In Season: Beet the cold
Use root vegetables to prepare warm, healthful dishes.
Specializing in vegetarian-organic food, the Meshek Barzilay restaurant is located within an organic farm in Yarkona near Hod Hasharon.
The seating is divided between the main building, which includes a wooden porch, and small huts that are spread around the farm.
The menu is based on seasonal organic produce grown on the farm and many legume-based dishes and is surprisingly creative and satisfying, even for meat lovers.
This winter, the menu includes many beet dishes. Beetroot is known for its nutritional value, as well as its medical benefits, such as strengthening the immune system and fighting infections.
Easy to grow even in a small garden, beetroot can be prepared in many ways and can be eaten raw or cooked.
Here are the recipes for three beetroot dishes served at Meshek Barzilay during the winter.
BEET AND NUT SPREAD
✔ 3 beets, cut into small cubes
✔ 1 Tbsp. olive oil
✔ 2 sprigs thyme
✔ 1⁄2 tsp. salt
✔ 5 cloves garlic (or roasted cloves)
✔ 100 ml. good quality yogurt (buffalo if you can find it)
✔ 50 gr. Parmesan cheese
✔ 200 gr. walnuts
Heat oven to 180º. Line a roasting dish with parchment paper. Place beet cubes, olive oil, salt and thyme in the roasting dish, toss, cover with aluminum foil and close tightly. Roast in the oven for 1 hour or until the beets are very tender. Grind the walnuts in a food processor. Add the baked beets, yogurt and Parmesan and continue processing until smooth.
✔ 1 beet, peeled
✔ 1 kohlrabi, peeled
✔ 2 Tbsp. olive oil
✔ 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
✔ 1⁄2 tsp. coarse salt
✔ Pinch black pepper
Slice the vegetables very thinly with a mandolin or a sharp knife. Place each vegetable in a separate dish and toss with olive oil, lemon and seasoning.
Leave the slices to marinate for 1 hour.
Arrange the dish on a plate, alternating beets and kohlrabi slices and drizzle the dressing on top.
Serve with greens and a good goat cheese or mozzarella.
VEGETARIAN WINTER STEW
This is a complete dinner in one pot that is rich in proteins, vitamins and carbs. Serve with a glass of red wine on a cold evening.
✔ 250 gr. mixed organic legumes, soaked overnight and drained
✔ 2 onions
✔ 2 kohlrabis
✔ 4 beets
✔ 2 daikon (white) radishes
✔ 2 carrots
✔ 1 sweet potato
✔ 10 dates, pitted
✔ 1⁄2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
✔ 3 Swiss chard leaves (mangold in Hebrew)
✔ 1⁄2 cup silan (date honey)
✔ 1⁄2 cup soy sauce
✔ 3 cloves garlic, minced
✔ 1⁄2 cup olive oil
Heat oven to 250º. Cut all the root vegetables into small cubes.
Place half the cut vegetables in an ovenproof pot with a lid. Add the legumes and cover with the rest of the vegetables.
Mix together the silan, soy and garlic.
Add the oil slowly while mixing.
Pour the mixture over the stew; add hot water to cover the top layer.
Place the pot in the oven for 15 minutes.
Lower heat to 200º and continue baking for 3 hours.
Chop the Swiss chard, carefully open the lid and add the chard into the stew for the last 2-3 minutes of the baking.
Recipes and photos courtesy of Meshek Barzilay organic-vegetarian restaurant, Moshav Yarkona, (09) 745-3935, www.meshekbarzilay.co.il The restaurant is open Sunday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.