Monday, April 4, 2011

Beet It

In keeping with my “foods I've never eaten before” theme, I picked up a can of beets from Meijer a few weeks ago because they were on sale. I knew very little about beets beyond that they are a root vegetable, they can turn your pee red (hence why it is a natural dye used in many health foods), and that the bag of sugar in my cupboard came from Michigan-grown sugar beets (hooray for supporting the local economy).

After Googling “how to eat beets,” and failing to find any one recipe that I could follow without a trip the grocery store (I'm moving in about week, so I want to empty my cupboards, not restock them), I decided to take some tips from multiple recipes and make up my own thing. Following the pattern put down by the green beans, I set some olive oil to simmering and dumped in my drained can of sliced beets. I can't cook something in olive oil without adding garlic, so I liberally shook garlic powder over the beets, soon followed by a dash of ginger powder, some parsley flakes, and a sprinkling of lemon pepper because I have yet to use it in a recipe after pillaging it from my mother's spice cupboard.

Meanwhile, boiling a pan next to the beets was a pot of penne (courtesy of the awesome LaRissa, made famous by the gluten free paczki). I was going to use something like linguine or spaghetti, but I didn't have any on hand, and macaroni was definitely the wrong size for this concoction. I'm actually very pleased that I went with the penne. Its larger, almost springy nature was a great complement to the tougher, distinctly vegetable texture of the beets.

The pot I boiled the pasta in was too small to add the beets, so I pulled down an old casserole dish and dumped everything together in there, stirring and chopping up the beets so they weren't overtaken by the penne. And we can't have pasta without Parmesan, so over top I sprinkled a healthy serving of cheese. Voila! Lunch.

I really wasn't sure what the beets would taste like – I worried they'd be too sweet – or what their texture would be like. As I said before, though, the textures went extraordinarily well together. This is definitely a dish that I would try again. I ate nearly the whole thing in one sitting!

I am really glad that I tried beets. I seem to recall The 10 Things You Need to Eat listing beets as high in antioxidants and as a cancer-fighter. To read more about the fantastic health benefits of this nifty little root veggie, click here.

I feel a little bad about not picking a country to make dishes from this month (last month was Brazil, but other events got in the way, so I ended up with only 3 recipes, though together they made a complete meal), but I do seem to have a theme going that I am rather enjoying: what can I make with random things I have lying around the kitchen?

This theme will continue on Thursday, then on Friday I fly out to California and will be roadtripping back to Michigan, so no time to make anything for about a week. If I can get some free wifi spots along the way, I will try to blog about the food I try at the various stops on my trip. Because every adventure is a food adventure!

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