Thursday, October 14, 2010

We have come to the time of the year when root vegetables are at their peak -- of goodness, and of girth.

But don't take my word for it . . . take Deborah Madison's. The celebrated writer and local food advocate says:

It's such a prime moment for root vegetables and bigger doesn't mean less in quality . . . unless you're growing in some really hot dry place, like the Rio Grand Valley.

Because Deborah loves big root vegetables, we brought her one of Henry's big long burdock roots, and a couple of large beets.

The burdock she presented to the world in all its glory.

The beet she held in her hands like a heart -- a big, red, beet-ing heart.

Then she grabbed a grater, and within a few minutes both beets were transformed into a big loose pile of shreds.

Then she got out a yogurt sauce she had made earlier, and tossed a half a cup or so of it with the beets. And we had the best beet salad of our lives -- just like that!

I'm not sure, but I think this was the recipe for the yogurt sauce. It's from Clifford Wright, and Deborah wrote about it here.
From the book A Mediterranean Feast by Clifford A. Wright


1 tsp. salt

4 fresh garlic cloves, peeled

¾ cup high-quality, full-fat yogurt

6 Tbsp. strained yogurt, or labna (see Note, below)

½ tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. chopped dill weed

~ Extra-virgin olive oil


1. Pound the salt and garlic together in a mortar until mushy.

2. Blend it with the yogurt, labna, cayenne, and dill. Turn it into a bowl and swirl olive oil over the surface.

To strain yogurt, measure it into a small strainer set over a bowl and leave it for three or more hours; discard the strained liquid. Alternatively, for this recipe you could use Greek-style yogurt or even sour cream.