Beet Tacos w. Chipotle Vinaigrette

Three Tacos

I have loved beets ever since I was little - fresh, out of a can, pickled, you name it - I love that bright purple-pink goodness in any form! I created this recipe a couple years ago as one of many in a meal plan for my sister; it started out just being a vegetarian option for her as she doesn’t have a lot of meat in her diet, but we made it one night for the rest of the family and it has become a part of our regular rotation when we all get together! The vinaigrette makes it - it is so so delicious! I love it as-is but the spice can be kicked up a notch with more chipotle if that’s how you roll. I roll a little tamer when it comes to spice! It’s also easy to make it vegan by omitting the cheese and crema, or substituting your favorite non-dairy counterparts.

BEET TACOS W. CHIPOTLE VINAIGRETTE // MAKES 16

Vinaigrette:

3 T honey or agave

¼ c balsamic vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1 T finely minced chipotle in adobo

1 T smoked paprika

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp white pepper

5 T Canola oil

Tacos:

4 large beets

kosher salt

16 corn tortillas

½ cup pepitas, toasted*

2 cups arugula

1 cup crumbled cotija or goat cheese

Chipotle vinaigrette (see below)

Cilantro, coarsely chopped

⅔ c crema or sour cream

Lime wedges for serving

*To toast pepitas Turn oven to 325 degrees. Toss raw, hulled pepitas with a little olive oil, just to coat. Spread on a single layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with a little salt and ground coriander and cumin to taste. Toast in oven until color starts to turn 9-12 minutes, turning once and checking. Some ovens toast fast!

Increase oven to 425 degrees. Peel beets and chop into ½ inch cubes (wear gloves if you want to keep your hands their normal color!). Toss with a little oil, salt, and pepper and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet, being careful not to crowd them. Roast in oven for 15-20 minutes, until fork-tender. It may take a little longer, depending on your oven and how soft you want them. Wrap tortillas in foil and place them in the oven on the rack below the beets. Remove about halfway through, rotate tortillas in foil, then re-wrap and continue to warm in oven. Alternatively, you can quickly grill them over an open flame just before serving.

Meanwhile, blend honey, vinegar, garlic, chipotle, paprika, salt, and pepper together in a blender or food processor. With motor running, slowly add the oil, one tablespoon at a time, until blended and emulsified with the other ingredients.

To assemble tacos: place a little arugula on a tortilla, drizzle with vinaigrette, top with beets, cotija, pepitas, and crema. Sprinkle with a little chopped cilantro.

Tacos w. Limes

I think both cheeses are equally delicious in this dish - the cotija gives it a more authentic Mexican vibe, but if you can’t find it or won’t use it again, goat cheese is the way to go since many of us already have that in our fridge - goat cheese gives it a more hipster vibe. If you find yourself with leftover vinaigrette, you can serve it with other roast vegetables, or dress a salad with it, or drink it straight, it’s that good.

If you and your family are of the more carnivorous persuasion, toss in some shredded chicken or pork too, but I encourage you to keep the beets as they are pretty little purple jewels that are so good for you!

 

With a full heart and an empty plate,

Katie

Market Vegetable Tart

The Union Square Farmers Market is one of the most beautiful things in the city this time of year - loads of gorgeous seasonal produce, piled high on tables with their purveyors offering all kinds of samples and knowledge on what they grow. I always do a lap just to look around, try new things, and admire all the plants and flowers. Then I look at my list, which I’ll be honest, is rarely actually stuck to, and do my shopping! Along with my list basics, I brought home some donut peaches, watermelon gherkins, and some tiny red new potatoes because they all looked so good. I tried these gherkins for the first time at a market with my sister in Vancouver a couple of weeks ago and they taste like tart, crunchy cucumbers - they were not a favorite of my husbands, but it’s nice to get him to try new things and I loved them!

Watermelon Gherkins

I cut a chunk off one of the peaches for a little snack and oh my! it was SO sweet and juicy and peachy! Trying new fruits and vegetables is one of my favorite parts about the market; it's the perfect place to be adventurous because everything there is at its peak of freshness and seasonality so you are getting a true taste for what it is. It’s also a great place for the ‘classic’ veggies because of the height of flavor and I was inspired by the zucchini, yellow squash, scallions, and heirloom cherry tomatoes for this tart. My current obsession for goat feta was also thrown into the recipe!

Summer Market Vegetable Tart // Makes 9” Tart, serves 6-8

Crust:

1 ½ c flour

½ tsp salt

3oz cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1.5oz cold vegan shortening, cut into cubes (I use Earth Balance)

3-4 T ice water

*Alternatively, use a store bought dough and skip down to the shaping and blind baking portion that is also marked with an * below!

In the bowl of your food processor, pulse the flour and salt together. Add butter and shortening and pulse 6 or 7 times, until the mixture is in chunks of about pea size or a little larger, it should not be uniform. One tablespoon at a time, pour the ice water through the feed tube with the motor running, until the dough just comes together - err on the side of not enough water, then stop the motor to check. Too much water can yield a tough dough. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the counter, then remove your dough from the bowl, shaping it into a flat disk and wrapping it in the plastic. Refrigerate for one hour. Prepare vegetables for filling:

Filling:

Favorite seasonal veggies, I used:

1 small zucchini

½ yellow squash

5 scallions

About 1 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, sliced

¼ c creme fraiche

¼ c milk

3 eggs

3-4 T chopped fresh herbs, I used basil and parsley

4oz goat cheese

2oz goat feta (optional, or use regular feta)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice zucchini and yellow squash into ⅛” thick coins and trim the scallions. Drizzle some olive oil on a baking sheet, then place the coins and scallions in a single layer on top, drizzle with a little more oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, then flip so they brown evenly on both sides, roast about another 10 minutes. Leave on pan until ready to use, and meanwhile, slice your tomatoes and chop your herbs. Turn your oven off so your kitchen is not too hot when rolling your pastry.

*Once dough is chilled, roll out on floured surface to about a 12” circle. Carefully fold in half and transfer to a tart pan with removable bottom; unfold and loosely place into the edges of the pan and over the sides. Do not stretch the dough here as that leads to shrinkage when baked. Trim the edges to a 1” overhang, then fold it in to create extra-thick sides. Press evenly into the flutes of the pan. Prick all over with a fork and place in freezer for 15 minutes while you turn the oven to 400 degrees.

Tart Crust

Once dough has chilled, crumple up a piece of parchment that is just larger than the tart, and place it on top of the dough and add pie weights (or dried beans like I do!). The crumpling of the paper allows it to reach into the edges and lets the weights actually do their job! Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the weights and bake until the crust is golden all over, 5-7 minutes more. Reduce heat to 375.

TIP: If using beans as weights, allow to cool, then keep in an airtight container that is well labeled as you can use them again and again for this purpose, but not for eating!

While the crust cools slightly, whisk together the creme fraiche, milk, eggs, herbs, and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the goat cheese. Chop the scallions into 1” pieces and place them, along with ⅔ of the ‘coins’ in an even layer over the crust. Carefully pour the egg mixture on top, keeping the vegetables in their place. Layer the remaining squash over the filling, then sprinkle with feta. Lastly, lay the tomato slices on top, pressing in slightly so they settle in. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until just set in the middle. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before cutting into it as it will further set up upon standing. Remove from pan and cut into six pieces for a main dish or eight for a side.

Vegetable Tart

I served mine with with side dishes of more farmers market veggies - a peppery arugula salad with fresh peaches & a balsamic dressing and teeny tiny red potatoes roasted with thyme, garlic and olive oil that I topped with creme fraiche. It was an incredibly delicious meal and the man of the house didn’t ask once where the meat was! If you find there are a few too many steps in this for you, feel free to use store-bought crust and just give your veggies a quick saute before placing in the tart. Make it work for you, using your favorite ingredients and flavors. Leftovers are great cold or room temperature for breakfast or lunch the next day too - win!

With a full heart and an empty plate,

Katie


 

Wellness Wednesday: Why I'm not over Overnight Oats

I realize that the concept of overnight oats was a huge Pinterest phenomenon and is not quite as hip as it once was, however, I was late to the party and I really can’t get enough. Also, if I like something, I will eat it; plain and simple. My love is in two parts - the ease of making and the countless variation options. I love breakfast, I have never ‘forgotten’ to eat it (or any meal for that matter) and I like that this option is cold without being cereal. I actually love it in the afternoon as well since it can be almost dessert-like and is a much healthier snack choice, with much more sustenance, than whatever else I might reach for at 3:30! Here is my basic recipe, and what I added this time around to kick it up a notch.

Overnight Oats // Serves One

½ cup regular rolled oats

½ cup milk of your choice, dairy or non

Dash of vanilla

Cinnamon to taste - I like a lot!!

1 spoonful plain greek yogurt, optional, but adds great texture

Topping ideas:

1 tsp brown sugar, maple syrup or honey

Fruit

Raw shelled hempseed

Chopped almonds or pecans

Chia seeds

Bee pollen

More cinnamon {duh.}

Stir together all non-topping ingredients in a jar or bowl (if you are using brown sugar to sweeten, add it here to allow it to dissolve), cover, and let sit in the fridge overnight or 6-8 hours. When you are ready to eat it, stir it up to make sure the milk and cinnamon are evenly distributed. From here, if you like OG oatmeal you can add your honey or syrup, if using, and just eat it up! This time around, I used frozen-from-summer mixed berries, thawed, honey that is harvested in my hometown, hempseed, and bee pollen.

Overnight Oats

If you have never tried some of these toppings, give them a shot as they are great for your overall health and for keeping you satiated. Hempseed contains 10g of protein & 3g Omega-3s per serving and it adds a nutty type crunch to the oats without using nuts! Bee pollen is a natural energizer, rich in protein, aids in digestion and is good for the immune system, plus the golden color looks super pretty when sprinkled over your dish. Chia seeds are full of antioxidants and have 11g fiber & 4g protein per serving, but if you have a hard time with the seed texture, you can add it to the overnight process but you may need to add a little more liquid as they like to soak it right up and make a jelly-like texture.

All in all, I love this as a healthy choice any time of day, and sometimes get a craving right as I fall asleep and will actually trudge back to the kitchen to take no more than a minute to mix it up, then head back to bed knowing that I am waking up to a great meal choice! Give this a shot once or twice a week; using a mason jar keeps it portable to take to work for you and making it the night before allows for extra time in the morning, whether it's to get the kids out the door or to just have more. time. in. the. morning.

With a full heart and an empty plate,


Katie