Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Beets with Garlic and Walnut Sauce

We have gorgeous big beets from Johnson's Backyard Garden in the market right now. Both golden beets and chioggia beets (pink outside with white and pink stripes on the inside) are heirloom varieties that are a bit sweeter than your average red beet. They are great to cook for someone who says they don't like beets. I was once one of those people who stuck thier tongue out at the thought of beets, but the golden beet - roasted with a bit of fresh squeezed orange juice on top - opened my taste buds to the beet world beyond the canned pickled beets that I abhorred as a child.

This recipe from the New York Times is one of my favorite way to cook beets. It balances perfectly a savory earthy nuttiness in the garlic and the walnuts with a touch of sweetness in the beets and orange juice. Enjoy!

Beets With Garlic-Walnut Sauce

Published: February 27, 2009
Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

2 pounds red beets, about 4 large, trimmed of greens
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash beets well. While still wet, wrap them individually in foil and place on a cookie sheet or roasting pan. Bake beets, undisturbed, for 60 to 90 minutes, until a thin-bladed knife pierces each with little resistance. (They may cook at different rates; remove each one when it is done.)

2. Meanwhile, put oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. When it is warm, add garlic and cook until fragrant and beginning to soften, about 6 minutes. Add walnuts and continue to cook until they begin to color, about another 4 minutes. Let mixture cool slightly and then put it in a small food processor; process until you have a relatively smooth paste. Add orange juice to taste and sprinkle with salt and lots of pepper.

3. After beets have cooled, peel off skins. Slice beets into wedges or cubes and toss with dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning, garnish with parsley and serve.

Yield: 4 servings.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Two Classes this Saturday!

Join us in the Market Saturday morning, Dec 17th,  for two fun and educational classes.

First, at 10:30am is the weekly Gardening class. This week we'll be learning how to start veggies from seed. Believe it or not, the time to start veggies for your spring garden is less than a month away! Starting your own seeds can save you money and open up a whole new variety of choices that you'll never find in transplants at the garden center. Learning to start your garden from seed is a must for any gardener who is interested in growing heirloom varieties for taste, nutrition, and fun!

After Gardening class stick around for dessert! At 11:30 join Dr. Dave and the Wilco Wellness Cafe to celebrate the sweetness of the holidays. First Dr. Dave will do a no-bake pie crust demo and then the party gets started with mouthwatering raw dessert sample treats like chocolate almond pie, apple pie and even raw cheesecake. And for you raw foodies out there who want to show off you favorite raw dessert bring it out to the party to celebrate the New Year! Continue the conversation over lunch at the Monument Cafe after the program.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A 50 year decline in the nutrient value of our food

This month's Mother Earth News reports that the conventionally grown vegetables we eat today are less rich in protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin, and vitamin C than they were 50 years ago. This report is based on the research of UT's Dr Donal Davis.

Since Davis' research was published in 2004, other studies have shown that modern varieties of wheat are half as rich in protein as varieties grown 100 years ago, heirloom cornmeal is significantly richer in a wide range of nutrients than modern varieties, and commonly grown varieties of broccoli in 1950 contained 13g of calcium, where the common super market varieties today contain only 4.4 g of calcium! This is a travesty! Links between dietary nutrient deficiencies and cancer are well documented.
Chart reprinted from Mother Earth News

On the UT website, Davis explains the reason behind this devaluation. “We conclude that the most likely explanation was changes in cultivated varieties used today compared to 50 years ago,” Davis said. “During those 50 years, there have been intensive efforts to breed new varieties that have greater yield, or resistance to pests, or adaptability to different climates. But the dominant effort is for higher yields. Emerging evidence suggests that when you select for yield, crops grow bigger and faster, but they don’t necessarily have the ability to make or uptake nutrients at the same, faster rate.”

Another reason resides in the soil. The application of nitrogen fertilizer causes plants to grow quickly and increase yields, but they tend to absorb more water and have less nutrient density. Your vegetables are only as nutritious as the soil is healthy! Sustainable and organic farming focuses on building a balanced soil holistically, allowing the plants that grow in these healthy environments to absorb more nutrients. A review of 97 independent studies published in 2008 shows that food grown on nurtured soils in organic systems today are as much as 25% more nutrient dense than conventional crops.

These studies give us yet another reason to choose heirlooms vegetables (rather than modern varieties) that have grown on soils that have been cared for. This is one of the many reasons we here at the Monument Market are commited to bringing you local, organic products. Here you can be sure to please your body and your taste buds!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gluten Free Bread Tasting & Info Session This Sunday!

Jean from Serious Sourdough will be at the Market Sunday from 10am to 12:30pm sampling her wide range of delicious gluten free breads and baked goods. Come out for some tasty treats as well as to learn about what grains she uses to mimic wheat breads so incredibly well, including teff, the often overlooked ethipoian wonder grain.

Friday, December 2, 2011

December Gardening CLasses

Melissa Savoy Cabbage in the Monument Garden
We have three exciting gardening classes scheduled this month. All classes are Saturdays at 10:30 in the Market and will last 1 hour or so.

December 3rd: "December in the Garden". Learn what tasks are in store this month in your garden. Just because it is getting cooler doesn't mean there isn't plenty to do!

December 10th: "Beneficial Insects". Learn about the friendly bugs in the garden - how to identify them, how they help, and how to encourage them to take up residence in your garden.

December 17th: "Starting Veggies from Seed". Just after the new year it will be time to start transplants for you spring garden. Come find out what you need to be able to start all your veggies from seed yourself!

Then we'll be taking a break for the holidays. Classes will resume January 7th with "January in the Garden".

Hope to see you there!