April Winter Share

Welcome to

In the few years I’ve been writing the Food Farm newsletter, this spring one has usually been especially fun to write. I like noting the melting snow, the running streams, the singing birds, new greens. Now though, I am just focused on willing the weather to hurry up and get warm so I can sit outside and talk with my family without shivering. So that we all can. 

The uncertainty of life is being exemplified right now, loud and clear. Intellectually, of course, I know that life is uncertain. Death and taxes and all that. But the magnitude of this cross-(insert all boundaries here) crisis and its still-unclear, unseeable conclusion has shaken me.

My feelings have been yo-yo-ing a lot this past month. I’ve been angry (my personal go to), sad, restful, indignant, needy, munchy, introspective, the opposite of introspective, blessed feeling, stressed feeling and most of the other ones except confident.

My thoughts, similarly, go round and round: I wonder about the lasting impact economically, socially. I think I should stop listening to MPR. I think I should never stop listening to MPR. I wonder if this will change the way my generation is treating the planet. I wonder if my generation can change.

In my own discombobulation, it’s hard to feel like I have much to offer you in a newsletter.

I can only say we are connected. We’re so wonderfully connected.

Of course we know that on some level day to day, but now the necessity of our separation makes it so…real, but unreachable. We’ve been together in stores, and on sidewalks and at funerals and concerts and on the beach and on airplanes and in meetings. I’ve driven past you with my windows down, I’ve handed you a shopping list you dropped. I’ve bent down to check on your kid who fell of her bike. I’ve breathed in the air you’ve breathed out. I’ve touched the food you’ve eaten from the farm for years, at planting, weeding, and harvest, and I’ll do it again this summer.

It feels amazing to be back on the farm after weeks of cocooning with my little family. Replacing those mixed-up thoughts and feelings with good, solid work that is for a purpose. Thinking of all of you, most of whom I’ve never met, gaining sustenance from what I’m doing helps get out of my head and chill out. The separation we’re participating in is abnormal, temporary, and a reminder of the power in human closeness, from necessary care to those everyday moments.

There’s no telling exactly what the coming weeks and months will bring. Some of us will get sick. Perhaps a lot of us. All of us will miss friends and family and walking down a sidewalk without side-stepping each other.

I wish you all well in this time.

For the masked farm crew,

Karin


In your share this month:

Beets – Carrots – Onions – Parsnips – Fingerling, Russet, and Baby Yellow Potatoes – Rutabaga – Spinach, Greens Mix and Thyme!


I’m trying to include recipes that are either flexible, or use a lot of staples that I hope you all have!

Carrot Cake Bread 

Ingredients

1/2 cup canola oil 

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs 

1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 

½  tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp ginger

1 teaspoon baking powder 

1/2 teaspoon baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon salt (scant)

2 cups finely grated carrots 

1/4 cup raisins (optional soaked in brandy or rum)

1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. Place the canola oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, applesauce and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Whisk vigorously until smooth and combined.
  4. Add the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the bowl. Continue whisking until the mixture is just combined. Do not over-mix.
  5. Fold in the grated carrots, raisins and walnuts and then pour the batter into the loaf pan.
  6. Bake the bread for 55-65 minutes on the middle rack until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Check to see that bread is done. Remove from oven or add time as needed.
  8. Allow the bread to rest in the pan for 10 minutes and then release the bread from the pan onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.

Vegetable Pancakes +sauce

I have found this recipe to be very flexible. You could use parsnips, beets or rutabaga easily, just keep the ratio of veggies to flour and egg about the same and shred everything finely.

Pancakes
1/2 small head cabbage, very thinly sliced (1 pound or 5 to 6 cups shreds) which will be easiest on a mandoline if you have one
4 medium carrots, peeled into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
Canola, safflower or peanut oil for frying

Tangy Sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (note: this is not vegetarian)
1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon rice cooking wine or sake
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey (use 2 if you like a sweeter sauce)
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Make the pancakes: Toss cabbage, carrot, onions and salt together in a large bowl. Toss mixture with flour so it coats all of the vegetables. Stir in the eggs. Heat a large heavy skillet on medium-high heat. Coat the bottom with oil and heat that too.

To make a large pancake, add 1/4 of the vegetable mixture to the skillet, pressing it out into a 1/2- to 3/4-inch pancake. Gently press the pancake down flat. Cook until the edges beging to brown, about 3 minutes. 30 seconds to 1 minute later, flip the pancake with a large spatula. (If this is terrifying, you can first slide the pancake onto a plate, and, using potholders, reverse it back into the hot skillet.) Cook on the other side until the edges brown, and then again up to a minute more (you can peek to make sure the color is right underneath).

To make small pancakes, you can use tongs but I seriously find using my fingers and grabbing little piles, letting a little batter drip back into the bowl, and depositing them in piles on the skillet easier, to form 3 to 4 pancakes. Press down gently with a spatula to they flatten slightly, but no need to spread them much. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the edges brown. Flip the pancakes and cook them again until brown underneath.

Regardless of pancake size, you can keep them warm on a tray in the oven at 200 to 250 degrees until needed.

If desired, make okonomiyaki sauce: Combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth and thick.

Serve pancakes with sauce and any of the other fixings listed above, from Japanese mayo to scallions and toasted sesame seeds.

Do ahead: Extra pancakes will keep in the fridge for a couple days, or can be spread on a tray in the freezer until frozen, then combined in a freezer bag to be stored until needed. Reheat on a baking sheet in a hot oven until crisp again.

Link

Here is our update on how the farm is handling the current global pandemic…
Hi Food Farmers,
Well, our unseasonably warm weather has ground to a halt much like everything else right now, so it’s still looking pretty snowy here at the farm. But the onions are up and the first planting of tomatoes is germinating! I almost have the planting schedule and field maps done, but that work has been interrupted by a lot of planning for this viral epidemic. We have a good start, but there’s more to be done to ensure the health and safety of our staff, members, and family.
The first step was to review our Food Safety Plan. In addition to our annual update, we’re developing an addendum to reflect special precautions to take regarding Covid-19. While we will have new procedures for most aspects of farm operations, much of our seasonal crew will be starting in just a couple of weeks, so figuring out how to keep staff and family safe is the priority this week. I am talking to pick up site hosts to figure out how to keep everyone protected during Summer Share season. We’re hoping to have share pickup outside for the last Winter Share, but we need to begin planning for summer as it looks like this outbreak requires an extended adjustment to the way we interact.
We are very concerned about the impact on our restaurant customers, including the Duluth Grill, Wussow’s Concert Cafe, OMC Smokehouse, and Chester Creek Cafe. These have been such steadfast supporters of our farm that an extended impact on them could be really harmful to us as well as the community as a whole. Many of them are offering curbside service, so please patronize them as you are able.
There will be more information to come, but I wanted to let you know that we are closely monitoring the situation and doing our best to ensure a safe and stable local food supply.
One other quick note: I was on the KUMD show The Simple Plate last week. If you’re interested in hearing me ramble about local food, agriculture, and what it’s like growing up on an organic farm, you can find the episode here: https://www.kumd.org/post/simple-plate-food-farm
Finally – a quick note on shares – we are filling up quickly!
We are seeing an increased interest in accessing local food, so if you haven’t signed up yet, please do so soon! Either click here or go to www.foodfarm.us and select the “CSA Shares” tab. If you have friends who are interested, please send them the signup link as well.
We are aware that the disruption to the economy may make it more difficult to make payments on time. Part of the beauty of Community Supported Agriculture is that members are able to support each other, not just the farm. Since most members are able to pay in advance for their share, the farm has flexibility for those who are experiencing financial difficulty. Please try to be proactive and reach out to me beforehand so we can come up with a payment plan.
We also have the Food Access Fund available to help those who would not otherwise be able to afford the full cost of a share. Please donate if you are able, and please contact me if support is needed.
Thank you all and take care!
Janaki

March Winter Share

Est. 2012

Storing carrots from last season has proven to be difficult this winter. We harvested so, so many carrots and filled every available space with them at the end of October. But between harvest and now, we’ve lost quite a few of them.

It’s been disappointing to see carrots go bad like this- and we wish we had answers. Our best guess at this point is that it was a result of having such excessive wetness this fall. From discussions Janaki had with a few growers at the Organic Conference, it sounds like others have had similar problems every once in awhile. At least we’re not alone, but after so many years of winter storage it’s definitely a surprise when things like this happen. The winter farm crew and volunteers have been putting on a brave face and dealing with a lot of focused sorting as carrots get checked, one by one. If I had a dollar for every carrot I’d inspected this winter, I’d be writing this from a yacht. In the Mediterranean. A small yacht, but still.

The pigs over at Yker Acres have been having a great winter enjoying the castoff carrots, but it’s been hard for the crew after all of the work that went into such a great crop. Fortunately, we did go into the fall with a record amount of carrots, so we should have plenty for the April shares, even with the amount we’ve lost.

But carrot rot isn’t the only thing happening on the farm. Dave was back at work in the greenhouse starting onions and greens last week, the days are brighter than they were a month ago, and the rutabagas stored just fine, don’t you worry! 

It shouldn’t surprise me that one negative thing can easily fill up the nooks and crannies of our collective mood. It just seems to be the way it is. When faced with disappointment and difficulty it gets harder and harder to have a broader outlook on things. I have to keep reminding myself that carrot storage is just one part of the farm, and there are so many other parts all working together to make it pretty great. 

I hope this March share finds you all well, and enjoying the things of life that we all get to enjoy, no matter the circumstances.  

For the persevering farm crew, 

Karin 

 


In your share this month:

Cabbage – Carrots – Beets – Onions – Parsnips – Fingerling and yellow potatoes – Rutabaga


 

Raw rutabaga and carrot salad

1 rutabaga

3 carrots (purple would be pretty, if you still have some)

1 large apple

1/2 cup walnuts chopped (optional)

For the dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp honey

2 tsp dijon mustard

Shred the rutabaga, carrots and apple in a food processor, spiralizer, or grater (or do small matchsticks). Add the walnuts (optional).

In a separate bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing and whisk until smooth. Pour over the salad ingredients and toss until coated.

Enjoy chilled or at room temperature!


Old Farm Favorite: Cabbage Salad Dressing

1/2 c butter milk or yogurt, or 1/4 c olive oil
1/2 c mayonnaise
1 T horseradish
1 t stone ground mustard
1 t salt
1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Mix in a bowl. Use on fresh cabbage salad. Store in refrigerator for later use. Can easily halve or double.

February Winter Share

Rosemary

 

Two big buckets full of carrot seed came to the farm today and more will be coming soon. Next year’s harvest awaits in those tiny, seemingly miraculous little bits of life stuff.  Sometimes I imagine that seeds should be vibrating with how much expectant energy they have bundled up inside.

Before we know it, it’ll be planting time and someone will be eating dust behind the tractor to watch those little seeds fall into place and get lightly covered up again. Then there’ll be tiny little grassy first leaves, then a couple weeks later we’ll be back to carrot weeding. If you’ve read past newsletters, you have probably picked up on the carrot weeding being kind of a thing around here. A test of mental and physical fortitude, if you will. (And we talk it up A LOT, but the truth is, with 5 summers of carrot weeding under my belt, I can say, it gets easier and easier).

Then, some sunny (I hope) October day we’ll start driving around and around and around the once and future carrot fields harvesting all those juicy manifestations of a winter plan. ‘Round and ’round the seasons go, and all that potential just sitting and waiting in a tiny seed.

I think it would be so fun to visit a seed farm someday. Since I’ve always harvested veggies to eat, I’ve never seen most of them at their point of actual maturity. Fruits like tomatoes and squash and things with the seeds in them are mature of course, but I’ve never seen a cabbage go into flower, and I think that’d be the coolest thing. Or cauliflower, that’d be so cool too!

To farm is to participate in the intensely cyclical nature of our world. Our whole life, farming or not, is completely wrapped up within the cycle of it all. I brought my baby to a funeral a couple of weeks ago, which struck me as somehow appropriate and hopeful. Or at least he was an adorable mood brightener.

All around things are ending and things are starting. Much of it in a more complicated, difficult, beautiful, awe-full way than carrots. But the carrots, and their seeds bring it all to mind this time of year.

I hope you enjoy last winter’s hope and expectation in your boxes this month.

For the farm crew,

Karin

ruta giveaway postcard 2020 v3


In your share this month:

Chioggia beets, Cabbage, Carrots (orange and purple), Onions, Parsnips, Baby yellow potatoes, Red potatoes, Winter squash: Delicata, Wintersweet or Sunshine, and Shokichi Green (which look like a very small Wintersweet)


Oven Baked Beet Chips

Ingredients

  • 12 beets red, golden, or mixed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil 
  • 2 teaspoon celery salt or sea salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F, and line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Scrub the beets well with a veggie brush and cut off the tops.
  • Use a mandolin slicer to slice the beets paper thin (1/16-inch). When the beet slices are this thin, there is no need to peel them first. Hold the root end while dragging the beets across the mandolin and watch your fingertips closely.
  • Place the beet slices in a large bowl and pour the oil and salt over the top. Toss well. Ready for the secret step? Now let the beets sit in the oil and salt until they release their natural juices, about 15-20 minutes. This is what allows them to retain a better shape and color.
  • Toss the beets again, then drain off the liquid. Lay the slices out in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 45-60 minutes until crisp, but not brown. Test after 45 minutes and only bake longer if necessary. Remove the beet chips from the oven and cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.

Notes

This recipe can be easily halved to make a smaller batch. However, I like making a large batch we can munch on all week.

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

I like to grate the carrots by hand — actually, that’s a lie, I don’t enjoy it one bit — because I want it very finely grated for a soft batter. The food processor works, too, but the pieces are a bit thicker.

Makes 24 cupcakes (or one two-layer cake, instructions at end)

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
4 large eggs
3 cups grated peeled carrots
1 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line 24 cupcake molds with papers, or butter and flour them.

Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in medium bowl to blend. Whisk sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots, walnuts and raisins, if using them. Divide batter among cupcake molds, filling 3/4 of each.

Bake cupcakes 14 to 18 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Let cool in pans for five minutes or so, then transfer cakes to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before icing them.

To make a carrot layer cake: Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans instead of cupcake molds. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour paper; tap out excess flour. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, and bake the layers for about 40 minutes each, or until a tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks. Peel off paper; cool cakes completely.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

In a stand mixer beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy. Chill the frosting for 10 to 20 minutes, until it has set up enough to spread smoothly.

To assemble a carrot layer cake, frost the top of one cake, place the other cake on top. Frost the sides and top, swirling decoratively. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes to set up frosting.

January Winter Share

dapper

When I was a kid I hated January. I loved November (my birthday month, and Thanksgiving) and I loved December and the lead up to the holidays. When all the excitement was over, my little kid feelings (which are the biggest feelings) were in a free fall. School started again. There wasn’t any more candy. No more lights and Christmas music.

For years and years now, much as I love the holiday season, I tend to think of January as the real start to winter, and I’m glad to see it come. It is the real time of hunkering down and getting in the swing of winter and all its glory. To me that means burning candles, reading books, getting out for winter walks, and eating a lot of potatoes and parsnips. My baby enjoys three of those four things. These next couple of weeks we’ll be working on the love of food. I think he’ll be a natural, since putting things in his mouth seems to be the main event of any given minute.

All the candle burning and walking doesn’t always make up for this being a challenging time of year for many of us though. Short, cloudy days can leave one feeling rather bleak and cooped up. I hadn’t realized I was feeling that way until I was in the root cellar on what felt like the first sunny day in forever, last week. There will be more where that came from though, I’m sure.

Until then, I hope you all can bask in the left over summer sun that has been hiding in the vegetables! Squash and carrots and beets can add a splash of color to a winter plate. Perhaps you’ve started off this year with some new goals, or aspirations. Mine is to eat more squash! I’m so obsessed with potatoes, all the time, but I want to mix it up. And eating more squash really isn’t mixing it up so much. I’ve got some pesto thawing in the fridge right now – more stored up summer sunshine – and I love a big spoon-full on delicata halves.

I hope this New Year has been good to you so far, and that you’ve been good to you as well. And I’m sure our winter veggies will brighten your meals, and hopefully inspire more slow, good food!

For the hunkered in farm crew,

Karin


In your share this month: 

Beets, green cabbage, carrots, onions, parsnips, red and yellow potatoes,

Delicata and Kabocha squash


 

Cabbage Soup -from the Smitten Kitchen

1 pound pork butt, cut into small cubes
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
4 cups water
3 allspice berries
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
1 cup sauerkraut, plus around 4 tablespoons juice
1 large potato, peeled and diced
2 carrots, minced
3 stalks celery, minced
1 onion, diced
2 cups fresh cabbage, shredded thin

Place the pork in a medium stockpot with the chicken stock, water, allspice, bay leaves, and marjoram. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low heat for about 2 hours. Remove the pork and set aside on a plate to cool. Skim fat from stock, leaving a few “eyes” of fat for flavor.

Add sauerkraut and simmer for 20 minutes. Add potato and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and cabbage and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the pork and simmer for 10 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add sauerkraut juice.


 

As you may know by now, I am not much of a recipe person, but I wanted to pass on something I’ve made a couple of times, and enjoyed. During the summer season I love making zucchini fritters for lunches on the farm. When the weather turned cool last year I found myself wondering about a winter veggie version of  farm-fritters.

Roughly, this is what I do:

Grate a delicata squash, a carrot or two, a potato or two (and parsnips too, why not?) and lightly steam. Turn out into large bowl and add 3-4 eggs and ~3/4 cup flour. Eye ball it so it looks lightly battery, i.e., add another egg if necessary. Add salt to taste.

Spoon onto a heated pan with cooking oil, and fry on both sides until crispy brown. Serve with pepper and whatever condiments you like!

2019 Season in Review

img_20200101_165540832Well Food Farmers, another year’s in the books! 2019 was a great year here at the farm, with a few big changes and a lot of steady improvement. It was the third year of production for our new land across the road, and we got deer fencing up just in time to protect a record carrot crop over there. That crop is tucked safely in the “new” root cellar which, after five years, we wish was a little bigger. Speaking of bigger, our two farm kids are growing like crazy and, while not particularly helpful yet, are tons of fun to have around. Crew leader Karin and her husband Joel had a baby in July, and Truman and Ellis are excited to have a little one around a bit this summer so they can show him the ropes.

The thing that makes this farm the best it can be is the crew, and they were simply amazing. Everyone was a little nervous going into the season knowing that Karin was going to be gone for a few months, but we all stepped up our communication a bit and managed to be pretty efficient even without her keeping us on the same page.

Of course without you, our eaters, we wouldn’t be able to do this work we are so passionate about. It was so wonderful to read your comments when we went over the Summer Share survey a few weeks ago. Your feedback is really valuable to us as we plan the future. We’re honored to be your farmers, and appreciate your help as we continue to support and improve this beautiful place we call the Food Farm.

I’ll leave you with a little slideshow with some images of the year past.

For the farm crew,

Janaki

 

December Winter Share

Copy of farm to table

We have had some challenging winter days the past couple of weeks: if you are reading this, you must not be under a bank of snow. Congratulations! I hope that beyond the shoveling and snow-blowing and spinning and drifting, you have had a chance to enjoy how beautiful the whole world is under the winter-spun blanket.

This time of year tends to be busy – and many of us have traditions that bring us back to family or friends to share a meal or two. The traditions surrounding the food we eat at any holiday run deep in many families, and others may have more flexibility and change up seasonal cooking norms. I tend to like what I’ve eaten year in and year out. For just  a couple of meals a year: I like the same things over and over, and not much of it is all that healthy.

There are also common complaints about this Holiday season, probably more than any other. The complaints I’ve heard tend to center around the need to shop for gifts, and the expectations surrounding how families spend their time, and with whom, and when and all that. There are a lot of stressors. Not a small one is that people seem to feel trapped by how decadent the food is and that it is everywhere, all the time, in copious amounts. And when I say food, I mean treats. So, so many treats.

Over the years, I’ve found myself thinking that peoples’ complaints about this time of year aren’t really about the Holidays. The root of the problem is that all year long we feel stressed about expectations around family time, and about the endlessly available shopping options, and about the constantly available treats. We’ve spent 11 months burning ourselves out on it all and when the time rolls around for those things to be special, they aren’t any more. Now it becomes a matter of having to do all these things, but multiplied by 10 to make it seem special.

The older I get the more I think I would like a Christmas season that our families lean a little more to a “Little House on the Prairie” sort of gift exchange (i.e., a penny, candy small cake and little cup), and think of oranges as a bit of a treat.

Of course this time of year doesn’t hold exactly these kinds of issues for everyone. Some people don’t make a big deal out of the Holidays. Some people maybe would like to, but don’t have people near by to share the bounty with. There is of course a wide range of ways people spend their time and energy this time of year.

Perhaps parts of your winter share this month will add healthful and seasonal dishes to the bounty. Or, like the recipes below, somewhere between healthy and not. And wherever you enjoy your share, and with whomever you enjoy it: I hope it’s blessed.

And I hope that there are some moments of peace and love and simplicity for you this time of year as well.

From all of us at the Food Farm,

Karin


In your share this month:

Beets, Red cabbage, Carrots, Onions,  Russet and yellow potatoes, Delicata and Sunshine squash


 

Beet Chocolate Cake (From Bon Appétite)

Gluten free and dairy free

Cake

  • 4 medium beets, scrubbed
  • 2 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil, plus more for pan
  • ½ cup cocoa powder, plus more for pan
  • 1½ cups almond flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1¼ cups (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

Glaze

  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch of kosher salt

    Cake:

  • Cook beets in a medium pot of boiling unsalted water until tender, 30–40 minutes, depending on size. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle. Cut off stem end, then peel and cut beets into large pieces. Transfer to a blender and add 2 Tbsp. water. Blend, adding water 1 Tbsp. at a time as needed, until a smooth purée forms—it should be the consistency of applesauce. Measure out 1 cup purée (reserve remaining purée for another use, such as blending into a smoothie).

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottom of an 8″ round cake pan with parchment. Grease with oil, then dust with cocoa powder, tapping out excess.

  • Whisk almond flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and remaining ½ cup cocoa powder in a medium bowl; set aside.

  • Heat chocolate and remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring often, until melted. Remove bowl from heat. Stir in vinegar, vanilla, and reserved 1 cup beet purée until smooth.

  • Beat eggs, brown sugar, and salt in the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed (or use an electric mixer and large bowl) until more than tripled in volume and mixture holds a ribbon for several seconds when beater is lifted above batter, 5–7 minutes. Thoroughly beating the eggs is key to creating an aerated, light crumb and is a critical step when using gluten-free ingredients.

  • Pour chocolate-beet mixture into egg mixture and beat on medium-low speed until combined. Turn mixer off and gently tip in reserved dry ingredients. Beat on lowest speed, scraping down bowl as needed, until combined.

  • Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake cake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean and the top springs back when gently pressed, 45–50 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edges of pan, then invert cake onto a wire rack and let cool.

    Glaze:

  • Heat chocolate, oil, vanilla, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring often, until chocolate is melted. Let cool, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened and cool enough to touch, 10–15 minutes.

  • Place rack with cake on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour glaze over center of cake to cover top, tilting baking sheet slightly to encourage a few drips to run over sides of cake. Let sit at room temperature until glaze is set, 2–3 hours.


Blue Cheese and Potato Tart

  • 1 Savory Tart Shell, below, or recipe of your choice, in a 9-inch tart pan and ready to fill
  • 1 pound potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 pound blue cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoons finely chopped herb or herbs of your choice, such as a mixture of thyme and rosemary
  • Fine sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium saucepan, cover potato slices with water by two inches. Simmer, uncovered, until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. If the potatoes don’t seem very dry, pat them dry with towels.

Arrange potato slices, overlapping slightly, in concentric circles around the tart pan. Sprinkle blue cheese over potatoes. Whisk cream and egg yolk together and pour into tart shell, then sprinkle tart with herbs of your choice and salt.

Bake tart on a baking sheet until bubbling and golden brown, about 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan on rack and serve warm or cold. With a big green salad, for balance.

Savory Tart Shell

  • 1 1/4 (5 1/2 ounces) cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter, diced
  • 1 large egg

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch and salt. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender, fork or two knives until it is in very tiny bits. Add one egg and mix with a fork until a dough forms. If this does not happen easily, toss it out onto a counter and knead it together. This dough is rather tough but with a little elbow grease, it does come together nicely.

This dough can also be made a food processor, or in a stand mixer, though I’ve only tried it in a food processor.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle. Place the dough in a 9-inch pie plate or tart pan and press to remove any air bubbles. Level the edges, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Proceed with a filling of your choice, no parbaking required.