I mentioned in my last post that I’m a Fall girl. Don’t get me wrong, the taste of fruit and vegetables in the summer is amazing, when everything is ripe and flavorful. Summer is probably every vegetarian’s food heaven. In fact, one of my greatest memories this year was flying home to Germany to spend my 30th birthday with my family. My parents live in the countryside, so not only did it mean a welcome retreat from the crowdedness of New York City for me, but my (retired) Dad is also a passionate gardner. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so many tomatoes (fresh off the vine nonetheless!) as I did during the 10 days I spent with my parents.
Now, as much as I love summer, there’s something magical about fall. When the leaves turn, the Pumpkin Spice Latte makes a reappearance, the humidity and temperatures finally drop (great if you’re a runner in New York City, you have no idea!) and everything seems more comfy and cozy. Some of my favorite foods are at their best in the fall; pumpkin and beets just being two of them. I don’t know what it is specifically about beets that I love so much, maybe it’s their subtle sweetness, maybe it’s the fact that they go so well with cheese (and who doesn’t love foods that go well with cheese??) Either way, when I saw an entire chapter dedicated to beets, Anne Rogge’s book was an immediate must-have for me.
The recipe works well as a fancy looking appetizer or on a bed of greens – if you want to make it the main star. Here’s the how to:
4 medium sized beets
3 TBSP red lentils
200 g / 7 oz feta cheese
200 g / 7 oz sour cream
1 clove garlic
1/2 bunch fresh marjoram
salt, pepper to taste
1 TBSP olive oil
- Carefully brush the raw beets. Cook for 45 minutes in salted water until tender, then transfer to cold water. Pour some boiling water over lentils and let them soak for 10 minutes.
- Crumble feta cheese and mix with sour cream. Peel and mince garlic. Remove marjoram from stems. cut the leaves (except for 1 TBSP) and, together with garlic, add to feta/sour cream mixture. Drain lentils and add to filling mixture. Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pre-heat oven at 200°C/400°F. Cut roots and stem from cooked beets and peel them. Carefully scoop out the beets, using a melon scooper. Make sure to leave enough of a rim. Fill the beets with the cheese mixture.
- Coat an oven-safe dish with the olive oil and place the beets in the dish. Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Sprinkle remaining marjoram on top before serving.
Some additional tips:
- When brushing the beets, make sure you don’t hurt the skin so that the beets don’t “bleed” and lose taste and color when you cook them.
- Once you cut and peel the beets, you’ll want to wear kitchen gloves. Beets are delicious, but messy!
- My beets ended up being too small which made it difficult to scoop them out (this is why the first picture shows six beets and the later picture only shows five…) and I had plenty of filling left. When you pick beets at the store, go for the big ones!
This one’s a keeper!