Thursday, July 26, 2007
Beets have been given a bad rap. (Ahem...GSR? You know who I'm referring to...right?) Usually thrown carelessly on a vegetable tray, left to fend for themselves, beets have rarely been given the benefit of the doubt. With their earthy flavor, and deep red color, they make a great addition to any meal. Beets can be grated raw over a salad, or cooked and made into soup, eaten as a side, or sliced cooked on a salad, which incidentally is the way I like them the best.
Beets are rich in folate, a water-soluble “B” vitamin that helps produce and maintain new cells and has been known to help prevent changes to DNA that may lead to cancer. Beets are also a good source of manganese, potassium, fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, copper, and phosphorus. So, when your mom used to urge you to “eat your beets!” she knew what she was talking about. Always listen to your mother.
Usually, I buy my beets at the market and cook them at home. I clean them and place them in a covered casserole dish with about ¼ cup water (just to cover the bottom of the dish) and microwave them for between 12-15 minutes. Always leave the skins on while cooking beets, it helps keep the nutrients inside as well as the beautiful red color.
My favorite way to serve beets is usually with a nice fresh herb salad…Earthbound Farms prepares a great pre-washed mix. Toss the salad and beets along with some chunks of avocado, red onion, walnuts and the following dressing that will help bring out the flavors of this colorful salad. You can also add fresh pears, or you can sauté them in a little oil and let them caramelize and add them to the salad as a sweet kick!
“Creamy” Mustard Vinaigrette
½ cup Champagne Vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 large clove pressed garlic
¾ teaspoon salt
Pinch of fresh ground black pepper
½ cup good extra virgin olive oil.
In a small bow whisk together the vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified.
I store my dressings in mason jars, which makes it easy to shake and mix after they have been sitting in the refrigerator.