I Never Met A Beet I Liked Until I Met Chef Ryan!

Posted on February 06, 2014 by Rebecca | 0 comments

As I've mentioned before, Derek and I have been enjoying participating in a Winter Farm Cooperative with Fresh Fork Markets, where once a week we get a wonderful delivery of all local, farm fresh seasonal produce, eggs and meat. But, I've got to admit - I've been a little stumped with some of these root vegetables and mounds of kale. I freely admit, I am not a beet fan. The thought of a jar of pickled beets is not my happy place. Fortunately, we have a wonderful, good friend who just happens to be a Culinary Institute of America trained Chef! Ryan wowed us at the Rebecca Ray holiday party with several creations including a beet and arugula salad that was fabulous. So now our great friend Ryan is also our Resident Rebecca Ray consulting Chef! So on a snowy day last week, with a counter full of root vegetable, I called Ryan and said help!

Ryan began my beet transformation by informing me that "beets (and all tubers) are naturally the gem of the winter". He added that beets are a "luxurious winter vegetable with an amazing versatility - they can be served raw, roasted, shaved and juiced."  Who knew? For beet beginners like me, Ryan suggested trying to roast a candy striped beet - available at most farmer's markets and quality grocery stores. They actually look like a peppermint stick when you slice them! Place sliced candy striped beets on a cookie sheet, brush them with a good quality extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle them with a little wonderful salt (his favorite is Maldon Salt - I used the smoked version), put a little orange zest over them, and bake at 350 degrees. Yum!! I'm already a beet convert. Then, if you want to move up the skill ladder, Ryan suggests shaving a raw beet and gently marinate it in a mixture of citrus and salt, and pour it over your salad or fish.

To get really fancy, here is another one of Ryan's roasted beet recipes: Make roasted beets by slicing them down and roasting them on a shallow pan. Brush with olive oil and squeeze the juice of an orange over the top before baking. According to Ryan, while these terrific tubers are roasting, they naturally convert their starch to sugar, which in turn caramelizes and turns to a sweet sauce (He advises trying the same thing with turnips, rutabagas, colored carrots, etc). Take out the beets, wait until they cool, peel the skins off, dice them, and arrange on a bed of Arugula. Then, take the drippings, add some more olive oil, and throw in some shallots and fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary. Whisk and pour over your beets and arugula; finish with some goat cheese. Absolutely fabulous. If you roast a rutabaga the same way, then mash it with some extra virgin olive oil and fresh herbs, you suddenly have a unique starch to serve along side a meat dish.

The final eye opener for me is Ryan's kale recipe. So easy and so wonderful! Simply sauté some diced pancetta and shallots. Once they begin to caramelize, toss in the kale and a little chicken stock over low heat. Delicious! Ryan urged me to keep a few winter staples at home: Maldon Salt (or any other quality gourmet salt), really good extra virgin olive oil, sherry or champagne vinegar, brown sugar and fresh citrus to zest and squeeze (lemon, limes and oranges). You can make so many wonderful concoctions with just those items and fresh produce.

Derek, Lizzie and I now no longer are at a loss with the tubers!! We are enjoying roasted winter vegetables every night!! Thanks Chef Ryan!!


Meet Ryan!

Chef Ryan Young, of Pepper Pike, Ohio, is an undergraduate in hospitality Management at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas as well as a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Ryan's career has taken him all over the country and he has been fortunate to cook in many high profile venues, including Le Petit Bistro in New York City, Trio in Chicago, and and Fix at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Ryan has recently returned to his hometown, Cleveland, to join his family's business. Additionally, he is in great demand, creating fabulous charity dinner parties. Ryan is a big a believer in the farm to table movement as supports all of Cleveland's local farmer's markets. He can be spotted regularly shopping at the Shaker Square and Chagrin Falls' Farmer's Market as well as the West Side Market downtown, where he is scouting out the freshest seasonal ingredients for his artfully presented dishes! To see some of Chef Ryan Young's beautiful culinary creations, be sure to visit his Facebook Page: Ryan Young!

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One Year Later at the Farm: Sneak Peeks of the Renovation!

Posted on July 02, 2013 by Rebecca | 0 comments

It's been almost a year since Derek, Lizzie and I uprooted ourselves to take an adventure buying a historical farm in the Chagrin Valley. We clearly have an unusual way to experience a midlife crisis, but at least we both had the same relative idea about what we were in search of!  As in any renovation, projects progress much slower than you anticipate and the time flies by, but despite blood, sweat and tears (many, many tears on my part!!) we wouldn't change a thing about our move. Even Lizzie is finally forgiving us for leaving our other home that we had already lovingly restored.  If you didn't see my blog about the move, here's a recap - it was one of our most popular entries (besides Tinsel, the Percheron)….

Rebecca Ray Design's Family is on an Extended Adventure Renovating a 1920s Ohio Farm!

Well - its is official! Derek and I now officially own a 35 acre farm in Chagrin Falls, Ohio!  We left our very beloved last home that we had poured our heart and soul into (see blog dated....) and we are starting over.  Lizzie, our daughter, did inform us early in the process that we had "ruined her life" by moving, but she might be have to admit that she is completely eating those words now that we have been in it for about 5 weeks. We have a historically significant home that was built by the architect who built the Cleveland Museum of Art and the very famous Westside Market. He Built it as his own home and then sold it in 1949 to the family that we bought it from. We feel truly privileged to be entrusted as the stewards of such a special place.  


So everyone keeps asking, what does it look like and what have you done?  Well - we have finally received approval for our barn to be built for our Percheron girls who are hitting their heads on the lightbulbs of the old barn.  We hope to break ground within the next few weeks. We've also come up with the most gorgeous preliminary house plans for a modest renovation that we will take place in the next few years. The addition will maintain the integrity of the historical house, just make it a little better for a modern family (air conditioning would be key here!). We are finding things on the property every day, and every season change is like getting a present from nature.  So without further adieu, here is a photo tour of one year's worth the work…

My trusty dogs welcome everyone at the end of the drive, where we have a pond and pretty bridge to drive over.


The view from the high point in the front pasture looking towards the front of the house…the yard is slowly taking shape and the grass that we are mowing is finally coming back...


The grapes had their spring pruning and are now loaded with fruit. I hope that this field will eventually become a hunt field for riding. And finally we unearthed the old orchard. We have peaches, pears and apples this year. The trees are loaded up!  Who is coming to help with canning week!?


The hedges are getting haircuts - we took about two feet off the tops. The Percheron girls (and Licorice) have all happily settled into their new pastures. We can see them grazing from the house. Also, we are putting in fences and more fences.  Every time we have a little extra in the budget (which is almost never by now!) up goes more fence. From the woods, you can see the dogs are out in their temporary paddock.


Kitchen renovation on a dime! Knowing that we have a major addition as soon as we save our pennies, we did a minor "refurbish on the kitchen". We added a new stone floor, painted the cabinets, put new hardware on them, and installed new appliances. After throwing in some can lighting, and new paint colors on the walls, our old farmhouse kitchen has a new life. Believe it or not, the stainless counters were there.  And we kept the great farm sink and faucet!



The powder room - how about that mini sink?!


Look how great the floors look - we haven't touched them yet - except for pulling up thousands of nails!!


We made a make-shift family room out of the old dining room, so that we had a sitting area just off the kitchen.


I'm beginning to find homes for all of my collections…I've actually found more storage space in the house than I thought that I would. New homes for all of my collections...kind of fun to create new vignettes. It's like a working studio !


In the living room, the fireplace tiles appear to be Rookwood Pottery.


I put old cabinets to new display use... This is in the corner of the dining room.


We been unburying and creating gardens for lots if flowers.  The original architect and owner of the house was a master gardener, so there are amazing plantings and trees that just need some attention... 


Along the path to some of the outbuildings, we've rebuilt the trellis and redone the plantings. Here is the climbing rose that we think is as old as the house, from 1924. We found this birdbath buried in the woods and resurrected it. The birds are quite happy.

We have a big painting job ahead of us!  But at least the buildings are all cleaned out and organized!

I will keep you updated on our progress so stayed tuned!

Best, Rebecca

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