It’s Fall and that means that our CSA box is starting to fill with root vegetables. Onions, potatoes, celery, and beets have all made appearances in recent weeks. Hopefully they will continue to show up in our boxes along with other root vegetables such as rutabagas, parsnips, and turnips. Take well to all sorts of cooking techniques, from frying and sauteing, to boiling, roasting, braising and pickling. Raw they can often have a sharp, but pleasant bite, but cooking them slowly oftentimes draws out their intrinsic sweetness, mellowing them and lending a deep, rich earthiness to many dishes.

As a kid I hated beets, and even as an adult they were probably the last root vegetable for me to imbrace, but now that I have I love them and look forward to both the Spring and Fall crops when beets can be found fresh, locally. Luckily for me, our CSA farm did produce both a Spring crop which was quickly used up and a Fall crop which has been showing up in our boxes the last couple of weeks. The first week was a nice large bunch of typical red beets, but the other week saw a mix of golden and Chioggia (red and white striped) beets.

Hopefully, you like beets as much as I do. If not, your out of luck as the next 3-5 posts will all be revolving around beets. I hope you enjoy these brightly colored, gifts of nature as much as I do.

Beet and Blue Cheese Spread
adapted from Cooking Light Feb. 2008

1 pound beets, medium sized
2 apples (any tart variety will work well)
1/3 cup blue cheese, crumbled (I used Gorgonzola)
1 1/2 Tbl. horseradish

Trim beets of any greens, rinse well, removing all dirt and place in a baking dish. Add 1/4 cup of water, cover with foil and bake at 350°F for 1 hour, or until the beets feel tender when pricked with a knife. Allow to cool then trim off root and stem ends and peel. Roughly chop and place in a food processor. Peel, core and chop the apples, placing them in the processor along with the blue cheese and horseradish. Process until well blended and somewhat smooth. Serve with crackers or toasted pita chips.

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