Although I'm the son of a (former) farmer, I pretty much refused to eat vegetables until I was well into my twenties. Somehow, I managed to survive on meat, potatoes, canned Campbell's beans, and the occasional Flintstones vitamin.
In retrospect ... well, God love her, but my mother overcooks most food. (It's not till I was around 10 that I realized hamburgers weren't supposed to be crunchy on the outside. This was a revelation.) I think it's mainly a generational thing; people in her age group seem to like to cook vegetables till they're pale and limp. (The vegetables, not the people.)
Although I've grown in my appreciation of veggies since childhood, I sometimes have to remind myself to eat them. It's easy for me to fall into a meat-and-potatoes rut. And some vegetables have continued to pretty much spook me. Like beets.
Until I found the following recipe for gingered beet slaw. It comes from the newsletter of a CSA to which we belonged for a time; it originally appeared in the Terrific Pacific Cookbook, by Anya Van Bremzen.
Even inveterate beet haters (and new beet lovers, like Bix) will like this.
Gingered Beet Slaw
2 lbs. beets, trimmed, leaving 2 inches of stem attached
1/2 cup minced shallots
1-1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup slivered fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
2-1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup canola or peanut oil
salt and pepper to taste
Combine beets with cold water to cover in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered until beets are tender, 30-45 minutes. Drain beets and place in a bowl of cold water until cool. Slip off the skins, and pat dry with paper towels.
Grate or shred the beets, and toss with the shallots, ginger, basil, and orange zest.
In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, vinegar, and sugar. Slowly whisk in the oil until emulsified. Add the dressing to the beets and toss well. Season with salt and pepper and chill.
(Oh, and yellow beets are milder than the red ones. And a less scary looking.)