Tuesday, March 5, 2013

No shame in that!

Let's face it - the eight inches of new snow covering everything this morning was a bunch of crap a minor setback.

After a weekend of sun, sun, sun!
After watching the snow drip away steadily into long, flowing puddles on pavement
After taking our jackets off on a warm, hilly hike on Saturday
And then, Sunday, seeing the smallest patch of grass peek through the most-worn part of the cross country ski track (oh, believe me, that whole skiing thing is a story for another time)

And then - eight inches of new snow to cover it all up again. With banks of snow now twice my height in our parking lot.

What can you do?

As I see it, you really have two choices here. You can hunker down yet again with your heaviest blanket, an entire row of Double Stuf Oreos and a movie about teenage magicians, and wait for better times. Or, you can turn off the gas fireplace and shake your fist at the sky - because when mother nature hands you an endless winter, you make beets and potatoes!

(Or, maybe like me, you do both. There's no shame in that!)

Today, in honor of the endless winter with nothing but root vegetables as far as the eye can see, I'm giving you: beets with horseradish, and dill potatoes. These really are two of my favorites, for winter or anytime. Both of these recipes jazz up the vegetables more than simply roasting or boiling them, but each requires no more than three ingredients and three steps from start to finish. 

For the potatoes: I made these all the time last summer, after I would end up with a plastic grocery bag of dill from the farmer's market that I would never be able to get through. I made them again last week, and man - they are incredible. Light and buttery, intensely creamy, with the lightest tang of dill brightening them up. You cook them until they just start breaking down and just start to brown in spots; when you serve them, they are sort of a cross between the texture of roasted and mashed potatoes. I seriously ate at least a potato's worth out of the pot while the rest of dinner was cooking; I couldn't keep my spoon out of it. They are that good.

And, here's my case for the humble beet. Perhaps it's weird to have such an affinity for both beets and horseradish, but I can't get enough of either. The beets create a sweet, earthy base, which is cut by the sharp, creamy horseradish sauce; it's the perfect combination. And, the bright red looks so pretty on the dinner table. I know beets aren't for everyone, but if you're going to give them a try (especially if you like horseradish), this is a fantastic way to start. I used four beets the last time I made this, and Adam and I left the bowl clean.

To winter!

Beets with Horseradish
Adapted from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant

3-4 beets (about 3/4 lb)
3 Tbsp sour cream
1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp prepared horseradish root
1/4 tsp salt

To roast the beets:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Create a tinfoil pouch for the beets, and seal it tightly. Place the foil pouch on a baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour - beets are done when you can pierce them easily with a fork. When they are done, carefully open the foil packet and allow beets to rest until cool enough to handle. Peel the beets while they are still warm (the skins seem to slip off more easily when the beets are still warm).

For the salad:
Slice the beets into julienne strips about 1/2 inch wide. Place the chopped beets in a bowl, and add the sour cream and 1 1/2 tbsp horseradish; stir gently to combine. Season with salt. Taste for heat and seasoning - if you would like them hotter, continue to add horseradish until it's to your liking (I like mine hot-hot, and typically use 2 Tbsp or more). Chill until ready to serve.

Dill Potatoes
Adapted from Ina Garten

1 lb Yukon gold potatoes
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2-3 tsp fresh dill, chopped

Chop the potatoes into quarters, so they are about the size of a golfball cut in half (I couldn't think of anything else that size?). Put a medium sized pot over medium heat; toss in the butter and potatoes, and season with the 1/4 tsp salt. Cover. As the butter melts, shake the pot to evenly coat the potatoes. Continue to cook for about 15 minutes - every few minutes, hold onto the lid and shake the pot to toss the potatoes around (do not remove lid during cooking).

After about 15 minutes, when you give the pot a shake, notice if the potatoes start to look a little banged up and soft - if so, they are done. You want the skins to start loosening and the potatoes to just start breaking down; they will probably start browning a little on the bottom, too. If they're not done, cook a few more minutes until they are very soft.

Remove from heat; add the dill and toss to coat. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt if needed.

No comments:

Post a Comment