The Never Ending Bowl of Grated Beets and Other Quickfire Challenges from the Cellars

April 4, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Rob Gardner

This post began about ten days ago after my wife tackled the night’s quickfire: you have food in your attic saved for the winter, it will not last much longer (or in the case of forgotten quince, longer).  Create a delicious dinner for your family making the best use of your featured ingredient (i.e., what has not spoiled).  Go.

She espied the contents of the root cellar in the sky.  Cut.  She sends the kids.  They return with food.  She triage’s.  Compost.  Dinner.  She seeks the edible.  There are beets.  Many beets.  It is not an affection for webification.  It is a bag of Illinois beets taken at a very good price last November and doing just fine, thank you very much, all winter.  A lot of beets.  And not a lot of time.  She is the Mistress of the quick beet.  While these beets would take, what, maybe 2 hours to full roast.  She cannot hardly ever boil either; a moderately faster beet cook, yet her beet time, her beet way, takes even longer because she must do her beets the way Rob taught her (not me Rob, but Chef Rob Levitt, then of Mado and now of Butcher and Larder).  That is on a bed of salt.  Believe me, Rob knew.  Beets baked in salt come out robust and flavors fully contained within.  This is quickfire.  Grate beets.  She is a magician with grated beets.  She can do a lot without roasting on salt.

So, we dined on the night’s winning dish, sauteed grated beets with farm fresh fried eggs on top, a recipe for the site.  Beets for the Beet, clever with Top Chef references.  World interrupts.  The blog waits.  And a few days later, we dined.  Pancakes of beet grated, manipulated with flour and more egg.  We lose conceit.  And another night, or maybe nights before the  pancakes, she takes grated beets and bakes in the oven with nuggets of potato, also barely hanging on from the root cellar.  By, tonight, it about ended, the final of the bottomless bowl of grated beets mixed with balsamic in place of oranges already eaten and sauteed onions, because if there are many beets, there are even more onions left.  This year, the late season sack contained 50 pounds of onions.  In prior year, we put away a mere 25 pounds of yellow onions. 

The beets in the sky not yet grated remain, about 20 or so.  Two softball sized rutabagas kept attic company.  Softballs finally met their kitchen fate on Friday.  Peeled and pot roasted with chicken, taking the place of celery root in a Mindy Fox recipe, enhanced with local bacon. 

Reductions in the root cellar making progress, we turned the other direction.  The less cellar-y, cellar part of the Bungalow contains still an awful large amount of winter squash.  Cellar tripping this AM for sandwich bags hepped me to a couple of molders, squash gone soft and white.  Soon I urge new.  Now my wife must move onwards towards squashy meals.  Would we healthy glow of orange skin from squash a-gorgin’ these next weeks.  Oh if only.  She did make hay on squash today.  Pureed a bunch.  Roasted several more.  We ate the later, glazed with maple butter, for meatless Monday.  With beets.