Easy Beets and Potatoes

beets 6 10.26.13One of the nice things about beets is that you can find them in convenient eight-ounce packages, steamed and peeled and “ready to eat hot or cold,” as the package says.

Now, beets aren’t a very inconvenient vegetable to begin with, though they may have a ¬†little of that perception, because, if you’re working with red ones, then you’re wary about beet juice and staining. But you’re likely not wearing your best clothes if you’re peeling beets, and, as far as dying your hands, well, really it all pretty much rinses right off under running water. Other than peeling them before or after they’ve cooked, they’re basically on their own while they’re simmering on the stove or roasting in the oven for an hour or so, while you go about other things.

But if beets weren’t at the farmers market when you were there, then the pre-packaged baby ones are perfect…and a nice partner with the small new potatoes that you did find at the farmers market, “you” in this scenario meaning me.

This combo is super easy. I rinsed and peeled a handful of the small new potatoes, put them in a small pot with enough water to cover them, and, once the water came to a boil, simmered them til they were tender, between 10 and 15 minutes. But check them sooner, because they’re small and cook quickly.

In the meantime, I opened the package of baby beets and drained and rinsed them in the strainer.

When the potatoes were done, I drained them, placed them in a bowl, mixing with rice vinegar, so the potatoes would absorb it while still warm, and salt and pepper. Rice vinegar is my go-to vinegar. I love its bright crispness.

beets 2 10.26.13I added the beets to the potatoes. Sprinkled thinly sliced scallion over top, as well as marjoram leaves (lots of marjoram in our garden!). Then salt and pepper, a few more shakes of vinegar, and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Stirred lightly, in an effort to try to preserve the whiteness of the potatoes, but they inevitably took on some of the red, and are maybe all the prettier for it.

Beets and potatoes. Easy to make…and easy to eat.

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Golden Beet

beets 5 10.21.13I’ve mentioned before how, when I go to the farmers market, it’s not unusual to buy more than I can realistically cook and eat in a week. I can’t seem to help myself.

And that’s ok. There are worse vices.

But sometimes an extra appointment comes up. Then unexpected details to handle. There’s still work, and other already scheduled commitments. And it must all filter through the low energy and stuffy head of a fall cold.

Leaving little pockets of time to keep up with the basics: laundry, paying bills, and catching up on the last few episodes of Modern Family from last season before allowing myself to begin watching the new episodes.

Things back up.

Some things, like posting to this blog, are temporarily put on hold.

And just when it feels like this slump is never going to end…it does.

A friend emails, would I like to meet for lunch. And the date that is free for her is free for me, too. Yes!, I reply.

Clarity regarding what had previously been a tedious and depleting situation comes in, opening it up and bringing a perspective and lightness to it.

I start feeling more sustained energy.

And, with a kind of actual fierceness, I look to my refrigerator to see how all my produce has been holding up, because I refuse to lose a vegetable to this slump!

The broccoli rabe is a little limp, but otherwise fine, and I cook it one evening with beans. The next morning, before I go to work, I shave off parts of a head of cauliflower that are starting to form spots, cut the rest into small pieces and roast, along with some potatoes. I boil green beans. They become part of a salad that I bring to my book group that evening.

And I roast, in a foil packet, with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil, a beautiful golden beet that I had bought several weeks before. Not looking  as vibrant as when I brought it home, but still firm.

I peel and slice it into 1/4″ rounds that I slightly overlap on a plate, sprinkle with salt and pepper, thin slices of a scallion, and a small handful of slivered almonds. A light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

beets 1 10.21.13A little bite, a little crunch. The sweetness of the beet and mellow richness of the oil. I sigh, enjoying each golden bite, savoring, after days of extra effort, the pleasure of simple and satisfying.