Beets, Orzo and…Dirt

In Season,Recipes,Seasonal Foods,Summer
April 4, 2011

Farm-fresh beets provide two great dishes and a lesson in eating food pulled form the earth.

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When we first joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, we had golden beets for months it seemed. “They taste like “earth,” my daughter said. She didn’t mean that in a bad way; in fact, she liked them a lot. I thought that her comment was very perceptive, as organic, fresh, locally grown beets should taste like the earth they come from.

 

I was reminded of all this upon watching Dirt, The Movie last week. Narrated by Jamie Lee Curtis, it offers “a vision of a sustainable relationship between humans and dirt through profiles of the global visionaries who are determined to repair the damage we’ve done before it’s too late.”

As it happens, April is National Gardening Month, and lots of us can’t wait to get our hands in the dirt. I learned the value of dirt last year with Relish’s community garden at the George Washington Carver Food Park in Nashville, where community activist Sizwe Herring specializes in making compost. I will never plant a garden without a good layer of compost, nor can I in good conscious ever throw away food scraps.

Whether it’s with beets, onions, lettuce, spinach or leeks, celebrate the season, and the dirt that goes with it, with these recipes.

—By Jill Melton, Relish Editor

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Walnut Beet Salad

Boiling vinegar draws the sweetness out of raisins for a wildly flavorful vinaigrette that makes this salad shine.

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Colorful Orzo Veggies

Great for potlucks, this simple dish is perfect as a vegetarian entrée or as a side.

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Warm Beet Salad with Red Onion, Mint and Pistachios

Crunchy pistachios and aromatic mint add flavor to this warm beet salad. Serve as a side or have a full meal by adding feta, shrimp or chicken.