I've been cooking a lot lately. I love cooking! I love the creativity of it, the chemistry and process, and of course eating good food. Given the choice, I'd take an environment like "Chopped" over a cookbook any day. Give me a few good ingredients and an empty plate and let's see what happens.
Mostly I've been experimenting lately with making Indian food. With a few spices and some newly learned techniques, an entire world opened up to us. The girls' new favorite is Masala Dosa night. But not every night can be Masala Dosa night.
This evening, I was flying solo so it was a good opportunity to get out of my comfort zone. In the fridge was a bowl of Jamaican coconut rice and beans we made and enjoyed last night, a few beets (with greens attached), and a few stalks of celery. The coconut rice was creamy with a very subtle spice. It was begging for something with some punch and a little crunch.
Beets are a wonder food. Not only are they delicious, but the nutrition (especially in the form of nitrates) they deliver to your body can help you achieve improved athletic performance. I've never cooked beet greens, so my first instinct was to cut off the greens and toss them out. But then I thought about that and how nutritious the greens could be. After a quick google search, I found that the greens are entirely edible -- stems and all. So begins tonight's experiment that should serve two normal people. I ate the whole thing though...
- Greens from 3 beets
- 1 beet
- 1/2 onion
- 3 stalks celery (the more interior pieces with leaves the better)
- 1T olive oil
- 1/4t Black pepper
- 1/4t Red chili flakes
- 1/4t Allspice powder
- 1T soy sauce or Braggs
- 2T apple cider vinegar
- Beet Greens
- Cut greens off beets
- Wash beet greens
- Separate leaves from stems
- Chop stems 1/4" long
- Very rough chop leaves
- Dice beet (1/4" cubes)
- Dice onion
- Cut celery into 1/4" pieces
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet
- Add black pepper, red chili flakes, and allspice
- Cook spices until fragrant
- Add beet green stems, beet, celery, and onion (all but the beet green leaves) and stir-fry.
- Reduce heat
- Add soy sauce and vinegar, stir well
- Cook until most of the liquid is gone and beets are tender
- Remove veggies from pan
- Heat a bit more oil in the pan
- Cook beet green leaves until they are tender
Serve over your favorite substrate or on its own. Layer the substrate, cubed veggies, then the cooked leaves. This would work on rice, polenta, mashed potatoes, etc. I used some leftover Jamaican coconut rice and beans from the other night and it was awesome. The little bit of vinegar gives the beets a subtle tang but lets the individual flavors and savory aspects come through.
Now, after eating all those beets, the next day may be "interesting". Maybe you know what I'm talking about or maybe not. This video is relevant and funny regardless...