The Hippo


Oct 16, 2019








The main ingredients, including farm-fresh beets and fingerling potatoes. Rebecca Fishow photo.

Roasted beets and fingerling potatoes  

1 pint fingerling potatoes, larger ones cut in halves or thirds
2 small bunches of beets, cut in large chunks
1 onion, roughly chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2-3 sprigs rosemary, just the leaves
2-3 sprigs thyme, just the leaves
A few sage leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste 
½ - ¼  cup crumbled feta cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the stems, leaves and tails of the beets (save the leaves to sauté as the dish bakes). Peel them and chop them into 1-1.5 inch pieces. Rinse the fingerling potatoes. Leave the skins on and chop the larger ones into two or three pieces. Roughly chop an onion and two or three cloves of garlic. In a medium or large baking pan combine the veggies, drizzle olive oil, and sprinkle them with fresh rosemary, thyme and a little chopped sage. Toss the ingredients to coat, then set them in the oven to cook for about 45 minutes, until potatoes and beets are soft when stuck with a fork.
Transfer to a serving dish and add crumbled feta. Serve warm. 
Farmers Market Receipt:
Brookford Farm
Beets: $3.00 /bunch
Onion: $2.00 /lb
Feta Cheese: $$14.00 /lb
(usually $4 to $8 per piece)
Charlie's Certified Organic
Garlic: $1.00
Fingerling Potatoes: $2.50/pt
Total: $22.50 
# Items Sold 5

The beet is on
Add some deep purples to your autumn palette


I’ve never cooked beets before, but the sweet root vegetable caught my attention at the Manchester Farmers Market as I was trying to think up the perfect autumn veggie side dish. 
Beets are in season late summer through fall. I picked up a couple bunches from Nigel Coco, who was manning the Brookford Farm stand at the Manchester Farmers Market on a Thursday afternoon. He advised me to look for the bunches with smaller bulbs, which are more flavorful.
I tend to be a somewhat minimalist yet experimental cook, and I was sure that if I picked up some other standard autumn items, like onions, potatoes and garlic, and used some fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage, I could figure something out. 
At the farm stand of Charlie Reid and Anne Dickerson, owners of Osprey Cove Farm in Madbury and Stone Wall Farm in Nottingham, I received some more suggestions. 
I zeroed in on Reid’s pints of small, long fingerling potatoes (grown from the seed of last year’s crop and “absolutely so good they don’t need to be eaten with butter,” Reid said) and mentally added them to my side dish. 
I wanted a second opinion, so I asked Reid if that might work. 
“Yes, absolutely,” he said. 
A barbecue during a trip to see friends in northern Vermont proved the perfect opportunity to test it out, and I happily accepted my friends’ offers to help. We learned fast that the bright, deep purple-reddish juice stains quickly and will spray all over everything if you’re not careful (we weren’t). “It looks like a crime scene in here,” one of my friends joked. Luckily, the juice easily wiped off of counters, appliances and hands. 
After the beets, potatoes, onions and garlic were chopped and the oven was preheated to 400 degrees I tossed them in a large baking pan with oil, the fresh herbs, salt and pepper and loaded it into the oven.
When the veggies passed the bite test and were nice and soft inside I pulled them out of the oven and tossed them with roughly 1/2 to 3/4 cup of crumbled feta. I wasn’t sure how much to add, but when it comes to cheese, I tend to be somewhat liberal.
The dish was a hit. We all came back for seconds, even thirds, and agreed that the feta added the perfect briny complement to the sweetness of the beets. 
My friends also agreed that the beets outshined the potatoes, and there was some speculation that sweet potatoes might have been a good addition. Turnips and celery root or other root vegetables would also provide dimension — not that it really needed any.  

Star Ingredients: Beets
One of the best things about this veggie is how versatile it is. Beets grow in both late spring and the fall and everything from the sweet, robust bulbs to the citrusy greens can be cooked and eaten. You can skew them, roast them, grill them or saute them with other vegetables. 
“You could do a stir fry with beets, eggplant, beans and kale, with garlic in a frying pan with oil. Just put a cover on it and if you slice the beets thin enough, they will cook in time with the other veggies,” farmer Charlie Reid said at the Manchester Farmers Market. 
“You can do a ton of stuff with them,” Nigel Coco of Brookford Farm agreed. “I skew beets or cut them really thin and saute them. They make good kabobs. I like them cut in little wedges, put in between peppers. People even cook the beet greens. I like to cook them in bacon grease.”
The deep colors of beets come from  unique phytonutrients called betalains, which are antioxidants and anti-inflammatories and may also protect against liver disease and lower blood pressure. 

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