Roasted Beets with Wilted Greens

You don’t see many recipes out there for beets, which is kind of sad.  Beets are good for you and when properly cooked, they taste great, too.

I never really ate beets growing up, although when I became an adult I found that I liked pickled beets in salads.  Other than that, I’d only had them canned and I’d never eaten the greens – too bad, because they’re fairly high in fiber, are a good source of vitamins A and C, help your body absorb calcium (important when you’re staring menopause and osteoporosis in the face) and, like I said, are really good when prepared well.

Beloved loves beets, so I picked some up at the grocery store this weekend; since they’re a winter root vegetable they’re fairly inexpensive this time of year.  I got a bundle of three organically grown beets with their greens for $3 – $1 apiece.  Cooked together in this recipe, that’s 6 servings (as a side dish) at 50 cents each.  Economical and very, very tasty.

It’s also really easy – and pretty, too.

If you like beets, you’ll love this recipe.  If you don’t like beets, give it a try – it may just change your mind.

Roasted Beets with Wilted Greens

serves 6

3 large beets with greens

1/4 cup olive oil, divided

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup onion, minced

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Wash the beets thoroughly, leaving the skins on, and remove the greens. Rinse greens, removing the large stems and tearing them away from any thick center veins, and set aside. Without peeling them, place the beets in a small baking dish or roasting pan, and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil; it is easier to peel the beets once they have been roasted.

Cover, and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until a knife can slide easily through the largest beet.  Set the beets aside until just cool enough to handle; rub the skins off under running water then slice about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick.  Cut the slices in half.

Once the beets are sliced and halved, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften; add the garlic and cook for another minute. Tear the beet greens into 2 to 3 inch pieces, and add them to the skillet. Cook and stir until greens are wilted and tender. Season with salt and pepper; add the vinegar. Stir the beets into the greens; heat through.  Serve immediately.

Poached Eggs

Poached EggI didn’t feel well this weekend (I’ll go more into that in another post) so Beloved cooked dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday – in fact, he did some of the shopping as well.  And when he came home from shopping, he brought with him three new DVDs:  Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Public Enemy and Julie and Julia.  We watched Julie and Julia Sunday afternoon before Beloved flew to Arizona for a short business trip, and I have to say I loved the film.

To a point.

Don’t get me wrong – Meryl Streep, whom I admire more than I can say, was absolutely brilliant as Julia Child.  In fact, the entire cast was wonderful.  It was just the whole premise that got my panties in a wad, so to speak.  Granted, the idea of cooking her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year was inspired, but by the time it got to the scene where Mrs. Powell had been featured in the New York Times and had 60-some-odd messages on her answering machine from publishers, editors and literary agents, I was yelling at the television.

“OH, SHUT UP FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!”

“Jealous?” Beloved asked.

“Just a wee little bit,” I replied, trying not to foam at the mouth too much.

Because the woman had never EATEN AN EGG IN HER ENTIRE LIFE, much less poached one.

I will say that I got immense satisfaction from the scene where it took three people and at least as many tries for her to successfully poach an egg.

Because it just ain’t that hard.

Eggs.

Water.

Vinegar.

That’s it, people.

I can poach one helluva an egg – and I don’t even care that much for poached eggs.

Am I making too much out of this?  Probably.  Because my recipe for poached eggs is based on a Julia Child recipe, too – the one in From Julia Child’s Kitchen, a much more informal and basic cookbook than Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  Mrs. Child recommends not poaching more than six eggs at one time, which is perfect for me since I really only poach eggs when I’m making Eggs Benedict.  And since Eggs Benedict is Beloved’s all-time favorite breakfast, 6 eggs will feed the two of us perfectly – four for him, and two for me (if I even eat it – if I’m not crazy about poached eggs, I care even less for Eggs Benedict).

But the recipe is spot-on.

Poached Eggs

serves 4 – 6

4 – 6 fresh eggs

Large saucepan of boiling water

2 quarts simmering water in a wide, fairly shallow pan (water should be about 2 1/2 inches deep)

1/4 to 1/3 cup plain white vinegar

Bowl of very hot water

Slotted spoon

A straight pin (or an egg pricker, if you have one – I do not)

Pierce the large end of each egg with the pin about 3/8 of an inch deep; lower the eggs into the saucepan boiling water for exactly 10 seconds, and remove immediately and set aside – this will help the egg keep it’s shape during the poaching process.

Pour the vinegar into the pan of simmering water; the vinegar will also help the egg retain it’s shape when poaching.  Crack an egg sharply against the side of the pan and, holding the egg as closely to the surface of the simmering water as you can manage, break open the egg quickly and slide it into the water.  Set a kitchen timer for 4 minutes and quickly repeat with the remaining eggs.

Increase the heat slightly if you need to in order to keep the water simmering, and when the 4 minutes is up, remove the eggs with the slotted spoon, one at a time, in the order you dropped them into the water – depending on how quickly you got them into the water, you shouldn’t need more than 15 seconds between each egg – and place them in the bowl of hot water.   This will help keep them warm as well as remove the taste of the vinegar.  They should remain warm as long as the water in the bowl is hot; Julia Child says they cannot overcook if the water does not go over 120 degrees, but I have found that to not necessarily be true, so serve them as quickly as possible.