Blue Heron Local Cuisine

Cooking, Eating, and Drinking on the North Shore (and beyond)

Mexican Chocolate Beet Cupcakes August 4, 2008

Filed under: In Season,Recipe — blueheronlocal @ 2:53 pm
Tags: , ,

Claims have been made that there is a faint scent of beet in these,
but only the truly paranoid would notice!


½ c butter, softened
2/3 c sugar (if you need your cupcakes to be shockingly sweet, use ¾ c sugar)
1 T molasses
1 large egg
4–5 small to medium beets
1 c whole wheat flour
½ c baking cocoa
2 t baking soda  (NOT baking powder)
¼ t cayenne pepper  (for more than a hint of a bite, add 3/8 t cayenne pepper)
½ t cinnamon
1/8 t cloves
1/8 t ginger
generous handful of bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)


Trim the leaves, stems and roots off the beets.  Eat the beet greens
with dinner. Halve, or quarter (if they are larger than 2″ in
diameter) the beets.  Boil for 25 minutes, or until tender.  Cool.
Peel, by squishing and agitating the beets between your fingers until
the skin slips off.  If the skin doesn’t slip off easily, they need to
be cooked longer.  Puree until very smooth.  Wearing art clothes,
black, a lab coat, or just your underwear is strongly recommended
while working with beets. An apron may not provide sufficient
coverage.  Do NOT wear your favorite shirt.  Under any condition.


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter 12 muffin tins.  In a small mixing
bowl, mix the cocoa, flour, soda, and spices.  Be sure to take a deep
whiff over the bottle of cloves.  If they don’t carry you away to a
land of exotic and luxurious daydreams, you may need a new bottle
(more than 5 years old?).  In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter
and sugar until fluffy.  Add the egg and mix well.  Add the molasses.
Beat in the beets.  The mixture will look disgusting, and almost
curdled, but beat it a little harder and then move on to the next
step.  Add in the flour mixture gradually.  Stir in the chocolate
chips.  Spoon into the muffin tins.  The mixture may only make 11,
depending on precisely how large your beets were and whether you added
the chocolate chips.  If so, fill the remaining muffin cup with water.
Bake for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bribe someone else into doing the
shocking number of dishes you created.


To prettify them (aka to impress your book club, knitting group, PTA,
or Kiwanis club), dust with powdered sugar. Frosting is overkill.
Just… don’t go there.  Icing (ginger? rum? lime?) could be acceptable,
but has not been tested.




Not in My Cookies! July 14, 2008

Filed under: Ethical Eating — blueheronlocal @ 3:37 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,
(thanks,, for the image!)


Flour was a staple of my childhood—huge bags of whole wheat organic bread flour were almost always in the center of the kitchen. It was vital, literally the base of our diet, but also invisible because it was so available and familiar. Unlike the seasonal apples or the labor–intensive black walnuts, flour was a given that required no work and was always there. I didn’t even think about it until well into college, when I had one obsessive vegan in my life, which meant that there were fewer titillating topics at 3 am other than flour + fake butter + tofu (organic & local) + peanut butter (organic) + maple syrup (local) = ethical anti-establishment cookies.


What establishment? you ask. Well, to begin with, the industrial food complex, the corporitization of food, agribusiness, consolidation, vertical/horizontal integration, transnational takeovers… To most localvore types, these phrases sound dangerous, cues that our food system has moved far from the place where it was 200, 100, and even 50 years ago. Some of the structural changes have benefited society. More have not. Today I offer a superficial look at a few structural issues seen through my ethical adventures in buying flour.



Enjoying Beets July 8, 2008

Filed under: Recipe — blueheronlocal @ 12:41 pm
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Katherine’s Raw Beet Slaw

A few years ago I spent a month at an artist’s colony, where, on Sunday nights, all the writers and artists would cook together. The administrator of the program made a raw beet slaw, telling us that no matter how we felt about beets, we would all like it. And we all did.


(thanks, tinyfarmblog!)

(thanks, tinyfarmblog!)

The Slaw

Finely shred two to three of your beautiful CSA beets until your fingers are tired and stained red. Then shred of slice very finely half a head of cabbage, a small onion, a pepper, and as many carrots as you have wilting in the bottom of your refridgerator. Add a bunch of parsley or cilantro. Mix together, wash your hands, and make the vinaigrette.



The Vinaigrette

1 clove of garlic (or more) mashed and diced

1/2 tsp cumin (if you used the cilantro)

1/2 tsp oregano (if you used the parsley)

1/4 cup cider vinegar or lemon juice

3/4 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


Pour the vinaigrette into the slaw and mix. Put in the refrigerator for a few hours to let the flavors get to know each other.


Thierry’s Favorite Beet Salad

My brother-in-law is French and this is his favorite salad. Are you going to argue with a Frenchman about food?


Boil a bunch of baby beets until tender (this takes a long time, don’t get discouraged, but make sure to start cooking before you are hungry). Remove from the water and let cool.


While the beets are cooling, prepare a nice bed of CSA Arugula or other spicy lettuces. Crisp up a few slices of Haloumi cheese in your favorite olive oil. Drain on a clean rag or paper towel.


Once everything has cooled, slip the skin off the beets and place them whole or sliced on the lettuce. Garnished with dry-roasted walnuts or pine nuts, the Hauloumi, and red onion slices.


Make a vinaigrette using 1 part orange juice (with zest if you’re using a real orange) to 2 parts olive oil. Add homemade croutons and dress.