The Husband loves beets. Me, not so much. I think they taste like dirt. They take forever to cook – 45 minutes to boil or to steam, and if you steam them you have to keep adding water. They take a whopping 1 1/2 hours to roast, which is the best way to cook them, but then the whole house smells like dirt. And, when you peel a cooked beet, your hands get stained purple. My hands are already dry, I don’t need to be scrubbing them any more than I already do.
But the husband, being a nice Jewish boy from Detroit, grew up eating them frequently, either cooked or in the form of a chilled brand called “Mother’s Borscht.” After I graduated from cooking school I promised I would cook beets for him often. I also promised I would make homemade mayonnaise once a week…
One day, after he had reminded me yet again that I had not cooked beets in recent history I pondered my reservations (long cooking time, purple hands – there was nothing I could do about the dirt like flavor) and thought, hmmm, if I peeled them raw and then cut them into small pieces, they would not take as long to cook. Cutting them by hand could be perilous – since they are round and hard as rocks. How about coarsely grating them? But those box graters can be lethal. Suddenly I remembered that dusty box of food processor attachments – there was a grating blade in there. Maybe I could read the instructions and actually figure out how to use it.
Well eureka!! It worked!!
First of all, it only took 5 minutes to peel and cut the beets so that they would fit in the feed tube:
Secondly, I discovered that raw beets do not stain your hands the same way cooked ones do:
Then it only takes two minutes to put them through the feed tube (and what a satisfying activity particularly after a long bad day at the office).
Finally, it only takes 3 minutes to saute them in a thin layer in your choice of oil in a large skillet over moderately high heat.
I usually throw in a splash of balsamic to accentuate their natural sweetness. Sometimes I add toasted pine nuts or walnuts. After I discovered this brilliant method of quick cooking beets, I started experimenting with every other vegetable I could find.
Needless to say, The Husband was thrilled.