Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cooking with Beets, the super food!

So when I was younger I hated beets I thought they were yucky and tasted like dirt! Now I have a more refined palette and I can appreciate there earthy flavour. Also beets are very good for you. They are rich in folate, a nutrient important for cell growth. Beets can also help  keep your brain healthy, a lack of folate has been known to have a higher risk of dementia, according to a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition.

The first time I looked at a roasted beet recipe I thought "forget it" this is way to complicated and time consuming, but I have now realized they are just as simple as making mashed potatoes they just take a bit more time...(and most of that time they are in the oven, so you are free to do other things!)

Here is the way I prepare beets:

Preheat your oven to 425

Cut the hairy tips off the ends of the beets, then I place them in a single layer on aluminum foil, make sure the foil is long enough so you can fold it over to make a pouch.

Fold the aluminum foil over to cover the beets and crimp or fold each side in until the beets are tightly wrapped. Place your pouch on a baking sheet (in case the pouch leaks) and place in the center of your oven for 45mins-1 hour depending on how large the beets are. Flip the pouch over half way through the cooking process just to make sure you don't get any burnt parts.

You will be able to smell the roasted beets and that will give you a good hint on when they are done. If you are not sure, you can take the pouch out, open it and poke a beet with a knife, if it is tender then it is ready if not, then just wrap the beets up again and roast for a little longer.

When you remove them from the oven let them stay wrapped in the pouch for 15 minutes or so, this will allow the beets to steam a bit which will make them easier to peel. After that open the foil to allow the beets to cool.

Once they are cool, put on your plastic gloves (to avoid staining your hands, although if your not making a ton of beets you should be ok if you wash your hands immediately)

Hold the beet in one hand and rub the skin off with your other hand, the skin should slip right off, sometimes the skin gets a bit stuck and you can peel or cut it off with a small knife.

At this point your beets are ready for their next use...salad...purée etc.

A roasted beet has such a different taste from the beets I remember. The simple process which only takes about 15 minutes of active cooking time, makes all the difference in flavour. (inactive is when it is in the oven)

My favorite way to eat roasted beets is with goat cheese and arugula. The picture shown is my attempt at a fancy beet salad! Actually it looks fancy but is easy to all you need is a cylinder mold then you just layer and voila!

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