Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Vinegared Beets w/ Greens

I don't think I really cared for beets when I was growing up. I attribute this to the food packaging industry and the fact that they came canned more often than fresh. Lined up next to the rows of mushy grey-green peas and creamed corn that looked more like baby food than an honest to goodness vegetable. And lets not even venture into frozen lima beans and brussel sprouts. Talk about giving vegetables a dreary reputation.
But in my adulthood, I have come to love, love, love them and the way they stain my hands red like food coloring. I have a friend that uses the beet juice to stain natural linen into gorgeous rusty reds that look like pinot noir.
Beets freshly steamed - I can't get enough of them. They have an earthy sweetness that needs very little assistance. I rarely do anything more with them than add olive oil and salt and pepper and eat them diced as a snack. If I can restrain myself I'll save them for a salad with goat cheese and toasted walnuts. Recently, I tried this recipe from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone - a preparation that doesn't really even need a recipe it's so simple. I made it last week, and then went back to the market to buy another enormous bunch to do the same again. Four large beets is enough for me to stretch into to four side dish sized helpings.

1. Trim the greens from the top of the beets, leaving a stubble of stems on the beet root. Trim the root "tail". Through the whole beet in a steamer basket over simmering water. Steam for 30 minutes or until you can slip a knife into the beet easily.
2. Let the beets cool until you can handle them. Slip the skins off the beets. They come off easily with the edge of a butter knife lightly scraped across the surface.
3. Chop up the beets, toss with olive oil or butter, salt, pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
4. If you like the beet greens too, steam those separately, toss with olive oil and salt and pepper.
5. Eat warm or chilled as you prefer.

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