Food on Fridays: Bring on the Beet

fof(smaller button below)

Here at the Food on Fridays carnival, any post remotely related to food is welcome—though we love to try new dishes, your post doesn’t have to be a recipe.If you want, you could describe what you eat to stay fortified during these dreary February days. Basically we’re pretty relaxed over here. Posts that tell stories involving food are as welcome as menus and recipes.When your Food on Fridays contribution is ready, just grab the broccoli button (the big one above or smaller option at the bottom) to paste at the top of your post. It ties us together visually.Then link to Simply Linked.

Food on Fridays with Ann

During our book club discussions at one week, we got to talking about beets. Laity Lodge’s Executive Chef Tim Blanks provided a recipe in the post itself with this introduction:

I think beets are the most underrated of all vegetables. Perhaps this is due to the tins of sliced beets, saturated with vinegar, which we were subjected to as children, Try this method of baking them whole in their skins and discover a whole new vegetable.

In the comments, Glynn Young suggested the only palatable way to eat beets is in borscht, their flavor masked by other ingredients. Clearly, Glynn is not a fan.Unlike Glynn, Denise Frame Harlan took Tim’s lead and promoted beets, recommending this method of preparation:

Bake the beets wrapped in foil. When they cool, push the peels off, slice and simmer in orange juice, with a few cloves in the sauce. When the beets are very soft… it will change the way you think about beets! Wish I had some right now.I would only eat my mother’s pickled beets as a child, laced with loads of sugar. The orange-beets are so much better.

LaVonne Neff, also a fan, expanded on Denise’s method:

You can also bake beets Denise’s way, chill them, slice them thin, and serve them on a bed of baby lettuce with thin orange slices, little gobs of goat cheese, and a sprinkling of sliced almonds. You don’t need much more than a little olive oil, maybe with a drop or two of sesame oil in it, as a dressing.

LaVonne had me with “little gobs of goat cheese.”I’m in. Bring on the beets.When I signed up for a CSA, I actually said “bring on the beets,” and they did. They said, “We’ve got the beet.”I’m just kidding. The CSA stuff was handled electronically. But I did click on the form in their system, adjusting my order to request beets in my first delivery.When my box arrived this week, I pulled out three unwashed beets with their long stems and leaves still attached. I was faced with a dilemma: How to prepare them. Tim’s way? Denise’s? LaVonne’s? Or should I heed Glynn’s warning and hide ‘em in borscht? I even considered “Olga’s Fasting Salad,” a recipe included offered by Amy Frykholm at the end of her essay “Fasting Toward Home.”Finally I decided to try Denise’s method (I’ll include LaVonne’s instructions in the standardized recipe below), wrapping the beets in foil to bake, and then simmering them sliced on the stove in orange juice and cloves.Beets, I quickly learned, are red.Of course, I already knew they were red, but I didn’t realize how red until I was working with them. They ooze blood.

Beet spirals (color adjusted to approximate actual redness)

Baked & Simmered Orange-and-Clove BeetsIngredients:
  • Beets
  • Orange juice (I didn’t have OJ, but I had an orange, so I squeezed the juice into water, then tossed the squeezed-out orange half into the water)
  • Whole cloves
  • Salt to taste (my suggestion, not Denise’s)

Directions: Bake the beets wrapped in foil (wrap well, for they will ooze red). When they cool, push the peels off (I used a fork to hold the beet and a knife to slide off the peel because they were staining my fingers fire-engine red), slice and simmer in orange juice, with a few cloves in the sauce until the beets are very soft. Salt to taste and serve warm and/or chill them, slice them thin, and serve them on a bed of baby lettuce with thin orange slices, little gobs of goat cheese, and a sprinkling of sliced almonds. Dressing: a little olive oil with a drop or two of sesame oil in it.Each writer featured in The Spirit of Food submitted a recipe that is included with his or her essay. Kay of The Church Cook is working her way through the recipes. So far she’s prepared everything up to Nancy Nordenson’s Swedish pancakes with lingonberries, so we’ll have to be patient; she hasn’t yet made it to “Olga’s Beet Salad.”fof

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  • Comments

    1. Hm.

      I suffered significant beet trauma that year that I spent Christmas-and-New-Year’s in the hospital after my appendix blew up.

      First they gave me no food. Then they gave me bland food. Then I was put on a regular diet, and the ONLY two foods I’d listed that I wouldn’t eat (beets and cream of wheat) appeared on my tray every day.

    2. annkroeker says:

      Beets and cream of wheat? Beets *with* cream of wheat? That’s funny…I mean, now it is, while you’re telling about it here with your subtle humor. I’m sure it wasn’t funny then.

    3. I’ve got some lonely beets that I got in my vegetable box looking at me reproachfully from the back of the fridge. I’ve been too nervous to cook them, but after reading your post I think they may be destined for the pot (via the stove!) after all :)

      I’ve posted an easy romantic dinner perfect for a hectic weeknight – which Valentine’s Day falls on this year!!

      Thank you for hosting Food on Fridays. Have a lovely weekend!

    4. Thanks for hosting, Ann. I could have used beets to naturally color the hearts in my Sweetheart Cupcakes that I linked up.

      ♥ Rebecca Jean
      Midnight Maniac

    5. Well, the short answer is I need to get to the grocery store. Some good recipes here! I love to cook and have decided we are staying home for Valentine’s Day.

    6. So, how did they taste? Did you like them? You’ve got me intrigued enough with all of these recipes that I think I am going to request them in my box this week.

      I also LOVE the idea of cooking all the recipes in The Spirit of Food. I think I’ll click over and see how the project is going for Kay.

    7. Interesting beet recipe. Reminds me that beets were grown in my mother’s garden, and as a young girl learning to cook, I was assigned making the salad. Lettuce, grated carrot and a grated beet, green onions chopped, and a lemon cucumber (not bitter) made a salad colorful and fit for our family of 5. Today, I purchase the canned beets and I use them in salad for color and flavor. They are not used as a vegetable side dish, but we do enjoy them in salad.

    8. We made the beets!

      But I’ve been remiss at posting the evidence.

      The girls loved them. And I suppose that is really saying something. When speaking of beets. :)

      • annkroeker says:

        So you made the beets, and the girls loved them! After I made LaVonne’s salad, it was all I could think about for 24 hours until I made the salad again for lunch the next day. And now I don’t have any beets, so I can’t have any more salad. At least, not until I get more beets. I do have to pick up eggs today at the grocery…I’d better check for beets….

    9. I like all of you a lot. Experiments with beets– how much better does life get, really?

      Beets ARE seriously staining creatures. Pretty, pretty, pretty!

      • annkroeker says:

        I just ate beets this afternoon on a salad at lunch. With bits of orange and some feta cheese. A light dressing. Sort of a variation on LaVonne’s. Mmmmm… like beets. I cooked some last time I got them in the CSA box and stuck them in a wide-mouthed Ball jar. So pretty in the fridge!


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