A Childhood Favorite Passed On

When I was a child it was rare to have me be excited by a vegetable on my dinner plate. Vegetables were the enemy-the part of dinner you had to get through in order to get to dessert, or at least leave the table. From where I sat at the kitchen table, there was nothing friendly about the Jolly Green Giant. His vegetables made me want to run for the hills and Lima beans were a chief offender. (I have never gotten over that one- still hate Lima beans, always will!) But, every now and again a reprieve in the form of a veggie that I loved would show up on my dinner plate and I would be so happy. Dessert was easily assured.

One of my favorite veggies was (and still is) beets- red beets with a simple vinaigrette. They were usually served cold and I loved them. I ate them by the bowlful and always had seconds. I loved that they were sweet, yet woodsy. And, I adored that they could be used as a dye. That fact alone made every bite worthwhile! But, we did not have them often and as I grew up and went to boarding school and college we had them even less. By the time I was an adult, the only time I had beets was when I ordered them at a restaurant.

A few weeks ago I stumbled on a beet salad recipe and remembered my childhood love. I vowed to introduce beets to my gang. I knew that Harrison would resist; he has passed the age when bribery works with food. But Julia is my foodie, and willing to try anything once, so I still had a chance with her. I went to the market and bought red beets. This was going to be fun- at least for me.

I made a delicious room temperature beet salad with roasted pecans and goat cheese. It was beautiful to look at and Julia was intrigued. Harrison was (as expected) horrified. But, both children gamely tried the salad. Harrison was done at one bite; but my Julia, she loved her beet salad and quickly finished her portion and asked for more. Who knew that the childhood love of beets is genetic through adoption!

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Roasted Pecans– serves 6-8
Adapted from Fine Cooking
8-10 medium beets (red, golden or a mix)
3 T olive oil
3 T aged balsamic vinegar- the best you can find
sea salt/pepper
4-6 oz goat cheese, crumbled
½-3/4 c roasted pecans, chopped

Trim the beets of leaves and wash them. In a large pot fitted with a steamer basket, steam the beets until a paring knife enters them easily, 30-40 minutes, depending on their size. Set the beets aside to cool enough to handle them.

Peel the beets; the skin will rub right off. Trim and discard the tops and the tails and cut the beets into thick wedges. Transfer the beets to a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Add the pecans and the crumbled goat cheese and serve.

NOTE: You can make the beets a day ahead- peel, chop and refrigerate. Return to room temperature before completing the recipe.


One Comment

  1. Lisa Fitz
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 10:26 am | Permalink | Reply

    This sounds absolutely yummy! How lucky of you to have Debby-dearest for several days. Will give this recipe a try. Perhaps it will convince some of my troops to give fish a second try.


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