Monday, January 27, 2014

Smoky stovetop beets

Beets have a muddled place in my kitchen. Some of us believe beets can and should be a part of every day's menu... hot, cold, raw, roasted, pickled... Anyway you make them, I {and now Brother} will eat them.

The girls declare them "yummy in my tummy," but don't dream purple like their momma.

Tim would prefer, well, any vegetable to a beet. Disappointing. However, this is one of three things he prefers not to eat, so I try to oblige.

What's a beet luvin' girl to do? Wait for an evening youth event serving a dinner, then make a mess of beets. An evening such as this one.

Since it's a single parent Sunday night, I was thinking borscht. Easy, delicious beets. That is until my daughter informed me that I always make soup, and she never wants to eat soup, and can't I please make a pizza instead. She doesn't appreciate this rare opportunity.

A compromise: Smoked Beet Pizza, or a new segment I'd like to call The Penny Gourmet.

Gourmet food has earned the reputation for extravagance and expense. Families concerned with thriftiness, such as a single income family with three kids, can be easily convinced that thrifty food must be common. I disagree. Any food can become gourmet with a little effort, such as fire roasting or in this case smoking.

Since week old snow still lays unmelted in the yard, I will not be using the big smoker. Tim might be that dedicated to the cause, but I prefer my heated kitchen. Thus follows a brief tutorial in Stovetop Smoking {seen first in Homemade by Yvette Von Boven}.

You will need:
A roasting pan with a heat resistant rack (a trivet can work)
Aluminum foil
A couple handfuls of wood chips or loose tea
Optional: woody herbs such as rosemary or juniper berries for flavor
Something to smoke: fish works well. Today we are focusing on root veggies

Cube 2 lbs of root veggies (peeling if desired).
Place wood chips or tea leaves in the middle of the roasting pan forming a flat pile. Cover with a double layer of aluminum foil. Lay the rack in the pan and arrange the veggies leaving space between pieces.
Set the pan on a large burner over medium high heat until the wood chips begin to smoke. Turn the heat down to medium low and cover the pan in aluminum foil, crimping around the edges to create the tightest seal possible. Smoke for 30-40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Move veggies to a greased cookie sheet and roast in the oven until al dente (This step is unnecessary with fish).

These veggies are versatile. I made extra and sliced them thinly for sandwiches or in salad. I might bust them out for snack this afternoon with a bit of sour cream. Anywho...
To create the pizza, I sautéed onions in a honey balsamic glaze {aka, add 1 t each of balsamic vinegar and honey to the translucent onions and caramelize for 1-2 minutes}. Olive oil, salt and sage for sauce. Mozzarella over the top, and you have a sunset pink gourmet pizza for around $3.

In case the time commitment of this venture worries you... All three kids were awake for the whole process. You need to be aware of the stove, but you don't have to stand over it.

Happy smoking!

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