Monday, October 12, 2009

Beets (Let's Not State the Obvious)

Asparagus makes your pee smell, and I know from working at a daycare that eating too many beets can make something else strange happen--let's leave it at that they don't say "beet red" for nothing.

I grabbed these beets on a whim at the last farmer's market of the summer. I don't know what I planned to do with them--would they make a great centerpiece for a autumn-themed table setting, floating in a vase of water with a couple candels--because nothing in the world sparked my interest. Every recipe I saw just made me think of soggy vegetables from the 1950s cooked in bad vinegar--this is the only reason my mom will not eat certain foods, including every single kind of bean (except for baked and in chili).

After what seemed like the longest week in the history of work, the only thing you can do is what you know. And what I know is that everything works when fried in olive oil and doused with salt and pepper--thank you Spain for teaching me that valuable lesson.

Lucky for me, I also bought a bag of sweet potatoes at the farmer's market, so I knew ahead of time that even if the beets were awful at least I could still eat the sweet potato fries. The beets and the sweet potatoes went together like peanut butter and jelly--both barely sweet and of similar texture. And to fancy things up I made a basil aioli.

Friday at 6 p.m., sitting at the kitchen table was a sigh of relief. I was so emotionally exhausted from the past several weeks that I could have fallen asleep right then. Thankfully in the world of periodicals, you get to start again on a clean slate every week/month/day (depending).

Beets a la Sweet Potato:
2 beets
4 small sweet potatoes
olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

(I peeled the beets, and its juice ran all over.) Slice the beets and sweet potatoes so that they are all a similar size. In a medium sauce pan, heat oil on medium. Saute beets and potatoes, seasoned with salt and pepper until potatoes are cooked through. I like mine crispy, so you'll want to cook them just shy of burnt.

Now, I'm not great cook, but I will vouch for the effectiveness of good salt and freshly ground pepper. When cooking, I use either coarse Kosher salt or sea salt (for baking I just use regular iodized salt) and a pepper mill. I've had this container of Kosher salt for probably two years and still have a ton left. And Meg and I have both been using sea salt and black pepper mills for probably almost a year and they still aren't even halfway gone. No excuse for not getting good salt.

Basil Aioli:
1 egg yolk
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon basil leaves
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a small bowl, combine egg, garlic, salt and pepper, basil, dijon mustard and vinegar. Whisk together until consistency is relatively smooth. While whisking, slowly pour olive oil into the egg mixture. You do not need to accurately measure the oil, just keep adding it very slowly and whisking very quickly until the mixture thickens. Stop once the aioli is thick. Taste. Add lemon juice. Taste again. Add salt and pepper to your preference.

No comments: