I've had a hard time getting going on all fronts this week. Noisy neighbours (what is up with the intermittent knocking on their front door for an hour late at night?), busy weekend before that - and my plan to actually try and nap one afternoon to catch up was thwarted when the landscapers for our townhouse complex decided to do their leaf blowing at that point. So, I gave up and made another coffee that day (and again today!). I'm hoping a yoga class later in the week will add some zen to the week and my productivity will jump! Here's hoping and planning for it!
So, baked beets. Love them. I discovered this method of cooking them five years or so ago, when I was doing a cleanse and there were recipes to choose from, one of them including baked beets. I couldn't believe how much better they tasted than just steaming them! Sweeter and more interesting than I'd ever had. Since then this is how I cook my beets. It's the only way to go as far as I'm concerned. Now, saying that, you have to allow the time for this - around an hour is usually about right. So, it isn't as quick as throwing on a pot of water to boil. But, it's just as easy. Really - these are 'easy as pie' to prep. That's a funny phrase for me to use considering I've never made a pie, but you get the picture. Don't worry about rinsing them, you'll be sliding that peel off after they are cooked (and cooled down a bit). Leave them whole or at the most just trim off the root end about 1 cm/half an inch. I put about a half an inch (1 cm) of water into the dish I am baking them in, place the beets in, a lid on top and in they go. You will be able to rub the skin off or easily scrape or peel it off with a knife or peeler.
There are many directions you can take these after baking them, but often I just drizzle olive oil on top, squeeze the juice of half or a whole lemon over and season with salt and pepper. Warm, they taste great with a little butter. Cold, many salad dishes can come from this. I'll post a few ideas sometime soon. In the meantime, here's what I do:
- beets, whole (I usually plan for 2 beets per person, depending on their size, the size of the beet that is!)
- olive oil
- freshly squeezed lemon juice
- salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400⁰ F (200⁰ C).
Put a small amount of water into a casserole dish that is suitably sized for the number of beets you plan to bake. About half an inch (1 cm), approximately, of water added to the dish is fine, a bit more if you like. Place a tight-fitting lid, or foil, on top of the casserole dish.
Bake for one hour. You may want to check them at 45 minutes to see how they are doing. Perhaps you want them less firm, in which case add a few minutes on before checking again.
If you don't want your fingers to stain, put on rubber gloves to rub the peel off. Or, scrape the peel off with a knife holding onto the beet at the ends. Trim the ends and then slice in chunks or smaller slices, and drizzle with oil and lemon - or if serving warm, add a few dollops of butter!