20 December 2008

Red beets (beetroot) etc.

On Betty C.'s blog called Cuisine Quotidienne (Everyday French Cuisine), she posted a topic on beets (Am. Eng.) or beetroot (Br. Eng.) — betteraves in French. Betteraves are a controversial vegetable; some people detest them. Others, including me, love them. They taste like dirt — or should I say "the earth"? — like some good wines, and that's one of the things I like about them.

On Betty's blog, I left a comment about the way beets are sold at our local Intermarché supermarket. Over there, there is always a crate of them, of some sort. They are cooked. I sneaked a photo at Intermarché this morning to show how they were displayed. Today, instead of a meat fork, there was a set of tongs provided for customers to pick them out of the crate and drop them into a plastic bag.

Cooked beets at Intermarché in Noyers-sur-Cher.
Grab one with the tongs and drop it into a plastic bag.

Betteraves are normally sold cooked in France, though there is a farmer who sells raw beets at the market on Saturdays in Saint-Aignan. In California, I had to buy them raw at the supermarket and cook them myself. They take a long time to cook — 45 minutes or an hour or more — whether in boiling water or wrapped in foil in the oven, so the fact is I prefer to buy them already cooked.

I like cooked beets cut into cubes and made into a salad seasoned with a vinaigrette dressing and some minced shallots. Vinaigrette is a mixture of a little Dijon mustard and vinegar whisked together with about three times as much oil. Add a minced shallot, maybe some chopped parsley, some salt and pepper, and there — Bob's your uncle. Toss the cubed beets in it.

Betty gives a lot of other ideas for beet salads on her blog, and there are still others in the comments. They all sound good.

Sunset at La Renaudière, 19 December 2008

Here's a gratuitous snapshot of last night's sunset. We actually had a sunny day in Saint-Aignan. And warm — over 50ºF — that's over 10ºC.


  1. I love beets, too. Since I've come to France, I've eaten so many that I'm turning red. Betty C.'s site is lovely with great ideas. Now I'm hungry for betteraves.

  2. i'm with barack....don't like em...maybe i've just never had them prepared correctly

  3. I didn't realize that YOUR "Betty C." was the "Cuisine Quotidienne" blogger :)) Hi there, Betty C.! My sister (whose name is Elizabeth) goes by Betsy with us, but Betty with her husband, and her last name starts with C., so every time I see a post by "Betty C." I think of my sister (who I think occasionally reads your blog, Ken).

    I, too, am a beet convert after eating them in France in a nice salad. It's so much more convenient to buy them already freshly-cooked... here, you only get them pickled on the salad bar, or raw. I tried cooking them once in the pressure cooker after I came back from France, but it was too messy.


  4. raspberry vinegar. mmm.

  5. Oh my I just found your blog(thru Lucy's Kitchen). My heart skippped a beat to find a blogger who lives in the Loire valley. My favorite part of France. I love beets and don't mind cooking them whether boiling or roasting. I put them in as soon as I get home from the grocer. My husband detests them but I salt,pepper and a liitle vinegar and keep them in the fridge in a sealed jar. I spoon a few on my salad with some crumbled blue cheese and vinegrette yum yum.

    Now I have to make more time to read another blog as I am adding yours to my favorites!! Joyeaux Noel ma nouvelle ami.


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