I have memories of beets and they aren't very fond. My mom used to "prepare" beets for us, straight out of a can, cut into nice circles, plopped onto a plate. Then my dad would proceed to put some on his plate and then plop a glob of mayonnaise onto his beets. I. Hate. Mayonnaise. I've gotten much better about it, but when I was a kid I detested everything about mayonnaise. Couldn't even stand to make my dad his sandwiches because sometimes, when there was hardly any mayonnaise in the jar I would have to really reach in there with the butter knife and my fingers would brush against the inside and mayo would get on my hands and GROSS!!! Ugh. The mayonnaise, combined with the rich dark color of the beets, would turn pink. Pink mayonnaise. What could be worse. Why not have a bowl of mayo-chili to go with it?
But I love fresh beets. And I know this because on my last food visit to Hilo Bay Cafe (I have other visits there besides food as my daughters, husband and close drinking buddies can attest) I ordered a beet salad and loved it. Despite the fact that my close friend Lisa insisted that beets smell and taste like dirt, I thought they were unbelievably tasty. I loved the texture, the color, and the taste. A light dressing. A beautiful plate. Yum. I'll find the picture I took and post it soon.
So I bought beets at the Waimea Homestead Farmers Market last week. And today I finally got around to figuring out how to prepare them. Yay. My first beet adventure.
I went straight to my new favorite go-to blog to search for a beet recipe, Food Gawker. That led me to The Hungry Mouse, my very first visit. You'll see, once you check out this site, what I meant in my first blog when I talk about great photography. That I have not.
Her (okay, I know I'm making assumptions but I'm guessing The Hungry Mouse is female) directions were great. I just made a few modifications. I wanted beet salad. Fast. The fam was already making rice and frying up sausage and onions and I didn't want to be enticed to join them. New healthy eating venture and all. So instead of baking the beets (which I prepped by cutting off leaves/stems and long root thing on other end, washing off dirt, and NOT peeling) I put an inch of water in my pressure cooker (thanks mom!), threw the beets in and cooked them for about 15-20 minutes. Once they were done, I put them all out on waxed paper (thinking I didn't want to stain my cutting board) to cool slightly so I could peel them. The Hungry Mouse, true to form, said it would peel quite easily and it did! I used my fingers to peel the cooked beets (did I tell you I tested for doneness by poking the biggest beet with a fork? Goes through=done. Doesn't go through=oops. cook longer). I peeled, cut off the ends, and quartered the beets, depending on their sizes. Some beets were big like a small tangerine. A few were small like a large grape. I wasn't about to get picky about equal sizes when I bought them. That's just too complicated at this stage in my life.
Then I threw the beets into a metal bowl (staining plastic? nosirree). Of course then I had to wipe the counter because my great wax paper idea didn't pan out the way I thought it would and my counter was now pink. But it came off easily. Don't know if I would have achieved great success on a nice ceramic tile/grout countertop. Here is a picture of the beets all cut up. Sorry. Didn't think to take pictures of the before cooking beets and after. But they look just like The Hungry Mouse uncooked beets except all one color.
Then I proceeded to make the dressing. Now The Hungry Mouse calls for 1/4 clove of garlic, chopped fine, 2 tablespoons of orange juice and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. I didn't measure a thing. I cut an orange in half and squeezed that into the measuring cup (which I grabbed because it was sitting on the counter), threw in two cloves of chopped garlic (we love garlic...it's a weakness and I'm sure I overdo it for most people but in my house of onion and garlic lovers, you can never put too much), and squirt in some olive oil (I bought a new squirt bottle...one of those older looking ketchup squirt kind of bottles and I LOVE IT).
Then I poured it over the beets, sprinkled over some chopped green onions, and voila. All set and ready.
Once it was on my plate all I needed to do was sprinkle on some feta.
Verdict: It was oh so good. Yum. And I have just a tad more for a late afternoon snack. Kaipo said it was good. I said, "if you had to give it a grade what would you give it?" She said, "Why do I need to give it a grade?" Come on, girl, humor me sometime. She ended up giving it an A. Yay! I did need to check on her grading system so I asked her to grade her white rice and sausage/onion lunch. She said, "It was good but I wouldn't grade it." Yay. And I think I heard Glen in the kitchen say something to the effect of, "Mmm, that's good."
Next course of action: figure out how to arrange the pictures to match the words.