Kohlrabi-turned-beet week. Beets. Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeets.
OK, truthfully, who likes beets? For real, for real? (I feel compelled to say again that Lauren doesn’t count. She’s not normal.) I say beets draw such ire from the world for a reason: they’re fucking awful. Then again, it probably goes without saying that my childhood of canned peas and fish sticks didn’t include a lot of beets, so I am making this general judgment of beets based on rumor and hearsay, but you have to admit they do have a reputation and it’s probably not baseless.
In any case, the sum total of my experiences with beets before beet week happened pretty recently and it was not good. Back in the spring, I was at a hippie dippy green festival on the Decatur square with my dog and some friends (the kind who hate me), checking out dual-flush toilets, overpriced rain barrels and local restaurants’ local food. Decatur has this pretty little gazebo right in the middle of the square where all the restaurant vendors had set up shop, so like a minute into the festival when the sky opened up, said, screw you environment, and rained like hell, all 15 of us toilet-flushing greenies made a mad dash for the gazebo to wait out the storm. It was very Sound of Music, minus the singing, dancing and Nazis.
While we were in the gazebo getting chummy, the restaurants cleaned up. Everyone tried everything, took every card, signed up for every newsletter, and agreed to participate in every event forever until the end of time. Lauren, Maggie and I made our way around to each vendor and eventually came to a caterer’s table where the owner was artfully decorating crackers with pinkish purplish fluffy ugliness. What happened next was kind of a blur: Lauren talked to the caterer lady, I ate pizza and brownies from the next table over, Maggie was suffering over the amount of food in the gazebo she was not allowed to eat, Lauren ate some pink fluffy ugliness, then picked up another sample and before I could stop that runaway train she said, definitely in slow motion, “Heeeeere, eeeeeeat thiiiiiiis, youuuuuu’ll liiiiiiiiiiiike iiiiiiiiit,” and shoved that shit in my mouth. “It’s beet mousse.” UGH. GAG. UGH. AWFUL. UGH. I looked all around for somewhere to spit, but I was crammed in too tightly with what now looked like 400 of my closest friends; where did all these goddamn people come from?? The only way out was by the beet mousse lady’s table. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck! Gag, gag, gag.
Strike one, beets. Strike a jillion, Lauren.
So I was really, really, really dreading this week and was super pissed it snuck up on me early when kohlrabi took a hike, but — aside from the beet mousse debacle — Lauren had worked pretty hard to convince me that beets really are edible. I was both freaked out about having to eat that gag-inducing nastiness again and trying to limit my anxiety about starving since they seemed to think it was possible I could like them.
Even though I’d been hearing from people all over the place that beet salad is the way to ease into beets, I was in kind of an experimental mood Tuesday and wanted to see if I could come up with something on my own. I very quickly realized the flaw in this plan, of course—not knowing a lick about beets or what to do with them—so I adjusted my plan slightly to include Google. I would tell Google what we had to work with and Google would tell me what to make: beets, obviously; um, what else…arugula (I was sort of craving my arugula sandwich again); and…chicken. Mmm, chicken would be good. OK, Google, go.
Google told me to make a salad. Obviously.
- 7 oz package arugula
- ½ cup Marie’s Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing (I don’t know who Marie is, I used balsamic vinaigrette)
- 4 oz packaged baby beets, diced (I used fresh beets and I peeled and grated them)
- 2 oz crumbled goat cheese
- 6 oz fully-cooked diced chicken breast
- Pepper to taste (don’t you think this should be in the directions list? like, maybe they could put “pepper” in the ingredient list and then “pepper to taste” in the directions list because this is clearly a direction, I’m just saying, recipes are stupid)
Directions: In large bowl, toss arugula with Marie’s Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing. Add beets, goat cheese and chicken (hot or cold). (I didn’t toss, I just made our plates so they would look pretty)
This was a pretty good salad! I tried to pay really, really close attention to the beets, but I think I used too much goat cheese and probably a little too much balsamic because that’s really all I could taste, but David loved it and said he could taste the beets and they really added something. He licked his plate clean, and when I was full he ate the rest of mine. I’m not sure I would call beets on this because, you know, it was a salad, but I didn’t hate it and I didn’t spit it out, so that’s an improvement.