Friday, January 14, 2011

Meet the Beets

I was gifted with golden beets in last week's Harvest2U shipment and the more traditional red beets in this week's shipment. So, what did I do? I got to work trying to figure out how to use these beauties.

OK, be honest here, beets are not the most popular vegetable on the planet. I didn't care for them until a little over a year ago when I was served beets as part of an amuse course at a very fine restaurant. Until then, I never knew that they could be anything other than a gelatinous, over pickled red item on an all you can eat salad bar. I had no idea just how good beets actually could be.

Since I had never prepared beets before, I set out to research beets and found out that they are ancient, I mean, they have pretty much been around since before Christ. They are also loaded with antioxidants, folic acid, calcium and potassium. The other thing I found out was that for those of you on Phase 1 of The South Beach Diet, they are not yet allowed. They are high on the glycemic index and should be reserved for Phase 3 of the diet or a once in a while treat for Phase 2. I also enlisted help from an acquaintance I've made in another online community. She hasn't given me permission to use her name so we'll just refer to her as "E" for the time being. She was kind enough to give me some preparation ideas as well as roasting instructions. Once I figured out that I was going to roast them, the rest was easy. I had also been gifted a beautiful bounty of arugula in my CSA box. Yep, my mind was made up.

Arugula Salad with Balsamic Beets and Goat Cheese
South Beach Phase 3 (2 on occasion) and gluten free (GF)

Roasting your beets: (Courtesy of b)

Wash (scrub) your beets
Remove the stems, the tops and the bottom of the roots
Rub a little bit of oil on your beets
Tightly wrap each beet in foil
Bake on a sheet pan in a 375 degree oven until a knife easily pierces them. Mine took about 45 minutes.
Remove beets from oven and let cool in foil wrap
While they are still warm, unwrap your beets and peel them. The peels will come of very easily. (I'm also grateful for my friend's reminder to wear an apron, beets are very messy and they stain)
This is where I stopped on Wednesday night. I then put them in zipper bags and put them in the fridge until tomorrow, but you could certainly continue with preparation.

Continuing on, slice cut your beets into bite sized pieces.

Balsamic Dressing:
Start with a wide mouthed bowl. It makes whisking much easier.
To the bowl add
1 clove minced garlic
1 minced shallot

1/2c balsamic vingar (for GF make sure there are no colors or additives that might contain gluten)
whisk together
add 1/2c olive oil and whisk
1t dijon mustard (Grey Poupon is GF)
fresh ground pepper
whisk again and continue to whisk until the dressing begins to emulsify. It will thicken a bit and change color and texture.
Now, add this lovely dressing to the bowl of beautiful beets and let marinate in the refrigerator for a couple of hours if you have it. If not, no biggie, you can use it right away.

When you're ready to assemble the salad you'll need the following in addition to the beautiful beets we've been preparing.
1 large bunch of arugula
3 oz of goat cheese (more if you like it)
1/4c minced red onion
a handful of slivered almonds

Starting with the arugula, wash it and remove the lower parts of the stems. Pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Plate the arugula and add approximately 1/2 cup of beet mixture to the top of the arugula. Add desired amount of goat cheese, sprinkle with red onion and slivered almonds. And, that's it!

Here she is, she's a beauty! Enjoy!

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