You can buy beets already cooked and peeled at Trader Joe's, or you can roast a bunch of them at home. To do this, I wrap the beets in aluminum foil, put them in a roasting dish, and pop them in a 400 degree oven. Test one for doneness with a fork or knife and pull them out when they're soft. After they've cooled, take them out of the foil and peel them. The skin will just rub off- but it is messy work. You can also boil them instead of roasting them. Then I slice them or dice them depending on how I want to eat them, drizzle them with balsamic vinegar, and refrigerate them until I need them.
I like them best in salads and sandwiches. If you also have some greens on hand, whether beet greens or not, and walnuts, you have everything you need for beet walnut pasta. Add them to any salad, or make a sandwich of toast, butter or mayonnaise, sliced beets, and sliced hard-boiled eggs. Top it with a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper.
Oddly enough, I have early memories of my mother sprouting mung beans. I grew up in Berkeley, and back in the day people there really liked their sprouts.
Odder still is the fact that I recently found a long-forgotten jar labeled "mung beans for sprouting" in my cabinet. This means that at some point I had aspirations to sprout as well. Curiouser and curiouser. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
I need to clear out the cabinets, so I gave sprouting a try this week. The verdict? I actually like sprouting, and I will continue the practice until my half gallon jar empties. (It could be a while.) The sprouts are sturdier and healthier than what you buy, though mine are a little stunted due to crowded conditions. I'll use a bigger jar next time. If you use only 1/4 cup of beans, this will be about three cups of sprouts.
I followed directions that I found for sprouting in Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East Vegetarian Cooking, a copy I believe was originally my mother's. I checked the copyright date- 1981. Sounds about right, I would have been three then.
1/4 cup mung beans
one quart jar
cheesecloth or special lid for sprouting
Put the beans in a jar and cover the opening with some cheesecloth and a rubber band. Soak the beans in filtered water overnight. The next day, pour out all the water and set the jar in a warm dark place. Every four hours or so, fill the jar with water and pour it all out again.
You will forget frequently, but if you are not a perfectionist then once or twice a day will probably be enough. The sprouts will grow over the next three or four days. When they are long enough, put them in a big bowl of water and rub them to release the green skins. When those float to the top, pour them off. Drain the sprouts and keep them in the refrigerator for a few days.
Steamed Rice with Mung Bean Sprouts
And here is a meal that makes me think it's worth the effort. This was modified from the same cookbook. Rice cooked with sprouts and stirred together in a simple sauce. I fried an egg to serve over it. Next to it is warmed tofu topped with bonito flakes and soy sauce. My children were offended that it wasn't the plain rice they were expecting, but this was SO GOOD!
2 cups short grain white rice
2- 1/4 cups water
1 cup mung bean sprouts
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon sugar
Put the rice in a small saucepan and add the water. Sprinkle the mung bean sprouts over the top. Put the lid on and bring the water to a boil over medium heat. Once it comes to a boil, turn the flame down to the lowest setting and set a timer for fifteen minutes.
Meanwhile, mix together the soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil.
After the fifteen minutes is up, turn the flame off under the rice and let it sit for five minutes. Stir the soy sauce mixture into the rice or serve it separately. I like it all mixed together.
I am a year late posting this, but I thought I'd put it up anyway now that it doesn't make me cry anymore. Something about a phoenix rising from the ashes? Whatever.
This was supposed to be a post about my fall garden, but the word "fail" seemed more appropriate given my lack of gardening prowess and the fact that it is already winter. So here are the particulars of the journey since the devastation of August...
It was a hot September afternoon and I was watering the garden in my bathing suit when I felt a pinch on my thigh and looked down to see what looked like a bark chip. I swatted it with a gloved hand and the little sucker wouldn't come off. Full panic ensued, which is probably why I can't remember what it looked like except that it resembled a bark chip. There are lots and lots of bark chips in my backyard, so this has made gardening less of a joy. It did eventually come off, but it left me a little afraid of bark chips and swelled to the size of a dinner plate. An itchy dinner plate. I'm not sure yet, but I have considered the possibility that I was implanted with alien DNA. Only time will tell. I thought about posting a picture with this, but it wasn't very flattering.
I had a small "harvest" of a few random miniature things. A watermelon the size of a golf ball, butternut squash the size of a tennis ball, and a giant pumpkin that wouldn't even pass for a soccer ball. Sad days, but I'm trying to laugh. The itsy-bitsy watermelon even contained mature seeds... I must be really bad at this!
All I can say is, if I depended on my gardening skills to eat, I'd be dead. I think about Cuba's two year struggle to grow food after the fall of the USSR (which Cuba had formerly relied on for food) and shudder for them. My family wouldn't have made it. If my area is hit with a catastrophic event, I am not under the illusion that with a bag of seeds and some dirt I will feed my family.
I can learn from my mistakes, it's just that there are so many!!
I planted kale and collards twice already this fall, once from seed and once from seedlings I purchased. Nothing can survive the birds.
But the best thing for me right now, the thing that warms my heart, is that the potato plants I killed last year all came back! Somehow, this year I will keep them alive. Experts recommend food and water, and here's hoping I can manage that.
And in the greenhouse, I am trying to learn a few new tricks so that next summer will produce less death and more bounty.
Next summer is going to be amazing! And incidentally, if you read this far, I would like to add that there has been no evidence over the last year of alien DNA or Lyme's disease (that I know of).
I love trying new foods, cooking, and gardening. I hope to share these experiences on this site. Thanks for taking a look!