Growing up I disliked beets and raisins.
I think it is interesting to trace our food phobias—trace them back to that horrific childhood memory where one first tasted the foul ingredient. Notice I said “disliked,” not hated, because I really can’t think of a food that I absolutely hate. So my dislike of beets can be traced to the way they were prepared. They were almost always served pickled and from a can. Sometimes mom would make her own pickled beets, but they too were made from already tinned beets, not fresh ones. (We could not grow root vegetables to save our life in the soil of my childhood home, that is except for turnips, but that is another dislike.) Needless to say, I was not too fond of pickled beets.
On further reflection, maybe I will admit to hating beef liver.
Now, on to the raisin-phobia.
Again, phobia is too harsh of a word. My grandmother found it difficult to give up on pantry items. Expiration dates were definitely more of a suggestion than a hard and fast absolute. Therefore, we were often given food, that while edible and safe, was less than palatable. Raisins are on this list. I understand that raisins are a dried fruit, but have you ever tasted a truly desicated raisin? One that is almost crumbly? One that was not even sealed that well to start with and began its shelf life in only one of those tiny cardboard boxes? Well, they aren’t too tasty, especially having been carried around in Grandmother’s handbag for who know how many years. I remember her pawning these off on us during church. For some reason she always had mini-boxes of raisins and Chiclets gum in her purse to placate us during a long sermon.
But, recently, I have come to love fresh golden raisins. By fresh, I mean they are still plump and chewy (in a good way). I also love beets now.Give ‘em to me roasted in a salad. Yum! Even better, let me have ‘em raw.
This salad combines the best of raw ingredients.
1 c. carrots, grated
2 c. raw beets, grated.
1/2 c. golden raisins
1/2 t. sweet paprika
1/4 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. cinnamon
Small pinch of sea salt
Small pinch of cayenne
2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. honey
2 T. fresh mint leaves, torn
Place the grated carrots and beets in a medium sized serving bowl. Add the raisins. Stir to gently combine.
Make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the paprika, cumin, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne. Then add the lemon juice and honey and whisk until smooth.
Toss the salad with the dressing. Let sit for an hour before serving, either chilled or at room temperature, for the dressing to seep into the carrots and beets.
Right before serving, stir in a couple tablespoons of torn fresh mint leaves. Garnish with fresh mint.
This is delicious. I want you to stop reading for just a moment and imagine this spice combination.
Now double how good you think it is.
Somewhere I have another raw beet salad that has an orange juice based dressing. It is über delicious too and just gets better the next day (and the day after if it survives that long). Alas, I cannot find where I put that recipe. Maybe I can recreate it and make it next fall when I hopefully will pull a few more beets out of the garden.
These beets came from our garden. I know this picture sucks but I wanted to at least give you a glimpse of just how beautiful they are.