Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Most Intense Vegetable

“The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime. The beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot. The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.”

-        -   Tom Robbins, the opening of Jitterbug Perfume

Is it possible to love beets more than Tom Robbins? For a few weeks, the beet was my obsession. It began with a quinoa salad in a quaint Quebec café, continuing passionately into bowl upon bowl of borscht, both warm-and-creamy and raw-and-gushing.

Robbins calls the beet “passionate,” perhaps because it resembles an uprooted organ hairy with arteries. Cut mercilessly into the beet and it will dribble magenta unicorn blood upon your impeccable white tablecloths and imitation granite. The scene of the crime will not be pretty sight and you will most certainly be caught red-handed. The evidence will be the ink on your fingerprints.

I ate my beets raw, from the skin to the flesh. Some say that the skin of the beet contains potent cancer-destroying compounds, so skip the peeling process in this raw beet salad. You know what other vegetable I love? Kale. I needed to include that somehow. This recipe is for one, because I never sit down and eat four servings of salad by myself.

Intense Beet Salad

2 leaves of kale, rinsed and dried
Squirt of lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 handful of beet greens
1/4 cup grated beets, washed and unpeeled
1 handful of golden raisins
1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds

Viciously rip the kale into bit sized pieces and drop them in a bowl. Add lemon juice, sea salt, olive oil, and chili powder. Work the dressing into the kale with your bare hands so that it gets a bit wilted, otherwise it will probably slice your gums open. Mix in the beet greens and grated beets. Top with raisins and sunflower seeds.

The chili powder, raisins, and lemon give it a sweet-sour-spicy flavor that I find delicious. (Disclaimer: I'm also the sort of girl who would put Sriracha on ice cream just to get conflicting sensations. If you presented me with a standard garden salad of iceberg lettuce and chopped tomatoes, I would probably fall asleep with my face marinating in the ranch dressing. Perhaps I am an intense vegetable myself.)

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