Friday, July 17, 2009

Summer Beets in Orange Sauce - Cooking Outside the Kitchen

Pulled up the first batch of beets from our garden the other day, and I wanted to do something fun with them. But with the summer heat, it's best to keep oven use to early morning or in the evening, both times allowing for the cooler outside air to come in through open windows. During the day we try to do without the oven.

Since I didn't want beets for breakfast, and didn't want to wait till dinner, I cooked the beets outside over an open fire. I even cooked up the orange sauce over the coals. If you like beets, click on through to see what the bunch of scraggly roots above turned into.
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Orange Sauce:
1/8 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Dash pepper
1 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon potato flakes

Mix the dry ingredients, whisk in the orange juice, and stir over heat until thickened. This, too, may be done on the outside grill.

The original recipe can be found at by clicking here. I did, however, reduce the sugar by half, and added a tablespoon of potato flakes to assist with thickening. No worries, as it doesn't leave a potato taste. The above ingredients indicate my changes to the original recipe.

Pre-cooking Beet prep:

Cut off the tops, leaving about an inch of stems. Washed dirt off with water. Wrapped them together (not individually) in two layers of foil for cooking.

Cooking the beets:
A barbecue would be more a more conventional method for outdoor cooking, but instead I went out to the fire ring in the backyard and built a fire. When the coals were ready, I spread them out and placed a grill so it was about five inches above the coals. Cooked them for 15 minutes on each side. (Placing the foil wrapped beets on the coals is asking for charred beets).

Rub and Cube or Slice:

The beet skins rub off after cooking. Using a paper towel makes it easier than rubbing bare handed. The beets do stain, but if you wash a few times during cutting, your hands won't retain much if any of the red color. Photo at left shows skinless beets.

Cut up the beets into slices or cubes, and pour the orange sauce over them and serve.


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