Foodie Tuesday: Beetroot & Brassica

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It is good to have a zest for one's food. That can lead to more zest for life . . .

My favorite vegetables vary just as often as all of my other preferences, but like all of them, they range most of the time from ultra-sweet to slightly edgy, making stops everywhere in between. For today’s examples, let’s head toward the two ends of that spectrum. Beets for the sweet. Brassica for the brassy.

The other day’s beets were developed enough in their sugary content that they required very little enhancement of it. So they got steamed until tender with only butter, a good dose of orange zest–because such firm traditions as that combination of orange and beets form around associations that are popular with good reason–and salt. Turns out, the beets were so very sweet that they could have done with the addition of some lemon juice as a brightener. Next time!photo

Still, a good and very simple taste treat, and speaking of brighteners, despite being dutifully punctured before cooking, the beets exploded in their steaming bowl, giving me a wonderfully vivid reminder of another thing I’ve always adored about them. Had I not had such a hankering to eat them, I’d have had to soak some fabric in them to celebrate the occasion. Beets to dye for, indeed.photo

A fine contrast to the brilliant fuchsia coloring and that mellow sweetness is to be found in any of the friendly green Brassicas. On this occasion I wasn’t necessarily looking for sharpness or boldness quite so much as a textural and color-happy change of pace, so I opted for sautéed Brussels sprouts. Slicing them fairly thinly, I sautéed them in bacon fat with chopped walnuts, thyme and alder-smoked salt. If I weren’t so lazy and well-supplied with excellent bacon fat in my fridge, I’d have fried chopped bacon and then caramelized the sprouts with that, but there you are, I am a wonderfully lazy creature. Had I had any on hand, I might also have liked to throw in a bit of crumbled Gorgonzola to melt in just slightly, but lacking that, I drizzled the saute at table with a little thin sour cream.

With the two vegetables, all that lunch required for my sense of repletion was some simple Jasmine rice cooked in my homemade broth and topped with a big spoonful of finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Simple. Filling. Varied. Amen, let’s eat.photo

But since one could make a slightly fussier meal, say, by adding a nice sizzling lamb chop garnished with a relish of balsamic-caramelized onions, why not also finish with a drink. The one my sister and I sipped the other day would do nicely: muddled fresh mint and basil leaves and a shot of Limoncello, topped with a smooth quality vodka (we used Austin’s own Tito’s, a very nice sip, as opposed to the many vodkas that taste slightly reminiscent of nail varnish remover when supped plain) over ice and stirred. Light, refreshing, and a good perspective-brightener before, with, or after a meal. Or, sure, instead of one. Cheers, y’all!photo

24 thoughts on “Foodie Tuesday: Beetroot & Brassica

  1. Amen!! I love reading your food posts.. this one is one of the pretties due to your exploding beet event! I think beets would be lovely in a chocolate cake, so I’m told.. to die them a rich red velvet color:) I will have to try your brassica, being at a stand-still when it comes to veggies these days, it would be a welcome dish in my kitchen:) xoxo Smidge

    • Yes, I’ve thought for a while about making beet Red Velvet cake or brownies. Guess I ought to get off of my posterior and actually get to work on that, but since I’ve eaten a good many chocolate tasties there *is* a certain, erm, weightiness to that particular getting-up activity . . . 🙂

  2. From the bursting beets (talk about a pop of color!) to the last gulp of a thirst-quenching cocktail, this post was a delight, Kathryn. And you’ve inspired me. All evening, I’ve been trying to resolve some external drive issues but now it’s time for a cocktail before bed. I’ve no Limoncello but I’ll make do. Have a good night.

    • Our liquor supply is seriously limited here right now, since we’re not often home to *enjoy* them and then I steal them for cookery! So I may have to have a little outing to the county line one of these days and replenish. I am still trying to wrap my head around the idea that there are yet counties in the US (like ours) that are ‘dry’ (you can drink all you like, and places do serve cocktails here, but you have to cross the border to buy anything other than beer and wine. Ha! Honestly, I don’t quite get what end is served by this setup, but I’m sure there are *excellent* and ingenious reasons behind it. Or not. 🙂

  3. “Beets to dye for”: words that can’t be beat.

    As for Brussels sprouts, I’m forever trying to get produce managers in food stores to stop putting up signs that say “Brussel sprouts.” I guess these people grew up in New Orlean. Must’ve lost their s’s in a hurricane.

    • It’s just sad when one loses his S, isn’t it. Is this, by the way, what eventually happens to a person who ‘can’t tell his S from a hole in the ground’?

      I’m thinking of taking up Beet Poetry.

      • Yes, all that was left after the hurricane was a hole in the ground.
        I’d toyed with adding a comment about Kerouac at al. but decided not to push my luck; now you’ve pushed it for me.

  4. And there’s the perhaps apocryphal story of the English-speaking student of Spanish who encountered the word repollo, which means cabbage, and translated it as re-chicken (pollo being the Spanish word for chicken).

  5. Hi Kathryn! With the exception of Brussels sprouts (one of the very few vegetables I don’t love) I’m salivating here! Mad about beets, though somehow I’ve lived my life without the excitement of having one explode on me…and your drink!! Muddled mint and basil! Limoncello and vodka! We speak the same tongue! Thank you (dearly!) for the inspiration! 🙂 xoxo

    • Hmmm. If *all* Brassicas aren’t anathema, I’d certainly consider the combination dandy with either broccoli or even cauliflower, but it’d definitely work really well with green beans. Meanwhile, stay safely away from Beet Bombs! Thankfully, this beaut went off *inside* the microwave, so the carnage was confined even though it literally blew the lid off the steaming bowl. Life can be exciting in the kitchen! 🙂
      xoxo

    • It’s taken me this long, but I’m about to muddle my basil & mint! And then I guess you know what I’ll be doing! 😉 thanks again dear you!

  6. Pingback: Foodie Tuesday: Simple Sips & Snips | kiwsparks

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