- Published: March 21, 2015
This week put considerable distance between us and the bitter cold that we endured throughout February. The straw blond fields surrounding Yellow Spring have started taking on notes of green as the grass awakens. The front patch of a neighbor’s lawn suddenly erupted in buttercup yellow as winter aconite broke through the leather-brown leaf litter. Bees made themselves busy and their presence gave me confidence that the hard winter had finally let go its relentless grip.
Encouraged by the neighborhood’s first distinct signs of warming weather, I’ve been walking through our gardens trying to spot the first reemerging perennials. A few scalloped strawberry leaves are poking through the sod, the blackberry shoots are an intense purple, and the lilac bush is flush with tiny green buds, but everything else is still bedded down deep and in no apparent hurry to arise.
Me? I’m not feeling so patient. Luckily, next week’s farmers market will offer sweet respite. Local farm Zen Blossoms promises to bring a trove of spring bulbs—tulips, hyacinths, and crocus—in a array of bright colors. Their perfume will fill the great room at the Senior Center and cannot—will not—be missed. If I’m a lucky cat, I’ll bring home a pot of blood red tulips just like the sample Mandy Sue had on display this Saturday.
In the meantime, thank goodness for Baker’s Vegetable Market and Greenhouse. Since their second week at the Yellow Springs Winter Farmers Market, they’ve been bringing sprouts. Ever since, I’ve been dressing my savory plates—breakfast, lunch, and dinner—with their lentil, clover, and radish microgreens.
Between the sprouts and my own countertop garden of beet greens, I’ve had a respectably steady source of fresh crisp greens through the winter. Our house store of garlic on the other hand has all gone dry. Today, Jeremy went through the ivory white garlic husks littering our counter in a vain search for a fresh clove. Due entirely to his efforts, we now have a bowl of dried out garlic—some fifty or so ready for grinding—and a whole lot more counter space for having composted their natural packaging.
Earlier this week, I felt my countertop beet green garden needed refreshing so I brought home a bundle of organic beets from Tom’s Market. The family was hot on my heels for dinner so I needed to make something quick. Broiling beets came immediately to mind.
I stripped the beet greens and sliced the beet heads thin so they would take the heat quickly. I tossed the beets rounds in agrumato—citrus infused olive oil—and then added the pulverized powder from a ground garlic clove. I broiled the seasoned beet rounds first, then their leaves with the stems still on.
Rescuing the roasted veggies from the oven heat, I piled the beets into a bowl and layered on pumpkin seeds, clover sprouts, and a generous dollop of creme fraiche, a rich sour cream that Snowville Creamery now distributes to Tom’s Market. I sprinkled the last of the powdered garlic on top and split the bowl with my husband.
Roasted Whole Beet Salad
2 medium beets with greens
1 dried clove of garlic
1-2 Tablespoons agrumato or walnut oil or olive oil
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sprouts
2 Tablespoons creme fraiche
Snap off the greens from each beet. Wash greens, dry, and reserve. Peel and slice beet heads. Grind the garlic clove into a powder using a pestle and mortar. Douse the sides of a medium bowl with oil and sprinkle with garlic powder. Toss the beet wedges in the oil and transfer to a broiling pan. Broil for 4-5 minutes.
As the beet wedges broil, toss the reserved beet greens in the garlic flavored oil. Stir the beet wedges on the broiling pan and add the greens on top. Broil 3-4 minutes until a slight char forms on the leaves.
Place the broiled veggie in a bowl and top with pumpkin seeds, sprouts, and creme fraiche. Sprinkle garlic powder on top to taste.
According to Jeremy, this dish is a keeper…fast, super tasty, and exploding with nutrients. The salad captures this moment of seasonal transition…its foundation, a deep winter root; its center, sleeping seeds and burgeoning sprouts; its crown, snowy white and flaked with last year’s tangy lingering litter.