Beets, Fennel, Oranges, Mint and Goat Cheese
just roast some beets and cut some stuff while waiting for Georgia to determine the fate of everything, mostly, kinda.
Things you’ll need: beets, fennel, oranges, mint (dried or fresh), coriander, goat cheese, vinegar (white wine or champagne), olive oil, salt and pepper.
incidentally gluten-free and vegetarian.
It’s election day, episode 90-hundred something. It’s a weird day. Another one of those “Today will define our whole future” days that are desperately important, but equally anti-climactic.
You don’t know what to do while you wait for this monumental decision to give you more information about what the next few years will be like, so you watch some videos about goats, fall down a deep and expansive internet rabbit hole about crows and Corvidae, and then send a little more money to Stacey Abrams or a local direct relief organization because they’ll know what to do with it. With that all done, you realize that not enough hours have passed for the world to have changed at all. So, you might as well cook something.
You have no idea how long it takes to roast a whole beet. You have never tried to have a roasted beet ready at a certain time. Mostly you just rub them with oil, dribble in some water, wrap them in a tin foil tent, and toss them in the oven on 350-375 until you think “Oh shit, my beets!” and then you poke them with a fork and realize that they aren’t even done and so you go do something else for a while and then the next time you check on them, the fork slides perfectly in and you take them out to cool. (Then, one day, you find some adorable small beets and try to do this the same way and that’s when you learn what burnt beets smell like.) Once the beets are cool, you can slip the skins off easily and make a giant fuchsia mess everywhere, which is the most fun part.
Alternatively, you sometimes take the time to peel the beets, cube or wedge them for their particular use, coat with oil, salt, pepper, and usually cumin or coriander. Then they go in the oven at 425 for 20-45 minutes, depending on the cut. Still messy, but faster.
So, now you have these beets. You also have oranges because winter is citrus season, which is totally backward in your mind because you live somewhere that is cold and desolate and death to all fruit-bearing things, but there you go. Science wins again AND you have rinds full of sunshine to battle the cold monochromatic days that lie before you.
Carefully and with a lot of respect for keeping your fingers attached to your body, cut the rind and pith away from the fruit and chop it up into bite-sized segments. Toss those segments with a pinch of salt, pepper, olive oil, and some fresh mint or dried spearmint (fresh dill or basil also taste good). Then, just let them sit there until you are ready with the rest.
Do not be afraid of fennel, even if you hate Licorice. It’s not the same. Ok, it is similar, but not when it is with other stuff. Stop avoiding it. Grab a bulb, remove the stems and reserve the fronds (also great in salads), then slice it as thin as you can manage with the same established respect for keeping fingers attached.
If your beets are whole roasted, then break them down and toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and coriander. If they are peeled and roasted, then you have already tossed them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and coriander (Good job!). Don’t know if you have added enough seasoning? Start light, taste them, add more.
See all the juice gathered there at the bottom of the citrus bowl? See how the salt drew out the liquid and there is some oil in there too? That’s pretty much almost dressing already. (Magic!) Drain the juice and toss the chopped citrus and fennel together with your beets.
Take that yummy citrus liquid and whisk in a little champagne or white wine vinegar (start with a Tablespoon or so and taste as you go, depending on how much salt and citrus liquid there is).
Add your dressing, toss it all to coat. Taste and adjust for salt, pepper, oil, or vinegar. Then, cover with crumbled goat cheese and watch the news report nothing, maybe everything, who knows.
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