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Beets?

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I discovered I like beets. I had a fantastic little 'napoleon' that included beets, goat cheese, walnuts and something else.

So I bought 2 beets - what should I do with them???

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  1. I wrap my beets tightly in foil with salt and pepper. You can half them if they are large, but as long as they are relatively the same size I leave them whole. Then roast them (in their skins) in a 375-400 degree oven. Smaller beets for about 30 min. Large ones up to one hour. To me, they give of a certain beety smell when they are done. Carefully open foil packet and they will pierce easily when done. If not, wrap them back up and throw them back in the oven.

    When they are done the skins slip right off the beets. Then the world is yours....make fridge pickles, recreate the napoleon that you referenced above (maybe add little walnut oil and balsamic vinegar), http://www.nytimes.com/recipes/101437...
    this was yummy!! I tend to store my cooked beets in the fridge to add to salads during the week. I even eat them for breakfast mixed with greek yogurt or cottage (in place of fruit).
    And, don't forget the greens. If they are fresh and beautiful you can cook them as you would swiss chard.

    5 Replies
    1. re: pagesinthesun

      I roast my foil-wrapped beets in a hotter oven than you do (425-450), but find that it takes longer (30 minutes for very small ones, 45 minutes for small grocery store ones, up to 1.5 hours for the big ones).

      I love beets and use them in many ways, but a favorite is lots of variations on beet salad. One nice thing about beets is that they taste better when they've been able to soak up dressing for a while, so it's a good make-ahead dish that only improves by sitting overnight. Toss your beets with one part lemon juice, two parts olive oil, a minced shallot/red onion/scallions, salt, pepper, and optional spices of your choosing (cumin and fennel seeds are two favorites.) Before serving, add a handful of chopped herb (parsley, mint, cilantro, basil, arugula/rocket, etc.), and possibly another sliced fruit or vegetable - some favorites of mine are raw fennel, peaches, pears (Asian or European), roasted or steamed carrots or sweet potatoes (can be added to the dressing with the beets rather than waiting until later), or orange segments.

      1. re: pagesinthesun

        Just curious -- why wrap the beets before roasting? I have recently experimented a few times with roasted beets. Didn't know that I was "supposed" to wrap them ... and they came out just fine.

        1. re: almond tree

          Foil-wrapped 'roasted' beets are really being steamed. It's not better or worse than roasting beets in terms of end product, just different. However, it's so easy to do, without having to peel/chop the hard raw beet, that many recipes nowadays call for that method.

          1. re: GilaB

            But that's my point -- not wrapping the beets before roasting makes the process even easier, as well as less wasteful.
            And the beets roasted without wrapping were very tasty and moist.

            1. re: almond tree

              Wrapping makes the skin slide off very easily, with no knifework needed. Unwrapped beets are more work. That's all.

      2. Roast them as mentioned and serve with some roasted fennel, some orange segments, and a vinaigrette made with some orange juice.

        Also, I love cold borscht. A very simple recipe for Lithuanian cold beet soup. It's just beets, kefir (or yogurt or buttermilk), cucumbers, chopped dill, chopped scallions, mixed together to make soup. You can find many recipes online for this.

        Finally, I made this recipe for the first time about a month ago and I've made it twice since. It is absolutely delicious, especially if you like garlic:

        http://www.nytimes.com/recipes/101437...

        1 Reply
        1. re: mwk

          +1 to the borscht rec- i usually leave out the dairy and use sour cream as garnish ontop

        2. http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/diner...

          1. Definitely roast them. And whatever you do, be careful when upwrapping them...they will be very hot (and messy!).

            1. Off and on over the last few years, I have tried to like beets and failed, other than the braised beet greens which I made separately. But recently I made some that I do like, and they got better after a few days in the fridge.

              I peeled and diced them raw, browned them in bacon fat, added onion, then braised them with red wine, pomegranate glaze, balsamic vinegar, TJ's 21 Seasoning Salute, and agave nectar. All cooked down to a thick glaze, which was delicious. This is good hot, but I think it's better cool or at room temp. I like it a lot better than any of the roasted beets I have had, which despite all sorts of ingredients added later, still tasted like basement to me.

              2 Replies
              1. re: greygarious

                You've just re-invented the "Dutch style" beets of my childhood, but with much fancier ingredients!

                Yes, beets taste somewhat of dirt. To some of us that's appealing, to others a big problem. I think the bacon + sweet-and-sour thing was invented to sell them to everyone.

                1. re: greygarious

                  This was kind of my thinking. Should finally get around to this tonight! Bought brussel sprouts to shave and roast in a pan with some bacon fat!

                2. Small beets are good raw, peel and shred, dress with a gingery vinaigrette, some oranges, baby greens...

                  1. I also discovered a couple of years ago I like beetroot. I grate it and add to an equal amount of grated carrot and dress with a dressing of oil, lemon juice, lots of mint and poppy seeds.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Londonlinda

                      I second this!

                      You can do this with raw beets, which taste very different than cooked ones. I use oil, lemon juice and a bit of honey for the dressing, with toasted cumin and mustard seeds.

                      I also like roasted beets with a simple vinagrette, possibly tossed with toasted walnuts, feta or blue cheese and some thinly sliced onion.

                      Or simply buttered.

                      In the winter I roast them, but in the summer I usually boil them - I can close the kitchen while they cook, but the oven is in the living room, and I don't want to heat up the place too much.

                      After roasting/boiling, I peel them with my fingers in a colander under running water, and sometimes cut them there too, with a paring knife. It saves on stains on the cutting boards and fingers

                      1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                        Should have said, I use them raw in this. I'm still not too keen on them cooked. And yes, it is difficult not leaving the kitchen looking as if a murder has taken place, so note your tip.

                        1. re: Londonlinda

                          Another tip - I use a container/grater combo, where I'm grating directly into a plastic container, and the grater itself acts as a lid. It saves a lot of mess with beets (the one I have is from Ikea).

                          If I'm feeling lazy, I mix the salad in the container, using the regular lid that's provided.

                    2. This beet soup is sublime!
                      http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandsty...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: relizabeth

                        A lot of the soups in that list look really interesting. Have you tried others?

                        1. re: THewat

                          never got past the beet one.

                      2. My greek family eats beets constantly. My favorite prep is roasting, and i do it as above mentioned. I try to peel and cut on a plate rather than the cuttingboards because they stain everything. I saute the greens and stems. Throw those together with the cubed beets , sliced garlic, lemon, olive oil salt and pepper. So simple and yet so good.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Goatjunky

                          I frequently cook something like this but saute everything. Peel the beets (I have a red cutting board for this), cut into moons, chop the stems and greens. Saute chopped shallots and garlic in olive oil, saute the beets 'til slightly cooked, add stems and greens. Salt, pepper, sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and some feta. I want some now.

                        2. Make a beet and Tahini dip (google for recipe).

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Maximilien

                            Yes, I made a roasted beet hummus, something like this one in the link, and it was very good.

                            http://notwithoutsalt.com/2010/05/28/...

                          2. For something different & good, how about a beet roesti:
                            http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                            1. I do not like to bake the beets too much trouble for me. I boil them leaving the skin and root on (if you remove root they tend to bleed) and I boil uncovered until soft. Put in a bowl cover and once cool peel which does happen quite easily.

                              1. When I was over run with beets last year and had my fill of all versions of roasted beets I made beet chips and became addicted. Just slice thin, I use a mandolin, toss in a neutral oil and then spread them on cookie sheet in a single layer and cook in a really hot oven. When the edges start looking "dry", take them out, sprinkle with salt and let cool. They will get crispy as the cool. I rarely had any leftover but they do store well, in an air tight container for a couple of days. It did take me a while to get the hang of the difference between cooked enough vs not enough or over cooked but they are a delight!

                                Pickled beets are also quite good.

                                Don't be surpised by bright red poop, LOL.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: foodieX2

                                  Cool! I just planted beets 3 days ago and already have seeds sprouted. I hope I have an abundance of them so I can try your beet chips. At what temperature do you roast them and do you have a time estimate?

                                  Beets pickled with turnips are delicious. The unique flavor actually comes from the turnips. The beets are mainly for dying the beets though they pick up the flavor of the turnips. David Lebovitz's recipe is spot on. He says they are ready after the first week. There is a huge difference between week 1 and week 2. http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2012/09/...

                                  1. re: MrsJonesey

                                    I do 450 and in my oven they take 15-25 minutes depending on size. It took about 4-5 batches to get it right. I like them "chip crispy"

                                    1. re: foodieX2

                                      Thank you! I hope to try this soon.

                                    2. re: MrsJonesey

                                      I adore that recipe. I could eat pickled beets and turnips all day long. I also like them grated and sautéed, along with grated carrots, bacon fat, and Israeli couscous. Or orzo.

                                      Red poop....I will employ that enticing marketing slogan when I next serve beets to my sons.

                                      1. re: tcamp

                                        not really funny but when my son was a toddler he loved beets. His sitter called me in a panic one day as his diaper was bright red. She was convinced he was gravely ill.

                                        1. re: foodieX2

                                          That's hysterical! My toddler loves beets, and I warn anyone who may be changing her that she's eaten them. Same with blueberries

                                  2. I love beets - welcome to the club! At a B&B in France, the hosts made us a salad that included endive, roasted cubed beets, walnuts and Jarlsberg cheese, with a vinaigrette. It was great, although maybe a little too "wintry" for right now. I also love the recipe for zaatar beet dip with hazelnuts in one of Yotam Ottolenghi's cookbooks (you can find it online). Finally, if you like Indian cooking, my husband's family makes a beetroot raita/koshimbir. Basically, you shred some cooked beets, and mix it with yogurt (or, you could skip the yogurt), some crushed peanuts, little salt and sugar to taste, then make a tadka of cumin seeds and a sliced chili pepper (and curry leaves and asofoetida if you have it, but it taste just find without these spices, too) and add it in before serving.

                                    1. I like to peel, shred (raw) and toss with scallions, lime juice, olive oil, salt, cumin and pepper.

                                      Makes a nice topping for tacos or fajitas

                                      1. I used to foil wrap them and put them in the oven, but a recipe I tried a few weeks ago instructed me to put them in a casserole with a lid.

                                        I used an enameled cast iron Le Creuset. With a small amount of olive oil and water and put them in the oven at 400-450F for a while (40-60 minutes). It's a steaming method. When I remove them from the oven, I run them briefly under cold water so I can handle them and the skin peels right off. Beware, cool them too much and the skin will be difficult to peel.

                                        The other way I like to prepare them is to really roast them. That means peeling the raw beets, cutting them into wedges (cubes would work too) and tossing with olive oil and salt and pepper and roasting at 425 in a single layer on a baking sheet. Turn them every 3-5 minutes, they should be caramelized and cooked through in 20 - 40 minutes (depends on size of wedges).

                                        I've enjoyed them with herbs and topped with some feta cheese cubes.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                                          I roast them in chunks. You get great caramelization. They shrink considerably this way so make larger chunks than what you want to end up with. I personally don't find it necessary to turn them as often as you do.

                                          I have a new book, The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia. She includes a recipe for Sweet and Smoky Beet Burgers that sounds interesting. It includes onion, garlic, walnuts, golden raisins, sweet smoked paprika, green lentils and rice.

                                          1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                                            I also bake them in a covered enameled cast iron pot - but peel them first (and cut up large beets), toss them with olive oil, salt & pepper, and stick two or three halved lemons cut-side-down (and sticks of fresh rosemary or thyme) on top. Very lemony and good!

                                            Also great shredded raw over cooked lentils that have had a good amount of butter mixed in.

                                            1. re: Sarah Perry

                                              Sounds delicious!

                                          2. Funny, I always thought I hated beets until I actually had one a few years ago..now I love them. After roasting them (rubbing with olive oil, wrapping in foil, and baking) I let them cool, skin and slice them, then in the fridge they go, to be used in different salads. I find beets to go extremely well with the following

                                            Avocados (just ripe, not mushy at all)
                                            Orange segments
                                            Goat cheese
                                            Blue cheese
                                            Pickled red onion
                                            Watercress
                                            Grapefruit
                                            Field greens
                                            Vinegarette (esp champagne)

                                            1. Like you, I've recently become a fan of beets (while living in Poland where beets are a staple.)

                                              After they're roasted, grated beets with a little horseradish and salt and pepper are a great side dish, part of a traditional Easter breakfast here, but we eat this for dinner, you can also add a bit of grated apple.

                                              I make a savory galette with a sage crust, with roast beets, sauteed leeks, and goat cheese (apple is a nice addition too).

                                              Matchstick cut roast beets and celery root, add a vinegarette and roasted diced walnuts.

                                              1. Wanted to add that I discovered the LoveBeets brand a while back and their sweetfire and honey ginger ones are great. I like to eat them plain as a snack. Great to have on hand when I don't have the time or inclination to make some myself.

                                                http://lovebeets.com/our_products/