Shop local, eat local, know the source of what you and your family eat. While it takes more time to prepare fresh meals, you will realize that it's worth it. Look at a can of food, question where it was grown. Was it sprayed with toxins? When was it picked? How was it handled?
By supporting local farmers markets and roadside stands, you are supporting the local economy. Scan the colorful vegetables that are grown and harvested in our towns and who knows, you might be inspired to try something new.
Take beets, a unique source of nutrients that contain powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits to help protect against disease and cancers. Beets are a root vegetable, typically reddish-purple and come in a variety of colors. While shopping at the farmers market, I was intrigued by the golden hue variety and selected both (covered in soil, pulled that morning) to combine for a refreshing cold salad.
Cold Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
6 medium beets
1/4 cup cold-pressed virgin olive oil
1/4 balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
8-10 small leaves of a fresh herb, orange (citrus) mint or basil
Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
Note: If you are going to combine beet varieties, each must be prepared separately to keep the reds from staining the golden. I cooked the golden first and set aside. When it came to choose an herb from my garden, I decided to try orange (citrus) mint, which gave the salad a refreshing taste.
To prepare beets: Cut off the leaves off and gently wash; do not remove the skin. Place in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil, cooking until tender, about 45-60 minutes. Drain, then plunge into cold water. When cool enough to handle, slip off the skins (using paper towels) and slice off the rootlet.
Slice beets into wedges, place in a bowl. Add onion, oil and vinegar and toss gently. Sprinkle with goat cheese, herb leaves, salt and pepper. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.