Let's talk a second about one of the banes of my existence: beets.
According to Sara, owner of my CSA (Community Supported Ag) group, "You either love 'em or you hate 'em."
Toward the end of the year, I had rustled up a way to introduce myself to beets without making them the star of the show. I found a recipe for a bundt cake that used beets and orange peels to make a "beautifully pink-fleshed cake." I had forgotten, however, that I am not a very good baker.
The reason for this is my willingness to substitute whatever is on hand for whatever I am lacking. I don't recall exactly what I subbed in, but said pinch hitter was not good. Cake #1 went largely to the compost pile out back.
You are right, Constant Reader. One cannot have Cake #1 without Cake #2. This one was prepared for a tailgate and placed next to various more traditional goodies, such as brownies. I do not blame people for their choices. Even I chose the brownies.
Cake #2 did make it back, mostly in tact. But I was so reminiscent of the ickiness of Cake #1, that it eventually joined its predecessor in the compost heap.
This year, I have wasted exactly 4 pounds of beets. And I decided it needs to stop. I ain't down wit' wasting food - or beets. (Anymore.) Besides, I had an absolutely delicious felafel wrap at a local fair, which included beets. They couldn't be all bad.
As a test run, I tried the "Beet and Orange Salad" at Wegman's (a grocery chain similar to Whole Foods or Harris Teeter). It was awful. Possibly rancid. I tasted rancid bruschetta once. The tomatoes had begun to ferment and it was almost soda like with bubbles. This beet salad was just like that. Only, Wegman's is known for their fresh food, and especially their salad bars. So was it really rancid, or is this how it is supposed to taste? I couldn't decide if I should complain, so I focused in on my slice of Ultimate White Cake which is pretty much like very fattening heroin. Ohhhhh.....so good. (By the way, I have not actually tried heroin, but I have seen Trainspotting. Same thing.) Anyway, another pound of beets showed up in my share after that - they are definitely producing better this year - and I just tossed the soft, wrinkly little guys into the compost pile, untouched.
It was a few weeks later (last Friday, actually) that I tried a Moroccan Salad at California Pizza Kitchen, which included, among many other tasty things, beets.
And it was delicious! The beets really didn't make the salad bad at all. I would not go so far as to say I would have missed them if they were forgotten, but...
...so I decided on a whim to toss a few, small, finely chopped pieces into the soup I was making for my lunches this week. Turns out, beets are kind of like the bullies of the bunch. (Maybe that's where the get their name?) Like a banana or cantaloupe in a fruit salad, everything in my blood red soup tastes like a dang beet. It hardly seems like a soup at all. It's a borscht. Sure enough, you really don't use many beets in a borscht. A small gang is all that is needed to take over the neighborhood.
Oh well. My soup isn't all that bad. And I used a beet on a salad for lunch today. They almost taste good when paired with carrots. I'd say I neither love them nor hate them. But slowly, I am learning not to waste them.