|Thin-sliced Roasted Beets, Beets Coulis, Celeriac|
Puree, Baby Yellow Carrots and Sesame-Seed
Crusted Ahi Tuna
“Mama say that happiness is from magic rays of sunshine that come down when you’re feeling blue” -Bobby Boucher. Whilst my Mother was not perfect either (although I’ll tell you… pretty darn near close!), she most certainly was correct in encouraging the family to “eat their vegetables” when my brothers and I were growing up. While some of the dishes may have been… questionable (one my brothers and I dubbed, “dud-muffin…”) they were always fresh, healthy and bursting with flavors. My brothers, my dad and I were incredibly blessed in enjoying light, fresh home-cooked meals daily.
One vegetable that I was not particularly fond of as a child, although grew to absolutely adore? Beets. I know. But before you roll your eyes and stop reading, I’m not asking you to eat canned beets. Shoot, I would throw in the towel as well if served tinny-flavored, unseasoned purple drops of goo. But have you ever tried oven-roasted, farm-grown beets? After reading the health benefits and trying the recipes, you can be sure you will be asking for seconds. As beets truly are an acquired tastes, most children do not reach for the sweet vegetables. However, as one develops his or her own palate, beets become an enjoyed vegetables, as opposed to an “I-have-to-eat-this-because-it-is-healthy.”
|Beets Grow in a Variety of Colors: Purple, Gold, Pink, etc.|
That being said, beets are packed full of a plethora of vitamins and minerals, as well as contain betaine. Betaine is actually the same substance that is used in certain treatments of depression. Trytophan is also common amongst beets – relaxing your mind and creating a sense of peace/well-being in your body (similar to a small amount of dark chocolate). Beets are a high source of energy since they are low in calorie count, but high in sugar. “High in sugar” does not exactly sound healthy… does it? Unlike processed sugars, beet sugar is actually released into your system gradually… preventing sugar rushes which in turn lead to blood level crashes (causing me to burst into tears when I had eaten too much sugar as a child… ahh, the pains of hypoglycemia!)
Two more interesting facts… Beets are actually used as a stomach acid tester. If you consume a large amount of the vegetable, then your urine actually turns pink. I know, weird. But this is an indication that you have a low stomach acid. If it is still clear, then begin adding more beets into your daily diet. Nutritionists often turn towards beets and beet juice in order to test stomach acid levels. Finally, one of the first known uses of beets were by the Romans who used them medically as aphrodisiacs. Beets contain a high level of boron. We’ll leave it at that.
|Oven Roasted Beets in Aluminum Foil|
Basic Roasted Beets
Preheat oven to 400°F and place aluminum foil on the bottom of a large roasting pan. Toss the beets (you do not need to peel) with sea salt, olive oil (or almond/walnut oil), ½ lemon juice, a light dusting of cayenne pepper (a SMALL amount, as cayenne has an intense kick of heat!), and dried herbs (depending on the other foods that will be on your plate… compliment with Herbs de Provence, Oregano, Italian Seasoning, Parsley, Basil, Rosemary, etc. Cover the beets with another sheet of aluminum and allow to roast for 1-2 hours, depending on the size and age of the beet. After one hour, test each beet to determine if finished roasting: simply poke a knife into skin of the beet. If the knife glides into the beet easily, it is tender and cooked. If not, allow to continue to cook until finished. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. While the beets are still slightly warm, begin to peel away the skin (if they become too cool, the skin is much harder to remove). Cut the beets into quarters, small dices, paper-thin slices (mandolin)… be creative when plating beets, as the colors are vibrant and shapes are easy to cut away from the tender vegetables. Use them to your advantage to prepare impressive presentations. Do not forget… it’s edible art.
One of my favorite, simple recipes is Beet Coulis:
After roasting beets, place 4 large beets in a blender and begin to mix. Slowly drizzle in Extra Virgin Olive Oil until the consistency of the mixture is smooth, clump-free. Season with lemon juice (1/2 lemon), salt to taste and a small pinch of cayenne pepper. Pour into a squeeze bottle and refrigerate. Remember, sauces are another huge asset when plating. They provide brilliant colors and impressive designs on your white plate that allow the food to “pop.” Beet coulis is often served with toasted baguettes, roasted goat cheese, herbs and nuts.
So how is that information to expand your growing medulla oblongata.
All my love from Dallas, y’all,