sailéad biatas prátaí
My Dad and I were on the phone one day talking about Irish food and the apparent lack of color that is represented in traditional dishes. Both of us (obviously) being of strong Irish roots (pun intended) shared a laugh as we joked about the photography that could potentially put a cookbook reader to sleep with it’s inherent beige-ness. A real page turner! Luckily for me, I was blessed with creative parents that enjoyed cooking. My Dad (who now resides in Santa Fe, NM) once made a potato dish that he advised me “not to over think it- keep it simple” -and that dish changed the way I looked at and ate potatoes.
His dish was potatoes tossed in a bowl with chili peppers and cheese, then placed in the oven to bake to perfection. Im sure that I am leaving out a few seasoning steps… This dish was beige- but wow was it spicy in the most fantastic way! Never judge a book by it’s cover. In fact, remove the cover and let people wonder what the hell it is you’re reading!
I gave this recipe an Irish title because these ingredients are commonly used in traditional Irish dishes. I want people to know, Irish food can pop with color and a good story! It’s the Emerald Isle after all. We’ve got green down for sure.
I come from a long line of very proud Irish folk and not surprisingly (are not all Irish people quite proud?) As we should be. My family history in particular is a long line of scholars and entrepreneurs. My Grandfather on my Mothers side was an educator and mentor who obtained his Irish citizenship before he passed away a few years ago. He was a historian as well and he sparked a great interest in me to learn about where it is that I come from. He had collected deeds for land and birth certificates dating back over two hundred years ago belonging to my great, great, Grandparents. Needless to say, these relics fascinated me.
My Grandfather and Grandmother on my Fathers side of the family owned and operated for many years an Irish imported goods store called “Celtic Creations” In Minneapolis MN. Their shop was located down an old cobble stone street in a building called Saint Anthony Main that runs along the Mississippi river. This is where some of my earliest childhood memories come into play. I barely remember their little shop, but I do recall taking naps as a child on big wool blankets. I always joke with my friends that I’m so Irish I used to fall asleep in a basket of wool as an infant. And hey, its true.
I’ve been feeling the travel bug as of late (truthfully, Im always feeling the urge to travel). I’ve never been to my homeland of Ireland, but I’m determined to visit in the next year so I can expand my knowledge of Irish culture. And some times when I can’t afford plane tickets and I want to escape Western culture, I do so through cooking.
I’m currently enrolled in the Wholistic Nutrition Program at the Wellspring School in Portland Oregon. There is a wonderful emphasis on understanding the Eastern vs Western approach to health. One being preventative health care through wholistic nutrition by treating a person not a disease. The other being (not without it’s benefits as well) a more pharmaceutical or acute injury based treatment. Focussing on the disease instead of the person.
With the Eastern philosophy comes the understanding of food energetics and maintaining balance throughout different stages of life. For example, a 31 year old woman who is 6 months pregnant can not thrive on the same diet she had as a 16 year old teenager. She is experiencing change in her body at both of these phases in her life and they require different nutritional intake for her to maintain a healthy body, mind and spirit.
One quote that I see repeated in nearly every textbook that I read and you’re likely familiar with as well is, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” -Hippocrates
Even if a true translation can not be made of this prolific statement, these words still carry weight and wisdom and above all, make perfect sense.
Often times in western cuisine these days you don’t see people eating a lot of root vegetables (unless you consider french fries) in daily meals. Im not sure why this is? Maybe its the concern of consuming too many carbohydrates and gaining weight? The truth is that root vegetables, grown non-GMO/organically are incredibly good for you.
This dish incorporates whole foods that boost vitality, enrich blood, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, supply fiber and potassium and benefit overall heart, liver and kidney health. Root vegetables are amazingly good to eat too. I mean, they taste really good!
Potato Beetroot and Kale salad:
Serving Size: 2 people
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 30-40 minutes
3 organic beets
3 organic potatoes (I used golden potatoes for this recipe but you could also use red potatoes if you like)
2-3 kale leafs
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 stems of rosemary
2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
2-4 pinches of coarse sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper (or to your taste preference)
Start by preheating oven to 350 degrees
Rinse and peel beets leaving the root on. Rinse and scrub potatoes (don’t peel them) and then quarter cut them. Place into a cast iron pan (which can go in your oven if you did not know) for seasoning.
Toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Remove the rosemary petals from their stems and toss with the vegetables as well.
Cover the pan with foil and place in the oven when it reaches 350 degrees to bake for 30-40 minutes.
When the dish is done, let cool for about 10 minutes then carefully slice the beets the long way still leaving the root attached.
Place on a serving plate with the potatoes.
Next, take your apple cider vinegar and drizzle it specifically over the potatoes then zest about a teaspoon of lemon peel over the entire dish.
Lastly, cut your kale into thin strips the wide way and creatively place throughout the salad for texture and added color (as well as added nutrients) for your finished dish!