If I had a skywriter, I’d ask the pilot to fly above the blue, morning skies of Newport Beach and write “Welcome to Make Your Market” in fluffy smoke lettering. But I don’t (although I should) and so instead, I just have this very sentence where I will say “welcome” in quotation markets to denote the seriousness of the claim. Here it is in caps: WELCOME. Make Your Market is a brand-new series that’ll appear on our site every Monday to help you navigate the Newport Beach Farmers’ Market, a bastion of seasonal, local goodness that manifests itself in neat, farm-fresh booths every Sunday by Newport Pier. This first written episode will chronicle the variegated beauty of the beet.
First, some background.
If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you’d know we kicked off the series by hosting a collaborative giveaway with Farmer Mark, an organization founded by a farmer fortuitously named Mark. Farmer Mark and his team members are dedicated to improving the well-being of local citizens through six certified farmers’ markets, (including Newport Beach) and a non-profit foundation called Sprouts of Promise.
Yesterday, Amanda Jones (@theamandamariejones), a marketing maven who works at a prestigious global corporation in Orange County, (a boss babe of the highest, boss babe-est order) won the basket, and picked it up against the lovely backdrop of crashing waves and a warm, Sunday afternoon. Look at her in all her winning glory:
For reference, this is what she won:
Anyway, with the inaugural gifting of the basket, Make Your Market became a thing, and is still a thing today as we explore the beet, which is actually the taproot portion of the beet plant. There’s a lesser-known, more lonely part to the vegetable that often gets discarded in the garbage along with those brochures for expensive skincare and coupons to buy discounted toilet paper: the greens. Beet greens are super healthy and brimming with antioxidants, high in vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese, and low in fat and cholesterol. For today’s Make Your Market, I present you with two recipes to make not only the beetroot but also, in a twist of salubrious joy and eats, the greens.
ROASTED BEET SALAD WITH RICOTTA CHEESE
This salad is light, it’s refreshing and it’s made mostly from ingredients you’ll find at the farmers’ market, minus the cheese, which is a bit optional really, when you have golden beets gleaming in your salad bowl.
- 3 large golden beets (red beets also work)
- 3 handfuls of fresh arugula or any other leafy green you find at the market
- 2 tsp. California olive oil (available at your local supermarket)
- 2 tsp. Balsamic vinegar (can be reduced for an extra, pungent, acidic flavor)
- 1 lemon
- 3 tbsp. fresh ricotta cheese (available at your local supermarket)
- Salt & pepper (to taste)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Slice beets into small chunks (quarters if the beets are small and eighths if the beets are larger) and place in a mixing bowl.
- Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat evenly.
- Drop beets (lol) on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake beets for about 40-50 minutes OR MORE. Seriously, it’s hard to overcook beets but easy to undercook them so keep your beets in as long as it takes until they’re soft like butter when you cut through the pieces.
- In a salad bowl, add your arugula, roasted beets and ricotta cheese. On top, grate the zest of one lemon and squeeze half a lemon onto the salad.
- Serve and enjoy!
SPICY BEET GREENS AND CRISPY BABY POTATOES
- 4 baby potatoes (any variety will do, choose for favorite at the market and let’s go)
- 1/2 yellow onion (available at the market)
- 1 c. beet greens (this amount equals the greens of three beets)
- 2 tsp. soy sauce
- 3 tbsp. California olive oil (available at your local supermarket)
- 1 tsp. butter
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 jalapeño pepper (available at the market)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- To prep: Slice onions into thin strips; cut potatoes into SMALL cubes (they’ll brown faster), about 1/2 inch in diameter; finely chop the jalapeño pepper, keeping in mind the spice is in the seed, so add seeds accordingly; roughly chop garlic; and remove beet greens from beetroot, rough chopping to remove middle stem because it can be bitter.
- Melt butter and olive oil in a medium sauté pan. Once butter is melted, add potatoes and onion. Stir occasionally, until onions and potatoes turn slightly golden brown. Add in jalapeño pepper and beet greens. The greens will wilt to nothingness. DO NOT WORRY! This is normal and fun.
- After the greens have fully wilted, add in the garlic so it doesn’t burn because there’s nothing worse than making a dish and then ruining it with the disgusting taste of burnt garlic.
- Finally, add soy sauce, salt and pepper.
- Serve in two bowls and like the previous dish, ENJOY!
Also, there are several “beet/beat” puns I can use to close this first Make Your Market post but for the sake of avoiding needless cheesiness, I will refrain. See you next week, farm-to-table lovers. Also! If you have a recipe you’d like to see featured here, email me directly and you could become famous, in a my-recipe-was-included-in-a-weekly-article kind of way: firstname.lastname@example.org.