Sunday, August 3, 2008

beet salad

In the July issue of “Martha Stewart Living” (which I feel like I actually got about an eternity and a half ago; July was a long-ass month this year) there was an article about special burgers with special sides. I ignored most of the burgers, but there was a side salad of green beans (Martha, of course, refers to them as “haricots verts” because she’s from the French part of Jersey), golden beets, and goat cheese that looked delicious. I’ve been meaning to make it for a while, and this weekend I finally got around to it.

(There was an abortive attempt last weekend which will never be spoken of again. Suffice it to say, if Martha says to roast the beets in parchment paper and you have no parchment paper, you should not try to wing it. Do what Martha says, or disaster beyond your imagination will occur, possibly brought on by Martha herself through a form of recipe blasphemy witchcraft that I cannot prove but completely believe she practices.)

As it was a fairly simple salad, I was able to find all of the ingredients except the beets at Food City. For those, I had to go to the Fresh Market, a store that intimidates me mostly because it is in the fancy shopping plaza where the SUV set flings money about with wild abandon. Now that I’ve been to the Fresh Market, though, I may never go back because I won’t be able to stop myself from buying sixteen different kinds of cheese at the cheese case. If that cheese case is a bug zapper, then I’m a moth, and you know how that story ends.

I got my golden beets home, but since they came from the Fresh Market they were a little more natural than my usual beets, which I pour out of a can, are:

raw beets

After I attacked them with my kitchen scissors and potato brush, though, things were looking better:

washed beets

They turned out to be a lot more colorful than I thought they would be. Regular beets always look kind of blandly monochromatic, so I assumed golden beets would just be yellow, and was pleasantly surprised by how pretty they were. I responded to this sudden glimpse of beauty by wrapping it in parchment paper, then foil, and then destroying it in the oven for an hour.

roasted beets

It didn’t occur to me until just now that I could have probably wrapped all the beets together in one packet instead of individually. On the other hand, if my kitchen were a restaurant I could put “individually roasted beets” on the menu and make them sound much fancier. After they cooled for about an hour, I unwrapped them so that I could peel and dice them:

roasted beet

I had the vegetable peeler out, but they were so tender and slippery that the skin peeled right off in my fingers. I can add “hand peeled” to my fancy menu, too, which might make up for cutting the green beans with scissors instead of a knife like a real chef does.

They were still very pretty once they were peeled and diced:

diced beets

Once the beets were ready, the beans only took about two minutes, and the dressing maybe another minute. I tossed it all together with the goat cheese and compared it to the original:

salad vs. salad

I think I did pretty well, and, more importantly, it was delicious.


JMBower said...

Ahhh...such memories of the French Quarter of Jersey...strolling arm in arm down the wide expanse of le boulevard I-90, stopping to sample the fineries at le cafe bada bing, that slight perfume upon the air of le waste industriale providing a certain je ne sais quoi to the summer nights...

we'll always have the interstate, Martha...

leo said...

mmmmm. . .I love beets.