Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Beets marry Vanilla salt

It is nearly impossible to satiate my craving for beets. From soups to roasted chunks, they are like a bad habit I cannot kick. I attribute this to my love of dirt. I can only guess that such a fondness for the smell of dusty, earthy dirt must have come from my father's love of gardening.
Though I hated planting heaps of flowers and moving ridiculously heavy pots under the hot California sun, I was secretly enamored by the whiff of a new bag of dirt, and just as captivated by the packed soil that nourished a previous seed.
Like soil and clay, a wine that says "dirt-packed barnyard" sends a signal to my brain, clicking the "on" button. Call me a filthy chiquilla, but a terroir-driven Cab Franc from the Loire valley makes me happy as a clam. It's the dirt.
Roasted Beet recipe:
1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F. Wash 5-6 large beets, trimming the stems. Cut beets into large chunks, cutting off skins.
2. Place chunky beets on a sheet pan with tin foil, and coat beets with extra virgin olive oil. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until tender (when pierced with a fork).
3. Remove from oven and let cool. Once beets are room temperature, toss again with extra virgin olive oil.*
4. Sprinkle Vanilla salt to finish for a dirty, salty, sweet bouquet.

* I coated my beets with an almond oil that was gifted to me (in above trio photo). Tourangelle stocks beautifully-flavored, aromatic French oils. Flavors run the gamut, from Pistachio to Avocado to Grapeseed to Sunflower, and even Pumpkin Seed.

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