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The Beet

September 23, 2008
Steamed Beet Salad with herbed goat cheese and balsamic vinegar

Steamed Beet Salad with herbed goat cheese and balsamic vinegar

When spring started slipping into summer this year, it also brought a new food to our home: the beet. There seemed to have been multiple chance meetings–an article in the NYT on the 11 best foods, a random walk through our local farmer’s market in Vienna where we felt tentative about buying some but were assured by others in the crowd about what to do, and best of all, my Trader’s Joes find of ready-to-eat steamed beets for under $2 (you get six).

The NYT post says to think of beets as red spinach. Its most healthy raw apparently. I was never brave enough to buy them raw, thinking I didn’t know what to do with them. I was at a Farmer’s Market in NJ and found that they sold them sans greens so I got some. I took out my bamboo steamer (these are cheap at Chinese markets) and placed two beets in it and let them steam away. It took a good 30 minutes but I was rewarded. I hadn’t imagined that the skins would get so soft. It was simple to peel them off and slice up the beets. I got to do whatever I wanted in those 30 minutes while they steamed, to boot. Again, since I didn’t really have a go-to recipe, I turned to my imagination which could only show me one thing, a beet salad. I drizzled or sprinkled the following:

o some grapeseed oil (obviously olive oil is good) (Trader Joes)
o some balsamic vinegar (Trader Joes Modena, good quality stuff)
o toasted pine nuts (from my store of Whole Foods bulk section pine nuts)
o goat cheese.
o black pepper

I decided to save money on the goat cheese since it didn’t call for alot and got a 5 ounce package of herbed goat cheese from Trader Joes for $2.49. This is delicious and quick and a great way to get in one or two servings of vegetables.

Cost per serving: appoximately $0.63. I made 2 servings, each using 1 beet.

Alternative approach: Interestingly enough, though I bought the beets raw, I didn’t really save much money there. The pre-steamed ones at TJ’s are also $1.99. However, the raw beets were easily much bigger so presumably I would have to use less of them. The packaging from the pre-steamed ones is also an environmental issue. But given the time and nutrional value with no price differential, I would say you doing well even if you bought them cooked. My sense is that if I had bought the beets with the greens intact, I may have likely saved a few more cents. but i’m glad i didn’t have to deal with the hassle of washing and chopping them for now. 🙂

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