My Love Affair with Beets

I. Love. Beets. Truly, I do. My affair with beets began later in life. I never tried them until I was in my early twenties, but when I did, there was an instant connection. The subtle sweetness, the crisp texture, the vivid color; it all came together to form the perfect relationship with my mouth. Due to the late start, beets and I are making up for lost time. Basically, if I see beets on the menu, I order them, forsaking all other foods.

So, you can imagine my glee when I saw three perfect beets in our CSA share last Wednesday, and I was even more excited to see them left when I returned from the Midwest. I had big plans yesterday for making up some beet tzatziki, but I got a call from a fellow teacher for a beach day and said, “Yes, unequivocally, yes!” After the beautiful day at the beach, it was almost nine by the time I started cooking. Way to late to get too creative. In the freezer, I had a grilled pizza crust, so I put together a delicious flatbread pizza.

I started by roasting the beets. First I scrubbed the beets really well and put them in a tin foil packet with some olive oil and salt and pepper. I cooked them at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. After they cooled, I peeled them and sliced them thinly. I brushed the dough with olive oil, topped it with some slices of fresh mozzarella, the beets, and some leftover fresh ricotta from Monday’s pasta dinner. I baked all this at 450 degrees for 5 minutes. In the meantime, I roughly chopped the pea tendrils that were left and tossed them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I topped the pizza with these and baked it for 3 more minutes.

The flavor combination worked very nicely. It was the perfect post-beach tasty treat. Plus, I love how neon pink the pizza dough turned!

Today, for lunch, I was working on clearing out more space in the fridge for this week’s CSA share. One thing that my husband hadn’t eaten while I was out of town was the Hakurei turnips. Now, I’ve never cooked with (or eaten, I think) these so I wasn’t sure what to do. I read about braising them, stir-frying them, and putting them on salads. One suggestion that I really liked was to “just eat them.” After trying one turnip raw, I decided to make a giant salad, using a large bunch of lettuce, sliced up turnips, and my leftover roasted beet. I also added in some more ricotta and some dry roasted pepitas for a bit of nutty crunch. Dressed simply with olive oil, it was the perfect summer lunch (even though it was cold and rainy again today, ugh.)

All in all, a very satisfying day and a half with my beets. Good news: there’s more in today’s CSA! Check back tomorrow to see what else we got and what steps I take in my relationship with beets.



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