Sometimes you just gotta do something for yourself, am I right?

Overtime we fall prey to routine and fill our shopping carts with the same ol’ same ol’ passing on ingredients our families won’t abide. We are robbing ourselves of the opportunity to try something new or something we may have disliked as a child.

Tastes develop over the years and what you may have turned your nose up at when you were in pigtails may be delicious to your now… you just don’t know it yet.

My ex-boyfriend haaaated olives and mushrooms, which just happen to be two of the greatest pizza toppings! I still remember the first time I went grocery shopping after we parted ways and the liberation I felt when I picked up a brimming bag of beautiful shiitakes. How did I go three years without them?

In my Harlot’s Artists feature I ask: Is there something you love/hated as a child that you hate/love now?

Toronto artist Sarah Slean, says her taste for olives came later in life. She also mentions coffee – something many of us covet and is abhorrent to children. That now intoxicating scent once repulsed me as I sat in my piano teacher’s basement, bitter on her breath.

All I’m saying is don’t overlook yourself.

Try something new even if your family wants no part of it. Or rediscover something you used to crave and gave up in favour of popular opinion.

Beets are Johnny’s mortal enemy, so I haven’t made them in years. I forgot how rich and comforting they are! Now I make a big batch weekly enjoying them as a side dish, in salad or even as a snack.

I can roast up a large tray and reheat them just for little ol’ me. Imagine that? Something to call my very own. xo

ROASTED BEETS WITH FENNEL

serves 2 as a salad or 4 or a side

In guest writing for the Toronto company My Spice Box, I’ve been researching the health benefits of various spices. Most recently I looked into fennel seeds and found them rich in a myriad of health benefits – it just so happens I love that delicately anise flavour and it lends itself to so many applications. I tossed some crushed seeds in with my beets and fell in love all over again!

There’s a triple hit of fennel here with the leaves, bulb and seeds, but it serves to compliment the richness of the beets. I use both balsamic and lemon juice for zing and coconut oil for it’s subtle flavour, but you can use any neutral oil you like.

Tip: don’t pulverize the seeds into a powder, having some texture remain adds welcome crunch.

 

  • 2lbs beets
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 heaped tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • optional: 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced and fronds/leaves reserved
  • optional to serve: goat, feta or blue cheese

Preheat oven to 400F.

Remove tops and root end from beets and peel. Cut in half or quarters depending on their size until all are uniform. Toss with melted oil, fennel seeds, salt, chillies and a few good twists of black pepper. Pop in oven for 45-50 minutes, turning tray and stirring halfway through. If you like them softer return to oven until desired doneness.

Remove from oven and toss with balsamic and lemon juice. Taste for seasoning adding any more salt, pepper or acid as needed. Mix in the sliced fennel and lemon zest just before serving. Plate and top with reserved fennel fronds.

Serve with lemon wedges and a soft, rich cheese if desired.

Check out another delicious salad staring beets – one of my first and still one of my favs: Spicy Kale and Beet Salad

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