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Friday, November 15, 2013

Beets Dijon and How to create your own Indoor Winter Garden

Welcome Virtual Vegan Potluckers!  Today is the day over 160 vegan blogs have linked up to share yummy recipes and inspiration in one virtual potluck!  Even though you may need a couple of days to explore all these delectable ideas, be sure to click all the way through, as there are both beautiful and delicious desserts waiting for you at the end—

And now I welcome you to the Gaia's Creations where with Mother Earth, and I collaborate to grow her tiniest plants-- like beets which are so rich in color and flavor, and when you add some Dijon mustard and a complement of other tastes and seasonings, yum!

Here is a new twist for the adventurous. It is easy and fun. Just look around this page at all the magnificent color you get in one planting of beet seed. This is an introduction to whet your appetite. Later in this post, I have an offer for you with the support of Todd of Todd's Seeds and Annie of An Unrefined Vegan.

Now to my recipe for "A Winter Salad of Beets Dijon and Friends" which is followed by how to of grow beet microgreens. I am offering a planting's worth of beet seeds to get started (and a packet of no fail "kale" seeds) to the first five adventurous folks who respond, and sign up for my blog and send me an e-mail with their contact info at gaiascreations@live.com 

To get more tips on growing and using microgreens in your recipes, sign up on this blog where I will share hints and answer questions (See below to get my step by step book**). 

DILLED BEETS DIJON and FRIENDS  (serves 4)

6 medium sized firm beets, organic  (3 cups total)
one small organic carrot, peeled and julienned 
1 scallion, sliced thinly
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, almonds or cashews

Dressing: In an upright blender, place the following ingredients and
blend until desired consistency: smooth or still a little crunchy

2/3 cup  cashews pieces
2 Tb. fresh lime juice
6 Tb. fresh orange juice
2-3 Tb. Dijon or spicy mustard
1-2 tsp. fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/4 cup coconut water (fresh if possible) or water
1/2 tsp. sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. Dill weed

Greens: spinach or colorful mix of lettuces
Beet microgreens: 1/2 cup (see below how to grow these gems)
and other Microgreens: spicy radish, buttery buckwheat "lettuce" or kale or another beauty, purple kohlrabi -- see picture below

Directions: 

Scrub beets and trim ends. Steam them 10 to 15 minutes, until them are just tender, adding the julienned carrot in the last five minutes.

Peel the beets. Dice and toss with the carrots and some of the Dijon dressing. (You will probably have extra dressing). Let flavors meld in your refrigerator for a while or cool to room temperature . Toss vegetables with one cup of greens. Finally, garnish the top of the salad with toasted nuts, sliced scallion and beet microgreens.

Beets Microgreens:  Read through the whole page and then focus on the planting steps at the bottom. These little seeds contain 5-6 beet plants each in their seed shell. Scarifying (crushing them gently) will help them to germinate in greater numbers and more easily.. Here is all you need:

Supplies:

2 small plastic planting trays with holes or one clam shell container with its top (from fruit purchased at the market) or a plastic pot at least 4” in diameter

A bottle to mist the micro garden or sprayer on your sink or hose.

Organic potting soil (enough to fill your container to about 1” from top)

A sandwich size bag you can seal.  

Paper towel cut to size of container opening

Rolling pin or a wine or smooth bottle

Process:

Take dry seeds and put about 2-3 tablespoons in a zip lock bag. Seal bag while removing air. With a rolling pin, carefully roll back and forth several times over the seed firmly enough to break into the outer crust, but not go through crust fully. You will not necessarily see any change visually.

Fill your tray ¾ full with organic soil which you have thoroughly dampened and broken up any clumps of dirt. Flatten the surface evenly pressing down the soil a bit. Then take the seed and spread it over the soil surface. Cover the seeds completely with one more thin layer more of soil (1/8"). Mist soil well and cover with a paper towel which you dampen and then finally cover the tray with an inverted tray to help hold in moisture and allow air to flow in.. Note: If you use a clamshell container which has holes in top and bottom, the top acts as a dome until the germinated seeds lift up the towel. Place your pot or container on a tray to catch moisture from watering and keep in the shade or out of the light until you uncover these beauties. You uncover when they push up the paper towel. Leave the cover off then and put them under a light or where light comes in a window. 

Here is your planting order:

1) Put soil in a container with holes (for drainage) so it is within 1” of the top of your planting tray or pot. (Don’t use clay as it sucks out moisture). Moisten soil thoroughly and allow excess moisture to drain. Flatten top of soil with a piece of cardboard or another container the same size to even the soil surface.

2) Spread “scarified” seeds onto the surface of the soil. Cover these with 1/8” loose soil and press down firmly but gently.

3) Cover with a paper towel. Dampen thoroughly.  

4) Place an inverted planting tray with holes on top. Keep in the shade where there is good air flow. Mist with water when your towel is dry..usually once or twice a day.

5) Uncover the seedlings when they push up most of the paper towel.

The beets will take up to a week (+ or -) to begin to show above soil in 65-70 degree temperature in your home or patio. Mist thoroughly only when the paper towel is somewhat dry. Once the plants are lifting the paper towel, uncover beets. Move them to indirect light. Beets love some sun…just don’t roast them. Now water when soil is almost dry and allow soil to almost dry out before watering again. The roots need consistent moisture (not soaking them). They only take a few days after being uncovered to be ready to eat!

Water as needed up to 12 hours before harvesting (or they will hold too much water). Start cutting them (with scissors) just above the soil when they are  1-1 1/2 “tall. If you store any microgreens, layer them with a paper towel or cloth in a container in the refrigerator. Wash greens when you are ready to eat them.

Always be sure to keep your growing greens’ soil moist. Since the seeds were not soaked, they may dry out faster. I recommend that you water thoroughly once the cover is off and allow the soil to almost dry out before watering again. 

On November 19th, at www.anunrefinedvegan.com I will offer a guest post  with a contest for my book, ** GROWING MICROGREENS STEP BY STEP and some seeds from www.toddsseeds.com
Above are  beet, kale, crimson radish and purple kohlrabi microgreens.


 Here is one version of Beets Dijon with toasted Pine Nuts

To proceed to the NEXT dish/blog in the Virtual Vegan Potluck, thenewloaf.com
To go BACK to the previous dish/blog in the Virtual Vegan Potluck In Fine Balance
To start at the beginning of the VVPVegan Bloggers Unite

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