Monday, September 6, 2010

Got Beets? Boil 'em, chop 'em, fry 'em up.

Beet season in our house stretches through the summer into fall thanks to succession plantings from April to July. Before now, I'd always peeled beets because that's what I did to turnips and yams. 

My friend Louise set me straight, "You peel them? No, no, no, honey, just boil them and the skin rolls off."  

Always happy to cut out a step, I boiled a cylinder beet and- holy moly!- the skin just peeled off. The critical thing to remember when boiling beets to eat is: Cut the greens off an inch or two above the beet root. Otherwise, you'll bleed your beet.

Once beets are cooked you can eat them plain or slathered with any combination of butter, oil, spices, herbs, salt. sugar. Or you can refrigerate them for up to a few days. Or you can freeze them up to ten months. Or, you can can them plain, or pickle them, or dye things with them... Beets are a versatile vegetable and one of the prettiest cooked! Check out this page for the humble beet's nutritional information.

Here are a couple of my favorite recipes:

Balsamic, Beet Wonder Salad

1. Dice cool, cooked beets
2. Toss beets in Balsamic vinegar and a little olive oil
3. Throw in some arugula or basil (or experiment with other salad leaves) and mix with beets and dressing.
4. Top with feta or Parmesan cheese.
5. Top this with roasted nuts (try salted sunflower or pine nut, walnuts fried with butter and brown sugar is incredible!)
6. Serve and make some more.

Vegetable Bake

1. Thinly slice a variety of veggies. In the above picture I've sliced yam, potato, beet and zucchini.
2. Layer the harder veggies (in this case the beet, yam and potato) at the bottom of an oil covered, deep dish frying pan. 
3. Put a little water over top (sprinkle it on to moisten), salt and pepper, then cover until veggies are soft.
4. Add another layer of softer veggies (like zucchini) and sausage. Add fresh herbs to this layer. Cover until veggies are soft.
5. Add cheese. A mix of mozza and a stronger cheese like parmesan or blue cheese is nice. 
6. Allow cheese to melt.
7. Sprinkle with paprika and serve bake after letting it cool slightly.

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