For the Love of Beet

In Dorm Cooking on February 10, 2012 at 4:24 am

What do Dwight Schrute from NBC’s The Office and I have in common? Apart from the fact that both have Cornell mugs sitting on our desks, we share an odd obsession for beets. Perhaps it’s because I have almost an unlimited supply of them under my bed (for safe keeping, of course), but for whatever reason I’ve found myself eating them almost every single day.

This type of practice is not particularly out of the ordinary for me; I tend to find a food, eat it ad nauseum, then move on to something else (R.I.P. pasta with garlic and anchovies). What make the beet such a great vegetable is that it can stand up to almost any type of cooking method and is pretty hard to mess up. I’ve been eating them roasted along side chicken, raw in a salads and I’ve even tried my hand at pickling.  While this period of newfound love lasts–and it won’t–I wanted to share my favorite preparation of these guys.

By the way, I write this entry with a fork in my right hand, and my left enthusiastically pecking at the keyboard while I finish eating the recipe below. Yeah, it’s that good.

Braised Beets with Hazelnut Balsamic Dressing

This recipe serves 2 people or 1 hungry college student. The beets can also be substituted for any other root vegetable. Tonight, I accompanied the beets with carrots and parsnips and threw the whole thing on top of some arugula with goat cheese and walnuts. The garlic and thyme perfume the beets while the balsamic and honey reduce down to form a glaze. Who said you can’t eat well in college?

    • 1 lb. beets, quartered
    •  1 clove of garlic, slivered
    • 1 bunch of thyme (taragon is also nice)
    • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 1/3 cup of hazelnut oil (any other oil would work, but I really like a nut oil for this)
    • 1 tablespoon of honey
    • Walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds or a combination of the three
    • Goat cheese (however much you like)
    • Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 475. Take a large sheet of aluminum foil and place the quartered beets onto the foil (don’t worry about the skin) and drizzle over the vinegar, the oil and some of the honey. Add the slivers of garlic and the thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap the whole thing up in a pouch and throw it into the oven for about 45-60 minutes, or until the beets are easily penetrable with a knife.

For the dressing, in a bowl combine the mustard, the honey and the vinegar. Mix until combined. Slowly drizzle in the hazelnut oil and whisk until an emulsion has formed. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the desired vegetable. Garnish with goat cheese, a handful of nuts and perhaps a few more thyme leaves. 

Simple, no? And with Valentine’s Day coming up fast, I can’t think of a way better to show that special someone how much you care than by cookin’ them up a nice plate of beets. If you want really want to earn some extra points, you could even go as far as this person did. Ain’t that sweet? Or am I just a bit weird?

Heh.

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