farmers Market 25I didn’t have any particular dish in mind when I selected these vegetables.  I was buying purely with my senses and allowed myself to be seduced by their glorious colors.  Once home I decided to make a winter version of pasta primavera and serve roasted, marinated beets on the side.  The resulting dish was very colorful and delicious!  Plus I could feel good knowing I was supporting some local hardworking folks.

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Fusilli with Braised Greens and Asparagus

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Fusilli with Braised Greens and Asparagus

3/4 pound whole-wheat fusilli
4-6 cups mixed greens (chard, kale, etc), chopped and rinsed
1 bunch asparagus, sliced into 1 or 2 inch pieces
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons olive oil (or a combination of butter and olive oil)
4 sliced garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup vegetable broth
Freshly shredded parmesan cheese (optional)
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  • Cook pasta as package directs. Drain and set aside.
  • If your pine nuts are not toasted, heat them in a dry pan over medium heat for a few minutes.  Set aside.
  • Add oil to pan, add garlic and chile flakes.  Cook stirring until fragrant, about a minute.
  • Add asparagus and salt. Cook for a minute or two.
  • Add greens and broth.  Cover and cook until greens are tender, about 5 minutes, stirring several times.
  • Stir in pasta and pine nuts.
  • Top with parmesan cheese (optional)

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Balsamic Marinated Beets

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Balsamic Marinated Beets

small bunch of beets
1-2 Tbsn olive oil
1 orange (optional)
Marinade/Dressing(see directions below)
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  • Cut tops off of beets taking care not to cut into beet.  Leave skin and tails intact.  Wash, dry and place beets in a baking dish (or a large piece of aluminum foil).  Drizzle with olive oil.  Cover with foil and cook for about an hour at 425 degrees.  Larger beets might take longer.  They should be easy to slice with a knife. 
  • Remove from heat and let cool.  Skins will come off easily.  Use a papertowel to keep your hands from getting red.
  • Peel orange and slice crosswise into thick slices.  Section into triangles.
  • Slice beets.  You can marinate them for 30 minutes or overnight, or you can arrange them on a plate, top with orange sections and drizzle with balsamic dressing.

Marinade:  Combine 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 minced shallot, salt and pepper.