Monday, February 9, 2009

11 foods I AM eating

Vibrant colors, vibrant taste, fuzzy photo

A few weeks ago, the New York Times published a list of
"The 11 Best Foods You Aren’t Eating."
  1. Beets
  2. Cabbage
  3. Swiss chard
  4. Cinnamon
  5. Pomegranate juice
  6. Dried plums
  7. Pumpkin seeds
  8. Sardines
  9. Turmeric
  10. Frozen blueberries
  11. Canned pumpkin
I wonder why most people aren't eating these foods. Lack of availability? Expense? (That can't be it. The only "pricy" item on the list is pomegranate juice.) Taste? A bad childhood experience? A traumatic adult experience involving sardines and canned pumpkin? Or could it be that most people just don't know what to do with these items beyond the obvious cole slaw, cinnamon rolls and pumpkin pie.

Over the next few months I'm going to be experimenting with recipes where these 11 foods are the key ingredients.

I love Indian food, and my friend Madhuri recently introduced me to a few Indian cooking techniques and taught me to make three simple dishes. One of these was this easy Indian beet salad that uses two of the 11 foods.

Indian Beet Salad

6 beets

1 T. vegetable oil
1/2 minced serrano chili
1/4 tsp. fennel seeds
1/4 tsp. turmeric
3/4 cup plain yogurt (I use Greek)

chopped peanuts for garnish (to taste)

chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (to taste)

- Boil or roast the beets until tender.

- Wipe off the skins with a paper towel.
- Julienne beets into matchstick-size pieces
- Heat the vegetable oil in the smallest cooking utensil you have. I used a stainless steel measuring cup. I need to purchase a long handled mini pot from an Indian sundries store.
- Toss the minced chili, fennel seeds and coriander into the hot oil and stir for about 30 seconds.

- Let the oil mixture cool, then combine with the yogurt.
- Stir the yogurt into the beets.

- Top with crushed roasted peanuts and chopped cilantro.

I served this as a side salad with spicy lentils and paratha, an Indian bread that I purchased in the frozen foods section at India Sweet and Spicy in Duarte. But, truth be told, it's so good that I could easily eat the entire six-beet salad as a main course.

Can you beet this salad? Do you have a favorite recipe involving beets? Any ideas for beets and bacon?

This recipe is being submitted to Blazing Hot Wok's Regional Recipes Indian food roundup for February. The roundup will appear on February 20.


Unknown said...

Explain why you have chosen these 11 foods. Okay?

susiegb said...

That sounds yummy. But re 'beets and bacon' - I don't think bacon was on the list?!

Funnily, I've been vegetarian for longer than I care to think, and the smell of bacon is one of the few things that I could miss ... :) Haven't fallen for it yet though!

Desiree said...

Pass on the canned pumpkin, but beets are fabulous! Boiled forever, or baked in the oven--peeled, slivered, sauteed in butter and a dash of sugar--more beets please!

Wandering Chopsticks said...

What a coincidence. I was just next door to India Sweets and Spices, at the Indo-Dutch market last Saturday.

That's easy. Add bacon to borscht.

Susan C said...

Barbara, the NY Times came up with the list because all the foods are easily available and pack quite the nutrition wallop.

Susie, I think I could easily become a vegetarian if I got to eat Indian food every day. Just kidding about the bacon.

Desiree, yum, you're right - beets are good ANY way. I recently had them grilled on the barbie. Now THAT was good.

Susan C said...

WC, That is funny that you were just next door to India Sweets and Spice. It beats driving all the way to Artesia.

I LOVE borscht, and, you're right. It would be good with bacon.

Anonymous said...

The color is so pretty. I'm growing beets (or trying to). And swiss chard, blueberries. I'm with Desiree, though, there's not one thing i like about canned pumpkin -- not the color, the texture (yuck), or taste.

Petrea Burchard said...

I'm going to pass on the dried plums if you don't mind. I mean, isn't that a euphemism for prunes? And is it all right if I eat my blueberries fresh?

About the canned pumpkin: I reserve judgment. If you have a great recipe I just might give it a try.

Margaret said...

I love this idea. I would eat more of these things, but no one else in my family would. They are all picky little pills. I thinks beets and goat cheese are very yummy.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I'm over at Pasadena Adjacent

Susan, it may surprise you but I do have a favorite beet salad. I discovered it at the Source on Sunset. Are you familiar with Father Yodi and his cult following? He kept his family housed in a mansion he rented from the Chandler family. He owned the Source restaurant where his gals waited tables. They made the most delicious salads from shredded beets and carrots (raw) with a lemony dressing (secret) and fetta. The Source is gone, Father Yodi hang glided into a tree but I still make that salad.
Have you tried TJ's prune flavored greek yogurt?

Linda Dove said...

I love the list. And the recipe. Have begun putting tumeric in just about everything since it's come out as the little-spice-that-could.

As for bacon (!), some friends sent me a recipe for bacon guacamole yesterday, which I should have thought of before (not far from the BLAT) but hadn't.

Susan C said...

AH, I'm with you and Des and Petrea about the canned pumpkin. The NY Times article suggests eating eat with butter and brown sugar. Ick! How cool that you're growing beets. I've become so addicted to them, that I'll have to plant them next winter.

Petrea, can't get anything past you. Yep, dried plums are prunes. Fresh blueberries are even better, but pricy when not in season. (Well, except at Super King where they always seem to be 99 cents)

Margaret, my family is the same way. Won't touch spinach, beets, chard, no matter what I do to it. The beef stew that's been simmering for the last ten hours is an entirely different matter.

PA, boy, you always have the quirky stories. That beet salad sounds DIVINE. I HAVE to have the "secret" dressing recipe.

The NY Times says that it's best to eat beets raw, as in your salad.

Kathy H said...

My stepfather LOVES beets, so my mom used to serve us canned beets every night in high school. I would down them with a glass of strawberry milk.

Clearly, I hate beets AND milk!! PLEAH!!

I'm glad you like them, since they're good for you.

Petrea Burchard said...

I always follow Havisham's advice when cooking with beets.

Anonymous said...

My occasional comentor, Chef King Walter and his soon to be X wife dated JoAnne Worley's son before meeting the chef. He road a incumbent bike around Yucca Valley. His name was not Adaji and I don't make this stuff up.

I did use the beet juice left in the pot to try and dye the faded areas of my persian rug. Didn't work.

Cafe Observer said...

PA, I miss The Source, on Sunset Blvd. But, that was last century. Who has their recipes??

Father Yodi: sounds like he knows Cardinal Manning.

Susan C said...

Kathy, canned beets? No wonder you hate 'em. Byuck!

Linda, I'd love to have that recipe for the guac with bacon.

Miss H, you are quite the character.

Shoot, you ALL are.

Susan C said...

I think I should win a prize for most interesting comments on a food blog.

Dee said...

Thanks for submitting to RR. I was hoping you'd submit something since you mentioned learning about Indian food. I've never had beets Indian style. Something new I've got to try.

I love all those things on the list, but the ones I use most commonly are cabbage, cinnamon and tumeric. I think I'll have to try harder to use these foods as I know they are all good for you.

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