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Generally Recognized As True: Beetroot talk (me about them, not me to them or vice versa)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Beetroot talk (me about them, not me to them or vice versa)

You can't live on beetroot. I'm sure many vegetarians have died trying, though you'd probably get sick of life and kill yourself before malnutrition did it for you, but beetroot do have a necessary place in life.

One thing that beetroot needs to be partnered with in marriage in order to be somewhat pleasant is something that holds its shape, and is something that's acidic or something sweet (preferably both). An apple fits this description but isn't quite acidic enough. So, I've found that judicious use of vinegar makes up for this. And, to this, adding olive oil, goat's cheese (to be vegetarian is one thing, but I don't tolerate vegans), salt, and pepper can hold hands with the beetroot quite handsomely.

The last time I tried something with beetroot this past weekend, I inadvertently smoked my beetroot when the amount of water I used to steam the rather large roots was judged insufficient by the smoke coming from the residue burning on the bottom of the pan when the pan ran dry right near the end of the steaming time. The smoke added a new and positive dimension of flavour (the beetroot didn't burn, they were simply submersed in mild smoke for about a minute), but I also added some Jerusalem artichokes since they are the only vegetable that tastes anywhere near as earthy as beetroot while complementing the taste and having a slightly different texture.

Cleaning a burned stainless steel pan is quite easy: boil vinegar in it for a few minutes and the crust pretty much flakes or falls off. The underside of the base of the pan didn't clean so well, but these aren't decorations -- they're for cooking!

The beetroot salad turned out well: beetroot, Jerusalem artichokes, olive oil, goat's cheese, a Gala apple, salt, pepper, fennel, and malt vinegar. I'm not going to type out a recipe because this is the kind of thing you do by ear and tongue (mostly the latter). I added different ingredients and varied and adjusted until it tasted right. It gave me three lunches this week and, each time, I seasoned it with a few splashes of malt vinegar to put some sharp edges on it.

What does it taste like? It tastes like a used bookshop. If you could eat a used bookshop, this is what it would taste like. And when you bite a piece of the apple, it's like wandering into the corner of the shop where sunlight still shines through the cloudy, weathered window.

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