Gluten Free For Good


More About Melissa

Posts Tagged ‘Grant Family Farms’

What does 500,000 pounds of food look like?

According to my Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition book, if you live for 65 years or longer, you will have consumed more than 70,000 meals and disposed of 50 tons of food.


Yikes, that’s a lot of food.

Okay—one ton is 2000 pounds. In that case, the average (whatever average means) person consumes 100,000 pounds of food in 65 years (give or take a few pounds). So, 500,000 pounds of food would keep 5 people nourished for 65 years. Very cool.

Andy Grant (hard-working farmer, soil scientist, and plant guru) and Grant Family Farms (my organic CSA) donated almost 500,000 pounds of fresh food to the community last year via several food banks in Colorado and Wyoming. Over the past few years, Andy and the gang have donated over 2,000,000 pounds of food (you read that right—6 zeros). They even shipped food to communities in need after hurricane Katrina.

That’s how it’s done. People helping people.

Andy hates to toot his own horn, so I’ll toot it for him. I’m so impressed (and humbled) at how hard the folks at Grant Family Farms work to support the community and I’m over-the-top grateful to have their organically grown, local food grace my table and boost my health. Join a CSA and help support this grass roots movement to reclaim our food supply. It starts at home.

Farm-fresh frittata
what you need
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped squash (zucchini or yellow)
1 tomato, seeded and chopped (drain the juice)
1 cup spinach, chopped
6 organic pastured eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons Simply Organic All-Purpose Seasoning
Sprinkling of Parmesan cheese (optional)
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

what you do
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a heavy skillet (I use a cast iron skillet to prepare and bake the frittata in), heat the butter over low-medium heat. Make sure you coat the bottom and sides of the skillet with butter. Sauté onions for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, stir and cook another 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Add the squash and continue cooking for about 5 more minutes. Don’t let the veggies burn, cook until slightly tender. Remove from heat. Add chopped tomatoes, spinach, and herbs. Mix well.
3. Pour eggs over top and gently stir to blend ingredients.
4. Place skillet on center rack of preheated oven and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and return to oven for an additional 5 to 7 minutes until eggs are firm and top is slightly browned.
5. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.

For more information about Andy Grant and why we need to support our local farmers, please watch this short video.

“Dammit, we’re doing the right thing.” – Andy Grant

Yes, you are Andy, and I love you for it!

Peace, joy, and farm-fresh veggies!

sautéed lettuce and brown rice bowl

This post was inspired by the people in my family (that would be Bill and Tevis) who have a funky allele from the shallow end of the “food sensitivity” gene pool. That little chromosome modification makes eating raw lettuce a digestive disaster.


Yes, there are people who can’t eat raw lettuce. How weird is that? (This coming from someone who can’t eat gluten, bell peppers, black beans and eggplant. Or oysters, but that’s just because they’re icky.)

So, who says you have to eat lettuce raw?

Remember, you are the boss of your food. I find lettuce absolutely delicious sautéed and mixed in with other veggies and brown rice. Just like you would spinach or kale. What’s the difference? They’re all leafy and green.

sautéed lettuce and brown rice bowl (a favorite lunch of mine)
what you need

1 cup cooked brown rice (I love Golden Rose, but any brown or wild rice will do) *
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped carrot
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 cloves minced garlic
1 to 2 cups washed and chopped lettuce (a thick and leafy type is best)
Spoonful of coconut oil (or oil of choice)
Several splashes of vegetable broth
Sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and roasted nuts (optional)
Dusting of gomasio * (or dried herbs, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper)

what you do
Heat oil on low/medium heat in a large skillet. Sauté onions, carrots and celery for 5 to 7 minutes, stir often. They should be lightly cooked, but still crunchy. Add garlic and cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Add rice and blend with veggies. If your rice is cold (cooked, but has been refrigerated), make sure you cook it long enough to heat it up. Add a splash of vegetable broth just enough to moisten the mix and prevent the rice and veggies from sticking to the pan. Add the lettuce and another splash of broth and stir well. Keep stirring and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes until lettuce is wilted. You might even put the lid on the skillet and let it steam for a minute or two. Place in bowl, top with cheese and seasonings.

I’m not guaranteeing this will solve your food sensitivity problem, but many people have difficulties consuming raw veggies, lettuce included and they never think to cook it first. We cook all other veggies, why not lettuce?

I get lots of Romaine lettuce from my Grant Family Farms CSA share and find this to be a perfect choice for cooking (see above photo of chopped Romaine). It’s thick, crunchy and hearty, so it stands up well when thrown in the sauté pan.

* For detailed information on rice types and cooking tips, please check here.
* For a wonderful gomasio recipe, check here.

Peace, love and cooked lettuce.

gluten-free veggie pizza

I figure if I’m going to eat pizza, I better load it up with antioxidant goodness.

Wednesday is my Grant Family Farms CSA pick-up day, so Tuesday nights are often spent making pizza or rice bowls out of the leftover odds and ends in my crisper drawer. It forces me to explore the dark corners of my fridge and make room for the new arrivals. Never one to color inside the lines, I’ve come up with some creative ways to use the tail-end of my farm-fresh food deliveries.

Beet or corn ice cream, anyone? Sweet potato tacos?

How about radicchio, mixed squash and beet pizza?


Radicchio (see above) is a leafy chicory plant. Most people use it in salads, although I find it bitter. But guess what? If you cook it, the bitter taste disappears and it becomes mellow and slightly sweet. It’s wonderful stuff and according to The Journal of Nutrition, it’s also very high in antioxidants. Right up there with Swiss chard, spinach and broccoli.

Last Tuesday night I dug around in my fridge and found some radicchio, a piece of already cooked corn-on-the-cob, a beet, a small grilling onion, two roasted green chiles, and a few big chunks of delicata, crookneck and zucchini squash. I also had several garden-fresh tomatoes, all from the farm.

Radicchio on pizza? I’ll give it a try. And, how about roasted green chile, black olive, onion, corn and tomato pizza?

All super-healthy ingredients. Every veggie on this list is filled with high-quality antioxidants. That’s a good thing. Our bazillions of hard-working little cells need all the help they can get.

gluten-free antioxidant veggie pizza #1 (see above, top left corner)
what you need
1 gluten-free Udi’s thin pizza crust *
1 & 1/2 tablespoons butter (I prefer organic, pastured, full-tilt butter)
2 cloves garlic, minced
squeeze of honey (1-2 teaspoons)
1 cup thinly sliced ridacchio
1 cup mixed squash chunks (3/4 inch squares)
1 beet, washed and cut into chunks, no need to peel (3/4 inch squares)
cheese (I used a mix of 3 different kinds)

gluten-free antioxidant veggie pizza #2 (above, bottom right corner)
what you need
1 gluten-free Udi’s thin pizza crust *
1 & 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
squeeze of honey (1-2 teaspoons)
2 roasted green chiles, peeled, de-seeded and chopped
2 tomatoes chopped *
1 can sliced black olives
1/4 cup corn
1/4 cup diced onion

what you do
1. Because the beets and squash take longer to cook than the pizza itself, I like to roast them first. It also adds a nice taste to the pizza. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the prepared beets and zucchini in a medium-sized bowl and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Gently mix to cover with oil. Spread out the veggies on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast on center rack of the oven for about 15 minutes. Watch closely and flip using a spatula to make sure they’re roasted evenly. Remove from oven and set aside.
2. While the veggies are roasting, melt the butter over low heat, add the garlic and honey and stir until blended.
3. Brush the melted butter-garlic-honey blend over the pizza crust. Add the ingredients, sprinkle shredded cheese over the top and cook in 375 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cheese is lightly browned. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
4. Cut into 4 slices and enjoy! Serves 1 or 2, depending on how hungry you are.

Melissa’s cooking notes (if you dare):

* Udi’s is a local gluten-free product company. These crusts are thin, delicious and store well in the freezer. This is one of the few pre-made, gluten-free products that I buy. I love them!

* Put the ridacchio on first so it doesn’t burn (that goes for ingredients like kale as well, they tend to cook faster than the big chunky ingredients).

* When I use tomatoes for cooking and don’t want the extra liquid, I chop them and spin them in my salad spinner to get rid of the excess moisture. Then I save the juice and use it in my homemade salad dressings.

* Photos above are the “before” versions. I dislike messing with my camera when it’s time to sit down and enjoy dinner.

Peace, love and antioxidant goodness!

Spinach, spinach and more spinach

Are you having an evolutionary flashback?

Belonging to a CSA means eating according to the natural, local growing cycles. Back in the olden days, this was the only option. No avocados if you lived in Colorado. No tomatoes in the winter unless you canned them. No spinach in December.

Here in the Rocky Mountains, you can count on the possibility of snow into May (maybe longer), so June and July mean LOTS of greens (seriously, like a ton). Right now my CSA share box is overflowing with spinach. My crisper drawer is jammed. I can’t shove another leaf into it.

That’s the perceived downside to belonging to a CSA. No variety. Spinach, spinach and more spinach. Hey, we have too many options in life as it is, enjoy the simplicity. Sometimes less is more (or something like that).

Just think “primitive diet” with a contemporary twist. Spinach is our main ingredient, we simply need to resort to some creative accessorizing. How about some maple syrup to sweeten things up? Those of you who have been following this blog for any length of time might recognize a pattern here. Pure, organic maple syrup is often my answer to life’s dilemmas.

warm maple spinach salad
what you need

10 cups washed, stemmed and gently torn spinach
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
1/4 cup (or more) chopped pecans
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/3 cup shredded smoked Gouda

what you do
1. Toast pecans in a small skillet over low heat until fragrant (3 to 5 minutes). Stir often. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool.
2. Toss spinach and cucumber in a large bowl.
3. Heat oil in small skillet over low-medium heat. Add shallot and cook 4 to 5 minutes until softened. Stir often. Don’t let the shallot burn. Add vinegar and maple syrup and increase heat until almost boiling. Stir well. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Immediately pour the dressing over the spinach and cucumber. Toss well and sprinkle with cheese and toasted pecans.

Makes 4 large servings or 6 small ones.

As for the abundance of CSA spinach, if all else fails, make a bouquet-ish arrangement out of it. See photo above.

Go forth and eat spinach! Over and over.
P.S. Cid, I’m counting on you to set me straight on my cheese choice. I’m guessing there’s a more fashionable accessory than smoked Gouda.

peach pancake sauce & push-ups


I’ve said this before, but I’ll admit it again. Being a nutritionist doesn’t stop me from having a full-on sweet tooth. That’s my thing, that’s my issue, that’s my problem, that’s what I’d want if I was stranded on a dessert (Fruedian spelling slip) island.

Stranded with Brad Pitt? No thanks. Stranded with something sweet? Count me in! Stranded with a maple tree and some sap buckets? Yeah!

Pancakes and pure maple syrup — yep, that’s my downfall.

The pancakes?

They’re just maple syrup holders. A reason to eat pure, organic, grade A, Vermont maple syrup.

Knowing full-well I’d be better off topping my pancakes and hot cereal with something other than liquid sweetness, I’m always up for a healthier option. Once again, Ali, from Whole Life Nutrition has come to the rescue, inspiring me to try something new. She just did a post on blueberry syrup and it looks divine. I, however, picked up another big bag of fresh Colorado peaches in my CSA box on Monday.

what you need
6-7 ripe peaches, pitted and chopped in small chunks
1 cup water (a little less if you have very juicy peaches)
2 teaspoons agar-agar *
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

what you do
Wash and chop the peaches. I put the chopped peaches in a large strainer like this, over a larger bowl. I squished (sophisticated culinary term) out some of the juice into the bowl, pressing and smooshing the peaches into the strainer. Pour water and collected peach juice into a medium-sized sauce pan. Add agar-agar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a strong simmer and stir frequently for 5 minutes until agar-agar has fully dissolved.

* Agar-agar is a thickener made from seaweed. You could use arrowroot powder for the thickening agent, or skip it altogether. I like using agar-agar because it’s high in iodine and I feel like I need a dose now and then for thyroid health.

Add peaches, cinnamon and honey and continue simmering and stirring for another 10 minutes, until sauce thickens and water is reduced. It should be the consistency of applesauce.

You have to stir frequently so you might as well keep yourself busy. Stand facing your kitchen counter, about 3 feet away (maybe a little more depending on how tall you are). Okay, here’s the disclaimer. Read this and swear to me you’re not going to do something stupid. Ask your doctor if it’s okay for you to do push-ups against the kitchen counter. Don’t slip on the floor, chip your tooth, hurt your shoulder or whatever else is possible. Make sure you have decent shoes on, your floor isn’t wet and you’re not standing on a banana peel.


With your feet at least 3 feet from the counter, bend over and grasp the edge. Now you’re at a 90 degree angle similar to Uttanasana Forward Bend demonstrated in this illustration. The only difference is you’re grasping the counter top and your feet might be farther away from the cabinet. The farther away, the harder the push-up. Also, the easier it is to slip and hurt yourself (see above disclaimer, read it again). Using core strength (imagine velcro-ing your belly button to your spine from the inside — work your abs), do a series of strong push-ups. Don’t sag. Start with 10 push-ups, rest, stretch back into Uttanasana Forward Bend and then stir your peach syrup; do 10 more push-ups, rest, stretch back into Uttanasana Forward Bend and continue to stir your peach syrup. And on you go. Think of how much strength you build just hanging around in your kitchen waiting for stuff to happen. Seriously, I do iron-chef-girl yoga all the time.

Serve your peach syrup warm over pancakes or let cool and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for later use. This is great over ice cream, hot cereal (wonderful over hot teff or GF oatmeal), buckwheat pancakes, French toast, or waffles.


Whew, cooking is hard.

do you know where your dinner came from?


Although I find the subject of food politics fascinating, I’ll spare you (sort of) my comestible ranting and stick to some of the more fun aspects of farming, food and healthy living.

But first, a little background.

Okay, I admit it — I drive an SUV. I was born and raised in Colorado, what else would I drive? I ski, hike, backpack and own a 130 pound furry dog. I’m not trading in my 4-wheel drive Pathfinder for some little foo-foo, plug-in car.

Having said that, I also care about the environment. Second to cars, the way our food is produced and distributed uses more fossil fuel than any other segment of the economy. And according to some of the experts who study this stuff, our Standard American Diet (SAD) contributes over one-third of the greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere. Not to mention what that diet does to our general health.

Food travels an average of 1500 miles before it lands on our dinner plate. Most of the time we have no idea where it came from, who grew it, or how it made its way into our homes. Other than the short trip from isle 14 at the supermarket and into the kitchen.

So, to do my part, I’m keeping my 9 year old SUV “clunker” and instead of taking the $4500 in government subsidy money and trading it in on a new car, I’ll make an effort to eat as much locally grown, seasonal food as possible. Is “cash for kale” part of any of these government stimulus packages? That might fit nicely into all three of these bills currently stirring up debate in Congress; climate change, food safety and health care. Oooh, as tempting as this political thread is, I’ll resist jumping on my soap box (or fruit box, in this case) and move on to the fun stuff.

Those of us who belong to the Grant Farms CSA program know where a good part of our food comes from. At least 26 week’s worth, but most of us don’t know the finer details. Here’s a closer look, complete with photos I took last Saturday while indulging my hippie-girl roots and painting flowers and peace signs on the farm-tour buses.


. . . and eat your veggies.


Grant Farm’s Jane and Maggie – peace, love, Bob Dylan and sparkly farkle.


You’d never guess who the lady-bug painting expert was. These farm boys are gentle souls (right, Josh?).


This organic lettuce was grown with care by Andy Grant, Ricardo (lettuce scientist extraordinaire) and the gang at Grant Family Farms. It’s harvested at its peak and packed carefully into the CSA delivery boxes by Uriel (above) and his coworkers for pick-up by us, the lucky shareholders. Even knowing the basics of the process, it’s hard for me to imagine how much work actually went into growing and getting that bunch of lettuce into my hands. To be honest, I have no clue, but I can see the pride in Uriel’s eyes and the spirit behind his smile and that gives me a hint.


This is Carmen, carefully dishing out summer squash while flashing her mega-watt smile. There’s a whole assembly line of cheerful, hard-working people putting together our CSA share boxes. Visiting the farm, touring the distribution center and meeting the people who grow, care for, harvest, organize and distribute the food makes it taste all the more delicious.

And Alonzo — a delightful smile to match a pleasant attitude. Now, don’t you appreciate that squash a little more knowing where it came from? And doesn’t that make you smile too? Go ahead, I dare you. Look into these faces and try not to smile. See, it’s impossible (snicker, snicker).

Good people, good energy, good food.

Okay, I don’t want rant (too much) and I don’t want to preach (too much), but by purchasing locally grown food from folks like this who care about the land and value the goods they’re producing, we become an important part of that community — a cog in the health and sustainability of the cycle. They need us and we need them.

It’s a privilege. Thanks, Andy and gang!

Peace, love and veggies!

warm kohlrabi & spinach (salad?)


If the beet is intense and deadly serious, the kohlrabi is off-beat and free-spirited. It’s the plant version of a 17 year old boy with a skull and crossbones tattoo on one arm and a skateboard under the other. Ahh, but I like colorful people and unconventional vegetables. Kohlrabi is included in that cast of characters.

Nutrition information and tips

Kohlrabi is a cross between a turnip and a cabbage and is a relative of broccoli. It’s high in vitamin C, low in calories, contains a good amount of fiber and serves up some calcium, potassium and iron. I’m not big on peeling my veggies, so other than trimming away the funky parts of the skin and the tough base end, I don’t bother (wash and scrub well). You can use both the globe part and the leaves, but it’s best to store them separately. The leaves don’t last long; use them quickly as you would any other green. The globe can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or more. Both have a mild, slightly sweet taste. You can eat it raw, sauté it, use it in stir fry recipes, or cook it and mash it.

Spinach (one cup) provides a whopping 1110% (no mistake, that’s thousand) of the daily value of vitamin K, 294% of vitamin A, 84% of manganese, 65% of folate and 35% of iron. It also has plenty of vitamin C, B2, calcium, potassium, B6, dietary fiber, protein and on and on. Even some omega 3 fatty acids. This is all packed into one cup of spinach, which carries with it a measly 41 calories. Lots of bang for your buck!


warm kohlrabi & spinach (salad?)
1 washed and scrubbed kohlrabi globe, chopped into strips
2 cups washed, dried and chopped spinach
roasted sunflower seeds
vegetable or chicken broth *
course sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

* I like keeping a small carton of chicken or vegetable broth in my fridge to use for sautéing veggies. Pacific Natural Foods has small (1 cup serving size each) 4-pack containers of organic broth, which lasts me 2-4 days.

Using a large skillet, heat about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of broth over medium heat. Add kohlrabi and simmer until semi-tender, 5-8 minutes or so. Add spinach and a splash more broth if needed, stir gently until spinach is slightly wilted. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Salt and pepper to taste. (This was my lunch, make a much larger amount for more servings.)

Caraway seeds also go well with this warm salad. I toast them in the pan before adding the other ingredients. I was thinking garlic scapes would be great with this, but I wanted to save mine for a salmon salad (I’ll post that recipe in a couple days).

Raw kohlrabi, carrot, jicama, apple and/or radishes cut in matchstick pieces makes a wonderful raw salad. Top with an olive oil/honey mustard dressing. You can also grate kohlrabi into any green salad or stir fry. Although it may look intimidating, it’s really quite friendly and versatile.

Go forth and embrace off-beat veggies!

poached eggs on kale


When your refrigerator is stocked with beautiful local greens and farm fresh eggs and you know you’ve got another load coming in a few days, you need to get creative with your meals. I’m eating kale, spinach, collard greens and lettuce in some form at almost every meal. Ah, but I’m not complaining.

I’m a fan of a hearty breakfast for a variety of reasons. If you start your day with a nourishing mix of healthy carbs, good fats and quality protein, your energy levels stay balanced and you don’t crash an hour after eating (you know, the high-impact donut-dive). When you start your day with real food, you think better, feel better and have more energy. And without that creamed-filled donut and mega-grande latte, you probably look better, too. You’re also less likely to gain weight if you eat a nourishing breakfast. All good reasons. If you’re a CSA member and are being bombarded with greens, a hearty breakfast is a good way to chip away at the volume.

Poached eggs on kale
what you need

2 cups organic kale
your choice of whole grain (gluten-free) toast *
pastured, organic eggs *

what you do
Wash kale well and separate stems from leaves. I use both as I like the crunchy ribs as well as the hearty leaves. Cut stems in 1 inch chunks and chop leaves into sections. Place one tablespoon coconut oil (or your oil of choice) in medium-sized skillet over low heat. Add the kale stems and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until slightly tender. Add leaves, stir gently for another 3 or 4 minutes. If the pan is too dry, add a splash of broth.*

While greens are cooking, poach two eggs in a small pan of water and toast your bread. Layer greens on toast, top with poached eggs. Finish off with fresh ground pepper and salt.

* I don’t eat bread very often, but there is nothing better than a poached egg on toast so I keep a loaf of gluten-free teff bread in the freezer. Teff is a powerful little grain; for more information, check here.

* I have a year-round egg share from Grant Farms and can’t imagine eating store-bought eggs. Seriously, there’s a HUGE difference in taste and quality. Plus, I like knowing my eggs come from hens living in style at the bird spa. Check here for detailed information.

* I always have a good-quality home-made or store bought broth in my fridge for sautéing veggies. It’s a healthy way to cook greens and great for making rice.

Here’s a nutrition profile for kale, courtesy of Nutrition Data. It’s good stuff.



Go forth and eat a hearty green breakfast!

lettuce prep & kid-friendly green smoothie



I mean yippeee!

What do you do with a zillion heads of lettuce (not to mention kale and collard greens)? I picked up week #2 of my Grant Farms CSA delivery last night and am inundated with greens. Ohh, I’m not complaining. Trust me, this is farm-fresh heaven. But I made a promise to myself (and St. Isidoare, the patron saint of farmers) this year to use every last lettuce leaf and not to let any of this fine food end up in my compost pile. We need to start with proper storage.

Washing, drying and storing salad greens
First off, if you’re going to jump on the CSA bandwagon, get yourself a good salad spinner. I love my OXO brand, but it wasn’t cheap (well worth it though). Wash salad greens well. It may take two or three rounds. Save the wash water and use it on your plants. They LOVE murky green water.


Fill with greens and water. Swish, swish, swish (water plants) and spin dry. Drying is just as important as washing as your dressing won’t adhere to the leaves if they’re wet. Plus, it doesn’t store well if it’s too damp.


Using either a lightweight kitchen towel or a paper towel, lay the washed and spun-dry lettuce out on the towel and loosely roll it up, burrito style. Place in plastic bag and store in your refrigerator crisper. It should last up to a week or more.


Healthy, kid-friendly greenish smoothie
Choose a couple of the following fruits (frozen is fine)
• ripe banana; 1/2 cup berries, pineapple or watermelon chunks; pear (be creative)
• 1 carton Redwood Hill Farms vanilla goat yogurt
• 1 cup Grant Farms lettuce (lettuce is great in smoothies)
• coconut water
• dash of cinnamon

* This is a launching pad recipe, add whatever you want. If you want a little protein, add a scoop of chia seeds.

Blend and serve! Adjust amounts depending on the number and size of servings.

Go forth, wash and dry your greens and feed them to your kids in smoothies!

deadly serious beet & spinach salad


The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is the more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.
Jitterbug Perfume — Tom Robbins

Do you ever read something you wish you had written? Something so well-crafted, so simple, yet sublime? That’s how I feel about the above paragraph. I should have written that. I’m the one obsessed with beets, born with an affinity to Rasputin’s favorite vegetable. No one understands beets like I do.

Of course, good writing and a passion for beets are two distinctly different things. Even if I have to let Tom Robbins say it for me, I’m content knowing I’ve chosen the most torrid of all vegetables as my favorite. Trust me, carrots, celery, even burdock root are no match for the wild and impassioned beet.

I love beets.

I belong to Grant Farms CSA program and yesterday was my first delivery of 26 weeks worth of organic vegetables, fruits and farm fresh eggs (I have a year-round egg share). Those of you who have been following this blog know I border on ardently evangelical when it comes to my local farmer friends and their freshly-harvested, seasonal produce.

I opened my CSA box last night and inside I found a bunch of deadly serious beets. Need I say more?

Deadly Serious Beet & Spinach Salad
what you need
1 pound beets
3 – 4 cups spinach leaves
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon agave nectar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
pecans, chopped
crumbled goat cheese (I use local Haystack Mountain goat cheese)

what you do
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim beets and save the leaves; please don’t throw them away, they are wonderful (see link below). Scrub the beets and place in a glass baking dish.* Pour about an inch or so of water into the dish and cover with foil. Roast for about 45 to 60 minutes depending on the size of the beets and the “heat” of your oven. Carefully (don’t spill the HOT beet water) remove beets from oven, set aside and let cool. Save the beet water for making smoothies. Seriously, let it cool and store it in a glass jar in the fridge – it makes for wonderfully healthy smoothie juice.

In the meantime, using a small bowl, whisk together diced garlic, shallots, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, agave and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. I usually put the mixture in a glass jar and shake like crazy. Shake, shake, shake your booty.

Once cooled, cut beets into 1/4 inch circular slices. (I never peel beets, I simply trim the stems and leaves and wash and scrub the beet root with a veggie scrubber before I roast or use them.)

Arrange spinach on plates, top with beets, chopped pecans and crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle with dressing.

* I have a Le Creuset enamel-covered, cast iron French oven with lid that I use for roasting beets. It’s wonderful, but the above method works as well.

Go forth and sizzle with seriousness,

P.S. You might also like –
Beet Greens & Brown Rice (good information about beets and the greens and how to use them)
Grant Farms Egg Information (information and nutrition profile of pastured eggs)

I’ll be posting weekly nutrition information and recipes depending on what Andy and the gang put in my big red Grant Farms CSA box each week. Stay tuned and leave a comment if you want ideas, help or information about farm-fresh food. Sign-up for emailed updates so you don’t miss anything.

Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
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