S.O.S. Kitchen Challenge Kick-Off: Caramelized Onion, Beet, and Rhubarb Compote. Can you "beet" that?!

Following a special diet - whether because of allergies or other conditions - can sometimes feel like an insurmountable challenge. As two people who’ve both been there (and are still there!), Ricki of Diet, Dessert and Dogs and I understand how important it is to find delicious, appealing recipes to keep you motivated and committed when you’ve cut out certain ingredients from your diet.

That’s why we’ve teamed up to offer the SOS (Sweet or Savory) Kitchen Challenge blog event!

The new SOS Kitchen Challengeinvites you to create delicious dishes based on one key ingredient each time. You can choose either sweet or savory dishes (or both) for the event.  At the end of the month, Ricki and I will gather all the submissions and post them in a roundup on both our blogs—so your recipe will get double the exposure! The resulting roundup will offer a single stop where health-conscious readers can find a collection of yummy dishes to try. 

Help us showcase how tantalizing and delectable healthy foods can be!  


This month’s ingredient is BEETS!

A much-loved vegetable in both our kitchens, beets are a star in the veggie universe: they’re packed with minerals like manganese, potassium, magnesium and iron, are a great source of the B Vitamin folate, and actually help boost liver function.  They contain cancer-fighting antioxidants, help prevent heart disease and reduce inflammation in the body. They’re also a great source of fiber and can promote regularity. And best of all, they’re delicious!

Want to participate?  Check out all the details on my SOS Kitchen Challenge page. Ricki also has a page over at her blog , with all the same rules!  At the end of the month we will post a round up of all your recipes.  We are so excited to be hosting this challenge, and really want to see our readers participate!

Let's get this beet party started...

Caramelized Onion, Beet, and Rhubarb Compote with Sprouted Buckwheat Waffles and Cultured Cashew Sour Cream

Need some inspiration?  Here's my beet dish du jour: Caramelized Onion, Beet, and Rhubarb Compote.  This compote recipe is draws on seasonal produce and is both a little sweet and a little savory.  The sweetness of the caramelized onions is a delicious counterpoint to the tart rhubarb and earthy beets.  It is delicious over waffles, crepes, or pancakes, spooned over chicken breasts, used as a glaze on other meat, or as a dip for sweet potato fries (I've been busy with this stuff the last couple weeks).  I think it would make a delicious sauce on turkey sandwiches!  Perhaps you could spoon it over Ricki's Beet Burgers, the recipe she posted on her blog to kick off the event. It could easily make the transition to a sweeter compote if you add more maple syrup, stevia, or another sweetener of your choice.  I think it could be used a million ways!

One of the many ways I ate it was served it over Sprouted Buckwheat-Quinoa Waffles with Cultured Cashew "Sour Cream".  Believe it or not, this whole menu is actually fairly friendly to a rotation diet.  Buckwheat and rhubarb are in the same botanical family, and quinoa and beet are in the same family.  Onion is off by itself in another botanical family, as are the herbs and spices used.  However, if necessary, you can easily tweak it to fit your rotation, omitting herbs and seasonings.  Instead of soaked cashew "sour cream", you could use soaked almonds, or even soaked sunflower, pumpkin, or hemp seeds.  If nuts and seeds don't work for you at all, you could also use softened coconut butter instead of a nut "sour cream", since I use coconut flour and coconut oil in the waffles.  If you can't do coconut, use a different oil than coconut oil, reduce the Whatever you need to do to make it fit for you!

Okay, enough chatter. Let's get cookin'.

Caramlized Onion, Beet, and Rhubarb Compote

Caramelized Onion, Beet, and Rhubarb Compote 

Yield: about 4 cups

This savory compote is delicious over waffles, spooned over chicken breasts, used as a glaze, or as a dip for sweet potato fries.  I think it would make a delicious sauce on turkey sandwiches.  It could easily make the transition to a sweet compote if you add more maple syrup, stevia, or another sweetener of your choice.  I used a little maple syrup in this recipe; if you are on the ACD see note at the bottom.

4 cups chopped onions

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 cup beet puree (from 1-2 large beets)

4 cups chopped rhubarb

pinch salt

dash allspice

1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp coriander

1 bay leaf

optional: 1 tsp maple syrup* 

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Scrub beets, and place in water.  Boil for 30-40 minutes, or until they are tender when punctured.  Remove from pot, and place in a bowl of cool water.  Then slip off skins, coarsely chop beet, and place in a blender or food processor.  Add about 1/4 cup of water, pulse a few times, then run on high until you have a smooth puree, adding just enough additional water to get it moving.

While beets are boiling, prepare onions and rhubarb.  Place onions and a sprinkling of slt in a saucepan with about 2 Tbsp water, maple syrup, and heat.  Cover, and cook for 5-10 minutes on low heat, until onions begin to caramelize. Then add rhubarb, thyme, coriander, and bay leaf.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes.  Then add 1 1/2 cups of the beet puree, stir to mix, and cook an additional 5 minutes, until flavored through and everything is well mixed.  

Remove from heat, remove bay leaf, and place in small jars or containers.  May be frozen.  Will keep refrigerated for 7 days.

*NOTE: According to Jeanna Marie Martin, author of the Complete Candida Yeast Guidebook, the sugars in maple syrup, apple juice, and honey do not affect candida when cooked for 20 minutes and used in small quantities, 1-2 tsp per quart.  So, I added a bit of maple syrup to this dish, and since it cooks for so long, figured it to be acceptable. Rhubarb is also considered ACD-friendly on the Whole Approach plan.  So, use your best judgement, and carry forth!

Gluten-Free Buckwheat Quinoa Waffles

Yield: 6 waffles

Gluten free and vegan, these waffles are more savory than sweet, and make a great base for compote or other savory toppings. You could also use them as a bread substitute for sandwiches!  If you want them sweeter, feel free to add 1-2 tsp of vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp stevia liquid or 1-2 Tbsp agave, maple, or brown rice syrup.

2/3 cup whole buckwheat groats

2/3 cup whole quinoa grains

water to cover grains + 1/2-3/4 cup

2 Tbsp coconut flour

2 tsp finely ground chia seeds or flaxmeal

1 Tbsp coconut oil or other oil + more for brushing waffle iron

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Soak buckwheat and quinoa in 4 cups fresh water for 6-8 hours, over overnight. Drain and rinse well.  Place in a blender, level grains, and add just enough water to cover.  Blend on high until grains are smooth (if using a Vitamix, place on the highest variable setting, do not turn the switch to high - it is will make it too smooth).  Then add remaining ingredients and additional water, and blend until mixed.  Your batter should be thick, so start with 1/2 cup water; only add additional 1/4 cup water if it seems way too thick.

Spoon batter into a heated, oiled waffle iron and cook as directed.  In my waffle iron it took 9 minutes.  Remove from waffle iron and place on a wire rack, or put in an oven at 200º to keep warm while you finish cooking the rest of the batter.  Reoil waffle iron between batches.

Eat immediately, or refrigerate or freeze to eat later.

Cultured Cashew "Sour Cream"

Yield: 1 cup

Blended raw cashews are naturally fermented for 4-6 hours, resulting in something incredibly creamy, rich, and tart - just like real sour cream! If you don't want to do all the soaking and culturing, you can just blend the raw cashews and eat immediately after - but the texture, flavor, and beneficial bacteria is worth the pre-planning!  If you've never cultured anything before, this is a fun and easy way to start.  Miso provides beneficial bacteria to help get the culturing process going; if you don't have miso, you can make this without.

1 cup raw cashews, preferably soaked 4-6 hours

2/3-3/4 cup water

1 tsp chickpea or azuki miso 

1/4 tsp vitamin C crystals or 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Soak your cashews for 4-6 hours.  Then place in a blender with 1 cup of water and blend until totally smooth.  Then add miso and vitamin C crystals and blend just until mixed.  Don't blend too much, because it can break down the beneficial bacteria.

Transfer to a clean jar or bowl, lightly cover with a towel or cloth, and let ferment at room temperature for about 4-6 hours, until it smells just a little bit sour and mixture has started to separate slightly.  Stir to mix, tThen serve immediately, or refrigerate and use within 3 days. Will thicken once chilled.

A little sweet, a little savory. Just the way I like it.

Okay, now it's your turn. Bring it on!  

Read all the rules here, then submit your best beet recipes by April 20, 2010 to soskitchenchallenge@gmail.com