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Waltham Fields Community Farm (incorporated as Community Farms Outreach, Inc.) is a nonprofit farming organization focusing on sustainable food production, fresh food assistance, and on-farm education. For more information about Waltham Fields check out our website!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Autumn Harvest Salad

As the farmers market season draws to a close in New England, there's still time to take advantage of the local produce available during the mid-autumn season, including greens, beets, and apples. For the fall-inspired salad below, try out a combination of local greens, such as arugula, green and red baby lettuces, spinach, pea tendrils, and beet greens. This salad is gluten-free and vegetarian.

The Ingredients:
  • various greens
  • beets, small to medium size, with greens
  • apples or pears
  • walnuts or pecans, chopped
  • goat cheese
  • dressing (recipe suggestion below)

How to Make it:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Cut off beet greens, leaving 1-2 inches of stem attached to the beets; put the greens aside for the salad. Under cold running water, scrub the beets to remove as much dirt as possible. Pat them dry and wrap each beet in aluminum foil, leaving the stems exposed. Spread the beets apart on a baking sheet or pan and roast until you can easily stick a fork through them; for small beets, this is about 30-40 minutes, while medium beets will need about 45-60 minutes. Avoid using large beets as they are typically more fibrous and lack flavor compared to smaller sizes.

While roasting the beets, wash your greens and allow to air dry in a colander. If your greens are looking a bit "tired," an easy way to perk them up is short soak in ice-cold water. Wash your apple(s), pat dry, and slice according to your preference (thin or thick slices). If you are working with whole nuts, coarsely chop them. Using clean fingers or a knife, break apart or chop the goat cheese into crumbles; using a knife is suggested as the goat cheese may stick to your warm fingers more than it will break apart!

When the beets are done, remove them from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Remove the foil; with your fingers, rub the skins and stems so that they easily peel off the vegetables. Slice or chop the beets to your preferred thickness. Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl, toss with dressing, and serve. For a more delicate appearance (as shown), individually place each ingredient on your greens and drizzle with dressing.

To make a simple Balsamic Vinaigrette:

Whisk 1 part balsamic vinegar to 3 parts olive oil (i.e. if you are making 1 cup of dressing, use 1/4 cup of vinegar to 3/4 cup of oil). Add a small dollop of dijon mustard and sweetener (agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup work well) and some salt according to your taste. Whisk again, then use immediately or store. For extra zest and flavor, add some minced garlic or onion to the dressing.

It tastes good, but is it healthy?

In terms of health, this salad is packed full of nutritional goodness: the greens provide fiber, vitamins A and K; the walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, protein, some B vitamins, and several minerals; apples provide both soluble and insoluble fiber and vitamin C; beets provide folate (a B vitamin) and fiber; the goat cheese contains protein and calcium; and the dressing is a good source of health-promoting monounsaturated fat as well as vitamins E and K.

You can see the soluble (the flesh) and insoluble (the skin) fibers of this apple. Soluble fiber dissolves in water while insoluble fiber does not. Both types of fiber are essential to a healthy diet. Insoluble fiber aids colonic digestion (click to see post) while soluble fiber improves blood glucose regulation and removes cholesterol from the body.

Media (text and images) created and published by Rebekah Carter (2010)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe the best read that I have read all year!!