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