Beets for Dinner?

This week was a homeowner’s nightmare. It was the kind of week when you come home from work on Monday and smell gas upon opening the door. When you call the emergency gas line, have someone show up to inspect within a half hour because it could be dangerous, and discover, to your dismay, that you do in fact have a leak. “Oh, and I’m so sorry to tell you this, Miss, but it’s coming from inside your wall.”

This has been the kind of week when you not only discover that you’re about to have to hire a plumber to fix the gas pipes inside the wall (it’s a plumber that does that?), but also the bare electrical wire that has been stripped by a rodent. Oh, and you’ll have to repair the furnace because that’s decided to poop out too. “That’s the joy of being a homeowner!” If I hear that one more time…

Yes, it was the kind of week when you find yourself trying to make things right, looking up contractors on Angie’s List and making appointments during your lunch break and on the way home from work. A week when you have to figure out when you can be home for big blocks of time, ridiculous hours like between 8:00 and 1:00. Oh, sure. Walking into my house on Friday after a week of 50 degrees indoors, repairs finally taken care of, I was more grateful to feel the warmth of my home than I’ve ever been.

If you had told me several years ago that I’d be stopping off at the store on my way home from work on Friday to pick up a few beets for dinner, I would have laughed out loud. Never in a million years would I have imagined that eating a beet salad would be the perfect end to a less than perfect week. But clearly, I’m not the same person I used to be because the week melted off me with each earthy, magenta bite.

This salad may have made me a true beet convert. It’s the kind of recipe, yet another from my beloved cookbook, Tender, that makes me want to write a letter and tell her, “Tamara, I think you wrote this book just for me!” This recipe is the bare bones version of her salad, which is made even better with a sprinkling of crispy bacon pieces and blue cheese (I used goat cheese feta with much success). It’s simple, but so delicious, even to a former beet-hater like me.

Oven-Roasted Beet Salad with Blood Oranges

Adapted from Tender

I made a garlic vinaigrette for this salad using a recipe in the aforementioned cookbook, Tender, but you don’t need an exact recipe to make a lovely vinaigrette. Use Michael Ruhlman’s ratio for the perfect vinaigrette = 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. The options are endless. Add a little Dijon mustard, garlic, and shallots as Tamara Murphy suggests and you won’t be disappointed.

4 large beets, washed and trimmed
2 blood oranges, peeled, segments cut into smaller chunks
– I used blood oranges for the lovely beet-like color –
salt and pepper
about 1/4 – 1/2 cup homemade vinaigrette

Wrap each beet tightly in aluminum foil and roast right on the rack, at 350 degrees.

Bake the beets for about 45 minutes to an hour, until you can easily pierce the beets with a fork, but are still met with a little resistance. You want them to be tender, not mush.

Remove the beets from the oven and open the foil pockets to release some of the steam. When the beets are cool enough to handle, use the foil to rub against the beets and remove the skins. Chop the skinned beets in half and then into nice bite-sized pieces. Place into the bowl with the orange wedges. Sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Toss to coat.

Enjoy it like I did and be thankful it’s the weekend!

6 thoughts on “Beets for Dinner?

  1. Lindsey @NW Backyard Veggies

    I am a beet hater, as well. And I feel bad for never really giving them a chance. They are so good for you, and pretty, and beet juice colors homemade soap so nicely (a wonderful rose color), but I haven’t been able to find a recipe I like. I might try this one!

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