Monday, February 28, 2011

Beets... it's what's for dinner!

One of the most satisfying and comforting vegetables out there, in my opinion. Biting into a beet is almost like biting into a perfectly cooked piece of beef tenderloin. It IS the beef tenderloin of vegetables. I mean, take away the the "t" at the end and replace it with an "f" and what do you spell? BEEF! This is one kind of "red meat" that you don't have to worry about, though.
To bring out the best in this curious root vegetable, you'll want to oven-roast them. This is my favorite way to cook almost any vegetable- it really brings out the vegetable's best qualities and it is a very simple cooking technique.

Set the oven to 400 degress F. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean-up.
Begin by cleaning the beets under running water and then cut off the tops with the greens. If you need to, cut some of them in half to keep them all the same size for even cooking. Toss with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Cook in the oven at 400 until just fork-tender. It's usually about 20 minutes, but it may take a little less or a little longer depending on the size of the beets. Once you take them out and they have cooled completely, you need to peel the skin off the beets. If you have cooked them just right, the skin will peel right off. Don't be afraid of the red tinge on your fingers... it's the sign of a true cook! Everyone will know you're quite a cook the next day because of the tell-tale red all over your fingers! The beets are now ready to eat...
My favorite way to enjoy my freshly roasted beets is by tossing them into some fresh baby greens (delicious with arugula!), plenty of fresh, crumbled goat cheese and topped off with a nice Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil. Mmmmm... absolute comfort food to me in terms of a good salad! That dark jewel-tone color just seeps into me and makes me want to eat them all (at which point the jewel-tone color actually finds its way back out shortly after-you have been warned! wink, wink)

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