Friday, August 12, 2011

Boys and Beets

After our third meeting of the photography class I am taking, the instructor gave us the assignment of taking a picture that finishes this sentence :   "I like living in Montana because...."

It's a timely question for me because we are just hitting our two month mark and I have been thinking a lot about the changes we've made and what I like most about the move.  There are certainly a lot of differences; just this week Ray has had to take care of two skunks that were trapped on the property, attempt to take down a huge hornet's nest we discovered and shoo wild turkeys out of the yard in the early morning.  The garden and orchard are really going strong, so my time has been spent picking cherries, making raspberry jam and finding ways to use the abundance of zucchini.  The boys have been enjoying the adventures on the property, they are still talking about getting to go tubing last weekend, progressing greatly in their swim lessons and at this very moment, I can hear them outside practicing hammering nails into a board.  That might not sound like too much to you or I, but believe me, that's good stuff for a boy!

So, when I thought about the class assignment, two things first popped out at me.  First, what I love about living here is what it's doing to the boys.  I've seen them really open up, mature some and welcome new adventures.  They both have really toughened up and they seem to want to take on whatever is put in front of them. 
The second thing that I thought about is how much I love the garden and orchard.  Aside from simply that I just love food anyway, the fact that I am helping it to grow and that I can run down and pick fresh what I need is just awesome!  It's exciting to think that next year I will have a little more involvement in the planning part, so it's already in the works to expand the garden and plant a lot more of what we want and need.

Hopefully the feedback will be good on the pictures.  We are learning a lot and I am trying to incorporate an artistic perspective in my photography.  I thought I'd share how I prepared the beets.  Even if you think you don't like beets, you should try this.... they were delicious!

Roasted Beets and Greens
What you'll need:
6 medium beets, stems and leaves attached
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
3 slices bacon
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
olive oil

What to do:
Scrub the beets clean (but leave the skin on) and trim the stems off, leaving about 2 inches of the stem attached to the bulb.  Cover a cookie sheet with foil.  Rub the beets with olive oil and place them on the cookie sheet.  Roast them at 400 degrees until they are fork tender.

In the meantime, remove the leaves from the stems.  The leaves are tender and tasty, but the stems can be a little tough and bitter.  When you get a huge pile of leaves, soak them in a big bowl of cold water.  All the dirt will sink to the bottom of the bowl, so when you think they are clean, just pull them out of the bowl and dry them off a bit.  Then you want to slice the leaves into 1/2 inch stips.  This may sound like a lot of work, but it really isn't.  Just make a big pile of leaves and roll them up tightly.  Then slice the roll into 1/2 inch strips.  When you've got them all sliced, set 'em aside.

When the beets are tender, take them out and let them cool for a few minutes so you can handle them.  Using a paper towel, wipe off the skin.  It will come off very easy and this it where it can get messy, so be careful.  Trim off the little stem handle you left on and slice all the peeled beets into 1/4 inch slices.  Set aside.

Chop up the bacon into small pieces and cook it over med-high heat.  When it's nearly done, but still kind of soft, add the onions and get those cooking.  After about 5 minutes, add the garlic.  Saute all of that for a couple minutes, then add in the cut greens.  They will cook down quickly when they hit that bacon grease... they are similar to spinach, so if it seems like you have a lot of greens, just wait a minute and they will shrink down.  When the greens have wilted, add the sliced beets to the pan.  Saute them up and get all the goodness working together.  You only need to cook this long enough to heat up the beets.  When you're almost done, add in the fresh thyme (leaves stripped from the stem) and season to taste with salt and pepper.


  1. Hi Amber, This recipe looks so YUMMY! My oldest son keeps saying he is going to make a dish like this for me but hasn't done it yet. I guess I will have to make it for myself. :)

  2. Not a fan of beets, but love greens!

  3. Your photos look great. Looks like you are learning a lot in your photography class. :0)


Thanks for the comments! I read all of them and enjoy hearing from readers!