Eat Well (Again): And the Beet Goes On...

The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks, mom!
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January’s birthstone is the garnet, the dark and sultry common cousin to the ruby. My parents gave me a garnet ring for my 16th birthday as a symbol of my birth month. The deep red stone looks black until held up to the light when it transforms into a glowing bright red. I wore that ring every day until my mid twenties. It was magical, as if it held a secret only for me, hidden inside its ordinary visage. I thought of the ring the other day when I was cutting up beets for one of my favorite recipes.
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Beets are like garnets, ordinary and dark at first glance. But as soon as they are pierced, they explode with color, bleeding a brilliant magenta that is so magical, it isn’t even found in the rainbow. And when cooked, there is nothing more delicious and out of the ordinary.
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The best way to cook beets is to roast them whole in the oven, covered with aluminum foil. Cut the leaves off of them, leaving a couple of inches of stem, so that the beets don’t bleed while you are roasting them:
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When they are done, the skin comes right off and you can slice them easily. (If stains on your fingers bother you, wear gloves). Simply drizzle the sliced beets with oil and vinegar (I like balsamic), and sprinkle with salt and pepper or you can add herbs or soft cheese such as goat or gorgonzola. I like cooking the beet greens in a little garlic and oil and laying the sliced beets on top of the greens, then adding the toppings. This utilizes all parts of the beets, and beet greens are delicious and very nutritious.

Roasted Beets
1 or 2 bunches of beets
1 tsp caraway seeds
good quality olive oil
good quality balsamic vinegar
optional:
fresh chopped parsley, dill or tarragon.
Goat cheese, gorgonzola, feta and/or walnuts
Chopped garlic


Cut beet leaves off of beets, leaving a couple of inches of stems. Lay beets in aluminum foil and cover tightly.
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Roast on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 45-75 minutes or until tender (depending on size of beets). You can pierce the beets with a skewer to make sure they are tender.

Let cool slightly and then peel with your fingers.
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Slice the beets and spread on a platter. Drizzle with oil and vinegar, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add whatever other toppings you want. Suggestions: chopped garlic, fresh dill, tarragon or parsley. Crumbled goat cheese, feta cheese, or gorgonzola and chopped toasted walnuts.
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For roasted beets and beet greens:

Tear beet greens into 2 inch pieces. Sauté 2 minced garlic cloves in 2 tablespoons of oil for about a minute.
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Then add greens and cook until wilted and tender.
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Lay greens on a platter and cover with sliced beets. Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve this way or add suggested toppings above.
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My other favorite use for beets is for borscht. I make this soup at least twice a month in the winter. The perfect balance of salt, sweet, and sour makes this soup addictive. Almost the way ketchup is. I modified the recipe from the original Moosewood Cookbook. Serve with a hearty loaf of bread for a perfect winter’s meal:
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Russian Cabbage Borscht
2 T butter or olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 ½ cups thinly sliced potato
3 large beets, thinly sliced
1 large sliced carrot
1 stalk chopped celery
½ cabbage, chopped
6 cups vegetable stock (more if needed)
salt to taste
black pepper
½ tsp dill weed or 1 T fresh dill
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs. honey
1 cup tomato puree
Toppings: sour cream and dill

Place potatoes, beets, and stock in a soup pot. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, cook onions in butter or oil with caraway seeds and salt. Cook until onion is translucent. When done, add to beets with all remaining ingredients. Bring back to a boil and then cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until all vegetables are tender and soup is flavorful. (Add more veggie stock if needed). Taste to correct seasonings. It should be balanced between sweet, sour, and salty. You can add more vinegar, salt, or honey as needed. Add more veggie stock if needed. Serve with sour cream and dill:
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(ED: If you have left over soup, you might have to add more vegetable stock the next day.)

If you have fussy eaters in your family, try pureeing the soup in a blender (with or without some sour cream) and serve it as “Pink Soup.” This makes the soup a fun and whimsical adventure and the vegetables are unrecognizable:
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(You can serve hot or cold.)

Note: I just talked to my son, David, who told me he recently made beet tzatziki and it was delicious. Here is a recipe for it in case you want to try.

Happy New Year!

Love,
WWW

22 comments:

Kim Hosey | 1:13 PM

I've always kind of hated beets, but you've made them look SO fabulous. I might have to reconsider.

Anonymous | 1:24 PM

Mmmmmmmmmmm...I love beets! (And your recipes!)

Magic27 | 1:32 PM

I love beets and think all these recipes look lovely, but you clearly haven't been inflicted with the curse of the picky eater - mine is coming up to 7 and won't touch anything she's never tried before (makes for EXTREMELY LIMITED meals for her as I refuse to cave to her desire that I serve pasta every night). And I don't think even PINK soup would tempt her... She KNOWS that soup is my way of trying to get her to eat vegetables! To be honest, she's actually getting worse - now refusing to eat foods that she used to eat. The number of "acceptable" foods is dwindling rapidly (and consists mainly of starch, potato and - if I ever lose my mind and let her have it - fast food).
*sigh*

Mammy P | 1:44 PM

I love beets - but I've only ever had them pickled... I will have to try this one!

avb | 1:52 PM

The Moosewood beet soup recipe is my favorite! At their restaurant in Ithaca, NY they would serve a spicy version that was incredible.

Wendy Woolf | 2:17 PM

Magic27...I feel your pain. My son David was a VERY picky eater. The only thing green he would eat was dill pickles, so I got the idea of soaking broccoli in pickle juice and then he loved it (he still dipped his broccoli in pickle juice into high school). I added wheat germ to his peanut butter and snuck nutrition into food where I could. But I also continued to put different foods in front of him (I NEVER forced him) and though he mostly ignored the foods, once and a while he would try something new (doing fun things like making "pink soup" sometimes does help!) And then suddenly at age 12, to my utter joy and amazement, he decided to eat everything in sight. He is now a gourmet cook and genuine foody.

So, I guess what I am trying to say is, if you keep exposing your daughter to different foods, some day she actually might try them, especially if she sees you all enjoying them. Some kids just take a while for their taste buds to wake up!! :)

Tara | 4:33 PM

I love love love beets! Some freshly juiced beets in the morning is the exact right way to start the day. I'm excited to try these lovely recipes.

Steph | 4:50 PM

Beets and feta/goats cheese has to one of the most gorgeous taste combinations! I'll be making your version, for sure. Thanks.

jessica | 5:14 PM

picky 35 yr old here: ive never put a beet in my mouth. can't even recall ever being around one besides at a grocery store.
today i passed avocados for sale and thought to myself "what do people even do with those??" i wouldn't know. i am extremely jealous of the variety of foods that you eat and know how to use!!!!

bedbyday | 5:16 PM

Beets and goat cheese. Now there's a rare craving. Time to make a run to the store. Thanks for the recipe!

Amanda | 7:41 AM

I love beets and yours look fantastic!

caitlin | 11:05 AM

Yum, thanks for the new beet inspiration! I usually do a dish of beets and their greens with garlic, feta and vinegar. It is one of my favorite things, I can't wait to try your recipes, thanks!
Luckily my 21mo twins eat everything, I am sure they will love these.

Julia | 11:46 AM

The first picture really does make them look delicious but I have tried with beets over and over again and I hate them. I hate them pickled, I hate them roasted and I hate borscht. It's a shame because they really are very photogenic but sadly not for me.

Alison | 2:46 PM

I love beets, thanks for the new ideas! My mom makes something she calls beet carpaccio (even though the beets are roasted first and carpaccio is technically raw).
Mix rice vinegar, julienne mint, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a shaker or empty jar and shake to emulsify. Layer very thinly sliced beets with goat cheese and the rice vinegar / mint dressing. One of my favorite recipes ever.

Wendy Woolf | 5:50 PM

Alison...sounds YUMMY!!

Baby in Broad | 7:42 PM

Beets are one of my favorite veggies! So beautiful AND delicious!

On a semi-related note, I made WWW's tomatillo enchilada sauce to pour over cashew "cheese" enchiladas for Christmas dinner, and it was a HUGE it.

Law Mama | 11:33 PM

Just made the roasted beets with greens for dinner (along with some homemade macaroni & cheese). SO DELICIOUS! My husband loved it.

Several times through the cooking process I would forget I had dealt with beets and freak out thinking that I was bleeding everywhere. Hazardous!

Sydney | 4:26 AM

I love the swirls of orange inside when you cut open those beetroots (British word). Sooooo beautiful!

Law Mama | 2:58 PM

Oh, I should add: my husband saw this post while I was making the beet salad and now wants borscht. Okay, I guess that's next! :)

sarah | 5:30 PM

we loooove beets at our house. thanks for the new recipe.

xoxo

Tampopo Press | 4:48 PM

We just made this for dinner and YUM! Just being very careful not to spill...

Shut Up and Cook | 1:33 PM

What fun to read all these great beet recipe ideas!

Here's one I recently did that was delicious.

Beet Salad tossed in an Anchovy Infused Balsamic Dressing, served on a Bed of Baby Arugula and topped with a Farm Fresh Soft Boiled Egg

Recipe and pix here: http://wp.me/puWta-cZ

Happy Spring!!!