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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Beets & etc.

The Detroit Dark Red beets this year are huge without being woody at the core. I have taken to bringing in one for breakfast, washing it, cutting off the greens and thin-slicing the root into a bowl with about 1/2 cup of water. Cover with a matching bowl. Zap for 99 seconds. Uncover, add onion blossoms, garlic blossoms, or celery blossoms to taste, cover, zap 44 seconds, uncover, drain, and serve.

The drained fluid, a rich magenta in color, I may let cool for a drink later in the day or use in bread or soup.

The greens I use for lunch. Separate the stems on late-season beets as they are a bit too fibrous. Roll up the leaves in two directions and shred with your Chinese cleaver. Place in bowl. sprinkle with blossoms, as above, and spritz with water, or vinegar, or both. Zap for 99 seconds. Serve, with or without your homemade vinaigrette.

Today I did make beet-water bread, using 14 oz. of the red water, yeast, salt, oil, green apples diced small, oats, white and whole wheat flour, baked 1 hour at 300F. A bit crusty on the outside, mushy inside, but good.

We're invited out to eat tonight, or I would make green and yellow squash, with bell pepper rings and the usual garlic blossoms, as I did for a potluck yesterday, to serve with a looseleaf lettuce, bok choi, young chard, and onion greens salad. The squash dish took five minutes to make. The secret of all this quick cookery is to stay away from pots and pans and avoid overcooking anything.

Think about the density of each item, and add it to the dish in the microwave accordingly.

Example: small potatoes or celery, with tofu, two minutes. ADD bell peppers and snow peas. 1 minute. ADD fresh chopped spinach or beet leaves with garlic blossoms, one minute. Serve!


The potluck was to celebrate a friend's fiftieth birthday. I met old friends there from over twenty years ago, many of whom had not seen me in all that time and had to be re-introduced due to my life change. No one seemed compelled to ask if I'm happy; I guess it just shows.

The setting was the farm where my friend lives and works, a large strictly organic operation that does community market baskets as well as specialty crops such as burdock. The view across the valley is spectacular, and as we all held hands in a great circle around the well-stocked tables, our host taught all of us to sing Pachelbel's Canon in D as an Alleluia in three parts, which went better than I would have thought -- Beloved said afterwards, "he must have done this before." The stunning music was the perfect counterpart to the lengthening shadows on the fields, gardens, and paddocks.

And people clearly liked my squash dish! A perfect day ...


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