Pickled Beets Can Be Truly Delicious!

This morning I decided to run over to the Oak Park Farmers Market. I went to the grand opening of  this new farmers’ market, in Sacramento’s oldest neighborhood, last weekend and while the market is small compared to the Sunday market I shop, there’s good variety and the quality of the produce is excellent. The market’s a short drive or bike ride from Midtown, Curtis Park, Elmhurst, or South Sac and there’s plenty of free parking. Please pass the word about this little gem and check it out yourself. You can find more information here; Sacramento Bee or on Facebook under Oak Park Farmers Market (Sacramento).

Today I bought some beautiful little beets, sugar snap peas and some green beans. Shopping done I decided to pop across the street to check out Old Soul Co., the local coffee spot.  After a quick review of the menu board and the baked goods on display I placed my order. In no time at all  I was gathering up my beautifully prepared latte and tempting muffin and heading towards the counter in front of the large windows facing the bustling farmers’ market. There I found the perfect place to settle in and enjoy my morning snack.  Just as I was finishing up my muffin a friend showed up, so we sat and chatted awhile, then headed back across the street to the market to pick up an heirloom tomato plant for her dad.

On the drive home, thinking about the veggies I had bought, I decided I would pickle the beets, something I haven’t done for ages and tomorrow, at the Sunday market, I will get some shitake mushrooms to go with the peas and beans, more about that another time.

This time it’s all about the beets! Beets are one of those vegetables you either love, or you hate. I happen to be in the love group. I even enjoy the greens. In fact, I enjoyed them for lunch today since they don’t tend to keep well. Just sautéed some chopped onion and garlic in a little olive oil, threw in a small handful of currants, added the shredded greens and a touch of water, covered the pan and cooked it until the greens wilted then finished it off with a pat of butter. I served it over brown rice along side a grilled chicken breast. It was love at first bite.

Satisfied after my nice lunch, I started my quest for a pickled beet recipe. After searching my cookbooks and the internet I decided on this one posted in 2006, by Elise, on Simply Recipes. There’s another recipe for beet greens in the recipe below. Just click on the “beet greens recipe” link. It sounds pretty yummy. I’ll have to give it a try.

Pickled Beets

1 bunch (4 or 5) beets

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Salt and pepper

1 Remove greens from beets, save for future use (see beet greens recipe). Cut beets to uniform sizes so they will cook evenly. Steam or boil around 30 minutes or until done. (Alternatively, you can roast them by wrapping them whole in foil and cooking them in a 350°F oven for about an hour.) A fork easily inserted into the beet will tell you if the beets are done or not.

2 Drain the beets, rinsing them in cold water. Use your fingers to slip the peels off of the beets. The peels should come off easily. Discard the peels. Slice the beets.

3 Make the vinaigrette by combining the cider vinegar, sugar, olive oil, and dry mustard. Whisk ingredients together with a fork. The dry mustard will help to emulsify the vinaigrette. Adjust to taste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Combine beets and vinaigrette in a bowl and allow to marinate for a half hour at room temperature.

Serves four.

Simple and delicious!

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