Easy Beets for People Who Don’t Like Beets

Just beet it.

Just beet it.

I’m on a perpetual quest to redeem and elevate the reputation of the most despited vegetables. The ickier they are perceived to be, all the better to experiment with. I’ve had my hits and misses. With the hits, there are no leftovers. Or if there are, I end up picking them out of the pan until there aren’t. With the misses, the leftovers sit sadly neglected in tupperware at the back of the fridge until trash day. Trash day is really a funeral procession for culinary failures.

But back to experiments. Veggies deserve a better reputation. They come in every color, they’re packed with vitamins, and they grow out of the ground.  By themselves! That’s awesome. Not everyone gives them such respect though, particularly not my not-huge-vegetable-fan taste testers.  And they are a discerning group.  A critique of “That wasn’t too bad”, I consider a green light to make the dish again in the future.  If they indicate in any way to have actually enjoyed the dish, it’s basically fit for royalty. This recipe went over pretty well. Not bad for a lowly beet.

Easy Beets for People Who Don’t Like Beets

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 tbsp. butter (I love Organic Valley Cultured Butter)

4 golden beets, peeled and chopped

1 apple, chopped

salt to taste

Directions

  1. Melt butter in pan over medium heat.
  2. Add chopped beets.  Cook in butter, stirring occasionally, until just softened and beginning to brown on edges, 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add chopped apple, season with salt, and stir to incorporate.
  4. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until apple softens, another 5 minutes.
  5. Serve to beet skeptics.  Make sure you have seconds ready for them.
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Paleo Kitchen Basics: Mayonnaise

 

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Among mainstream nutrition circles, mayo is often seen as one of the greatest evils, and store-bought mayo truly is.  While composed of mainly benign-sounding eggs and oil, it’s the type of oil that makes all the difference.  Pre-made grocery store mayo is made of soybean oil, which is highly problematic.  At the top of the list are the inflammation-inducing properties of the high omega-6 content, which is a common characteristic of all vegetable oils.  On the wider scale, soy is a huge agricultural product, and is subject to the group of problems associated with all that is Monsanto: genetic modification, industrial refining processes (including solvent extraction with hexane; more about that here), and pesticide contamination. It can be mentioned that there are also hormone disrupting properties of soy, courtesy of phytoestrogens; however both soybean oil and soy sauce contain nearly unmeasurable quantities of those isoflavones. 

If you’re thinking, “I don’t eat mayonnaise by the spoonful.  How much damage can a little spread of soybean oil do?”, then take a look at this graph. Even if you don’t have a bottle of soybean oil in your pantry, you are likely consuming much more than you think.  Like to eat out?  You’ll be taking a hit of “vegetable oil blend” every time, usually a mix of canola, corn, and soy.  Use bottled salad dressing?  All soy with a dash of canola.  Some packaged foods claim they are “made with olive oil”, but they usually only contain a token amount of olive oil and are still overwhelmingly soy-based.  And if all that isn’t enough, mass-produced mayo includes added sugar and preservatives to increase shelf-life, appearance and texture.

So overall, unless you exclusively eat only homemade foods from scratch with the piety of a Buddhist monk, you’re probably getting veritably doused in this nasty stuff.  Taken with that point of view, every little thing you can do to minimize your exposure is a win. 

On to the good news! Mayo is super easy to make at home with the right tools.  The first time I made mayo years ago, I used olive oil.  It works well, but leaves the mayo sort of greenish, and has a strong flavor.  Now I use avocado oil, which is available at Costco for a steal. Most importantly, I use my awesome Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor.  Many appliances can be used: regular blenders, immersion blenders, different food processors, even a bowl and a whisk (though I wouldn’t even use that task as punishment).  The most important quality is that the mixture doesn’t heat up during the process, or you’ll end up with a slimy, runny mess.

The mayonnaise is not only good for old standbys like using with tuna, egg-salad, or deviled eggs, but is a great base for sauces, dips, spreads, and creamy salad dressings. 

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Homemade Mayo

Yield: About 1 cup

Ingredients

2 egg yolks

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

1 tsp. dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup avocado oil

Directions

  1. Add the egg yolks, vinegar or lemon juice, mustard, and salt to the food processor or blender and turn on to blend.
  2. With the appliance still running, begin slowly adding the oil in a very thin stream.  If you have the same food processor I have, you can just fill up the small push tube with oil.  It will drain into the work bowl through the small hole.
  3. After 1/4 cup or so, you should notice the emulsification beginning.  Continue to slowly pour in all of the oil.
  4. Once all the oil is in, turn off your appliance right away. Your mayo is done!  Store it in a glass jar in the fridge.  

 

Troubleshooting:

I have a nasty looking yellowish liquid that looks like…oil mixed with egg.

The mixture didn’t emulsify.  Check for heat.  Is your appliance hot, or is your house very warm? Try cooling the mixture in the fridge for a few minutes, then start again from step one with new eggs, vinegar, mustard and salt, but this time use the chilled mixture as the oil.

It mostly looks like mayonnaise, but there’s a layer of oil and egg at the bottom.

Just use a spatula to scrape up the layer and mix in with the mayo, then give it another whirl in the food processor for a few seconds to blend it in.

The mayo is really firm and a little chunky.

It’s overblended, but can still have purpose in life!  Store it in the fridge and use it for dips and sauces that call for mixing with creamier ingredients like coconut milk.