Sunday, April 18, 2010

Golden Beets and Their Glorious Greens

Finding a fresh bunch of organic, gold beets for two dollars at the market was my find of the weekend. The bulbs were caked with remnants of the rich soil they grew in and the crisp big green leafy tops needed three changes of water to come clean.

I'm overjoyed when I find 'dirty' produce, particularly if the soil is fresh and moist and better yet if it bears evidence that it still supports life. An occasional live lady bug is a surefire indication that this is freshly picked, not something that has been stored for months in a warehouse.

I'd rather wash my food with a familiar water source—my kitchen faucet, finishing the cleaning with a final rinse in filtered water. I've read too many tales of produce becoming contaminated from the bacteria infested water it's often washed in commercially.

The greens cook up quickly. Simply wilt them down over medium hot heat. I started these off with a couple of crushed cloves of garlic and a sliced sweet onion. The water that lingers on the leaves from the final rinse should be enough moisture to quickly wilt them. If not, a splash of stock, white wine or water will do the trick. Or, if you prefer, a splash of apple cider vinegar leaves a nice finish.

I washed the bulbs, wrapped them in a foil packet and popped them in a 350° oven for about 35 - 40 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting the tip of a paring knife. Once cooled, the skins wipe off with a paper towel and they're ready to be used in salads, sandwiches or as a side dish.

One of those golden beauties diced, and tossed into a cup of cooked quinoa along with a couple of sliced green onions, and a generous handful of toasted pumpkin seeds and sliced almonds, made a great one bowl meal.
For an Asian twist, I whisked together a little sauce: 1 tsp toasted sesame oil, 2 TBS tamari, 2 tsp mirin, 1 tsp fish sauce and a few drops of Tabasco.
Give it all a quick toss and you've a great quick lunch or supper.

The two dollars worth of beets (3 medium beets with a hefty head of greens) were divided into two meals. The greens were a side dish for supper one night, and the next night, this tasty bowl of quinoa showed off the diced beets like little jewels. But served together they'd certainly make a colorful, nutritional feast!
I've still two more golden globes in the fridge. One is headed for a beet, tomato, avocado and sprouts wrap for lunch tomorrow.
What will I do with the third one? I'll just have to wait and see what inspires me.
Cooking for one is an adventure and making the most of a frugal find makes it even more fun!

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