The summer feast continues

by Steve, August 17th, 2009

Chioggia beets with caramelized onions and garlic and pan-seared green beans an zucchini with crisp basil, Parmesan and lemon zest

Summer feast continuesI love beets. Despite this love, and despite having been a produce guy for 10 years, I never tried Chioggia beets until I grew them in my garden this year. They are an Italian heirloom variety, milder than your average beet, and they don’t stain. The first batch I harvested, I roasted to bring out their sweetness, but tonight I wanted to steam them to appreciate their unadulterated complexity.

I also harvested the first big batch of green beans tonight, and some baby zucchinis, and the basil’s still kicking of course, so I whipped this up for dinner tonight.


  • 5 medium-small Chioggia beets, peeled and sliced
  • 1 fistful of green beans with the ends cut off
  • 2 baby zucchini, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 sweet onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • zest from 1/4 lemon
  • juice from 1/4 lemon
  • a couple sprinkles freshly grated Parmesan or other dry cheese
  • several leaves fresh basil, sliced length-wise, plus sprigs for garnish
  • olive oil
  • steamed rice
  • salt and pepper to taste


Heat olive oil over medium-high flame in a cast-iron skillet. (Use more olive oil than you think you’ll need; this will not only cook the onions, garlic, beans and zucchini, it will dress the beets and rice.) Caramelize onions. While onions are caramelizing, steam beats.

Once onions are starting to brown, add green beans, thinly-sliced zucchini, and thinly-sliced garlic; sear well. Add salt and pepper and lemon juice. Add a little olive oil if it doesn’t look like enough.

Arrange beets on a bed of rice, top with skillet mixture, Parmesan cheese and lemon zest. Garnish with a sprig of basil. Enjoy wth a glass of Pinot Griggio and your super-hero spouse (serves 2).

The front fell off

by Steve, August 17th, 2009

From my flickr friend OneEighteen, who drives ships in and out of the Port of Houston for a living.