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Friday, April 1, 2011

Beeting around the bush

I like to think that I stay on top of the things that need to be done. I don't let dirty laundry pile up beyond a load or two, I have permission slips filled out and returned the day after they come home (so I don't lose them), and I empty the dishwasher as soon as it finishes. However, I have to admit to myself that I procrastinate on some things, as well. I often renew my library books online again and again so I won't have to make a trip to the library to return them. I'm great about reading and returning emails, but calling to make an appointment? I can find about a million other things to do first.

I am learning that I also procrastinate with certain veggies.

Take beets.

I got them in my box two weeks ago. I used up everything else in that box (even the beet greens!). Then I got the next box, and used up just about everything in that box too. When my crisper drawer was left with a couple of carrots, couple of potatoes, and a bunch of beets nearing their 2 week birthday, I had to act. It was time.

I have only cooked beets a couple of times. While I don't dislike them, I am not really sure that I like them. They are a little bit sweet. A little bit earthy. A little bit ...

I just don't know what they are. I think that's the problem. I am not really sure they have a flavor. They just don't add much to a meal.

So anyway, being as I haven't cooked them often, I didn't have a great idea of what I wanted to do.

I ended up, as usual, googling a recipe, changing it to fit what I have in the house, and voila!

This orange and beet salad was fantastic! I can't say the beets were super flavorful or that I am dying to eat more tomorrow, but they balanced very nicely with the oranges and onions. I was very happy to eat this salad. Without delay.

I love to have recipes that allow me to do a lot of the work ahead of time, so that at dinner time, I can finish everything more quickly. We have a busy schedule, and this worked perfectly... I could boiled the beets, and let them cool while I went to karate class with my son. Then I peeled and sliced them, and let them marinate while I took the bigger kids to piano lessons and went for a bike ride with the little one. All I had left to do right before dinner was assemble the plates. 

Orange Beet Salad

4 or 5 medium-sized beets
4 cups spinach
2 navel oranges
1/2 red onion

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white whine vinegar
1/4 tsp. dried mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

Scrub the beets, and pace them in a pot, with enough cold water to cover. Bring them to a boil, and simmer for thirty minutes, until you can pierce them with a fork. Let this cool down. 

Meanwhile, mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.

When the beets have cooled, peel and slice them into 1/4 inch slices. If you have time, marinate them in about half of the dressing for up to a couple of hours.

On four or five plates, lay out a bed of washed spinach leaves. Layer orange slices, beets, and red onion. Drizzle dressing over each plate, and serve.

So what is this stuff?
This is the water that was left from boiling the beets. All that beautiful red color means that it is chock full of vitamins and nutrients. You should save it and use it as a base for soup or a sauce. I wish I could say I did. I watered the garden with it. We'll get our vitamins back eventually, in the next veggie.