Tuesday, November 4, 2008


To me, beets had always been those pickled red disks in salad bars. Or, the base of the borscht that my Dad used to pour out of a bottle, topped with a dollop of sour cream. The borscht thing never appealed to me. And the pickled beets were OK, but I wouldn't go through a lot of effort to create them. And they always just seemed like too much work....especially peeling them when they were hot. But then beets were on one of those lists about the things that you should be eating. And I found out you can eat the skins. And the greens. So....I started exploring with beets.

The thing about beets is that you've got several meals there, with the greens and the bulbs. I understand that the greens are pretty much the same thing as swiss chard, but grown for the bulb instead of the leaves, but that you can eat the leaves too. I started out simply. On the first day, I make something -- a stir fry usually -- out of the greens. And while I'm doing that, I boil the bulbs -- let them cool, stick them in the fridge, and have them the next day. They don't need anything else, they're so sweet. No salt, no vinegar, no nothing. Just slice 'em up and eat 'em. Just like that.

The other day I was in whole foods and they had some huge beet bulbs attached to some very nice greens (see the picture above), so in the cart they went. First I gave the bulbs a nice scrub with that new vegetable scrubber -- aren't they pretty like that? The greens got fried up with some onions, garlic, ginger, parsnips (cut thin....I'll need to post about parsnips one of these days), a small crown of broccoli I had lying around, and some tempeh that I'd been dying to try. Simple stir fry, but very tasty.

While that was going on, I graduated from boiled beets to roasted. As I've said before, roasted veggies rock. The thing about beets though, is it's difficult to know how long to cook them. I've learned to take them out before they seem to be soft, because they continue to cook in their own heat even after you remove them. A little olive oil (not even any salt), and roasting for about 1.5 hours and I had some very tasty beet quarters.

I popped a few in my mouth right after my stirfry, and kept the rest in the fridge for later. To eat cold, or hot, or even cut up into another stirfry a couple of days later. This time with cabbage, carrots, onions and kielbasa. And I just popped the last two in my mouth today, a week after.

Moral of the story...don't be afraid of beets!

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