Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Guest post-Jo's Roasted Beets with Rosemary and Feta

Who brings a rice cooker camping?

Last week, an old childhood friend of mine returned to the area after a year of living in Egypt.  Christine and I have known each other all our lives, and we do love a good camping trip, so I offered to pick her up at the airport and go straight to the campground if it was all the same to her. She was game, as always.

On Monday I got a cold, but decided not to let it get me or the camping trip down, so I soldiered on.  On Wednesday morning, I packed poorly, though, and one of the last things I threw in the car before heading out was a gigantic rice cooker.  I knew we'd booked a campground with electricity, so what the hey.  It looked strange, but I saw a Chinese family do it once at a campground, and I was jealous they had so much perfectly cooked rice! 

I also threw in my huge box of CSA veggies, a couple of weeks' worth.  I didn't sort it, just brought it all.

The first night, I was unpacking the car and pitching the dining tent and I hauled out the rice cooker.  It was HUGE.  Hilariously huge.  Christine thought it was a gas, as she likes rice as much as I do.  That night, I felt like soup and rice and wasn't feeling particularly energetic, what with the cold and having pitched the tents, so I put a can of Campbell's on the stove and a cup of rice in the rice cooker.  Of course that doubled in size once cooked and I wasn't thinking.  I dumped the soup into the rice (instead of the rice into the soup) and wound up with a VERY unflavourful batch of predominantly rice with faint canned vegetable overtones.  Frankly, it was foul.  Christine was good spirited about the whole thing, and did eat it, but I was shaking my head, knowing how much good food I'd brought, and how I'd opted for crap.  

The next day, after a crazy hike which included a 27-flight climb up a ravine (I have a pedometer with an altimeter built in!), we were famished.  Christine was on kitchen duty and she started going through the CSA box.  I'd stupidly forgotten to pack spices, but it didn't even matter.  Heirloom organic vegetables have FLAVOUR (unlike a can of Campbell's soup) and she meticulously chopped up and sauted up onion, garlic, kale, chard, tomatoes and beans.  I was on rice duty, and tossed in a can of chick peas which I'd managed to bring.

The whole thing came out so damned good, we both couldn't stop talking about it for hours afterwards.  Probably because the meal the night before was such a let down, but DAMN those veggies were amazing.  Food always tastes better outside, to top it off!  Add it to a monster hike, and you are golden.

A few days later when we got back to town (and I got back from the walk-in clinic with an aggravated case of bronchitis! Yikes!), Christine made supper with the remnants in the basket.  At that point, it was rosemary, beets and beans.  She said she LOVED beets and although usually they are a pain to cook, these ones were teensy and would take no time at all.  She said that feta went really well with beets... something about the sweet and sour that comes together.  I'd only ever had beets with vinegar before, so this was going to be something interesting.

I'll include the recipe she used below, it was amazing!  Who knew?

Roasted beets with rosemary and feta


  • 6 beets, (about 1-1/2 lb/750 g)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, (or 1 tbsp/15 mL dried)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh parsley or rosemary
  • feta cheese


Cut beet tops to leave 1 inch (2.5 cm) attached; leave tails. Place on 16-inch (40 cm) piece of foil. Sprinkle with garlic, rosemary, 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the oil, salt and pepper. Fold to form packet. Place on rimmed baking sheet; roast in 400°F (200°C) oven until fork-tender, 1 hour.
Wearing rubber gloves, peel and trim beets; cut into 1/4-inch (5 mm) thick slices. Arrange on warmed platter; drizzle with remaining oil. Sprinkle with parsley and mix with cubed or crumbled feta cheese


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