Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth: It's what's for dinner.

These beets have been in my fridge for so long they left a dent in the bottom of the drawer. Not really.

Do you like my cheesy title? Yeah, I'm not so sure of it myself, but I'm in a bizarre mood brought on by the pink (raspberry to be barfingly specific) dress I'm wearing and the fact that it's a HOT MUTHA in NorCal again today, after three 90+ degree days.

I haven't been sleeping much due to the heat, y'all, and so I go crazy and wear pink. And then I make Earth for dinner.

Well, I make beets for dinner. And some people say they taste like dirt. And, to me, dirt = Earth, so there you go.

It's a tenuous link, but it's what I can manage for Earth Day since I'm not going to be preaching recycling or organic gardening or hugging trees or any of that other hippie crap you might hear around here. No one needs that in their lives.  The preaching part anyway. 

No, today we're talking beets. Because recently I had a little whiny moment about What the F do I do with all these beets and then promptly set to figuring it out like a grown-up. 

I cooked them. 

All of them. 

All 20 lbs of them. 

Just so that the hard part of dealing with beets was out of the way. Which is what I realized after my whiny bitch moment - my big problem wasn't WHAT to do with all my beets it was HOW to make that happen in a way that didn't have me turning on my fucking oven every night when it's already in the nineties around here. 

I would have been eating beets all the live long day if only I didn't have to have them sitting in my oven for an hour just heating up my house like crazy before I could have the simple beet salad that is all I wanted in the whole wide world. 

OH. OH! This is a logistics problem, not a beet problem. I can totally handle logistics! Well, if I remove my head from my ass, I can. Tee dah! Beet Epiphany!

After taking a breather from my Major Beet Epiphany, and dispatching all the beets via oven, I made a couple different salads from them that were quite pleasing and so, I will share them with you. 

So that you, too, can eat the Earth for dinner if you so choose. And I also recommend that if you have a stash of beets (and if you're part of a CSA, you probably do), just do yourself the favor of cooking them all at once so that you can keep them sliced and chilled in your fridge to have with dinner until your whole house is stained with purple fingerprints. And don't go running off to the Internets claiming you don't know what to do with all your beets because, DUH, of course you do. Dummy.

For the record, Mr. I Don't Like Beets Bubba ate his salad right down to hitting his fork on the bottom of the bowl, beets and all, and has claimed himself a beet-liker now. 

Well, how do you like that? The craziness. It never ends around here. First chard, then brussels sprouts and now beets?! It's almost too much for me to handle. 

Almost, I said. (See above: "I can totally handle logistics.")

Anyway, this first salad won't come as much of a surprise to y'all if you've ever had a beet salad since I'm pretty sure it's your run-of-the-mill beet salad recipe, but here goes:

Gold + Red beets = Fanciness. Make a note.
Finny's Your Average Beet Salad
Recipe by moi. Yippee.

A buttload of uncooked beets OR 3 per person
Arugula (1 cup per person)
2 T toasted pine nuts (per person)
2 T goat cheese (per person)
Extra virgins
Balsamic vinegar

To makeAlign Center
Preheat your oven to 425.

The world's largest baked potatoes? No.

Top your beets (if the greens are small and young and good shape (meow), set them aside and toss them in your salad. If not, toss them a little farther into the compost pile.), slice off the top and tail and wrap them in foil. About six per packet works just fine. Roast for 50-60 minutes, or until a fork slides easily to the center of the biggest beet.

Do yourself a favor and let these cool otherwise I won't be responsible for your hand welts.

Open your packets and let those beets cool for a minute or two before you hold each one with a paper towel and slide their skins off. They come off real easy like and make a fresh red mess on your paper towel, which is kinda cool if you're me. I like these kinds of things. Like dinner tie-dye. 

Ok, it might just be me.

Now that you've denuded your beets, slice them into wedges and toss them with the extra virgins (a few Ts), balsamic (a couple Ts) and salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. 

I always think the gold beets taste better, like they're red M&Ms or something, but I'm pretty sure they're about the same.

In your individual salad bowls, lay down a nice green bed of arugula (or whatever kind of salad green you like. Even though arugula is awesome for offsetting the sweetness of the beets. But I understand some people don't like arugula because they are communists.), a good helping of these tasty beets, a healthy crumble of goat cheese, some pine nuts and another grind of pepper for show.

Picture this salad with sliced kumquats on it and you will then know what my Heaven looks like.
Enjoy it up.

-Add sliced kumquats (FAVORITE ALERT)
-Swap pine nuts for walnuts and goat cheese for blue cheese
-Swap arugula for sunflower sprouts
-Add peeled orange wedges
-Swap balsamic vinegar for red wine vinegar
-Put a wedge of chocolate cake on top (KIDDING)(Only sort of)

So, now I only have a handful of cooked beet quarters left and I've decided that I am going to use them to make that cake I wanted with this recipe from Mango Power Girl. 

Especially nice is the fact that the What the F do I do with all these beets question has been answered. 

Answer: cook them.

You know, just like I told you NOT to tell me because sometimes I can be contradictory and a fresh pain in the ass. Either way, problem solved. And there will be cake!

Happy Eat the Earth Day.


  1. God, I love beets. However, I have never put them in salad. I KNOW. Practically sacrilege. My absolute favoritest beet recipe is called Harvard Beets. Presumably created at Harvard University, if I had to hazard a completely off-the-wall guess. Anyway, you slice the cooked beets and combine them with lotsa butter, some vinegar, and some sugar. It's fatty, acid-y, and sweet-y all in one. And good for you. Because they're beets! Yay!

    I wish I had some beets now.

  2. I, too, wish I had some beets now. That salad looks fabulous and I want it right. this. minute. Damn.

  3. Look at all these wish-I-had-some-beets now lovers you're lining up -- me too! WooHoo! You had beets. And Bubba's a beet liker. That's the BEST thing!!!

  4. So, like, since you had Earth for dinner, do you get Moon Pir for dessert? Get it? Earth = dinner, Moon = dessert,...okay, just asking.
    The salad looks delicious. I'm gonna have to get a sh*t load of beets now, just so I can do this!

  5. oohh you're making me hungry! I'm totally jealous of your beets (sound dirty, doesn't it!?!?) since they're not in season here yet!

  6. I'm not sure if I can get over the beets my mom force fed me as a kid. I vaguely remember shuddering as ate them. Maybe one day.....

  7. Your title makes perfect sense to me (scary, but true).

    I love beets, but my husband won't touch them. I try to encourage him by cutting sliced beets into heart-shapes with a teeny cookie cutter to show my beet love (placed in salads) -- he still won't eat them. Oh well. Thanks for sharing the recipes; at least I can eat good Earth offerings.

    By the way, I just posted a super easy sewing tutorial that may work for your running shoes. You don't have to do it if you don't want, just thought I'd mention it.

  8. Kris - Really? No salad? I will say that I'm a little surprised. However, that said, I've never tried them the way you described here. Which is probably because the closest I've come to Harvard is from watching Good Will Hunting a hundred times in which Matt Damon (THE MOVIE STAR CRUSH OF MY LIFE) makes fun of a lame HAH-VAHD undergrad in the bar.

    Anyway, not important.

    What IS important is that I shall try this recipe of yours because it sounds delish and has just the right balance of Naughty and Justifiable Nutrition all in one.

    What if I make this instead of the muffins? Would that be wrong?

    Michelle - See! Beets are so sneaky like that. One minute you're working along, minding your own business, and the next, you're like I MUST HAVE BEETS. Sneaky bastards.

    Anna - You're the original beet evangelist. I learned this from watching you!

    Claudia - That would have been to Bubba's liking for sure, if we'd had Moon Pies for dessert. Those are his fave. But, for some reason, we must also drink RC with them, which I find gross. Weird midwestern Redneck thing, i guess.

    Katie - You remember me when your beet season rolls around. I can help you get rid of those babies now :)

    Shannon - I understand. Those scars run deep. It took me a long time to like zucchini after my upbringing of ZUCCHINI IN EVERY DAMN THING. Now I know why.

    Junie - OK, I have to do that now. Cut beets into hearts with my cookie cutters, that is. Junie! Your full of the best ideas!

    I'm also going to use Kris' recipe that calls for tossing hot beets with butter and vinegar, because I know that'll go over big in our house. If it made sense to add bacon (and it *kinda* does), I would since that always makes things good. I'm just excited to have converted him to liking another vegetable. Not that he's a hard case, but the few things he didn't really like (favas, brussels sprouts, beets, chard) are hard to get rid of if you're in charge of them on your own.

    Not anymore!

    Thanks for the tute - I might have to make a few of these. For my dog walking shoes more than my running ones, since I go sockless in my dog walking shoes but not in my running shoes and that makes the stinky difference ;)

  9. My dear - you MUST invest in a pressure cooker for all things vegetable. You cannot beat (he he) a 10 minute cook time for beets, artichokes, and all forms of veggies soups with dry beans (which also cook in 10 mins)

  10. Ok, you've convinced me. I'm going to bake my beets tonight! You think 2 week old beets in the bottom of the fridge are still ok? Well I'm cooking them anyway!

  11. THis is my new Don't Fear the Fat way of eating beets. And the ones that are yellow are the best with this because of the no-bleed factor. The recipe is from Alexis Stewart (martha's daughter) from her blog ( She has awesome veg recipes. ANyhoo, here it is:
    beetroot pasta:

    14 oz baby beets, peeled and trimmed and halved
    5 cloves of garlic, peeled
    1/2 c sage leaves
    1 tbl brown sugar
    1/4 cup olive oil
    salt and pepper
    put in baking dish in 350 degree oven
    roast until done/tender and caramelised (i put a piece of parchment on top to stop everything from drying out too much...)

    14 oz pasta (like farfalle)
    1 c grated parmesan
    1 c mascarpone
    4.5 oz goat cheese, crumbled
    salt and pepper
    cook pasta till al dente
    toss with rest of ingredients and serve

  12. Forgot to say that I've totally skipped the mascarpone and it's still fab.


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