Saturday, June 22, 2013

Smiles and Sides to Savor-- Golden Beets, Corn Salsa and Swiss Chard

I'm visiting my favorite city by the bay. Not as a tourist but a girl Friday. A new baby is due any day and I get to bond with Neale and Jen's almost-two year old Anjali. Cute as a button, full of giggles and smiles and in the words of my ma in law Pam, eats like a Trojan!!

It's my turn to cook dinner and in San Francisco I am flooded with choices. Neale's fridge is laden with farmer's market booty. I find cherry tomatoes, rainbow chard and orange beets. Skirt steak lies in butcher paper, tonight's meat course. Though I am more excited for the sides. California veggies are the most flavorful. Especially locally grown greens. My trips here result in bagfuls of produce taken back to New York. But now I get a chance to cook and eat like a local. 

Beets, lightly coated with oil and wrapped in foil go into a hot oven. I chop some Swiss chard. Corn kernels are pan roasted. Steak is well seasoned. My prep work done, we indulge in a favorite family pastime-- twenty one card rummy.  Fortune doesn't favor me too well! Hopefully I will be luckier with dinner.

Golden Roasted Beets
Serves 4 people

2 medium to large Golden Beets
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Sea salt

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Wash the beets and dry well.

Make two squares of aluminum foil.

Place a beet on each, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Gather ends of the foil and twist the tops to close.

Place on a sheet pan or oven proof dish and roast for 1 hour.

Remove from oven and cool.

Peel the skin. It should really slide off. If not, use a paring knife to remove the stubborn bits. 

Slice the beets 1/4 inch to 1/5 inch thick. 

Lay the slices in an attractive fashion on a plate. I like to make overlapping concentric circles.

Once again drizzle olive oil over the beets. 

Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Corn and Tomato Salsa
Makes 3 cups

2 ears of Corn
1 cup Cherry Tomatoes
1/4 Red Onion
1/4 cup Cilantro 
1/2 green Chile
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 Lime

Peel the outer corn leaves and remove the tassels.

Stand the corn upright on a plate and pare the kernels using a sharp knife. Watch out for flying corn!

Place a non-stick pan on a medium flame and dry roast corn kernels for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and cool.

Wash and cut cherry tomatoes in half. Place in a bowl.

Slice the red onion finely and add to tomatoes.

Chop the cilantro and chile finely and add to tomatoes and onions.

Add the cooled corn to tomatoes.

Season with salt.

Sprinkle juice of lime and stir to mix. 

Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour. Serve it cool.

Sautéed Swiss Chard
Makes 3 cups

1 bunch Rainbow Swiss Chard
1 tablespoon Olive oil
5 cloves Garlic
1 teaspoon Woostershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

Cut the Swiss chard into large shreds and wash well. Use the stems too. Let the chard drip dry in the colander.

Peel and slice garlic.

Heat oil in a large saucepan.

Add the garlic and let it lightly brown.

Add the Swiss chard and salt. Cover with a lid and let the chard cook down for 3 to 5 minutes. Push down with a spoon.

Open the lid and add the Woostershire sauce.
Let the chard open braise for a minute more to let some of the liquid dry.

 Serve the chard hot.

The steak sizzles in a cast iron pan. Anjali tucks into well charred steak tidbits, beets and corn. Chard is not quite her cup of tea. We enthusiastically slice into steak. A triple portion of sides fill our plates. The simple taste of summer veggies is delightfully overwhelming. I enjoy watching the Gonsalves family put away this summer bounty immensely.