Today Jason told me something I've never heard anyone say to me before: Eat your vegetables. This has never been said to me because there has never been a need. As a kid, I was always opting for something green over normal kid stuff. I was the only grandchild on both sides of my family and therefore was never in short supply of sweets to test this theory, either.
The biggest contributor was my father's dad. Growing up we lived in the same building my grandparents owned. I would come down from the upstairs apartment and there would inevitably be something waiting for me on the landing of my grandparents' level: a candy necklace, something of the "gummy" variety, or these super-sugary juice drinks that came in red plastic bottles shaped like robots. The last was my favorite because once the bottles were empty, I would set them up as bowling pins in the hallway and use my stuffed Popple as a bowling ball (does anybody remember those??).
Most of these sweets weren't as eagerly anticipated as the robots, though, and I'd eat maybe one or two pieces and the rest would go into "the candy drawer": the entire top drawer of my dresser which was routinely raided by my visiting friends but I could've cared less. The real love for me was a good spinach pie, or cabbage and potatoes from a fresh corned beef roast and even a Greek dish called horta vrasta which is nothing more than boiled greens dressed in olive oil and lemon juice.... most kids wouldn't talk to you for a week if you served them what I begged for nightly.
So you see why I was so shocked to hear myself being scolded for the one thing I have always done willingly, but having been a very busy week, my veggie quotient has been shockingly paltry compared to usual. So tonight I up the ante with this little beauty. Inspired by those very same horta vrasta combined with a dish Jason's mother makes, it's a hearty salad that works as a whole meal (and did for me tonight!). It uses the green tops of the beets which are really tasty and NOT poisonous as I know some people think. They're in the same family as chards and the greens taste very similar to Swiss chard. I mixed up the cooking methods from boiling to sautéing for added texture/flavor. The result is a really nice, balanced and health salad that made a perfect meal!
...So go eat your vegetables before you get in trouble, too!
1 bunch of beets with green tops
1 orange, juiced and zested
1/2 a yellow onion, sliced
What to do with it...
- Remove greens from beets and wash everything thouroughly to remove grit and chop greens
- Place beets into a medium pot and cover with water
- Bring to gentle boil and cook until fork-tender (about 20 mins). During this time you can cook the onions (see step 6)
- When beets are cooked, drain and allow to cool just enough to handle and slip the skins from them
- Slice the beets and set aside
- Add onions to a skillet with some butter and cook on medium with a little salt for 10 minutes, watching that they don't burn
- At end of 10 minutes, add orange juice to "deglaze" the pan and the remove orange/onion mixture to a medium bowl
- In the skillet from the onions, add more butter and saute your beet greens with salt and pepper until wilted but still crisp (about 4- 5 mins) then add to your bowl with onion/orange mixture
- Now saute your beets in the same way until they have a little golden crispness on each side (just 4 - 5 mins) and add to the bowl
- Top with orange zest and more salt and pepper to taste
Seven down, 3 to go!