Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The mythical vegetable

I always knew that beets were a real vegetable, but until this week I had never seen one in real life. And I had certainly not tried to cook with them! You see, my dear mom hates, hates, you might even say detests, beets. She used to tell this story of an awkward dinner where everything had beets in it, so you can imagine that we never ate beets in the Stone household. They were like a mythical vegetable... I'd heard of them, but never had seen proof of their existence. Honestly, I can't say that I was ever saddened by this or felt like I was missing out on something. Let's be real, beets are just kinda weird.

Then, whether destiny or coincidence, we ended up with beets in our CSA this go-round. I was determined to make something good out of them. And also determined to do it without having to go to the grocery store for ingredients (this, mind you, was out of pure laziness, not creative ambition or anything honorable). I researched how to best prepare beets and some feasible recipes, then tweaked them based on what I had in my kitchen. I'm surprised to say, I actually liked the dish I made. I honestly was just hoping to not hate it, but I legitimately enjoyed it! Honestly, I don't see myself craving beets a lot (or ever), and they certainly don't threaten to replace asparagus as my #1, but I made a satisfying dish out of the dreaded beet, and by that I am contented.

Also, beets make for beautiful photos. They're so vibrant!

The roasted beets.

Now these are some really pretty collard greens!

A little chiffonade of the greens.

Jeez, so colorful!

The final dish. Sautéed onions, collard greens, and roasted beets over couscous!
A little Gorgonzola on top balances out the sweetness of the beets.

Isn't it a pretty dish?
Mission accomplished. I'm proud to say that I unveiled the mystery behind the mythical beet.

In case you now have a deep desire to make this dish, here's what I did:
  • Roast beets (I used 4- 3 red and 1 golden) in aluminum foil with olive oil, salt, pepper, & thyme for about an hour at 400 degrees F.
  • Sautee about 1/4 white or yellow onion in olive oil. Add in one minced garlic clove. Add salt, pepper, & thyme to taste. 
  • Once onions start softening (but not browning), add in fresh collard greens, preferably cut in a chiffonade. Cook until greens start to wilt. 
  • Add in beets, cut to whatever size you prefer. Cook on low heat for another 10 or 15 minutes, adding oil if it becomes too dry. 
  • Serve over couscous or quinoa, with a bit of gorgonzola or another sharp bitter cheese (this helps balance the sweetness of the beets). 
How about it, Ma? You gonna try some beets soon?! :-)

In other news, everything is well at the Dryden household. The cats continue to melt my heart daily with their cuteness. Nathan has started the semester at Vanderbilt, and he is keeping himself busy with classes, working at the library, and interning at The Nashville Food Project. He also continues to be an incredible husband/man/friend. Marriage is awesome, duh. And my job is going really well. I feel like it gets better every day. I'm able to accomplish more and help more people every day that I add experience and knowledge to my tool belt. I love what I do. Today I had a triumphant moment: after a long victorious day of getting paperwork done with clients, I helped someone find affordable medication, and I got our agency 100 prescription discount cards! Yay! A good day, indeed.


stephanie said...

Now you see why I love beets so much! I've never understood why everyone hates them!

Mommy Mary said...

HA!! Good for you...those beets actually look appetizing. The awkward beet story goes like this: we were at a dinner that some missionaries were having...they had been in Russia and were in the USA having the dinner for their supporters with some typical Russian food. They were explaining beforehand and I said "as long as there aren't any beets" and the first thing they served was beet soup!!!! Evidently beets are a staple in the Russian diet! HA

Amber said...

I love reading your blog, you give me some fabulous ideas of meals I want to try :) beets are something Jesse and I want to grow in our garden but had NO IDEA what to do with them..and now I do!