Category: Buckwheat


Beets Romano

At long last a new post!  It’s been far too long.  In the beginning I had a good excuse: I was busy getting married!  Then we were eating out a lot and when we weren’t doing that we were eating leftovers (who knew that getting married would leave you with mountains of leftovers in the fridge and freezer…like a giant bag of edamame!)  And then…I couldn’t think of anything to write.  I had a few halfway decent recipe ideas, some of which might turn up in later posts, and a few major recipe fails, but nothing really inspired me until this dish.

I had some beets in the fridge and I really wanted to do something other than making individual lasagnas with them.  Much as I like individual lasagnas, I wanted to branch out a bit.  But what to do?  I remembered that I also had cream cheese in the fridge, and so I grabbed my mom’s old copy of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook to look up the recipe for Noodles Romano–a favorite childhood dish of mine that we simply referred to as “cheesy noodles” (as distinct from macaroni and cheese!).

The resulting dish contains no noodles, and in fact looks nothing like its white-colored inspiration, taking on, instead, a vibrant pink color.  But it sure was tasty!

And now without further ado:

Beets Romano

  • 4 medium-sized beets, boiled until tender
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • a handful of fresh chives, cut small
  • 1tbsp dried dill 
  • 3/4c  frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/3c buckwheat, cooked til tender
  • 1/4c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese, softened
  • Up to 2/3c boiling water*
  • salt
  • pepper

Once you’ve boiled your beets and they are cool enough to handle, slip the skins off of them, dice them up, and put them in a large bowl.  Add the thawed peas and garlic and set aside.

Meanwhile put the softened butter and softened cream cheese in a metal bowl and mash them together a bit.  Then pour in about half of the water and whisk everything together until the cream cheese and butter have melted and you have an even consistency.  If it seems too thick or lumpy, add more water until you have a consistency you like.  Add the dill and chives, and salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the cheese sauce over the beets and peas and stir until everything is coated in sauce.  Then stir in the buckwheat, add a bit more salt if you like, and enjoy!

*I used 2/3c of water right away and this proved to be too much–the dish ended up with the consistency of soup.  Luckily by the second day the buckwheat soaked up all the excess liquid and it turned out exactly how I wanted it originally!  So don’t worry if you add too much water–it will be better on the second day!

I’ll admit it–I’ve been procrastinating on writing this post.  Why?  Because of the two people who tried this dish (me and my fiance) only one of us (me) liked it.  50% success rating?  Not very good.

But I liked it!  So I’ve decided to post it anyways.  Feel free to try it out, make your own tweaks, and tell me what you think.

squash

Yellow summer squash has a pretty delicate flavor, which makes it a good canvas for mixing with other, stronger flavors.  I decided I wanted to try marinating it in a mix of spices, so I pulled out all the spices I thought would work well together, measured them into a bowl (amounts based on how it smelled), and then I chopped the squash into 1 inch(ish) cubes, tossed them in a ziploc bag, poured in just enough olive oil to coat them, and then added the spice mix.  I sealed up the bag and tossed it around until all of the squash was well coated in spices and then I left it to sit while I got everything else ready.

Spice Mix

Marinating Squash

 

I put a pot of water on the stove to boil for making buckwheat, which I thought would make a good base for the spiced squash.  You could also use rice, quinoa, couscous, or any other grain you wanted.  Once that got going, I chopped up some baby red onions, and put my largest skillet on the stove to heat up.

Once the skillet was good and hot (check this by dripping some water on it–if it sizzles and evaporates right away, it’s ready), I dropped in the squash.  To get a bit of a flavor contrast with the savory spices of the squash, I also added about a third of a cup of dried sour cherries.  You could use any dried fruit, really, depending on what you’re going for, but I found that I really liked the sourness the cherries brought to this dish.

After half a minute or so, I added in some white wine,  because I had a bottle that was almost empty and it seemed like a good idea!  It turned out to be an excellent idea except that I only had about a quarter cup left.  If I were making this recipe again I would definitely use at least half a cup if not a bit more so that the wine flavor really gets in there.  The cherries and the wine really pair well together.

Simmering

I let everything simmer down for several minutes, and then I added the onions and covered it so that the squash would cook through faster.  (The buckwheat was almost done!)  After simmering for about 20 minutes, the squash was tender and it was time to serve it up!  I put a scoop of buckwheat on each plate, put a good-sized scoop of squash on top, plus a bit of the juice from the bottom of the pan.  And that’s it!

Spiced Yellow Squash

Spiced Yellow Squash
(serves 3-4)

  • 2 medium yellow squash, chopped into ~1″ cubes
  • 1/3c dried sour cherries 
  • 2-3 baby red onions or shallots, chopped
  • 1/2c white wine
  • olive oil
  • 1tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp smoked paprika
  • 1tsp cumin
  • 1/8tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8tsp black pepper
  • 1c buckwheat or other grain
First, measure out your spices into a bowl and mix them together.  Feel free to vary the amounts–it has a pretty good kick the way I made it.  Chop your squash into approximately 1 inch cubes, then toss it in a ziploc bag with some olive oil and the spices.  Make sure it’s fully coated with the spices, and then leave it to marinate for a bit.
Put the water on to boil for the buckwheat/rice/whatever, and make it according to package instructions.  Meanwhile, chop the onions, and put a large skillet on medium heat.  When the skillet is hot, add the squash and the cherries.  Let it sizzle for half a minute to a minute, and then add the white wine.  When it starts to reduce, add the onions and cover so that the squash cooks through.  (If you don’t have a cover for your skillet, use aluminum foil).  When the squash is tender, serve on top of a scoop of buckwheat.
My fiance wanted the dish to be sweeter.  If you agree, feel free to add a few handfuls of golden raisins at the same time you add the cherries.  Personally I like it better without, but to each their own!