Magenta mashed potatoes and other fab things to do with Beets
Beets are #1 on the New York Times 11 Best Foods You Aren't Eating list. But I'm eating them. I am completely obsessed with a dark red (and sometimes yellow or white) root and have pictures I took last night, like the one at left, to prove it. Beets are a many wondrous thing and in this post I'll teach you to use all of the vegetable -- making appetizers and side dishes.
And as promised -- I'll show you how to wow (or freak out) your friends with delicious magenta mash so you are on fire to plant beet seeds come spring.
First off, you can eat them raw by grating and adding to a salad for maximum antioxidant benefits. But they are super healthy any which way and I like to roast them. There's a big debate over dry heat vs. moist. Some say they don't caramelize fully if roasted in foil or in a covered pan with water. They say that's akin to steaming them. But since roasting them dry makes peeling a chore, I use the wet method.
Scrub the beet and take off the greens but leave about a 1/2 in of the stem intact or they bleed out too much. Then simply pop them in an aluminium foil wrapper and stick in a 425 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Alternately you can put them in a covered casserole or foil-covered baking dish with a 1/4 inch of water on the bottom.
When you take them out the skins will slip off easily. Your hands will look like they belong in a Pinkalicious book, but so what? You can now chill, slice and pour on vinaigrette. For extra points put them next to some quality lettuce. If you then add a smat of goat cheese and chives you can go ahead and charge people $15 for a tiny plate. It's that good.
Now here's the secret of the beet -- the under-appreciated beet greens. I always tossed them. I knew they were edible but I'd never seen them on a menu or been served them. Besides, as a child I though beets came from a can. But recently, when an organic co-op I belong to sent beets I felt obligated to try.
There are simply amazing. I regret every day I didn't have them. They are going on my Thanksgiving table. And how easy to make: Wash well, blanch of two minutes in salted water and then you can drain and eat them. Or you can pour cold water on them for the next step...
Thinly slice some garlic and saute in olive oil. Then add salt and your greens. As soon as they're hot, they're done. It's a side dish that's miles tastier and more exciting than spinach.
So speaking of exciting -- here's how to make pink to magenta mashed potatoes. I tried this two ways.
First way, which I read online, didn't work very well. I took my mashed potatoes (please make them from real potatoes and not a box... not hard) and your roasted (or steamed) beets and mashed together. Even though soft, or cut tiny, the beet didn't fully mash. The potatoes we a light pink but had the red bits still there. Sort of unappealing.
But then -- I took the beet juice left in my baking dish and added that to the mash. Wow. You can adjust the color via the amount of juice.
And in the end, I went as dark as possible and they practically glowed in the dark. But even better, the potatoes didn't taste any different. Yes beets are sweet but somehow it tasted just like potatoes.
So are you convinced yet?
Well how about this: Beet root juice has been considered an aphrodisiac since Roman times.
Of course it worked on me -- because I now think beets are super sexy.
How to you like your beetroot? Got a great borscht recipe? Do you have any growing tips? Let me know in the comments.
Post by Susie Felber