The Delightful Dutch Dish

How one can cook oneself back into local reality

Red beets January 1, 2010

Filed under: cooking,main course,vegetable — orangepumpkin @ 20:02

Ok, so I have this thing for red beets. I love them. Which is strange. I like other things grown underground (carrots for instance), but genetically I was supposed to be allergic to red beets. One of my parents hates red beets. ‘They taste of soil, yuck’. Though none of these sentiments were uttered when I was young and had to eat what was in front of me (or at least I don’t remember). But now, it’s nothing but that kind of thing. I empty the bowl of beets while the rest of my family eat meat. It’s a fair deal really.

So, when I shopped for tonight’s dinner and I saw these two adorable red beets lying among all the other locally grown vegetables, I took my two adorable red friends home. A few years ago I prepared a dish with fresh beets as well, and I remembered the cooking time to be about 20 minutes. But I wasn’t sure. So I googled, you know that’s my thing when I need immediate answers to any of the existential questions in my life. Including the time it takes to cook beets. When I didn’t find the answer within 5 seconds (all recipes found used pre-cooked beets, readily available at any supermarket). I boiled water, threw in the beets and set the timer to 20 minutes. In the mean time I chopped up onions and garlic, I dug up my biggest frying pan.

20 minutes later I took the beets from the pan and I scraped off the skin. So far everything was as I’d remembered from two years ago. When they’re cooked, beets just shed their skin when you gently brush your fingers over them. It might clog your sink, though, but it’s really easy. You cook them in their skin to preserve the taste, which is majorly important, of course. I ended up with a pair of red hands, and I kind of looked like I’d just murdered someone. Technically I had, I’d murdered beets.
Anyway, I went on my merry way and chopped the beets in squares, while I fried the onions and garlic. Then I threw in the beets and fried them for a little as well, mainly to heat them up again, because rubbing of the skin when the beets are hot, that’s no fun. I added some nuts and a bit of sea salt and then I put the contents of the pan on a plate.

I sat down and felt really happy with myself. You know, I can cook! Something went right here. Then I took the first bite. And you know what? I hated it. The beets weren’t quite cooked well enough. And they tasted of the soil they grew in. Yes, dear self, you have managed it again: another cook-up added to the history of cooking. Thank you and goodbye, I’m going to wonder if I’ll ever learn something regarding cooking, or if I’ll just take a take-out membership at McDonalds. At least it’s edible.

I’ll spare you the recipe. I plan on cooking beets again (oh no, no, no, no, don’t do it!), and make a very nice beet & chicory salad. I’ve made that before. Including cooking the beets myself. I can do it. And even if I can’t, I have to keep trying, because one day, sometime, I will learn. And I will cook my own socks off (without lighting the place and burning the food). One day I’ll be a proper housewife and I’ll be able to make something quite edible, something you could actually serve other people. And it won’t be pumpkin soup (I’ve proven time and again that I can make pumpkin soup, but if that’s all there is to my cooky repertoire, well, that would be extremely sad, wouldn’t it?)

Local? Yes, very local!
Beets: 2,5 km from my house
onions: 2,5 km
garlic: 2,5 km
oil: yeah, we’ll talk about that later. It was probably flown in from Antarctica and they probably killed a hundred innocent baby seals in the process, but I refuse to feel guilty for now! (It was vegetable oil, so no, I didn’t eat baby seal oil with my beets, I’m not that cruel)

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