Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Beet's me!

Continuing with the tuber theme, Beets are next up to bat. These succulent ruby gems are naturally sweet so it may not be obvious that they are packed with nutrition! Beets are a great source of Calcium, Folic acid, fiber and manganese. They are packed with B vitamins and vitamin C. They are great for the health of your blood, almost like they were color coded, as they are particularly rich in Iron. For the almost vegetarian diet, beets play a critical role since they contain many of the vitamins and minerals most commonly found in red meat.

This is a recipe I came up with due to a failed attempt at a totally different dish! Some of the best discoveries are total accidents. Try this elegant presentation as a special dinner. The recipe makes enough for 4 for an appetizer or lunch, or for 3 for dinner.

1.5 lbs beets, trimmed, peeled and cubed (reserve the greens)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
4 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbs honey or agave
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 oz Mild goat cheese

Puree the beets a food processor until they are completely pureed. Add the eggs and honey and puree again until smooth. In a large bowl, sift the baking powder, salt, pepper and flour together.

(***Because Beets have a vast variance in water content, start with just half the flour first and check the consistency. Sometimes half is enough and sometimes you need the whole quantity. The important thing is that you have a consistency of a slightly thicker than normal and slightly chunky pancake batter.)

Mix in the beet mixture and wisk until smooth. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and cook the pancakes in batches using a little vegetable oil for each batch. The pancakes need about 2 minutes on each side. You can tell they are ready to flip when little bubbles form on top after a couple of minutes on the first side. This should yield approximately 16 pancakes of about 3-inch diameter. Place pancakes on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.

After you finish cooking the pancakes, cut the goat cheese into 4 medallions of about 1/4 inch thickness. place them on the hot non-stick skillet for 10 seconds on each side. This should just soften the cheese.

I like to saute the beet greens with a little garlic and olive oil and use that as a base. If the beets came with out leafy tops or not enough, you can use spinach instead. To serve, gather the greens or spinach in the middle of the plate, stack the pancakes and top with the goat cheese medallions. Oven roasted potatoes work beautifully as a side for this elegant dish that's as easy as, well, making pancakes!

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