Thursday, February 19, 2009

Damn, These Beets Are So Fresh!

First off, I should start offering prizes to anyone who picks up on the nerdish pop culture references I drop on this blog. Anyone get the title (Ben, I'm looking at you and Amber on this one)?

Ok, I'm really going to shut up about the damn cupcakes already, after I share this with you all: I found a beet cake! And the picture looks an awful lot like my own little dirt cakes! So I'm feeling somewhat vindicated right now, and ready to revisit the beets that were left in the fridge after they failed to become food coloring.

I really do adore beets. The friend who turned me on to them years back aptly surmised that "they taste like dirt." Oh, that they do, in sweetest, earthiest manifestation imaginable. The beets I roasted for this recipe kept winding up in my mouth while I was cooking, like so many Swedish fish. Eat a beet with its greens, my friend, and you have yourself a whole food in the truest and most nurturing sense. While the beet root is delicious, the greens pack in the nutrition. And since we're on the topic of nerdish pop culture references, I'd like dedicate this recipe to all the Dwight K. Schrutes out there. Farm on, beet farmers.

Roasted Beet and Wild Rice Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

For the salad:
4 beets, greens removed 3/4 of an inch to the root, greens well-washed and roots scrubbed and well-washed
11/4 cups water
1/2 cup wild rice, well-rinsed
1/4 cup walnuts
1 tablespoon shoyu
pinch of brown sugar

For the vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or white vinegar)

Preheat oven to 350F. Coat each beet with olive oil and wrap the beets individually in foil. Bake for 40-50 minutes, depending on the size of the beets (they're done when a fork pierces them easily). Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 2o minutes. Slide the skin of and cut into cubes or julienned slices. (You can roast the walnuts at the same time. Whisk together the shoyu and brown sugar and toss the walnuts with the mixture. Roast for about 10 minutes and remove from the oven.) To cook the beet greens, steam in a colander for five-six minutes. The greens will soften and take on a bright green hue. Remove from heat, rinse with cold water and drain.

While the beets are cooking,cook the rice: bring the water to a boil, add the rice, cover and simmer for about 50 minutes.

Whisk together the olive oil, orange juice and vinegar to make the vinaigrette. Add a pinch of brown sugar if you want more sweetness. Stir the vinaigrette into the rice. Spoon the rice, then the greens, then the beets onto a plate. Top with the roasted walnuts. Or if you're not out to impress anyone, simply mix the lot together and marvel at how the beets stain the rice. Powerful stuff, them beets.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Oooh! I just recently tried making a rice-based salad and it turned out great! I so wish we had beets in our cafeteria so I could try this out. And between you and me, the dirt taste is by far the best part :D