Saturday, October 4, 2008

TableTalkPortland at Taste The Place: Nothing Beats Beets!

This Saturday, we featured Beets at Portland Farmer's Market's Taste the Place booth. Beets are our favorite of all the root vegetables, and "Nothing Beats Beets!" was voted our unofficial motto, narrowly edging out "Beets, Not Bombs...or Parsnips!" and "My Beet Can Kick Your Turnip's A**!" Volunteer coordinator Amber Holland, who was inexplicably garbed in long johns, thankfully minus the heinie flap, gave us our mission: fry the Beets into chips. We tried to listen to our mission's directions, like good Taste the Placers, but seriously, one of our biggest life regrets is that we did not get a picture of Amber's long underpants. They had tiny pink flowers on them and caused us to waste a good half hour of our precious Taste the Place shift rolling around on the pavement virtually immobilized by howls of laughter.

At first, since we rarely plunge our food into boiling vats of oil before eating it, far preferring to leave that to Burgerville, we were all dubious about frying the beets into chips. Well, all of us except Mom, who is fearless. Michelle said that frying beet chips sounded boring and dangerous, so Mom cut a switch off a nearby poplar tree and showed her who's boss, to my undying joy. Then she assigned Michelle to operate the mandoline, a handy kitchen cutting tool with razor sharp blades that will cut pretty much anything, including your hand, into uniform slices of your desired thickness. I lovingly reminded Michelle to use the mandoline cutting guard, since none of us really wanted to feed fried flesh chips to the Farmer's Market masses today.

Michelle rewarded my concern by flogging me with fennel fronds.

I did not like this, but tried to keep a brave face as I carefully fried the thin slices of beets in 100 percent vegetable oil.

Michelle, enraptured by her swishy fennel fronds, pretended they were pom poms and recreated her favorite scene from her favorite movie, Bring It On.

The beets, although mildly alarmed, continued to fry!

In case by now, you're just dying to fry some beets too, here is the recipe. Simply slice them paper thin, and boil them in oil. Then remove them from the boiling oil with a slotted spoon, drain them on paper towels, and sprinkle them with sea salt. That's it! It's so easy, any Joe Six-Pack American could make fried beet chips, even with little or no real kitchen experience or frying saavy!

You can also saute the delicious, tender beet greens with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and some fresh minced garlic to create a tasty, healthy side dish. Yummers!

In hindsight, it's funny that initially we were reluctant to fry the beets, because let me tell you, once you begin frying stuff, it's hard to stop. I never appreciated the Scottish compulsion to relentlessly fry everything in sight until today. We fried all the beets, an apple, some fennel, the fennel fronds, garlic, a small piece of a Salvador Molly tamale, a Two Tarts cookie, a matchstick, some grass, a penny, and Michelle's freshly French-manicured fingernail, which she'd sliced off in the mandoline. We had Fry Fever! Having nearly run out of things to fry, we were eyeing Mom's shoes when we were momentarily distracted by a girl who sat down nearby with a basketful of PUPPIES, which she was GIVING AWAY (WHY GOD, WHY DID I EVER DECIDE TO LIVE IN A NO-PETS STUDIO APARTMENT??).

Michelle, who does not like animals, was eyeing the puppies with a maniacal gleam in her eye, so nervously, I turned off the burner. The oil burped a few times and then lie still. Our Frying Fun was over.

Now all that was left to do was go shopping for some more beets to fry up at home, and find a hippymobile that fueled itself on used cooking oil so we didn't waste our Frying Fun Fluid. We basked in a job well done.

Everything was grand, until Michelle found some more fennel fronds. Jeez. I really wish the ABC Family channel would ban Bring It On from the cable network FOREVER.


1 comment:

  1. How dare you talk about my underwear in public like this! I am humiliated! I will definitely have a heinie flap next time, you better watch out!