A recipe in a Rachael Ray magazine, which I saw while trying to stay awake at the orthodontist’s office, inspired me to buy three large fresh beets. These beets came with a voluminous amount of greens attached. I had no idea what to do with them, or the time to figure it out, so I chopped them off and threw them away, imagining I heard the distant cry of environmentalists, “But you can make stewed beet greens! Very nutritious!”
When it came time to cook these fresh beets, I looked at them more closely. Fresh beets do not win any beauty contests. They are hairy and suspicious looking, the color of freshly spilt blood. Despite being fresh, they look ancient, as if they date from prehistoric times.
Raw fresh beets
The recipe I had jotted down had no instructions on whether to use them raw or cooked. I found another recipe, for roasted beets, so I wrapped each one lovingly in foil, and stuck them in the hot oven for an hour.
Roasted, bleeding beets
The recipe did not lie when it said that after the beets are cooked you can peel the skin right off, under running water. Pretty cool! I might make roasted beets again soon just to experience this culinary feat.
Then it was time to grate the beets. It wasn’t too bad shredding steaming-hot beets, but it would have been easier if they had time to cool. I must say, shredding beets gives the impression that a dread orthodontial accident has occurred to several preteen victims right there in the kitchen. I decided to respect the beets’ potential to stain, and put on my RED apron.
I added a little grated orange zest, one orange’s worth of fresh squeezed juice, olive oil, and a little salt. I crumbled some feta on top, but my fellow-beet lovers did not. The beet lovers of the household were in favor of this recipe, but it was pretty much on the taste of the fresh beets alone that it won approval. If I were going to make this again, I would add something with some zing – maybe a touch of garam masala or cayenne pepper. Or lemon? This recipe also needs a more interesting name, but that will have to wait until after Passover and Easter.
How about you – do you love beets or hate them?
Were you ever inspired by anything at the orthodontist’s office?
Common Household Shredded Beets
Serves 2 large or 4 small lovers of beets
3 to 4 fresh red beets
1 fresh orange
½ to 1 Tablespoon olive oil
¼ to ½ tsp salt
crumbled feta cheese (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400°. Put on red apron. Mercilessly chop off beet greens about 1 inch above beet, and discard the greens. Chop off the nasty-looking tail on the beets. Wrap the truncated beets in foil and roast until fork-tender, about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the beets. Let cool slightly. Using your fingers, peel the beets under running water.
Grate the beets on a zester or the small side of a box grater. I got about 2 cups of grated beets.
Grate some of the orange zest (the very outside of the orange peel) until you are tired (I used about ½ tsp). Juice the orange (I got about 1/3 cup of juice). Add both to the beets.
Add olive oil and salt (to your taste). Mix. Put in serving bowl. Sprinkle crumbled feta cheese on top, if desired.
A bowl of beets, a cup of wine, and thou