Would you cross the street for them?
I'd like to spend a little bit of time talking about beets. I'll get to the recipe later. My hope is that I can convince you, not so much to love beets (because I don't either), but to think about them and maybe even give them a second chance. Viva la beet. To begin with, why do beets evoke negative passion in so many people? Some of my personal theories follow: 1. we associate them with things our grandmothers made us eat, and therefore were gross (in the same boat as collards, stewed anything, and fish sticks) 2. we associate them with other various pickled sundries, and can't stand the thought of ingesting something that we're not even sure exists in its unpickled form 3. we americans can't stomach anything that invokes failure (think about this one) 4. they make your pee turn pink which must mean they're toxic (more here) 5. most of us wouldn't know what to do with it if it beet us over the head (sorry. couldn't resist) 6. they're so brightly colored that there must be something strange going on Feel free to add your personal theories below. But why? I have to admit, the first time I remember eating a beet was, well, about three weeks ago. Before that, I would've told you I didn't like beets without any reason to back it up. But these beets I tried were pickled, and I was at a friend's grandmother's house, and I loved the grandmother so I thought I should try a little of everything. I'm a grown-up, right? That's what grown-ups do, they don't offend old people. So, I placed the smallest pickled beet on my plate, hid it under the salad greens and behind the corn casserole, and finally came around to tasting a sliver. My first thought? I didn't hate it. Miracle of miracles. Then, my friend who was leaving town for a number of days passed off some beets that she had. Surely God was trying to teach me something, by providing beets twice in three weeks. But why, God? Why? So, I cooked the beets (there were five golf-ball-sized beets - not sure if this is small, medium, or large in the beet world) and had them at our most recent potluck, thinking that if there's ANY place in the world where a beet might be eaten, it would be at a potluck. I was hoping that at least one of the attendees would have this beet fetish and take them all off my hands. But no. One girl pulled out the pregnancy card, and of course I couldn't argue with that. I certainly didn't want to be the one to send her into early labor or turn her urine pink. A guy confessed that he couldn't identify them, but hesitated to ask because by asking he was locking himself in. My husband didn't touch them (probably because he DID know what they were). I put about a tablespoon of cooked beets on my plate, because, well, I didn't hate them, and it was food. Was I trying not to offend myself? Not sure. To make a long story short, I'm still working on the beets (the potluck was 4 days ago). I have only made it through half of the beets I cooked up, but I'm giving myself small doses every day until I make it through. I'm not hating them, by the way. They taste alright. And now a final, somewhat related topic before I get to the recipe. I love my dad. Amazing man. I love the things he says (like "Godblessdearauntpatsy'shousecat" in place of an expletive when teaching my youngest brother to drive). If I asked him about beets, he'd probably say, "Well. I mean, I wouldn't cross the street for them or anything." Perfect. Can you think of a better description? I can't. Unless it's this gem that my husband popped out the other day: "Well, it's not like I'd write home about them." I wouldn't cross the street for beets, but I am writing about them. And you? OK. Long post. Short recipe. Beets Makes a little, serves a lot, turns your pee pink! Could you ask for anything more? 1 Tbsp. olive oil 1/4 c. chopped onion 1 or 2 cloves garlic, chopped (depending on how much garlic you like) 1 1/2 tsp. cumin 5 golf-ball-sized beets, leafy tops removed, sliced or diced (however you prefer your beets) 1/2 can rotel tomatoes (with their juice) or 1 tomato, chopped and 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped and seeded 1 c. water Heat oil in small saucepan. Add onion and garlic. Saute 1 minute. Add cumin. Stir until all onion and garlic is coated in cumin; saute 1 more minute. Add beets, tomatoes, and water. Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for another 30-40 minutes or until beets are soft (if all the water cooks off, add a little more, like a tablespoon at a time, so that they don't burn). Viva la beet. PS. I took an informal survey of friends that went like this: I'm taking a poll: how do you feel about beets? a. i've never tried them but i hate them b. i've never tried them c. don't like them d. eh. e. they're OK f. give me your beets, please. Of those that responded e or f, some gave me recipes, which I'll add below so that you can try them too if you want: from Julie: you boil for a while until skin peels off easily when you pinch with thumb and fingers, then pour vinegar on them...also good with a little butter when they are still warm from Lani: In a salad with arugula, goat cheese and toasted walnuts. Or alongside a New England Boiled Dinner.... Or in Red Flannel Hash (not sure what this is but I feel that I must find it now, because Lani has 8 kids and this just sounds like a kid would want to eat it) or just boiled with butter, S&P from Katie: Pre-heat the oven to 425. Cut them into 1/4 inch slices and lay in a caserole dish with garlic pieces. Cover with olive oil and basalmic vinegar. Roast for about 12 minutes then turn over and cook until you can put a fork through them. Eat and enjoy...and don't be freaked out if your pee is slightly pink/red the next day ;)