Monday, June 21, 2010

Put This In Your Mouth

Beet Me Up!





A few years ago, right about the time when I became a vegan, I went to Seasons 52 with my parents. I ordered the vegetable plate, and I was delighted to see all of the vibrant and delicious vegetables. I studied the plate to see what my dinner would consist of that night, and I noticed a golden vegetable that I just couldn't put my finger on. I thought it was a potato, but I could tell by the mildly sweet taste and non-starchy texture that this was not a potato. I had no idea what this was, but it was so succulent and I had to figure it out. At the end of the meal, I asked the waiter, and he told me that I was eating beets. I had never tried beets before, and for some reason I thought I wouldn't like them. They tasted amazing compared to what I had imagined. 


Some time went by and I forgot about beets for a little bit. Then, a few months ago I was at Cafe 118 Degrees and had a beet juice that was magnificent. After that I had some delicious beets in a faro dish with white truffle oil at a fancy restaurant in St. Louis. Obviously this was a message that beets were supposed to be part of my life, so I started reading about all of the health benefits, and decided that I was going to learn to cook beets and make them a regular part of my diet. Please continue reading to find out more about cooking, buying, and storing beets....

Quick tips of buying beets:

*There are a few different types of beets; some are red, some are a gold color. I like both types, and I just decide which one I want depending on my mood. Red beets are sweeter in taste, and the golden beets have a mild sweetness.

*Buy the beets with the greens attached to ensure freshness. You also want to cook and save the greens. Nothing goes to waste except the stems!

*You can store beets wrapped in plastic. If you buy them fresh, they will store for over a week this way.



I have only cooked beets twice, and I am a big fan of roasting root veggies, so this is how I have had the most luck:

*Preheat oven to 400
*Use a few tablespoons olive oil, and a pinch of salt,  and coat the baking sheet.
*Cut off the bottoms of the beets, and cut the beet away from the greens
*Cut each beet in half
*Once the oven is preheated, place beets on pan face down.
*Place in the oven for 30 minutes
*About 15 minutes in, turn the beets
*Cook for the remainder
*Take beets out of the oven when finished
*Let them cool for about 15 minutes (you can prepare the beet greens at this time)
*Once cooled you should be able to easily peel the beet with your fingers, or if it freaks you out to get the red pigment all over your hands, then you can take a knife to the beet and peel it that way. Either way, you will get red pigment on you unless you wear gloves. It comes off easily.
*Then, cut to whatever shape you like (cubes, slices, stars, feet)!
****EAT!****

How to cook beet greens:
*You can really cook beet greens the same way you would cook any green (kale, spinach, chard)
*Cut the greens away from the beet
*Also, cut any rough stems away from the green. You don't have to be super picky about cutting the stems away. Just make sure anything too thick is discarded.
*Chop up the greens
*Heat a skillet with some olive oil, salt, and garlic
*Once sizzling, put in the greens and cook for about a minute or until your desired doneness .
*Add them to you favorite dish to get some heart healthy greens in your diet!

If you are interested in learning more, here is a link explaining some of the health benefits of beets.

You can eat the beets and greens just like that or you can add them to a dish. I think they would be great with anything! Some things that come to mind are beets with a side of quinoa and asparagus, beets and beet greens with Soba noodles and tofu, or beets over faro with other roasted root veggies. But, one of the best combos is the one that I made tonight.... Rising Moon Butternut Squash Ravioli with sauteed green onions, beet greens with roasted beets in an agave-olive oil-garlic-balsamic sauce! This dish was inspired by one that I had at Veg, a restaurant that I will blog about soon located in Sarasota. You will see the recipe this week!





Do you have a favorite beet recipe? How do you cook beets? Make a comment or Email Me, I'd love to hear from you!

Namaste!

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