Tasty Tales: A Necessary Evil

by Lori on October 19, 2010

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know I periodically feature a recipe with a short story that I have written.  This is another one.

They know the day is coming. The day when the next one is revealed.  It happens quite often and like all the  other times, this one is no different.  You would think they would be used to it by now.  But the panic and hysteria continue to approach and retreat like the tide.  Slowly eroding and doing damage every time.  And while some choose to simply stay away from the horror of it all, others consider an extraction from the underground to be something worth witnessing.

And today is the day.

The workers are gloved and covered to prevent the possibility of being stained by any pierce or crack that may occur on her skin.  Crouching and leveraging themselves against the damp soil, they are ready to begin the extraction.  Their grasp of her partially exposed body is tight; there is no chance she will escape.  It doesn’t take much effort to pull her up, but she resists slightly.  Once she is completely unearthed, the onlookers wince and shudder.  The children cower.  There is a crippling hush among the crowd as they stare at her with wide-open eyes.  She’s dark.  Suspicious.  Sinister.  No one knows what to make of her.

Placed in a crate, she is wheeled to the marketplace and put on display.  People pass by, examining her with their icy glares.  They judge her dry, dirty skin and her darkness is definitely suspect.  Some get close enough to touch her but then run away.  Others ignore her entirely fearing eye contact of any kind.  But she knew this was going to happen.  She had been warned by those who came before her.  They told her what was to be her fate.

So she waits.  Patiently knowing that the enlightened will come to her.  They will seek her out.  They are the ones who will take her in, clean her up and transform her.  They are the ones who understand her and believe in her power.  And they are present.  She knows it.  She can see them moving in the shadows, whispering to each other, trying to maintain their clandestine loyalty.  Surely they too would be judged if they revealed their affinity for her.

But on this day something is different.  The whispers have turned into chatter.  The followers are greater in number than ever before.  They confidently move toward her, finally having the courage to step out from the shadows, and they release her.  They hold her up and announce the importance of her protective powers and vow to put an end to the persecution.

“She is not the root of all evil,” they proclaim.  “She has been unjustly accused.  Unleash your hatred.  She is simply misunderstood.”

Roasted Beet and Fresh Peach Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette
For the salad:
2 Roasted beets (directions below), diced
1 peach, pear or apple
Gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbles
Candied walnuts
Mixed baby lettuces
For the vinaigrette:
1/2 cup walnut or vegetable oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons shallot, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Assemble salad.  Combine vinaigrette ingredients in a small jar.  Shake until evenly combined.  Drizzle over salad.  Serve immediately.
Roasted Beets

Referring to the photos in order above.  Remove beet greens leaving a portion of the stalk intact and wash the beet roots well.  Just prior to roasting, remove the tops and discard.  Place beets onto foil and lightly rub skins with olive oil.  Depending on size, place 3 beets together and wrap with foil.  My beets were small and even in size so I roasted them together.  Place on a baking sheet and put into a 375 degree F oven for approximately 1 to 1-1/2 hours.  When the beets are done, allow to cool, and the skins will easily slip off.  Trim root end.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Notes:
– For the salad, I used the last of my fresh peaches, but this salad would be excellent with apple or pear.  If using apples, I would cut them thin or cut them into matchsticks.  I used Trader Joe’s packaged candied walnuts and bagged mixed baby lettuces to save time.
– The shallot vinaigrette is from another salad featured in Simply Classic.
– For the roasted beets, it is important not to trim the beets until you are ready to use them.  Their juices will begin to leak out.  If you happen to get fresh beets keep the greens and saute them like this or with a little olive oil and garlic; they’re excellent to eat too.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

danazia October 20, 2010 at 5:08 am

This is right up my alley. I love everything about it. And I just happen to have a garden FULL of lovely beets. I think I know some of their destines.

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Lemons and Lavender October 20, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Thank you danazia! "A garden FULL of lovely beets?" I should be so lucky! I popped on over to your blog and like what I see. Thanks for commenting.

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yamamichibassett October 20, 2010 at 9:57 pm

What a beautiful dish! My mouth is watering (yes, my I love salads that much). Salads with roasted veggies, fruit, nuts, cheese, and a delicious vinaigrette are my absolute favorite. Thanks so much for sharing!

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Lemons and Lavender October 27, 2010 at 3:45 pm

yamamichibassett, welcome and thank you for your very kind words. These kinds of salads just scream 'Fall,' don't they?

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Dawn January 21, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Wow this looks so amazing. I wish I had fresh peaches. I'm trying to find recipes to use the beets I got with my CSA.

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