Amelia Saltsman, author of The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook, shares two Thanksgiving and Fall side dishes. She braises beet greens in olive oil, a small amount of stock and garlic over low heat for about 30 minutes. She also makes a seasonal persimmon, celery and pomegranate salad.
Laura Avery also spoke with Rusty Hall who sells dry farmed, non-pasteurized almonds. The drought is affecting the size and the yield from his 100 year-old trees.
Beets and Their Greens
4 bunches red beets with their tops
1 bunch Swiss chard
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 cup stock or water
2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400°. Cut the leaves off the beets, leaving 1 inch of stem attached. Scrub the beets, cut large ones in half or quarters, and place in baking pan. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover pan with foil and roast beets until nearly tender, about 30 minutes. Remove foil, loosen beets from pan, and return them to the oven, uncovered, until tender when pierced with a knife, 10 to 15 minutes longer. When beets are cool enough to handle, slip off skins, and cut beets into large bite-size pieces or slices. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the vinegar.
Meanwhile, wash chard and beet tops. Remove chard stems and slice crosswise. Roughly chop chard and beet leaves. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions and chard stems with a little salt until tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add chard and beet leaves and a little salt and pepper and sauté until wilted and glossy, 7 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pan and steam the greens until very tender, about 20 minutes more, adding stock or water as necessary to keep greens from sticking. Stir in remaining tablespoon of vinegar during last 5 minutes of cooking time.
To serve, mound greens on a serving platter, pile beets on top and drizzle with remaining olive oil and season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature. May be prepared several hours ahead.
Persimmon, Celery and Pomegranate Salad
1 ripe pomegranate
4 ribs celery
2 small or 1 large fuyu persimmon
1/2 cup pecan or walnut pieces, toasted
1/2 lb mixed baby salad greens
1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled, optional
Extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Take out the pomegranate seeds: cut or split open the pomegranate and put the pieces in a bowl of water and use your fingers to loosen all the seeds. Drain and reserve. Use a peeler to pare off strings from celery. Slice celery thinly on the diagonal and place in salad bowl. Cut away stem from persimmon. Cut persimmon vertically in quarters and cut quarters crosswise into thin slices. Add to bowl along with nuts, greens, as many pomegranate seeds as you'd like, and cheese, if desired. Drizzle olive oil over salad, squeeze lemon juice on to taste, add salt and pepper and toss.
Both recipes adapted from The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook: Seasonal Foods, Simple Recipes, and Stories from the Market and Farm by Amelia Saltsman (Blenheim Press, 2007)
Music break: Montserrat by Bajofondo Tango Club