Do you know that prior to acquiring Vegetable Love I sometimes let the beets from my SPUD harvest box go bad in the pantry? Well it's true, I did. This is shameful in light of the discovery of so many great beet recipes, courtesy of the great Kafka. The first was the Red Russian Soup, which was a taste sensation of the highest degree. The next three were made from the same bunch of beets. One bunch of beets -- three separate dishes. People, beets are versatile.
So, Wednesday night we took a break from Tae Kwon-Do and decided to have a cycling picnic. What's a cycling picnic, you ask? Well, a cycling picnic is a picnic which you get to by cycling. Sounds boring, right? Only if you've never experienced the frustration and joy that is trying to stuff all the necessary items for a picnic for four into two panniers. Frustration when you can't find the plastic wine glasses and have to settle for glass tumblers that clank around worryingly in the bags as you ride along. Joy when you arrive at the beach and see that nothing has spilled and the food is still in good shape. (Though not for long; sand will get into everything, no matter how careful you are.)
The menu was a classic "Use up the SPUD box" meal. We had to use celery, beets, potatoes and dill. So we ate
- beet salad with celery, dill and capers (from Vegetable Love)
- beet greens with bacon, white beans and walnuts (from Vegetable Love)
- potato salad with dill and lemon (from my brain)
I thought such a meal would present Nick, our food and wine pairing guru at Mark Anthony (2560-A Sinclair Road), with a difficult challenge. Not so! He was totally ready for us and when I explained what we were eating, immediately cried out "Rosé!" Okay, maybe he didn't "cry" it out, but he did seem excited, and ran to the back of the store to grab a copy of the latest Wine Spectator, where they talked about pairing beets with rosé wines.
He wanted us to try a sparkling rose by Deinhard and indeed, we wanted to try it, but not for a beach picnic. Not when we were going to be drinking out of the kids' milk glasses. No, for this dinner we needed more of a workhouse (read, cheaper) rosé. So we tried the Château Guiot Costières de Nîmes Rosé Rhone and it was great: a perfect cycling beach picnic wine to go with beets, beans and potatoes and snickerdoodles for dessert.
The adults loved it all, the baby loved the beets and the beans and the picky seven-year-old ate just enough of the greens and beans to earn two cookies.
Careful readers are thinking: didn't she say three dishes from beets? Did she put beets in the potato salad too? I did not, but I did save the cooking water from the beets and will be making something very cool with them this weekend. Stay tuned.