Tag Archives: beets

One Ingredient, Three Ways: Just Beet It!

Gentle Readers, sometimes one has to pump iron. That is both literal and figurative. I’m a big fan of a few curls between conference calls, but also of the humble yet sweet beet. How many vegetables are that nutritious and that pretty at the same time?

Sweet Roasted Beets

Sweet Roasted Beets

Admittedly, I grew up a beet fan, surrounded by scads of home-canned pickled ones. I am spoiled that way. I have featured beets on more than on occasion on these very pages. And, in the land of vegetarians, the multi-colored vegetables are king. That’s an old proverb. That I just made up.

Squeaky Clean Beets

Squeaky Clean Beets

One Ingredient, Three Ways: Beets

1. Raw and shredded: This is my new favorite salad topping at the Whole Foods salad bar. I admit that I have a WF salad bar problem, as the infinite combinations and pretty colors lure me. Raw shredded beets are gorgeous, flavorful, and add a nice peppery crunch. Give them a try, just wear an apron if you grate them by hand.

Take it from the pros like Whole Foods, Salad Bars work.

Take it from the pros like Whole Foods, Salad Bars work.

2. Pickled on a salad: Cubes of pickled beet with herb salad mix (my personal fave), walnuts, and a salty grated cheese is the bomb. Goat is a natural match, but don’t overlook Romano or the Sartori Balsamic Bellavitano. Simply dressed, the crunch and the sweet are an amazing combo.

Pickled Beets, Walnuts, Sartori Cheese and Herb Salad Mix. Divine.

Pickled Beets, Walnuts, Sartori Cheese and Herb Salad Mix. Divine.

3. Sliced on a burger: Be it beef, buffalo, veggie, or portabello, beets on burgers are awesome. They are awesome AS burgers (Goaty McBeet Burger FTW). Why not layer iron on iron? Add some sauteed onions and goat cheese and you have a party on your hands.

Goaty McBeet Burger with Slaw

Goaty McBeet Burger with Slaw

If you’ve not given beets a chance lately, try them and let me know. Post a comment below. I’m listening. With my superhuman beet-powered ears.

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Coming up next, Sunday Menus: I’m Eating Your Dinner Edition.

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Introducing the Goaty McBeet Burger

Gentle readers, on occasion, dinner is more about marketing than dinner. When not using her alternate identity, the Practical Cook is a practical marketing professional. She has found the skills are most useful in both parenting and cooking. If you think you’re a beet hater, let me introduce you to the Goaty McBeet Burger, no longer a loathed root, but now a proud vibrant part of the cheese-bun tradition.

Goaty McBeet Burger with Slaw

Goaty McBeet Burger with Slaw

Goaty McBeet Burger Recipe

Squeaky Clean Beets

Squeaky Clean Beets

Slice the Beet!

Slice the Beet!

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Scrub and peel 3 or 4 small to medium-sized beets. Slice in 1/ 4 inch slices. Put a large piece of foil on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and arrange beets in a single layer, turning over to coat with oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and dill (fresh or dried works fine). Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until beets are soft.

Beets Oiled Up for Roasting

Beets Oiled Up for Roasting

Sweet Roasted Beets

Sweet Roasted Beets

Create your scarlet wonder by layering beets and goat cheese on a bun. Top with slaw (may I recommend Extremely Practical Slaw?). Voila, you’ve got borscht deconstructed, in a convenient hand-held application. (Sorry, my marketing brain just kicked in again.)

Goaty McBeet Burger, Open Face

Goaty McBeet Burger, Open Face

What else do you like to serve on a bun besides burgers? Post a comment or send a Tweet!

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Quinoa Recipe and Pronunciation Guide

This blog is about practical cooking, but it’s also about a passion for food. The Practical Cook feels that passion for today’s ingrediente secreto: quinoa. Over 15 years ago, quinoa and I first met at a crunchy Carrboro co-op (locals recognize that this is a redundant phrase) called Weaver Street Market. This was before quinoa became the darling of chefs and healthy eaters everywhere, and well before I could actually pronounce it.

Quinoa with Beets, Chickpeas, and Dill

Quinoa with Beets, Chickpeas, and Dill

Because “The Weave” was within walking distance of my then-employer, lunch was often ordered there in a rush by simply pointing at one healthy option or another. My love for quinoa bloomed, and I attempted to order it by name one day, phonetically, uttering something between “quinine” and “Samoa.”

I won’t bore you with a litany of the health benefits and nutritional bang of quinoa, a quick search will deliver all of that. This is about taste—quinoa is like couscous in size and texture, but with a surprising depth of flavor. It is nutty and somewhat earthy, and completely addictive. Quinoa is a rarity for its plant-based protein punch. And it’s fun to say, no matter how you pronounce it.

Quinoa with Beets, Chickpeas, and Dill

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
~1 cup of chickpeas (rinsed and drained, use more or less, depending on your preference)
1 to 1 1/2 cups diced pickled beets (to be fair, the Practical Cook’s Mom keeps us awash in this family favorite; for those without access to PCM‘s mad canning skills, they are commercially available, or plain cooked beets will work fine)
1 tsp dill (I used dried, and this is an estimate, adjust to your taste)
salt and pepper

1. Combine quinoa and water in a medium saucepan.

Combine Quinoa with Water in a 1:2 Ratio

Combine Quinoa with Water in a 1:2 Ratio

2. Bring quinoa to a boil, uncovered, over medium-high heat.

3. Once boiling, lower the heat (a bit less than medium) and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally,  for 7-10 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.

Quinoa Simmering

Quinoa Simmering

4. Take the pan off the heat, allow to sit for a few minutes, then fluff a bit with a spoon.

5. Fold in remaining ingredients, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature.

Fold Remaining Ingredients into Quinoa

Fold Remaining Ingredients into Quinoa

Here’s the final plate.

Sunday Night Supper: Quinoa, Salmon, and Asparagus

Sunday Night Supper: Quinoa, Salmon, and Asparagus

We served it alongside Salmon with a Creamy Lemon Dill sauce and broiled asparagus. The quinoa was a huge hit with our eldest, who is gun-shy about some textures (including couscous) and an aspiring almost six-year-old foodie. This is clearly a building block recipe that will work well with whatever you have at hand, including leftover grilled veggies; sauteed carrots and peas; goat cheese, walnuts, and dried fruit (like cranberries).

Next up, a warm weather punt: How to Dine Al Fresco, or Mama Tapas.

Have you tried quinoa? Let’s hear your ideas and flavor combinations on the blog, Twitter (practicalcook), or email (for the shy: practicalcook at gmail dot com).

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Filed under On the Table, Recipes