Sunday, February 15, 2009

Black Beans with Orange Juice--Beet Variation, p. 606–7, HTCEV

Confession: I have never cooked with beets before. I don't know why. I like beets. But I have a weird phobic reaction about cooking with certain foods. I just worry that I won't cook them right, or I won't know how to cut the vegetables—or I'll cut myself (It's been known to happen). If there's any kind of special prep work, I over think the whole thing. Just mention salting to me and I get all worried. Salting? How much? How long? what
kind of salt? What kind of draining system? You get the picture. This is a little crazy, I know, especially since I'm a vegetarian. Perhaps the Bittman project will help encourage me to boldly branch out  into the world of vegetarian options.

We love chili and rice and beans here and so I was intrigued by the Black Beans with Orange Juice recipe, and I took up the challenge to incorporate a beet into the mix.  Guess what?  Beets are easy!  (Don't say "duh."  Did you really say "duh?")  They're messy but easy. Plus the mess is so pretty, I didn't even mind it.   

I have to give  a shout out to Monique again, as she had to talk me through the beet prep  part of the recipe (see above about vegetable prep neurosis). Bittman didn't really go into it, and I was worried that I might be doing it wrong. I boiled the beet, then peeled it and then diced it up into sweet little garnet-colored cubes. 

As easy as the beet was to cook with, I thought the taste totally overwhelmed the dish.  I would have loved to have had more of an orange-y experience. Next time, I will try the dish without the beets to get a sense of how orange-y the dish can be. Then for the third try, maybe I'll try adding about a quarter of the beet to the dish. 

Beety or not,  this is definitely a hearty winter dish and I'm glad I overcame my beet reluctance! 

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