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Monday, October 31, 2011

Beets, two ways...for Nathalie!

Apologies are in order.  I gave away my digital camera this summer, because I prefer my old film SLR and that's what I was using at the time.  I was away, on a trip, in a beautiful setting, snapping away, with lots of time to wait for my negatives to be developed and scanned.

I underestimated how much of a problem this would be when I started this blog.  Food blogs mean food pictures.  Food pictures are difficult without a digital camera.

I am working on solving this problem.  But it's taking a while, and I've been holding off on these delicious beet salads in the meantime.  No more.  Time's a wasting.  So if you'll indulge me, I'll be putting up the next few recipes without pictures.  But be patient, dear readers.  I'll add pictures later.


Now, many people are not beet fans.  It's alright.  I wouldn't touch them myself until my late teens.  And then, I suffered through them for a while, convinced that--given their colour and weird taste--they had to be good for me.  But now I love them.  And you should, too.

These my two favourite beet recipes.  If you are a tentative beet eater, you may want to start with the cooked salad.  If not, go ahead and try the raw one.  Either way, you'll get lots of iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, and vitamins A and B.  Beets are an excellent detox-booster, as they tone blood and feed red blood cells.  Enjoy!

Beet slaw

Beets can be roasted and fried, but they are most often boiled.  For a long time.  I came up with this recipe as a means of eating beets raw, which I figure preserves the maximum amount of nutrients.  Do not peel the beets if you can help it--the skin has tons of fibre.  Scrub them well and peel around any bumps and rought spots, and perhaps near the stem where the skin gets thicker.  But otherwise, leave the skin on.

5-9 beets, depending on the size
2-3 limes, depending on how many beets
1 carrot (optional, for colour)
1 large clove of garlic
3-4 tbsp sunflower oil
Salt and pepper
1-2 avocadoes, ripe

- Grate the beets using the bigger setting on a cheese grater (I have a flat handheld grater and it is a god send).  Watch your fingers.  Try to grate directly into the bowl or you will have a purple kitchen.

- Grate the garlic into the beets.  Raw garlic is an excellent antimicrobial (ie, a yeast killer).  Antimicrobials rid the intestines of bad bacteria, leaving room for the good ones to grow and thus boosting immune function.  If you are not a raw garlic fan you can skip it here, but I urge you to try it.  If you have a date, or are otherwise worried about garlic breath, there is a magic trick.  A mouthful of parsley after your meal, and there'll be no trace of garlic to be found.  That goes for both garlic and onions, in whatever shape or form.

- Grate your carrot in.  Squeeze your limes and toss the juice with the beets.

- Drizzle in the sunflower oil and toss well.  Season to taste.  Divide salad in serving bowls.

- Cube your avocado and serve on top.  Try to get a chunk of avocado in with each bite...

Beet and corn salad

5-9 beets, depending on the size
1 red onion (or half if very big)
2-3 handfuls of frozen corn (ie, 1/2 to 1 cup), thawed
1 bunch of parsley (I prefer flat leaf (ie, Italian) in this recipe, but that's just me)
3-4 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
Sunflower oil

- Cook your beets.  It takes a long time.  Be patient.  When a fork can make some headway in, but it feels like there would still be a bit of crunch, they're ready.

- Soak cooked beets in cold water for a minute to cool and loosen skins.  Peel.  The skins should rub off.  If they don't, scrape stubborn spots with a paring knife to loosen.

- Cube beets into bite-sized pieces.  Try not to cut your beets too small.

-  Slice your red onion thinly.  You are going for quasi-Goodfellas slivers.

- Wash and coarsely chop your parsley.

- And corn, parsley and onions to beets.  Toss.

- Add salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle with vinegar and sunflower oil.  Toss well.  Serve.


PS.  These recipes call for sunflower oil, because its flavour is milder and it allows the accents to shine.  If you swap for olive, you will taste it.  But, as always, do what you can!

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