GOLDEN BEET AND BUTTERMILK SOUP
From “Eating Locally”: This is one of the easiest soups imaginable and so inviting on a hot day. Made with golden beets, it is the color of lemon custard. Made with red beets, it is shocking pink, like borscht. The soup can be made up to a couple of days ahead.
1 pound golden beets (about 3 medium beets)
1 large clove garlic, sliced
3 cups buttermilk
¼ cup chopped fresh chives, or 2 Tbs chopped fresh dill, pluse more finely chopped for garnish
1 Tbs sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar, or more to taste
Kosher or sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. If the beet greens are attached, remove all but ½ inch of the stem. Reserve the greens and stems for another use. Put the beets in a baking dish, and add water to a depth of ¼ inch. Cover tightly and bake until a knife pierces them easily, 45-55 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel the beets.
2. Cut the beets into quarters. Put the beets, garlic, and 1 ½ cups of the buttermilk in a blender and pureé until smooth. (You can use a food processor but the results will not be as smooth.) Add the remaining 1 ½ cups buttermilk, the dill, and the vinegar and pureé again. Season to taste with salt. Transfer to a covered container and chill well.
3. Taste before serving and adjust the seasoning. Serve in cups or bowls, garnishing each portion with a sprinkle of the chives.
CREAMY BEET AND TAHINI DIP
From “Eating Locally”: Anissa Helou, a Lebanese-born food writer living in London, makes this luscious dip for dinner parties. You can make it a day ahead, although you will probably need to adjust the lemon and salt before serving.
1 pound red beets (about 3 medium beets)
1 clove garlic, sliced
¼ cup tahini, stirred well to blend
3-4 Tbs fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Kosher or sea salt
Toasted pita wedges, Belgian endive spears, fennel wedges, or romaine hearts for dipping
1. Preheat the oven to 375°. If the beet greens are attached, remove all but ½ inch of the stem. Reserve the greens and stems for another use. Put the beets in a baking dish, and add water to a depth of ¼ inch. Cover tightly and bake until a knife pierces them easily, 45-55 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel the beets and cut into quarters.
2. Put the beets and garlic in a food processor and pureé until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the tahini. Add the lemon juice gradually. You may not need it all, or you may want a little more. The tahini requires a lot of lemon for balance. Season with salt.
3. Serve the dip with pita wedges or vegetables for dipping. It will keep, refrigerated, for up to one week.