A Bounty of Blooming & BeetsAug 03, 2020
Photographs by Christine Moss
Chef Moss pulls us into a vision of August’s delight, flavors and a recipe for cooked summer beets and beet-tahini sauce over greens
“Everything is blooming most recklessly.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
August saunters in with its late summer humidity and lightning storms. Rain that falls in any other month somehow clears out the heat, but not now. Instead it swelters, lingers and sizzles on the pavement. Steam curls up and wraps around your ankles like an overly friendly neighborhood cat. Sweat is my new best friend and mason jars full of ice water with lemon slices or fresh mint keeps us company.
And who wants to cook when it’s hot like this?
All this summer heat not only results in explosive growth in the garden — but in flavors for our palette.
Fresh picked produce provides an array of simple and delicious options. Grab a handful of fresh basil and toss it into your food processor or into your mortar and pestle with a clove of garlic, olive oil, sea salt, cracked black pepper and some nutritional yeast for a delicious pesto to dip your bread into. Or even simpler, drizzle olive oil over your bread and top with sliced heirloom tomatoes and basil leaves. No cooking needed. Finish up with a tree ripened peach or slices of sweet mango. Aaaah, summer.
The reckless blooming of summer...
For adventure close to home, I like to check out the local farm stand or farmers market. I go with the intention of discovery. Fresh harvests of corn, carrots, beets, and summer squashes are the pride and bounty of the farmers' long months of work and I truly feel honored to prepare and consume the earth’s beauty. It’s all in the intention we bring to life — the approach that can transform an everyday chore into something quite meaningful.
We try to savor the season’s delights because before we know — it they will be gone.
Green beans, chili peppers, tomatoes and orchard grown fruits only taste like this, like sunshine and minerals, at this time of year. It is a challenge to not buy too much at once, only what can be eaten or preserved right away. Each flavorful bite becomes a memory of summer delight.
But if you are up to a bit of cooking, I’ve got a favorite recipe for cooked summer beets and beet-tahini sauce over greens. Mmmm!
Beets with Beet-Tahini Dressing
Makes 3 ½ cups of sauce
- 1 bunch (2-3 cups) fresh beets peeled and cut into 1” chunks
- 4-6 cups water
- 1 cup plain tahini
- 2 TBSP fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ¼ cup parsley chopped
- ¼ cup raw pistachios chopped
- Arugula or Spinach for serving
- Bring the water to a boil and add in the beets. Bring to a boil again and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook the beets until fork tender, at least 15-25 minutes. It’s OK if they need to cook a little longer. Add more water if it is getting low. Keep the beets submerged.
- Reserve 2 cups of the water the beets were cooked in and then drain the rest of the beets. Rinse under cool water.
- Measure out 1 cup of beets to make the sauce and set aside the rest.
- Into a blender add 1 cup of cooked beets, 1 cup of tahini, 2 cups of beet water, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth and creamy, scrape down the sides as needed.
- Prepare your plate with a bed of fresh greens such as arugula or spinach, top with the cooked beets. Pour the beet tahini sauce over the top and garnish with chopped parsley and pistachios.