Goat Cheese and Beet Jewels
Hi everyone! Welcome to my first blog post..! Thanks for checking it out! I hope you learn some things and walk away feeling inspired to cook something healthy and delicious.
Beets. So much to say about these ground dwelling vegetables. They really are one of the most distinctive in the land, in both flavor and appearance. Beets are one of those vegetable that could leave a paper trail of health benefits behind it for miles. I'll try to keep it bite sized here.. ;) but they are a cheap, readily accessible food that are simple to prepare and worth their weight in gold.
Beets are not only a great source of B vitamins, folate and manganese, they also rich in lots of other important trace minerals. They help us do super critical bodily functions like well, synthesizing, repairing, and methylating (repairing pre-cancerous damages to) DNA!!! Which is everything! Super important. Potent for young children and pregnant woman, critical foods like beets high in folate fuel rapid cell division and are required to produce healthy red blood cells and prevent anemia. In case that isn't enough to convince you, beets also contain a compound called betaine that encourages the (frequently overworked..) liver to expel toxins. I could go on. And on. Beets are a total backyard superfood. Raw, roasted, boiled, grilled, shredded, just eat 'em. Your body with thank you so, so many times over.
So on to the recipe already. A friend of mine was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2013, and as a part of her journey to wellness she committed to a healing dietary therapy referred to as a Ketogenic Diet. This recipe comes to me through her (via a New York food blogger 7970 Miles), who I am so happy to say is recovered and cancer free for over a year now, and remains on this Ketogenic diet. To state what may be obvious: this recipe complies with Ketogenic, Gluten-free, and Vegetarian diets. And is packed with healing juju.
On a Ketogenic diet, instead of the usual conversion of carbs into glucose (important in fueling certain brain functions), the liver, due to the restriction of carbohydrates will begin to convert FAT into fatty acids and ketones (other sources of body fuel). Then the actual ketone bodies pass into the brain and all but entirely replace glucose as the primary energy source.
This is relevant as an elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood induces a state know as ketosis. This, indeed, in stark contrast to glycolysis (from glucose fuel), kicks out a ton of insulin and promotes storage of body fat and blocks release of adipose (fat) tissues. NOT IDEAL! On the other hand, in ketosis, the reduction of everything from general inflammation (a precursor to almost all disease), to epileptic seizures, to insulin resistance occurs. Icing on the cake is that while in ketosis fat reserves are readily released and consumed by the body and used at the fuel they were eaten to be! Truth be told, ketosis is actually sometimes referred to as "fat burning" mode! BONUS. And this time, you don't even have to do any squats ;)
I love anything that encourages people to see their bodies as the miraculous living laboratories they are! And experimenting with different ways of eating helps gather knowledge about what works best for our bioindividuality.
Turns out this recipe is not only super easy, with 7 ingredients total, it is also super clean. That's 7 total, including salt and pepper. Which is pretty darn good. Gluten-free, sugar-free, grain-free, stress-free, guilt-free..it's ALL THE THINGS. Enjoy the process and impressing the hell out of your friends.
Remember to buy local and organic whenever possible.
This recipe will make about 14-16 servings and will last in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Soft goat cheese, about 500 grams / 1 pound
Salt and Pepper
6-12 beets in as many different colors as you can find
Basil leaves, pistachios and any kind of edible flower for garnish
Maldon Salt (or any soft, coarse sea salt) for finishing.
You will also need some plastic wrap, 2 bread loaf tins, and a VERY sharp knife.
In a large pot, boil water and a pinch of salt. Clean your beets and if any of them are enormous, just cut them in half ("hamburger" style, so the round shape is left intact). Drop them all gently into the water once it comes to a rolling boil. Boil for 30 minutes, kill the heat and let them sit in their water for another 30 minutes before straining out the water.
Line the insides of your two bread tins with plastic wrap or parchment, and be sure to leave flaps overhanging on both sides that are long enough to cover over the top for storing the tins in the refrigerator overnight.
Peel your beets with a sharp knife or peeler and slice the whole beets into 1/4" rounds. And then, like a mystical rainbow lasagna, begin to layer the beets from one color to the next creating the "ombre" effect you can see in the picture. I like to begin with the yellow because the darker pigments of the red beets, as I'm sure you know, stain just about everything they touch. For this reason you may also want to grab an apron real quick.
Once the first layer of beets are down and covering as much of the pan as you can, begin to sprinkle goat cheese (it will be in clumps, and that will be perfect) over the beets. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and then begin with the next layer of beets. Repeat until you're at the top of the tin.
Once you're at the top of the tin with the layers, fold over the plastic flap and cover completely. Now for the really technical part: PRESS. DOWN. Yep. Just press down hard until all the soft goat cheese squishes between the gaps of the beets until they are married together in an intimate heap of jewel-toned pillow talk. This should be a whispering, not shouting.
Place both tins in the space you have carved in your fridge (you can stack them, I often do) and leave over night. This is the other very scientific and technical aspect of the recipe; while not completely necessary in you are in a pinch, leaving them overnight allows for that sensuous pillow whispering to transform the beets and goat cheese from two separate entities into a stained-glass cathedral of glorious creamy beet oneness. The beet colors bleed into the cheese and makes the whole thing glow, baby.
Get out your sharp knife again, carefully unfold the plastic flaps and lift out your stacks setting them carefully on your cutting surface. Gently slice into 1/2"-1" slices, cleaning up any edges as needed. Lay flat and garnish with the basil leaves and pistachios.