Ginger Roasted Beets, Sweet Potatoes and Pears

 

This recipe is the perfect way to celebrate the bounty of fall and winter produce. The two root vegetables partnered with Anjou pears (green or red) are beautifully enhanced by the addition of fresh ginger and thyme. Present this at your next holiday gathering and be prepared to have guests swooning!

Ingredients:

3 medium-large beets, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes

1 sweet yellow onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced

2 large sweet potatoes, diced into 1 inch cubes (peel or keep skin on, either works)

2 green Anjou pears (ripe but still firm)

1-2 tsp fresh thyme

Salt to taste

1-2 tbsp Avocado oil or olive oil

1-2 tsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine beets, onion, garlic, ginger, salt and about 1 tbsp avocado oil. Toss so veggies are well coated in oil. Spread beet mixture evenly on baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes.
  3. While beets are baking, combine sweet potatoes, pears, thyme, salt, and remaining oil in bowl.
  4. Add the sweet potatoes and pears to the baking sheet and mix to combine.
  5. Place mixture back into the oven and roast for an additional 40-50 minutes. Toss mixture halfway through baking.
  6. Add more salt to taste after cooking, and garnish with fresh parsley. Enjoy warm or cold – it tastes delicious either way!

Recipe development and photography by Alexandra Aldeborgh (@daisybeet).

Unhealthy Economy, Healthy You!

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Now that 2014 has begun and we’re all suffering from travel and holiday debt, how can we stay healthy in these trying economic times? Well, you can still eat well and not spend a fortune! Here are some tips for saving your calories and your wallet:

  1. Buy in season. Winter produce is nutritious and now available, including a variety of fresh, delicious pears!
  2. Buy frozen, low-sodium canned, and dried foods. Frozen fruits and veggies are often cheaper than fresh, and they’re picked at the peak of ripeness so they’re chock full of nutrients. Low-sodium canned veggies make excellent soups and sauces, and canned meats make quick, easy cold salads. Don’t forget the dried fruit! It’s a convenient, nutrient-dense addition to entrées or as a snack, just watch for added sugar.
  3. Buy in bulk. Whether you purchase larger amounts at once or directly from the bulk section, you’ll save money over time.
  4. Pass on pricey, energy-dense foods like snack cakes, candy and baked items.
  5. Choose more non-animal proteins. Beans, nuts, eggs, and tofu are cheaper alternatives to pricier beef, chicken, and pork, and pack in a variety of nutrients and fiber!

The economy is up and down like a rollercoaster, but that doesn’t mean your diet has to be. In these trying times, take care of yourself and your budget!

image source: www.womenzmag.com

Boston and Bresaola Salad

Last week, I shared a great article on pears by food writer Mark Bittman. He’s famous for his fresh, simple approach to whole foods, and this roundup of ten (!) pear salad recipes are just that: novel in their fresh interpretations and reassuringly simple. Best of all, in my handicapped opinion, they’re mostly free of strong cheeses. While that ingredient seals the deal for most foodies, my tastebuds disagree vehemently, so I’m always looking for a different savory spin on pear salads.

I love these seasonal recipes so much I’ve decided to re-create them in my own kitchen. Recipe inspiration for you, delicious lunch for me! First up: Boston and Bresaola.

I admit I had to look up bresaola. It’s a salted, air-cured beef. I couldn’t find any at my local grocer, so I used prosciutto, per Bittman’s suggestion. Combined with buttery quarters of avocado, sweet slices of Bosc pear, and a simple vinaigrette (made with apple cider vinegar, in my case), the prosciutto lent the perfect savory touch to this simple salad.

Get Fresh with USA Pears!

Here in Portland, the sun is finally starting to shine. I’m seeing signs of spring at my local grocer—fresh asparagus, strawberries, and salad greens—and in my yard. Tulips! Who knew?!

Thanks to advanced storage techniques, fresh pears are in season through the spring, too, and they’re a great complement to other fresh produce in salsas, salads, and shish kabobs.

Check out the following recipes for some fresh ins-pear-ation:

Crostini with Feta and Pear-Strawberry Salsa

Pear and Spinach Salad with Parmesan Vinaigrette

Spicy Fish Tacos with Pear Mango Salsa

Pear Kabobs with Strawberry Dipping Sauce

Pear and Squash Bruschetta

The hearty combination of pears and squash makes the perfect seasonal appetizer. Bring it to your next holiday party and watch it disappear! Developed by Chef Craig Richards of La Tavola in Atlanta, Georgia.

Ingredients

1 butternut squash (1–½ pounds)

2 yellow onions (about 1 pound), coarsely chopped

2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

4 sage leaves

3 ripe pears, cored and cut into half-inch cubes

½ pound loaf sourdough bread

¼ pound smoked ricotta or smoked mozzarella cheese

Pumpkin seed oil or extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Peel squash. Combine squash trimmings, onion, and carrots in a large saucepan; add water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer 45 minutes or until liquid is flavorful, adding additional water to keep about 3 cups liquid in pan. Strain. Reserve liquid and discard solids.

Scrape seeds from squash and discard. Cut squash into ½-inch cubes. Heat olive oil and butter in a large shallow pan. Add sage and fry for 30 seconds or until crisp and fragrant. Remove sage with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towel and reserve for garnish. Add squash and pears to pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until just starting to brown. Add 1 cup of the squash stock and cook until reduced. Repeat, using about 3 cups stock. Pears and squash should be soft but still hold shape. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, slice bread into ½-inch slices. Toast in oven at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Spoon about ¼ cup warm pear-squash mixture onto each slice of bruschetta. Using a vegetable peeler, make ribbons of cheese and place on top of each. Drizzle with pumpkin seed or olive oil if desired. Garnish servings with fried sage.

yield: Makes 12–14 pieces