Monday, November 30, 2009

Feelin' Beet?

OK, so not my most glamourous photo, and you can't really tell, but there are six pieces on the platter...maybe too much Horseradish Cream? I don't know. Can I blame it on the new camera?

Beets are so delicious, I can't understand why they get such a bad wrap. My husband hates them, although he did eat one of these gems because I asked him to. I told him if he didn't like it, he didn't have to eat the whole thing, but he did, so it can't have been that bad.
I wonder if it's the pickled variety that gets shoved to the back of the cupboard. But then you think about the Canadian obsession with dill pickles, that it just can't be so. I often wonder if it's because people have forgotten how to cook them, and are really not sure what to do with them. Kind of like turnips and rutabaga, and parsnips, come to think of it.
There's just something so glorious about the colour of beets, that jewel-toned red purplish colour, that screams "eat me". It's almost a fashion statement on your plate. Regarding the colour, a few years ago my friend and I were going to start a paint company and name all our colours after food - beetroot was going to be one of them. You can tell we needed something more interesting in our lives, and it obviously never eventualised. I have a few business ideas that never made it off the ground...hmmm...
Back to beets, they are wonderfully healthy for you too - folic acid (for those of us trying to get, or already are, pregnant), calcium, iron, vitamin A & C, vitamin B6, they keep your liver healthy (metabolising fats properly and helping you lose weight (yay!)), lower colesterol, full of antioxidants and are beneficial against fighting cancer.* Wow, we should be eating these daily!
I have seen some beautiful heirloom varieties that are striped yellow and pink, or white and pink, and star shapes inside. The golden ones and albino ones are really pretty too. You can choose whichever beet you like for this recipe, but I love the ordinary vibrant hued beet here.
Beet & Sweet Potato Rosti (not a real rosti, no, but for the love of a name)
Makes 6 cakes
1 medium sized sweet potato (350g), peeled
4 medium sized beets (600g), peeled
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 green onions, finely chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup canola oil (for cooking rosti)
Shred the sweet potato and place in a large bowl. Shred the beets and before placing in the bowl with the sweet potato, squeeze out the excess juices (using your hands - wash them straight after and they won't stay dyed pink all day). Discard the juice or save for another purpose. I used my food processor for the shredding and I did the sweet potato first, so that the red juices didn't dye everything.
Combine all the other ingredients with the shredded vegetables (except the oil, of course), and mix well. Your hands will go pink again, but wash them straight away and you will be fine.
Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over med-low heat. Divide the shredded vegetable mixture into six equal portions and kind of squash into a patty-shape. Place in oil and gently press to flatten. You want the oil to be hot enough so that it sizzles, but not too hot that it burns the sugars in the vegetables. And, let me tell you, these are easy to burn because the colour is so dark to begin with. You want to be able to cook the patties about 6-7 minutes on each side. They are fairly delicate, so be careful when you flip them over.
Transfer cooked patties to a baking sheet when done and keep warm in a 350F oven while you cook the rest. Serve warm with horseradish cream - recipe follows.
Horseradish Cream
Makes about 1 cup
3/4 cup sour cream, or creme fraiche
1/4 cup horseradish (or more if you like it spicy)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Place all ingredients in a small bowl, mix well. Adjust seasoning to your liking. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
I think these would be amazing at a holiday party, because of their festive colour, made small into little appetisers and topped with some smoked salmon and fresh dill.
*All health information was collected from - I'm not a nutritionist, but I like to know when something is good for me.

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