North Fork Beauty

This is my new blog dedicated to healthy and delicious food, wine, and the beauty of the countryside. Follow me and we can get this blog rolling together!


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How to Roast Beets

I’ve always loved the sweetness, flavor, and color that roasted beets can add to a salad or other dish. Roast beats are kind of expensive in the grocery store and whole, raw beets are kind of scary looking. However, roasting beets yourself is easy enough for a beginner in the kitchen and is cost effective.

So here we go.

1. Preheat over to 400 degrees.

2. Make sure the tops are removed from the beets and wash thoroughly (scrub ‘em if you gotta).

3. Place cleaned beets onto a sheet of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil and salt (Use extra oil if you want to add to a salad after, you’ll create your own beet flavored oil!).

4. Fold up the sides of the foil and create a little packet that is completely enclosed and wont let any steam out.

5. Place beets in the oven. Roasting times are going to differ based on the size of the beet – smaller beets may be done in 25-30 minutes whereas larger beets may take up to an hour to roast.

Check on your beets occasionally, when a fork slides into the beet easily it means they are done! Enjoy!!


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Sauteed Spinach with Yellow Beets

Here is a small side-dish I created after being inspired by all the yummy produce goodies at Wild by Nature today!! Let me know what you guys think!

Sauteed Spinach with Beets

1 tsp olive oil

1 garlic clove diced

1 small shallot diced

1 bunch of sweet organic spinach

2 yellow roasted beets chopped*

Splash of low sodium chicken broth

Salt and pepper

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Heat oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and shallot until fragrant. Add spinach leaves and sautee until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Add a splash of chicken broth (enough for flavor but not enough to be liquid-y). Add the chopped beets. Serve when heated through.

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*See post on roasting beets :)


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Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Tuesdays are my favorite day because I basically have a nice quiet afternoon to myself with no one here to nag me :) so i usually make dinner for the family. So today I baked instead, obviously after spending way too much time on pinterest and seeing dessert after dessert. Yay.

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The recipe is from http://www.thecakeblog.com/2011/11/pumpkin-cupcakes-recipe.html

I halved the recipe and then forgot that I halved the recipe and ended up using 3 eggs instead of 2. I tried to cancel that out by using 3/4 cup of milk. I also added some hazelnuts on half, just on the top. Hehe.

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Fennel Soup

I got off track a little bit from my all natural diet – simply because I moved home and my mom cooks basically all my meals. Well not anymore – my body feels so much different when I eat seasonal, fresh, and homemade! I got this new cookbook Savoring the Hamptons by Silvia Lehrer, it really great because it is divided into the four seasons and then only uses fresh local ingredients that are available at those times. So today I made the fennel soup with a few modifications (Basically it called for some Pernod, which I have never even heard of but happens to be an anise liquor with very few substitutes). And as I write this, the soup is simmering and the kitchen smells like fennel heaven.

Fennel Soup 6-8 servings

2 fennel bulbs

2 medium onions

2 red potatoes

2 tablespoons organic unsalted butter

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

5 3/4 cups of chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

fennel fronds for garnish

Start by cutting of the tops and bottoms of the fennel bulbs and cutting them into thin, even slices. Place the fennel slices in a bowl of cool water for 10-15 minutes. Slice the onions and the potatoes thinly. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Place the fennel, onion, and potatoes in the pot and mix until well coated with the butter. Place a piece of wax paper down onto the vegetables and cover to pot. Allow the vegetables to steam this way for about 8 minutes. Discard the wax paper.

Put the stock, lemon juice, and seasonings into the pot. Bring the temperature up to medium high and bring to a boil. After boiling, bring down the temperature and simmer for 35-40 minutes. Puree the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. Garnish with the fennel fronds before serving. :)

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Fresh Watermelon, Jicama, & Cucumber Salad

Thanks to this lovely heat wave ( I don’t want to eat or do anything at all) I decided to make something light and refreshing. This salad is perfect on it’s own or as a side dish. Add some blueberries to make it extra Fourth of July friendly. Try mixing up the fruits and the veggies that you use – if you like to add a kick to your dishes, I think adding a  seeded jalapeño in this salad might be the ticket (def want to try that next time!) I adapted this dish from Epicurious.com – they added fresh cilantro, which I didn’t have available.

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  • 4 cups of chopped/diced watermelon
  • 2 cups of diced cucumber (peeled and seeded)
  • 2 cups of dices jicama
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint

Combine all the ingredients together and you’re done! Don’t get me wrong, the slicing and dicing can add a bit of time, but if you prep ahead this can come together so quick!!

Maybe add some honey to the sauce to make this a dessert???! hmmm….

Side note: Don’t know what the heck jicama is or where to get it?? I got mine at Whole Foods – and they taste kind of like a potato but a little sweeter.

There she is! Kind of an ugly thing. But to prep this thing, you do the same as you would to a butternut squash. Cut off the top and bottom so you have nice even surfaces to place on the cutting board. Then, carefully cut of the skin. Cut slices around it and dice those. There is no pit or a core so you can slice and dice the whole thing! Jicama has a lot of fiber and vitamin C :)


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Fruit Salsa

This recipe I adapted from http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/kelsey-nixon/stone-fruit-salsa-with-cinnamon-chips-recipe/index.html. I made this as an appetizer, which I don’t really recommend because it was very sweet, especially with cinnamon pita chips to dip with. However, this is a really good snack or dessert for the summer time AND stone fruits are good for you :) I used nectarines, peaches, plums, cherries, and apricots because yeah that is just what I happened to have on hand. Image


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Strawberry Yogurt Cake

Since I’ve been home, I am supposed to be ‘studying’ for my NCLEX (to become an RN), but instead I have found myself doing projects like a garden and cooking. Oh well. Yesterday I decided to bake this cake I found on Pinterest – it’s been calling my name for a few weeks now. I try to eat as healthy as possible, but a little homemade treat every now and again can’t hurt. The original recipe is from A Spicy Perspective – I provided the link below, she has a lot of great recipes, definitly worth checking out. I didnt really alter the recipe much – but let me tell you this was delicious!

Strawberry Yogurt Cake

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 3 eggs
  • Zest from one lemon
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour, divided
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 8 oz of plain or vanilla Greek yogurt (I used 6 oz. of vanilla Greek and 2 oz. of Stonyfield vanilla yogurt)
  • 12 oz. fresh straberries, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 325 (I actually was doing this recipe quickly and heated the oven to 350, the cake was not overdone and had a nice crispy outside and a heavenly moist inside- so whichever you prefer!!). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt cake pan. Sift together the lemon zest, 2 1/4 cups of flour, and baking soda in a bowl.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in one egg at a time, until each one is well mixed in. Add the 1 tbs of lemon juice. Alternate mixing in the flour mixture and the yogurt until everything is combined.
  3. Mix the strawberries with the remaining 1/4 cup of flour. Stir them into the batter! Yum!
  4. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 60 minutes (for either temp!). Test doneness with a toothpick.
  5. Cool cake in the pan for at least 20 minutes, then cool completly on a wire rack (if your are trying to plan, I would give it about an hour until the cake is cool).

*Check out the recipe on a Spicy Perspective, she called for icing the cake. I found that the cake is so moist, rich, and sweet that it is fine without the icing. It is also amazing while still warm! :) http://aspicyperspective.com/2010/05/farmstand-fresh.html

I really wanted to take an actual photograph of the finished cake, but that obviously did not happen. You can see how being cooked at a higher temperature formed a delightful crust on the cake. I took half of the cake to my boyfriend’s family and it was gone by 7pm. And this morning I was able to snap this shot of what was left of the half I kept for my family. Believe me when I say this cake is a definite winner. Great for parties, BBQs, picnics – whatever floats your boat.

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