So many beets, so few mouths here at Odd Kitchen! Time to get creative. This is essentially an alfredo sauce with grated beets. You can make a vegan version, sans cheese, by substituting olive oil and coconut milk for butter and cream.
2 cups grated beet (1 very large beet or 2 medium-sized beets)
1/2 onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
3-4 tablespoons butter
2 cups cream
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, or a mixture of Parmesan and Fontina
3/4 – 1 cup stock
5-6 leaves fresh basil, shredded (or chiffonade cut, if you like it like that)
Salt & pepper to taste
Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium-low flame. Add onion and stir, stir, stir until it’s golden brown or darker — caramelized, if you can get it there, but never burned. Add the garlic and a flourish of salt and pepper.
Pour the cream and basil into the pan. Add grated beets. Stir and let simmer for about ten minutes; add stock as the liquid evaporates. When beets are tender, add the cheese and stir until it’s melted and the sauce is creamy. Salt and pepper to taste.
Pasta to come…
I love rice pudding, and I also love Indian rice pudding, known (among other names) as kheer. Here, kheer with carrots. This week I picked up Mariquita Farm’s Mystery Box — a setup kind of like participating in a CSA without a subscription — and was pleased to discover, amidst the dark leafy greens and turnips, carrots by the bunches. Stubby orange carrots, white carrots, and purple carrots. Purple carrots! Their core is orange, cloaked in eggplant-purple skin, with orange flesh peeking out in spots like a knee through ripped jeans. I used all my purple carrots and my white carrots (ghost carrots) for this kheer, which stained the milk rather drably (drably? There, I said it), though your regular orange variety will impart a cheery golden hue. And I’m wondering — what to do with carrot tops? Carrot top soup? This time around, I’m afraid, they are simply compost.
Along with Welsh rarebit and split-pea soup, here is a variant on rice pudding — carrot kheer — a member of the vast pantheon of comforting foods.
2 cups peeled, grated carrot
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 – 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
Some sugar, if you think it’s needed
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
While preparing your carrots, toast your pistachios on the stove until fragrantly nutty. Bring the milk to a boil, minding it so it doesn’t scald. Add the carrots, reduce the heat, and stir until carrots are cooked, but slightly toothy. Add the condensed milk and cardamom and cook down about 15-20 minutes until the consistency is thickened to your liking. If you prefer your pistachios soft, add them with the cardamom; if you like them crunchy, garnish at the end. Add sugar if you feel it’s needed.
Its flavor is slightly vegetal with a very tender texture. Eat this hot or cold or when you are feeling blue.
About 4 servings
Another pimenton dish. A simple and tasty way to get some stabilizing sugars, fiber, and beta carotene.
1-2 garnet sweet potatoes
1/2 large onion
2-4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp pimenton (Spanish smoked paprika)
A few tablespoons olive oil or other liquid fat
Fresh cilantro to taste
Peel and slice the sweet potato into discs; put into a bowl and toss with the oil and pimenton. Slice the onion into thin half-circles and pull apart. Smash the cloves of garlic with the back of your knife. Line the sweet potato discs scalloped-style in a 13×9″ baking dish and spread the onion and garlic on top. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes; remove when the potatoes are soft. Serve with plain yogurt or queso fresco.
This raw-food salad is based off of a dish I had at a Middle Eastern restaurant on West Broadway many years ago. It’s excellent alone or as part of a larger survey of food, such as a composed salad plate. I have served this along with a French lentil-feta salad, pureed sweet potatoes with coconut milk, roasted peppers, vegetarian kibbeh, and fresh-baked pitas to positive reviews.