Thursday, January 5, 2012
Beetroot Dip: An Aussie Favorite
We’ve been home from our holiday in Australia for a week now and I’m still basking in the post-vacation glow ... good thing since we are having our share of rain and wind! I am thinking back on certain moments – like digging my toes into warm sand – as I sit here watching the lashing tree limbs and rain on the window. Remembering glorious tastes, such as mangoes, ginger beer and curried vegetable pies, helps me hold onto the sun.
I have a deep love of beets and their earthy, sweet flavor so I was delighted to find a variety of beetroot dips in the Aussie markets, including ones with horseradish or pureed chickpeas. I’d never thought of beets as a dipping option before and was intrigued.
After sampling quite a few, I decided the one our friend, Bev, made and brought to Christmas dinner was the best (I’ve noticed she always appears with the most wonderful goodies!). This one included walnuts, garlic and red wine vinegar and she graciously shared the recipe with me. I couldn’t wait to get home and make it.
When shopping for beets this week, I found the largest I’ve ever seen – 2 1/2 pounds each! I bought two and have a lovely stash of roasted beets in my fridge now. The dip has a pure beet flavor with hints of garlic and brightness from the vinegar. This will be a staple in my kitchen now. It’s a wonderful vegan appetizer or unique salad next to grilled fish, and can be made gluten-free if you use cooked potato in place of the bread crumbs.
I indulged heavily in beet eating on this trip. I enjoyed the Aussie tradition of putting roasted beets and fried eggs on burgers, and when I popped into a fresh juice stand I couldn’t resist ordering the jimbo - beetroot, carrot, ginger, apple and pear juice (I was inspired to pull my juicer out this week and just made my own jimbo).
Creating favorites at home keeps a bit of Australia with us and makes me happy. My sons’ favorite beverage was ginger beer, so I’m fermenting a batch. They can sip it while watching cricket! And I have curried vegetable pies on my list to try my hand at. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll have the pleasure of eating mangoes as juicy and sweet as the ones we enjoyed in Australia, so that will have to wait until the next visit.
This wombat crossing sign makes me smile!
As did spotting an echidna (a spiny anteater).
From Bev Reilly
Originally from the Ormylia Monastery in Macedonia
Makes about 1 1/4 cup
6 ounces beets, roasted and peeled
4 tablespoons walnuts, toasted
1 ounce bread crumbs or boiled potato (for gluten-free option)
1 clove garlic
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste (I used 1 teaspoon)
Place all the ingredients in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Serve as an appetizer with crackers or crudités, or as a salad alongside grilled fish.