At the risk of being teased at work by a co-worker, this post is more or less about what I consider an under-valued root vegetable – the beet. I recently began working with beets for the first time after having them in some stunning restaurant dishes. I came across an insightful blog post “Can’t Beet It” from Cleaner Plate Club on Word Press instructing just how easy it is to roast them. And so with many paper towels, much parchment paper and a hazmat suit, I prepared my first beets for roasting.
It was indeed easy; cut the tops and bottoms off, put together in a foil pouch, add a bit of olive oil for moistness and bake at 400 for 40-50 minutes depending on the size of the beets. When cool enough to handle, peel the skin off, which is also very easy. Yes, one needs to watch out for staining, but if you wash up quickly, and protect your cutting board, there really isn’t much of a problem. Nothing bleach couldn’t handle anyway.
After my beets were peeled and cut, I put a bit of salt & pepper on them and nervously gave them a try. Honestly, there isn’t anything not to like. They are a beautiful color and the smell is sweet. I like the taste and I love the texture – soft, but with an toothsome resistance. Whip up a simple vinaigrette and marinate the warm beets before serving with some soft goat cheese and pistachios or Marcona almonds. Super Yum!
The people that dislike beets outnumber the people who like them, which is too bad. Some of the people I spoke with have never even had a beet, but somehow know that they won’t like them. If you prepare them the way I described above, you’d like them, seriously!
As fate would have it, my mother liked beets. My father, brother and I would all pass when it was beet night at the dinner table, and lovingly give her a hard time about it. She didn’t care, more for her she thought as she popped the red jeweled vegetables into her mouth with a smile. “You don’t know what you are missing.” she’d say. And she was right.
September of this year marked the one year anniversary of my mother’s death. I have just now started what I consider my grieving process. In my own way, I’m letting her go. A trusted friend of mine recently said that it’s healthy to acquire something from a deceased loved one. Well I didn’t do it on purpose, my joy and curiosity in cooking just kind of happened. But more and more I find a wonderful connection to my mother through cooking (and loosely through skiing). To quote Morpheus from the movie The Matrix “Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.”