February 25, 2014  – Can’t Beet Love On Her Special Day

Can’t Beet Love On Her Special Day

When you come to her front door tonight, try handing her a bouquet made of fresh beets with tops.  Don’t laugh.  Through history, beets have been associated with love and procreation.http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-pile-beets-red-piled-sale-farmer-s-market-image32428077

Remember,  you can roast the beets in a bit of olive oil with sea salt and black pepper enrobed in foil, and you can cook the beet greens in a skillet with a bit of olive oil, garlic and shallots.  Finish with a few drops of red wine vinegar and you’ll have the strength of ten.

But, OK.  So you’re a sentimental kind of lover.

Instead of giving gifts of chocolate and flowers for Valentine’s Day, how about sharing a beet with your sweetheart?  The shape and color of the beet is like the heart, the symbol of love. In some cultures there is a belief that if a man and a woman share the same beet, they will fall in love.

The Ancient Romans used the beet as an aphrodisiac and in Greece, Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, has been unofficially referred to as the “Beet Goddess”.

Historically beets have been featured on Valentine cards.

Boron, one of the nutrients in beets, helps with the production of human sex hormones.http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-girl-holding-half-beets-image12048799

There are other phytonutrients in beets which are antioxidants, antiinflammatory and support the body’s detoxification process.

If you are hesitant to give up chocolate on Valentine’s Day, you could always combine chocolate and beets to make a great cake. One of my favorite recipes for beet cake is on the website Elana’s Pantry (http://www.elanaspantry.com). The cake is called “Purple Velvet Torte”.  When I make the cake I modify her recipe by adding 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Another recipe for beets and chocolate cake can be created by modifying the “Chocolate Sauerkraut Sheet Cake”  recipe found in Linda Eckhardt’s cookbook “Cakes from Scratch in Half the Time: Recipes That Will Change the Way You Bake Cakes Forever” by using beets instead of sauerkraut.

I hope you consider beets as your Valentine’s Day treat no matter what day it is.

 Beet Bundt Cake

Makes 8-10 servings.  Nice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1-1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar

2 cups puréed cooked (boiled or steamed) red beets (about 3 medium-size beets)

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 sup Confectioners’ sugar

juice and zest of one large lemon

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5), and lightly oil OR spritz with Pam for baking a Bundt pan.

In a mixing bowl, cream together oil and brown sugar. Add beets, melted chocolate chips, and vanilla, and mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to wet beet mixture, and stir until just combined.

Pour into prepared Bundt pan, and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Cool completely. Before serving.Drizzle with a Confectioners  sugar and lemon juice thin icing.

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