On the Beeten Path

They say opposites attract and when I consider the relationships in my circle, it seems true.  Not for me however. My beloved and I are “two peas in a pod” sharing common interests like a love for the outdoors, good design elements, independent film and a love of food.  His comes from a mother with extreme kitchen talent.  I, on the other hand, find solace in dishes with deep spices that feed my love of travel even when I’m at home. And, we have common dislikes; poverty, mean people, lost baggage and beets.

But life’s a journey, isn’t it? So imagine our grimace and the tenacity required when our winter CSA contains beets for a minimum of four weeks running.  While sharing this aversion, we’ve embraced the beet as a challenge in our journey. We’ve eliminated pickling as an option. Despite our willingness for cold soup, borscht doesn’t work for us. We skate around them in salads, steer them to the side of our dishes after roasting and then finally, ahhhhh.  Diligence, perseverance, and continuous re-framing until we hit upon something so interesting and delicious that it can be a centerpiece on our dinner plate.

Nancy Griffith titled one of her songs Trouble in the Fields.  The chorus sings “You’ll be the mule. I’ll be the plow. Come harvest time, we’ll work it out. There’s still a lot of love, here in these troubled fields.” It’s about saving a farm during the great depression and it resonates with me due to my Kansan heritage and grandparents who fell victim to those times. But it didn’t deter them from a long and successful journey together. They stuck it out with diligence, perseverance and continuous re-framing.

Valentine’s Day pays homage to Saint Valentine, a Roman priest during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. As Claudius forbid his military to marry, St. Valentine carried out marriage ceremonies in secret. His actions and his refusal to abandon his faith caused his beheading on February 14th – a journey of love in the face of hardship and oppression and the reason for Valentine’s Day.

What’s your recipe for long-term relationship success?

Happy Valentine’s day to John.

Beet Roesti
Serves four
Ingredients:
  • 1 – 1.5 lbs beets
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 Tbs grated parmesan
  • 1 tsp rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup flour (I use whole wheat or mesquite)
  • 2 Tbs butter
Grate the beets in a food processor or by hand. Begin preheating a large skillet over medium heat. Toss the grated beets with the walnuts, parmesan, rosemary and salt.  Slowly toss with the flour until mixed through. Place the butter in the skillet and warm it until it turns a nut brown color.   Take a large spoonful of the beat mixture and squeeze it into a ball about 1.5 inches in diameter.  Put the beet balls into the skillet and flatten with a spatula.  Turn the heat up and cook gently moving the pan, until the bottom of the beet cake is crisp.  Flip over and cook until the other side is also crisp. These are wonderful warm when they’re just out of the pan or I’ve made them ahead and put on a bed of greens as a salad.
Leave a comment

26 Comments

  1. Kathleen Bartolomei

     /  February 14, 2010

    Yum! But I can beets any old way……they are one of my favorite veggies! I understand you can even grate them to put in a cake much like zucchini bread or banana nut loaf. Someone once told me that’s where Red Velvet Cake comes from.

    I especially love them cold and pickled, or roasted in a foil pouch, then sliced thin, and drizzled with a French herb goat cheese.

    My favorite part of the blog is your love stories, first yours, then your grandparents. No wonder you always have such a sweet smile! Oh the lessons our grandparents still teach us, even from the heavens beyond.

    Looking towards gobbling up your next post!

    ps………..Happy Valentine’s Day!

    Reply
  2. Here’s the most common way we ate beets growing up:

    1. Grate the beets.

    2. Prepare seasoning by heating a few teaspoons of oil in a pan and adding mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves.

    3. Add some chopped onions and chopped green chillies or broken, dry red chillies to the heated seasoning and saute. Sprinkle a few pinches of turmeric powder.

    4. Add grated beets to the above, salt to taste and saute some more. Cover the pan and let beets cook for a few minutes in the heat and steam from its own juices. Don’t overcook.

    5. Garnish with chopped coriander / cilantro.

    Very yummy served hot with hot chapatis / tortillas / flat bread. Just watch out for those chopped chillies and set them aside while you eat.

    Reply
  3. ozarkhomesteader

     /  February 14, 2010

    Mmmm. These look great. I’ll have to try beet cakes once our crop comes in (which has been very slow, thanks to our unusually cold and cloudy weather). I had to work to convince my husband that beets are good, but a simple oven roast with other root vegetables convinced him.

    Reply
  4. John Hamilton

     /  February 15, 2010

    Agrigirl, thanks for being my Valentine. You’ve taught me that vegetables are such an important part of my diet. My favorites are carrot cake, zucchini bread and pumpkin pie.

    My heart beets only for you!

    Reply
  5. Brent Kauth

     /  February 15, 2010

    Thanks for the recipe Tammy! I had always hated beets as well.

    After getting them for weeks at a time from our CSA, I finally figured out that roasting with olive oil, rosemary, and pine nuts could make them edible.

    This looks like it could even make them taste good:)

    Reply
  6. Hi Tammy, Thanks for the comment on my blog. I’m glad you found it funny because I laughed quite a bit when I was writing it. Your blog is beautiful, but I can’t say we share an interest in agriculture. I’m a nature lover, love camping and hiking, but I can’t grow so much as a house plant, and I’m in awe of people who can!

    I see that you also enjoy writing. Do you write fiction? If so, there’s a group on twitter that writes flash fiction. Each Friday we post links to our stories and comment on each other’s stories. The group is open to everyone and it’s a wonderfully warm and welcoming group of writers. If you’re interested in more info, let me know. I can send you a link, or you can just google it. If you’re on Twitter, use the #fridayflash hashtag. We’re on facebook, too.

    Thanks again for taking the time to comment on my post. If I’d known you yesterday, I could have awarded you, too! Oh, and by the way, where in Arizona are you?

    ~ Olivia

    Reply
    • I’m in Phx. And also on twitter. I’ll check out your group although I’m more of a nonfiction sort. I do have a couple of fiction pieces that could be dusted off.

      Reply
  7. What a great blog, Tammy! Thanks for posting on mine as well. I subscribed to yours, so I look forward to getting more posts from you. I’m glad the CSA movement is starting to gain more momentum too!

    Keep up the good work!

    –Tim

    Reply
  8. What a great, original use of beets. Will certainly try this out if I should ever acquire another poung of beets in my CSA :-)

    Reply
  9. At some point in time you will acquire another pound! Thanks for reading!

    Reply
  10. Great stuff. I love beets, but I have to say I count myself in the minority on that.

    Reply
  11. CRH

     /  February 20, 2010

    That is really sweet.

    Reply
  12. Sarah

     /  February 24, 2010

    Tammy,

    My husband and I just discovered beets and I am in love! However, I do think it is so funny how red your pee gets. ;)
    I am very excited to try this recipe!

    Great writing too! I have enjoyed all the articles.

    Reply
  13. Gaynell Danial

     /  February 27, 2010

    Great article, thank you. I am very interested in finding a diet that lowers my sugar intake. I currently have a sweet-tooth, and am finding it difficult to find meal plans, what to eat for snacks, etc. While diabetes is not something that runs in my family, I am still concerned and would like to be smart and take a proactive approach to my health.

    Reply
    • Gaynell, you should look at the work of Dr. Gabriel Cousens at the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center. His proven method of eating raw foods reverses diabetes.

      Reply
  14. Thanks a lot for your visit and comments on my quilt, I appreciated it as I do enjoy visiting your blog.
    Thank you for this recipe of beet röstis :) I will definitely try it. We are used to eat röstis over here in Switzerland but made with potatoes. One of my favourite ways of eating beets is to cook them with carrots and potatoes. When all vegetables are cooked, but not too much, I cut them into chunks and let them cool down a bit. Then I mixed them with some olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, coriander or dill or whatever herbs you like. I sometimes add small pieces of feta or slices of parmesan. It’s a whole meal in itself and it tastes delicious !

    Reply
  15. Garth Laino

     /  November 29, 2010

    4 food groups: fast, frozen, microwaved, and junk.

    Reply
  1. Valentine’s Day « Agrigirl's Blog

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