No borscht here: roasted beets with oranges, mint, goat cheese, and blueberries

5 Mar

It was the summer of 1996 when I had my first run-in with beets.

I was at The Concord, a crumbling weekend getaway far past its prime, where my very extended family was having a reunion. My family unto itself, as described in the brisket post, is already the size of a NFL team roster including the injured guys, but this event included everyone descending from my great-great-grandparents’ oldest son, a few of his siblings, and their 15+ kids (and three generations thereafter).Beets and oranges

I remember the hotel room that we used as family headquarters – the “hospitality suite” (confusing as a kid – no hospital there?), where the door was always open with snacks and drinks, and where the family tree someone put up for reference stretched around all 4 sides of the room. I remember days exploring the grounds of the resort* and relishing the independence my parents granted us to roam freely from the mini golf course to the pool. I remember shyly hiding behind my grandmother as I was introduced to a distant, older cousin who wore a Chicago Bulls’ championship ring and thus had the privilege of being the long weekend’s most famous person in attendance.

WolverineIn the evening, we dressed up for dinner in the fancy dining room; the place settings had more duplicate forks, knives, and spoons than I had ever seen before at my kitchen table at home, and so my brother and I held the many utensils between our knuckles like dueling Wolverines and fought it out until the food arrived (that’s 3 sharp metal objects per hand times two children. Smart).

Then it came. A glass of purple delivered by penguin waitstaff to every person at every table. I remember thinking how fantastic it was that this place served black raspberry milkshakes instead of salad to start off the meal. At the next table over, the famous cousin with the bling from Chicago downed the drink in one long gulp. I figured I’d be in for a treat with my own purple shake in front of me and reached for a straw to taste it. Needless to say, beet soup and ice cream are not equally exciting to a 10-year-old. I guess I should have known better, though: according to Wikipedia, The Concord Resort and Hotel “(pronounced kahn-CORD) was a world-famous destination for visitors to the so-called Borscht Belt part of the Catskills.”For blog - final product

Time has passed, and now roasted beets are frequent guests in my kitchen. Here I made them with Cara Cara oranges, fresh mint, creamy goat cheese, blueberries, and a champagne vinegar dressing. Sounds hard but it isn’t at all.

*Wikipedia tells me The Concord had about 2,000 acres of land, though less than 18 months after this family reunion, The Concord filed for bankruptcy, was sold, demolished, and is now being rebuilt as a $600M racino (new word for me too: combined race track and casino).

Roasted beets with oranges, mint, goat cheese, and blueberries

Ingredients

  • 3 beets of any color (I used red beets and orange oranges, but you could also use golden beets and blood oranges, or any combination really)
  • 3 oranges
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • Few sprigs of mint, ripped into smaller pieces
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 1 tbsp minced shallot
  • Juice from 1 lemon (2-3 tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp champagne vinegar
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

1. Cut stems off beets, scrub, and either roast or boil. (If roasting, place beets inside an aluminum foil packet and cook at 400 degrees for about an hour or until tender. If boiling, place beets in boiling water and let simmer for about 35 minutes or until tender.)

2. Peel and slice oranges.

3. Whisk together minced shallot, lemon juice, champagne vinegar, and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. (You can increase this dressing recipe depending on how much dressing you want for the dish.)

4. Remove beets from oven or pot. When cool enough to touch, peel off skin by rubbing your fingers against it – they skin will slide off remarkably easily. Slice beets.

5. Arrange beets and oranges on a plate (or cut into cubes and toss together). Top with blueberries, mint, pieces of goat cheese, and dressing.

2 Responses to “No borscht here: roasted beets with oranges, mint, goat cheese, and blueberries”

  1. Pharmamama54 March 7, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    What a fun and interesting blog! I love the family stories that accompany your recipes. Racino is a new word for my vocabulary – hard to believe what has happened to the resorts of the Catskills.

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