Wednesday, February 20, 2008

We've got the beet

Damn it's beautiful in Seattle.

I just got back from a week-long trip visiting friends and family on the east coast (that's my cousin's son above). As the plane approached Seattle we glided over greenlake and lake union and puget sound to touch down at Sea Tac. The surface was like glass.

After I got home I went for a walk and the temperature was 50 degrees, the sky clear blue and the mountains etched in the sky. It felt like spring.

It was not so balmy on the east coast. Mostly it was cold and rainy. Perfect roasting weather. I stayed with my cousin for a few days in Jersey and we went on a pilgrimage to Wegmans, her 2 1/2 year old son in tow, to collect salmon and bok choy and golden beets. We also got some asparagus. A bit of ginger. Scallions.

When we got to her house I decided to roast everything. Except the bok choy, which I just love to stir fry. I cranked the oven to 400 and got started. First the beets, then after a while the asparagus and salmon with an asian marinade. At the last minute I sauteed the bok choy.

It came out beautifully. But I forgot to photograph.

I will vouch that her son ate all of it, which is no mean feat for a 2 1/2 year old. Of course this is a kid who eats salsa (the spicy kind).

But he especially loved the beets. They were sweet and slightly glazed from the pan and crunchy with rock salt.

I had been struggling with beets, I used to boil them and make a vinaigrette but it was never satisfying. We wouldn't eat the leftovers. But roasting was perfect. They tasted earthy and sweet.

I tried to recreate the whole meal tonight, but sadly the salmon in our grocery store was disappointing. Isn't that sad? New Jersey had better salmon than Seattle. Of course it was atlantic and farmed...but still.

Instead, I roasted beets again, the red ones this time. And I braised some baby bok choy, in halves (it's actually less work). Oh and I made chicken wings, because I'm a buffalonian so I love them. They came out great, a spicy garlicky rub with a honey glaze, but I'm still playing with them. I think that's for another day.

The beets were wonderful, as earthy and sweet as their golden new jersey counterparts. You have to leave the skins on, so scrub them well. And halving them helps--they cook faster and caramelize a bit. The bok choy is good both ways, chopped or halved but this way definitely has more class.

Roasted beets

3-4 beets (any variety)
rock salt
good quality olive oil

Scrub beets and trim off ends, cut in half. Don't peel them. It gives them more flavor. Dry well. Rub with olive oil, and sprinkle with rock salt and pepper (you can use regular salt, the rock salt just has a nice texture). Place cut side down in a roasting pan without touching (I used a 9x9) and roast at 350 for 30-60 minutes or until tender. You can roast at a different temperature if you like, just check them if it's higher. My oven runs hot, my cousin's runs cool. I split the difference.

Braised Baby Bok Choy

3-4 whole baby bok choy
soy sauce
dark sesame oil
peanut oil
sesame seeds
1 tablespoon minced ginger
black pepper

Wash bok choy well especially at the base but leave whole. Dry. Cut in half lengthwise. Heat peanut oil in a heavy pan on medium high. Add bok choy cut side down (only as many as will fit without touching). Cook ~2-3 minutes covered (until golden brown). Carefully flip with tongs and cook another 1-2 minutes covered. Place cut side up on a pan. Drizzle with one drop sesame oil per bok choy half, and a bit more soy sauce. Sprinkle on sesame seeds. Saute ginger in hot pan, then sprinkle on top. Serve.

1 comment:

Frantic Foodie said...

wow a kid who eats beets