Posted By Sheamus Feeley
I love beets. I really love beets. I grew up eating them and I love their earthy smell and flavor. I have some roasting in my oven right now.
They say that a lot of wines character is a direct reflection of the soil in which it was grown. But to me, terroir is defined by the beet. How many vegetables actually taste of the very earth that they come from?
I fry them, shave them raw, pickle them and juice them, but I like them the best roasted in their own skins. Delicious!
Roasted Beets with Sauce Verde and Ricotta
For the Beets:
2 dozen Chioggia, Bull’s Blood and Golden beets, no larger than a golf ball
Napa Valley Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For the Sauce Verde:
¼ cup Italian parsley, rough chopped
5-6 medium basil leaves
1 clove garlic, freshly peeled.
Kosher, or coarse sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon Long Meadow Ranch Red Wine Vinegar
¼ cup Prato Lungo Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Preparing the Beets: Wash beets and separate by color. Place in foil, or a roasting pan with a lid and sprinkle with salt and a little olive oil. Roast covered at 375° F for 1 to 1.5 hours. Keep in mind that the different beet varieties may cook at different times. Once the beets are cooked through, allow to cool uncovered for 15 -20 minutes.
To peel: Use a dark colored kitchen towel and apply pressure with the thumb to peel the skin from the beets. I normally start with the lighter colors and work my way towards red. (This helps me use only one towel in this preparation and does not stain the other beets) Cut beets in ½ or ¼ depending on size. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Preparing the Sauce Verde: Place garlic and a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle. Grind until a smooth paste has been made. Add parsley and basil and grind to a paste as well. Add vinegar and add more salt if needed. Stir in olive oil.
To serve: Place beets on a service platter and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the sauce over the beets and top with Ricotta, or a slightly aged goats milk cheese.
Posted by Sheamus Feeley
Eve, the Red Wattle pig, is being readied for the delivery of her first litter of piglets. She is due on Monday, August 24 (after 114 days of gestation). Dr. David Gold and our team of FFA high school students have been working on the pen and visiting daily.
We have readied her pen with a birthing area (called "farrowing" in pigs) that is covered with rubber mats. We have a corner set aside complete with a heat lamp where the piglets can move in and out without the risk of Mom rolling over on top of them.
Even though we have very warm days in August , we can have quite cool nights at this time in the Napa Valley (which is why it is such a great place for grapes.) So, we are spraying Eve during the day with a mist of water to keep her cool, while we still need to provide some warmth for her piglets at night (the heat lamp).
Our team is waiting with great anticipation, but at the moment we can not be completely certain she is pregnant. We do know that she was bred twice and the pregnancy was confirmed by ultra sound. And, we have not observed any heats since her insemination. Nevertheless, since Eve weights over 450 lbs and a litter of 5 or 6 piglets would only weigh about 50 to 60 pounds, we cannot really tell how "big" she might be from pregnancy. And, she has not cooperated when we tried to ultra sound her again. Not wanting to stress her in the last stage of the pregnancy, we have decided to just wait and see.
An additional complication is that the assumed 114 day gestation period is the modern rule of thumb for commercial pig produciton. With a heritage breed, we have learned that the gestation period could be 10 to 14 days longer.
At the moment we see no mammary development (i.e., milk in her teats), so the early warning signs are not yet present. So, we wait . . . .