Gettin' down with real food.

Update & what I've been up to

It's been some time since I gave this space any attention, but not for lack of inspiration. My food voice has been finding a monthly home in our city's newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Today, my most recent article was picked up by USA Today online, crazy. Now in the swing with my newspaper gig, I hope to get back to sharing more here on the blog. I wanted to take this opportunity to compile the articles I've written over the past year. so while you're waiting for some new Funky Beets content, here's a little something to browse through. I'm filled with gratitude today for family and friends who've shared my recipes and writing and supported me wholeheartedly in this journey that I hope is just beginning. I have some big dreams about how to share my love of cooking and make real, delicious food more accessible to everyone. I love to chat with anyone who feels the same.

Indulgence without guilt - a healthier way to enjoy the holidays - November 30, 2016
Thanksgiving brunch  - November 12, 2016
Unlikely spice pairings autumn dinner menu - October 8 , 2016
Oktoberfest - stay in or go out - September 15, 2016
Summer-fall gluten free barbecue menu - September 8, 2016
Harvest time celebrates side dishes - August 11, 2016
No oven recipes for hot summer weather - July 9, 2016
Floral-inspired baby shower gathering - June 11, 2016
Spring weekend local produce dinner - May 7, 2016
Heart fare for heavy lifters - moving day menu - April 9 , 2016
Spring forward with fresher, brighter meals - March 12, 2016
2016 food trends with a healthy twist - March 7, 2016
Warm and cool flavors balance winter meal  - February 13, 2016
Restorative, warming winter menu for New Year - January 16, 2016
Make-ahead holiday brunch - December 12, 2015
Vegetarian Friendsgiving - November 7, 2015
Crowd pleasing football party food - October 10, 2015
Inviting vegetables to breakfast - August 30, 2015
Host an all-local, vegetarian feast - August 22, 2015
Picnic party, eating fresh outdoors - May 23, 2015


Rustic Roasted Applesauce

For me, receiving fruit in a CSA basket is the equivalent of getting a king size candy bar during trick-or-treat at age 10: so special. That's why when organic apples appeared in our veggie box two weeks in a row, I hoarded them away like a greedy squirrel and started searching for a recipe to honor these rosy, perfectly imperfect gems.

local apples

The farmer's newsletter said he wasn't sure what variety these apples were, but that they were organic and therefore slightly blemished, but mighty tasty. A mystery apple! Joy! Their flavor was tart but not pucker-inducing, the flesh was firm and robustly textured, they were generously juicy, and perfect for making applesauce. 

This recipe hails from the infamous Zuni Café Cookbook by Judy Rodgers.  I borrowed it from the library after seeing several of my favorite cooks and bloggers site it as one of their must-haves. So far it hasn't disappointed.  This applesauce is nothing like the kind that comes in a jar at the supermarket.  It is at once chunky and silky, and absolutely sings with apple flavor.  My mouth is watering as I write this and so are my eyes because my apples and the sauce I made from them are long gone.  I ate it plain, also in oatmeal and swirled with plain yogurt and cinnamon.  I loved every bite. If you have any apples hanging around, you betta' make this applesauce toot sweet.

Recipe note: If you don't have 4 pounds of apples, scale the recipe back and adjust ingredients accordingly.  It's still worth it to make a small batch.  The sugar is pretty minimal, letting the apples' flavor shine and making it a versatile sauce for serving with anything from ice cream to pork chops. 

rustic roasted applesauce |

Rustic Roasted Applesauce

adapted slightly from the Zuni Café Cookbook
makes about 3 cups


  • 4 pounds apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Up to 1 Tbsp of sugar, depending on the sweetness of you apples
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar


Roasted apples
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place the apple chunks in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish and sprinkle with sugar and salt, toss to coat. 
  3. Shave butter into thin slices and "drape" over the apples (cookbook wording, beautiful).
  4. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake until the apples begin to soften slightly, 15-20 minutes. Remove apples from the oven and carefully uncover the pan. 
  5. Raise the heat to 500 F and return apples to the oven.  Roast until the apples begin to turn golden brown on their edges, about 10 minutes.
  6. Let the apples cool slightly, then slide them into a bowl and mash them with the back of a wooden spoon until you have smooth, yet chunky sauce,  Taste the sauce and season with more salt and sugar to your taste.
  7. Add the apple cider vinegar to brighten the flavor if desired. (Judy Rodger's advice: try a drop of cider vinegar on a spoonful of the applesauce first to see if you'll like it.)
  8. Store in a jar in the fridge for up to a week.
rustic roasted applesauce |

Collard Greens and Chicken Chorizo Tacos

"The cheese stands alone." I always felt kinda bad for the cheese. And sometimes I feel bad for the greens too, because they too often stand alone as a side dish, a supporting act. Collard greens in particular have been pigeonholed into the token green(ish) food on our plates of barbeque pulled pork and mac n' cheese. Well, no more! Today, collards get to grab a partner, do-si-do, and star in the show. 


Collard greens are thick, some might even called them tough.  They're typically cooked for a long time, with some kind of fatty animal product, like bacon or ham hocks, during which they lose much of their beautiful dark green color and come out of the pot bearing more of a putrid olive shade. 

When I got a bunch of collards in my CSA box last week, I vowed to give them the treatment they deserved.  And I came up with this quick and tasty recipe for collard greens and chicken chorizo tacos. 

collard green and chorizo

Collard Greens and Chicken Chorizo Tacos


1/2 lb. humanely raised ground chicken chorizo

1 bunch (about 4 large leaves) collard greens, stems removed and medium-chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

2 Tbsp. taco seasoning

1/4 cup tomato sauce

4 soft corn tortillas

For topping:

thinly sliced scallions (green onions)


charred tomato salsa

sliced limes


Heat a saute pan over medium heat.  Add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally to break up the meat.  Add the garlic and the chopped collards.  If the pan seems a little dry (this will depend on how much fat is in your chorizo), stream in some olive oil to allow the greens to saute without charring.

Continue to cook the collards and chorizo together until the chicken is no longer pink and the greens have wilted and turned dark green in color.  Taste a piece of the greens, paying attention to how they chew: you want some texture remaining but not the raw roughness they started with.  If you like how things are going here, add the taco seasoning and tomato sauce, stirring to incorporate.  Cook a few more minutes over medium low heat to allow the flavors to meld.

Meanwhile, heat your tortillas over a stove flame or in the microwave wrapped in damp paper towel, then serve the tacos immediately, topping the collard and chorizo mixture with salsa, avocado, green onions, and a squeeze of lime.

collard greens and chicken chorizo tacos