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25 Jan 2010 - 16:25
15 Jan 2010 - 18:53
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raw beet foam

Sunday, 02 Aug 2009 | recipe inside
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El Burrito is training for a marathon this fall, and we've been doing a lot of research into proper nutrition for a marathoner. He's been an athlete forever, but running only for about a year or so and we are still learning about the very specific tolls this sport takes on your body.

So recently, we've been all about iron due to its relationship with VO2 max.  VO2 max is your body's maximum capacity to transport and use oxygen during exercise.  High VO2 max means you are super fit!  One determinant of VO2 max is the transportation of oxygen through your red blood cells, and as iron is a key component of hemoglobin it is an important part of an athlete's nutrition.  Further, since I was a child I've teetered on the edge of low iron counts, so generally we make an effort to include iron in our meals.  

We don't eat too much red meat, so the goal has been to expand our repertoire by snooping around the farmer's market.  First came the usual suspects, spinach and beans.  Pretty soon we came to be known as Popeye's Trumpet Band in our building.  Ok, not quite true, being from Mexico I am pretty much immune to the bean's revenge and el Burrito has developed a good tolerance as well.  But not wanting to ruin spinach and beans forever as a food source, we had to find some alternatives.  Enter those beautiful rubies of the earth: beets.

I bought some red beets at the Union Square Greenmarket earlier this week thinking that I would make some cold beet summer soup.  When I got home though, a bag of pinenuts on the kitchen counter just wouldn't stop staring at me, so I had to find a way to make them feel included too. And then I poked around and found my favorite toy as of late: a siphon. So beet soup became beet foam, and wow, were our tastebuds happy.  The mouthfeel of foam is so special if you are like me and have a thing for textures.  The airiness feels ethereal as it melts in your mouth and then you have the crunchy creaminess of the pinenuts to bring you back to earth.

It turns out the beets are not only a great source of iron, but they are also rich in folate.  If you've never tasted raw beets, you are in for a treat! The taste is very different from cooked beets, sweeter less "like dirt," and I urge you to try this even if you "hate beets."  The mix of fresh beets and carrots results is a sweetly perfect marriage. The cilantro and pinenuts balance out the flavors and return some earthiness to the dish.