17 November 2010

sweets & beets

Beets.  I always think of canned pickled beets, which gross me out.  I think.  I'm not sure I've actually tried them, at least not recently, but it's a long-harbored prejudice that I just can't shake.  So when it came time in our mission to expand our vegetable portfolio and also to adapt to winter veggies, I really hesitated on the beets.  But we found a nice dirty handful of them and decided to give it a go.  I was nervous.

I won the first battle, leaving a bloody, beety mess all over the kitchen.  We wanted to roast them, figuring that's a fairly safe method for a beet-o-phobe.

This is what we came up with.  (Also, I need to set up a better lighting situation for night photos.)  All of the beet recipes I found included goat cheese, so I included it in ours as well.  This article from The Kitchn recommended roasting beets in their skins and then just sliding them out of their skins, easy peasy, without any fuss or staining of fingers and cutting boards.  That didn't work.  I roasted the hell out of them, and they weren't sliding out of their skins at all.  I ended up peeling the cooked beets normally.  Next time I'll peel the beets first, season them and drizzle with olive oil before roasting.  The dressing was adapted from this recipe from Epicurious.

Beets & Sweets
Ingredients
  • Some beets
  • A sweet potato
  • Smidge of goat cheese
  • Brown rice, quinoa or some other grain
  • Seasoning of your choice
  • Olive oil
For the dressing
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
Directions
  1. Like I said, we roasted the beets in their skins but I recommend that you just bite the bullet and peel them first.  Your hands get a little red but if you wash them quickly it shouldn't stain.  Peel the beets, don't peel the sweet potatoes (unless you really want to).  Toss with just a bit of olive oil and seasoning such as sea salt and cracked black pepper or whatever suits your fancy.  Loosely wrap the beets and sweets in aluminum foil and bake for about 50-60 minutes at 375 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients.  Toss the roasted vegetables in the dressing and serve over a grain.  We chose quinoa.  Crumble goat cheese on top and enjoy

No measurements recorded for the ingredients on this one, but I think it's fairly straightforward and adaptable to your whims and fancies.

Now for the verdict on the beets:  not bad.  Not bad at all, in fact.  Sweet, earthy and rooty tasting.  Not slimy.  Still not my favorite veggie, but perfectly acceptable.

Do you like beets?  How do you cook 'em?  Are there other highly suspicious winter vegetables that you think I should try?  It can be like Iron Chef, except the rules are that you suggest a nasty veggie and I try to make it palatable :)

3 comments:

  1. Hmm, not a beet fan, but yours look tasty! My mom would always make me eat pickled beets when I was little - my Dad would have to sing me songs and tell me Tigger got his bounce from beets in order for me to actually eat them.

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  2. I had to laugh at your disdain of pickled beets-- just this morning, as I was heading out on an errand, my son asked to stop and pick some up because he's "been craving them for days!"! LOL! I guess it's all in what you're used to. In my mother's Portuguese home we rarely had a dinner that didn't have a pickle/pickled beet tray in the center of the table. They came out of a jar and that was where beets and I parted ways. The idea of washing, peeling, cooking a fresh beet--man, that's hard work! Seriously, your roasted beets look yummy. I like the idea of mixing up with some sweets and goat cheese and I just may try it on my Thanksgiving table. Wonder what my mom would think?

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  3. In the South, Collard Greens would qualify as a winter vegetable . . . they can survive frost, and last longer into the fall than most other greens.

    Most people up here in Upstate Yankonia consider them HIGHLY suspect, but I love 'em, when they're prepared right. If you've worked with Kale and liked it, Collards might be something new to explore . . .

    I'd also recommend cooking with a big fennel bulb in the winter, if you haven't done that already . . . celery + licorice = fennel. Masterful in a hearty bouillabaisse. Mmmmmm.

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