Obsessions, mild or savage.

Everyone’s got one. If you claim you don’t, you’re probably lying.

For some people it’s something simple, like Diet Coke or bad reality TV shows (Housewives, anyone?). For others, it’s not so simple, like crack.

I’ve got a new obsession.

I’ve been flirting with it the last few days and trying to convince myself that it’s ok, it’s harmless, I’m in control. Every time I thought about talking about it, or heaven forbid, blogging about it, though, I clammed up (rather unusual for a tell-all-kind-of-girl like me).

I think about my new obsession a lot. A whole lot. And I’m starting to think I may need to seek help. Is there a 12-step program for people in my shoes? I can’t imagine standing up in front of strangers assembled in a semicircle of uncomfortable folding chairs drinking tepid coffee from styrofoam cups to admit that I’ve got a problem with…beets.

Yes, you read that right. Beets.

I’ve always liked them, and can remember my sweet mama pickling her own. Not in the pressure cooker with Ball jars that go ping! when the hot-water bath creates a lasting seal. Nope, she did it her way, which was to whisk some sugar into some vinegar and dump a bunch of sliced beets in to macerate. Yes, you read that right: macerate.

I bought some beets last weekend thinking I’d roast them and give the tops & stems to our friend Henry, a grey lop-eared bunny who adores them. I figured I’d see if Piper likes them, too. So really, I did it for the animals. The sweet, hungry, innocent animals.

Yeah, right.

I’ve no idea what’s fueling the jump from “I’ve always liked beets” to “I can’t get them out of my mind.” Today I went so far as to investigate what nutritional properties they have, thinking perhaps I’m deficient in something and my body’s telling me to load up on beets to restore that delicate balance.

Here’s what I found out: beets are very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. They are a good source of vitamin C, iron and magnesium, and a very good source of  Fiber, folate, potassium and manganese.

I’m mildly curious about the difference between magnesium and manganese, but too hepped up on beets to delve into this mystery.

My current favorite way to shovel in the beets is this: roast them in foil sans stems & tops at 400 degrees for about an hour, chop them, and throw them on top of mixed greens then sprinkle on some crumbled feta. Toss with fancy dressing Cremer style (1/2 cup melted hot pepper jelly, 2 T cider vinegar, 1 T olive oil, salt & pepper) or be lazy and drizzle on some oil & vinegar. 

Oh, mercy.

That is some all-out beet-y goodness.

I’ve had this salad for lunch and/or dinner the last 3 days, and am seriously thinking about having it for breakfast as well. My fingers are hot pink from peeling roasted beets, and my cutting board is permanently stained by them. I’m completely obsessed.

13 Comments on “Obsessed”

  1. Amy H. says:

    I’m also assuming that your pee has been colored for the past 3 days….just assuming. I have beets in my veggie drawer right now. Did you know they are on sale right now in bulk (sans greens) at HEB for .99 a pound? I have had beets for the past 8 weeks. Have we discussed this obsession we both must have? MY favorite….boil the beets gently in skin about an hour. Then chop off ends and slip skins off. Put beets through egg slicer and then again to julienne. Ask Amy Pace to bring other stuff to create the salad (greens, candied pecans, goat cheese) then I make a vineagrette (sp?) with pecan oil (3 parts) & balsamic (1 part) and fresh minced garlic. Emulsify (you like that word, don’t you?) in the magic bullet, pour over the salad and enjoy!!!

  2. Amy H. says:

    So if you manage to grab the kind that have greens…when you cut the greens off, rinse the greens then chop. Add a little oil (my fav right now is pecan oil, thank you Aint Wendy) to your favorite skillet and a little garlic. Wait til the garlic dances, add the greens and a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar, cover and smother, stirring occasionally. You can add cracked black pepper if you like or red pepper flakes….just a thought…

  3. Amy H. says:

    My other favorite beet serving is to chop the greens off, rinse the beets and then boil the beets gently until they are tender (about an hour). Cut the top and root end off and slip the peels off then rinse the beet and put it through the egg slicer. You will have little circle even cut beet sections. Put these in a 9 x 11 pyrex and then slice pieced of goat cheese and put on top of that. Sprinkle with white vinegar. Crack some fresh ground pepper & salt over the top of each beet slice with cheese. Cut thinly slice purple onions and dress the top of them. Wa Laa! Beet appetizers!!!!

  4. Amy H. says:

    can you say “obsessed” ? I can…..

  5. Miss Pink!!!! Every lover of beets must read and revel in this paean to the ruddiest of root vegetables penned by my favourite author of all time, the one and only Tom Robbins, who set this as the first page of his mag opus, Jitterbug Perfume… I have been found bent over the kitchen sink in the middle of the night eating them from a tin can, the juices running down my chin like some deranged, lost vampiress… TS


    THE BEET IS THE MOST INTENSE of vegetables.

    The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.Slavic peoples get their physical characteristics from potatoes, their smoldering inquietude from radishes, their seriousness from beets.The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip . . .

    The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime. The beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot. The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.

    The beet was Rasputin’s favorite vegetable. You could see it in his eyes.

    In Europe there is grown widely a large beet they call the mangel-wurzel.Perhaps it is mangel-wurzel that we see in Rasputin. Certainly there is mangel-wurzel in the music of Wagner, although it is another composer whose name begins, B-e-e-t——

    Of course, there are white beets, beets that ooze sugar water instead of blood, but it is the red beet with which we are concerned; the variety that blushes and swells like hemorrhoid, a hemorrhoid for which there is no cure. (Actually, there is one remedy: commission a potter to make you a ceramic asshole—and when you aren’t sitting on it, you can use it as a bowl for borscht.)

    An old Ukrainian proverb warns, “A tale that begins with a beet will end with the devil.”

    That is a risk we have to take.

  6. Eddie says:

    Wow. I never knew there is such passion for beets. Nor did I realize how widespread it is. I just knew I couldn’t explain to people why I like these strange-tasting things. I’m glad to have company and am now hankering for Amy’s beet appetizer. Beets and red onions sound like a smashing combination.

  7. Yvonne says:

    I’m available to share a beet salad with you…anytime. Have you figured out whether Champagne goes with beets? My bet is that you have.

  8. Jody Hicks says:

    I’m with Eddie! I roasted beets for the first time for a salad to take to a Christmas potluck dinner last month. It looked almost as pretty as yours, and worked great with its Christmas colors. Feta cheese and toasted pecans are terrific with it. Don’t know why I haven’t tried roasting beets before – either I was afraid of it, or maybe just lazy (probably the latter). Your dressing sounds superb – looking forward to trying it.

  9. David Benbow says:

    There certainly are a lot of hardcore beet-niks out there. I guess I’ll have to see what all the fuss is about. I really don’t need any more vices in my life, so if I get hooked, be it ever upon your conscience.

    • Elizabeth connolly says:

      Oh Nancy, you must know how my mouth is watering for those delicious beets. NOT!!!!!!!could handle some tasty sauce on summer squash. I’m trying. Love

  10. Lauren says:

    Okay you sold me, I am a beet virgin, so I will head to whole foods tomorrow and try this, but I understand it is a slippery slope….

  11. wendy says:

    Oh wow. um, I am going to have to try this recipe out. I feel like I’ve been telling people I like steak all my life, and someone just came around with some REAL steak and informed me I’ve been eating hamburger. But, with beets.

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