Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Home Grown Tomatoes presents...Listen to the Beet

Beets: Prep and Recipes

Home Grown Tomatoes is a weekly Vegan/Vegetarian column by Giovanina Bucci

First of all, these beauties were from our garden last year and are currently enhancing my incredible longing for all that is Spring. Like, right now. I hate to wish time away, but seriously, I'm over it. Take that, Winter! Although, I did just return from that fabulous trip to Denver that I was telling you about last week. And, it was fabulous! I'm 100% exhausted, but enjoyed every moment of spending time with my cousin Danielle and her family and my right-hand-woman, Courtney. Much of our time was consumed with the incredibly darling and perfect, Grant (otherwise known as BooBoo), who at 1 1/2 years old (or in mom terms, 18 months) is an absolute delight, utterly smoochable and unbelievably mellow. I pray for a mellow child. I'm not kidding.

I, of course, did some cooking while I was there and successfully recreated Beau's enchilada burritos...which I could demolish night after night if it weren't for my awesome metabolism. The recipe for those yummies will come as soon as I get a great picture of them - the ones I have now are just not blog worthy :) I made the touchstone tofu scram breakfast on Sunday morning before departure and prepared a couple of snacks in between. The food, the wine, the laughter, the relaxation, the conversation...I need to do these trips more often!

So anyway, back to the beets. I figured I would share a couple of different ideas for beet recipes and also explain how to prepare this mighty tasty root vegetable. I'm sure many of you know, but it's not like anyone is going to ask if they don't. Papa Booch is responsible for passing on this knowledge to me (which means, it's probably the "Italian" way to prepare beets). Ha. Either way, he knows what he's talking about!

Preparing beets:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. I trim each end of the beet (saving your greens to saute up for another side dish!) leaving about 1/4 inch of the root and stem on each end. Put the whole beet in the boiling water after giving them a quick rinse. (Don't worry about getting all of the dirt off before you boil because that outer layer is going to come off anyway.) Let the beets boil for about 40 minutes and strain once they are tender (piercable with a fork). While running cool water, peel the outer layer of the beet off. The skin should peel off very easily. And there you have it! Obviously, this is not the only way to prepare a beet, but I've had a lot of luck with this method.

A really great side dish is to cut the beets into large chunks and saute them in a bit of olive oil, lots of fresh garlic and garbanzo beans, which is what I did below. I prepared these beets when I was in Plattsburgh and they were from my dad's garden, sweet and delicious. Saute the chopped garlic on medium heat for a couple of minutes, add the beets and turn to low heat (remember, the beets are already cooked at this point). Right before removing from the heat, add the garbanzo beans. Salt and pepper to taste and stir all ingredients thoroughly. Light, fresh and easy!

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture, but another great way to have have beets is alongside mashed potatoes. Talk about adding some color to the table! It only takes 1 beet (per 2 lg. or 3 med. sized potatoes) to bring mashed potatoes to a whole new light, in case you don't want your potatoes to taste overly beety (I bet they use that word in BonAppetit...beety). Otherwise I would do an even proportion of potatoes to beets.

After you have boiled both your potatoes and your beets and chopped them into even sized chunks, move forth with your favorite mashed potato recipe. Milk, butter, salt, pepper, garlic, etc and whip everything together. But, to top things off, make a delicious horseradish aioli. I grated a ton of fresh horseradish into this super simple aioli recipe (in place of or with the cilantro, dill or parsley) and oh dear. Tasty little number right there, my friends! Enjoy!

Hopefully the last few posts of ideas and prep how-to's aren't driving you to insanity or worse yet, to ANOTHER BLOG!!!!!!!!! :) I'll be moving back into the land of specifics real soon, I promise! These last few posts have also been me, cleverly trying to diverge from the fact that my life is outrageously busy these days (I'm sure most of you feel me here!). So bear with me and Enjoy!

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