Saturday, 29 September 2007

Beet 'em or join 'em

Posted by Bonita


I've really come to like beets this past summer. There's nothing more beautiful than the deep purples of a beet, or the bright pink hues it'll give when diluted. Beets are certainly an acquired taste; they have a rich, earthy taste to them. However, I love roasting my beets in oven (skin on!). It allows the beets to keep in their flavour, but also concentrates that sweetness. I find that beets taste better the next day after roasting them. They taste delicious cold, simply drizzled with some good-quality balsamic vinegar.


Dinner this week consisted of quick and easy salads that strays away from the boring lettuce. The first is a Roasted Shrimp and Orzo salad, inspired by Ina Garten after watching her make it last weekend on Barefoot Contessa. I added some chopped tomatoes to the salad and added some honey to the dressing to balance the tartness of the lemon juice. The salad was really refreshing and delicious, and definitely tasted better the longer it was in the fridge since it allowed everything to absorb all the different flavours.


The other salad I made this week consisted of...surprise surprise...beets. I simply roasted the beets a day before, and when I was ready to use them, drizzled the chopped roasted beets with some good-quality balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with some chopped dill and feta cheese. The balsamic really helps to bring out the natural sweetness in the beets, while the saltiness of the feta helps to balance that sweetness, while also adding a creamyiness to the salad. And the dill just adds a really nice, bold flavour to the salad as a whole.

However, my piece of resistance this week is the Chocolate Beet Cake. I actually saw this recipe a few months back on Cook & Eat, and with the 10 lb. bag of beets that I had picked up last week (yes...10 lb...which I carried back home on my back), I thought this would be a great chance for me to try the cake out.


The cake is really simple to make in itself. Since I already roasted a whole bunch of beets the day before, all I had to do was take some and puree them. Unfortunately, I only had one of those mini food-choppers to work with, so I didn't get as fine as a puree as I would with a food processor or a blender. But the cake turned out really well. It was superly moist with a fine crumb. Furthermore, you can't really taste the beets. There's a hint of something there, but it's not obvious so it adds a layer of interest and mysteriousness to the cake. I finished the cake off with a Beet Buttercream which didn't turn out as nicely as I would have wanted it to (consistency-wise). I also thought it would be too sweet at first, but paired with the cake, it was the perfect degree of sweetness. Best of all, I love the colour of that frosting, with that vibrant pink just popping out at you. All in all, I think the cake was a great success!

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