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I confess, I'm not very good at making up new recipes.  I like eggs, nachos, and leftovers - and if there are no leftovers, I'm likely to fry a single ingredient and simply salt it to edibility.

Pretty lame cooking tactics, I know.

I called Morgan (my personal chef) for a little help, starting with one ingredient:  beets.

After asking what other ingredients I had on hand, she made the call:  Casserole

'Casserole' isn't usually in my cooking vocabulary - I'm more of a stir-fry kinda gal.  But, armed with Morgan's step-by-step instructions, I determined to make some tasty local leftovers to enjoy for the week! 

Now, you'll notice this beet casserole shares many of the same ingredients as my Seasonal Pasta.  I get all my produce from a local winter CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share.  This means that my selection of vegetables is limited to what is seasonal, available, and in the big rucksack I pick up each week.  You learn to use what you have.

Ingredients, or 'Let's Talk About This':
1. Grains - dry, in bulk
    ~ quinoa
    ~ couscous, whole wheat
2. Vegetables from my winter CSA share, local & organic
    ~ beets: candy-striped and bull's-blood
    ~ carrots
    ~ onions: yellow
    ~ leeks
    ~ cabbage
    ~ garlic
3.  Rosemary, fresh and homegrown
4.  Eggs, local and pasture-raised
5.  'Real Salt' sourced near my home state
6.  Olive Oil
7.  Parmesan Cheese


The Actual Cooking Part:

I like to mix my quinoa with couscous - it gives it a fluffier feel, but you still get protein from the quinoa.  Measure and boil in 2 parts water.
Then, peel and chop your beets into equally sized chunks.
Now soften & brown your beets in olive oil - moderate heat, please!
Meanwhile, your quinoa and couscous are either ready or about to be ready.  Check on them, and when the grains are done cooking, set them aside.
Chop your carrots and onions.  At this point, you've probably noticed that I don't measure when I cook.  Just put in how much you'd like!
When your beets are about 3/4 done cooking, add your carrots and onions to the frying pan to soften.
Now, prepare the tender bits (the ones that need the least cooking).  Chop your leeks, cabbage, garlic, and rosemary.  Note that I barely cook my garlic - its medicinal effects are higher this way, and I like the strong taste.  If you don't, add them in earlier, with the carrots and onions.
Add the cabbage, leeks, garlic, rosemary, and cooked grains.  You'll probably have more grains than you need, so add in gradually until you like the proportions.  Sautée the mixture very briefly with the rest of the veggies, then turn off the heat. 
Salt liberally.
Congratulations!  You made a stir-fry.  Feel free to stop here.  If you would like to make a casserole, please proceed by beating one or two egg(s).  I used one, but you should probably use more - my casserole didn't end up holding together very well.
Fill a casserole dish or loaf pan with your delicious all-local veggie medley.  Then pour your beaten egg(s) over top and mix it well.  Pack it down
Clothe that naked casserole with a top layer of Parmesan cheese, then bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.  Ta daa!
Sexy casserole.  Luckily, it tasted even better than it looks - which is good, because it didn't exactly hold together in true casserole form.
Have you done any improvisational cooking lately, or used mostly local ingredients?  How did it go?

You might like:
- Loco for Local: Spaghetti Squash Pasta
- Loco for Local: Seasonal Pasta
- Loco for Local Florida: Seared Cilantro Tuna
- Farm Girl Rising

This post shared in Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday alongside many other radical recipes!

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