Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Who Killed Mr. Moonlight? (And Other Things That Appear With the Arrival of Autumn)

I came across some nice beets the other day--and every time I eat them, it amazes me that I don't do it more, and that, in general, people seem to be afraid of them. Yes, they can be a bit messy, and yes, they can draw that "what have I done to myself?!" reaction the next day, but they are really good for you; so earthy and delicious. Really easy to work with as well. Shave them nice and thin and they are great raw, or, as mentioned in the last post, cut the greens off, wrap them in foil with some herbs and spices and roast until they're soft. Rub them with a towel to get the skins off, and they're all set. Sweet and deep in flavor, I added them to a stew I was making with the tenderest of tender pork butt I braised last week, alongside all kinds of other root vegetables. It's fall, to be certain, and we drank a remarkable Tuscan wine with it all.

And be sure to use those beet greens! The stuff you cut off the top! Slice the stalks like celery and cut the leaves into strips, throw them into a pot with some salt and pepper, and let them braise in the naturally occurring juices for a bit. Tasty stuff, bunched up right on top of that stew. be sure to give yourself something to scoop all this up with as well--I made the easiest bread ever, roti, which makes the perfect little vehicle for getting anything from plate to mouth. It's an unleavened bread, just some whole wheat flour, salt and water, kneaded together, then slapped onto my hot cast iron skillet, flipped once, then once more. It magically puffs up, much like a tortilla, and works in much the same way. It's a quick way to have bread whenever you like, quickly, without a mess.

Meanwhile, given my freezer full of braisable things, I'll have then oven on, nice and low, all fall long. Which is a good thing when one's radiators don't seem to kick on until it's really cold--here's to hanging out around the stove more, with big wines and good smells!