May 18, 2006
This Dish Can't Be Beet

Quinoa_beet_goat1_jf.jpgHallelujah! The organic section of my grocery store has expanded to included about twice the number of vegetables (and many spices, as well). I couldn't resist getting a bag of beets, but I brought them home and kind of had no idea what to do with them (my previous experience with beets comes from opening up a can of them to put onto a salad). Some internet research quickly confirmed how long to roast them and at what temperature to bring out the best in the beets. The rest was improvised by the Ambassatrix and me.

I can't tell you how wonderful the roasted beets tasted and pairing them with the goat cheese was just perfect. The beets are earthy but rather sweet (they got lots of sugar in them) and the cheese gives the requisite fat needed to balance out all those healthy veggies.

Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese with Veggie Quinoa Mix

3/4 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cup water
4-6 beets, depending on the size
100 grams goat cheese
3 T olive oil
2 leeks, sliced
8-10 oz mushrooms, crimini or portobello, cut in bite size pieces
salt and pepper

Wrap beets in aluminum foil (not necessary to do that individually, but wrap 2-3 together in a line) and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour on 350.

Put the quinoa and water in a small pot and bring to boil, then reduce to simmer, partly cover, until almost all water is evaporated. In another pan, sauté leeks and mushrooms in oil over medium heat, until mushrooms have shrunk and leeks have begun to caramelize (see picture to right). When veggies are sufficiently cooked, add quinoa (which still has just a little water in it, although the seeds are cooked) to the veggies. Add salt and pepper as you see fit. Mix together.

Quinoa_beet_goat2_jf.jpg

Remove beets from oven and allow to cool slightly. Peel with a vegetable peeler or knife (alternatively, you could experiment with peeling them before roasting. I hear this works also.) Slice beets into rounds or half-moons or clovers or whatever you like. Handle the beet without fear. It will make your hands red; it's proof positive that you are a proud cooker of beets. Only babies use gloves when peeling beets.

So, put some quinoa veggie mix on a plate or in a bowl. Arrange some slices of beet and top it off with some slices of goat cheese. Eat up!

Taking the beets and cheese and putting them on some greens would also make a simple and quick salad/side dish.

And don't be alarmed when you excrete the beets; that red color dyes everything.

Posted by Justin in Bogotá at May 18, 2006 8:32 AM Print-friendly version
Comments

Beets are still a labor of love, but my local market in Rhode Island now carries peeled, pre-cooked beets from Melissa's in the produce aisle. Cut the whole beets into chunks, throw them on the grill for a few minutes, and toss in a salad with goat cheese, arugula, toasted walnuts, and a nice vinaigrette.

Posted by Lydia on May 23, 2006 at 10:27 AM

I don't know, but I contend that beets are pretty easy. I don't think it warrants peeled, pre-cooked ones.

Posted by Justin on May 23, 2006 at 10:36 AM

Justin, I agree that the fresh ones you cook yourself are well worth the effort in the flavour they deliver. I think what puts people off, though, is not the difficulty but the MESS factor. That red juice gets everywhere and seems to be indelible!

Posted by Meg in Paris on May 23, 2006 at 2:37 PM

I view the red hands as a badge of honor. And it really doesn't take long to wash off your hands. White counters and dish towels are another story, true.

Posted by Justin on May 23, 2006 at 3:03 PM

And clothes! I'm a messy cook and it's remarkably difficult to find t-shirts in EXACTLY the right shade of deep pink...!

Posted by Meg in Paris on May 23, 2006 at 3:07 PM

I am a big fan of beets in almost any form -- borscht, beet salad (cubes with lemon dressing, goat cheese, pistachios on greens), sliced . . . . and I love them just roasted. The varieties that are white and red, orange, and red look really nice together too. And I don't go for the pre-peeled ones partly because I love getting that red juice all over the place (almost as bad as pomegranates!).

I like your paella recipe elsewhere on the site as a side note. . .

Posted by Bibliochef on May 24, 2006 at 8:10 AM
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