Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Herbol cooks to a different beet

Published:Thursday | August 7, 2014 | 12:00 AM
While most persons are used to beet in this form, it's the leaves, not the roots pictured here, that hold Herbol's attention.
Beet leaves being cooked.
After cooking, the leaves are chopped and ready for the frying pan. Contributed photos
Sautéed beetroot leaves.
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Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer

Describing herself as a "fairly good cook, according to people", Denise Herbol admits to enjoying having friends over and cooking for them.

In addition to showcasing her culinary skills, the United States Agency for International Development mission director uses these engagements to boast about her kitchen garden, in which pak choi, eggplant, tomatoes, Scotch bonnet, bell peppers and spring onions compete with a variety of herbs.

"I like going out and picking fresh produce and cooking. It's great, lots of fun," she shared with Food recently.

But more than anything else, she is anticipating harvesting her beets, just not for the reason most of us do.

Usually the deep red-coloured roots are prepared in a number of ways - grilled, boiled, or roasted as a cooked vegetable, cold as a salad after cooking, or raw and shredded, either alone or combined with any salad vegetable.

However, for this American diplomat, the roots are of little importance. The leaves, which other people discard, are her focus.

"I grow them for the leaves," she tells Food. "I don't mind the beets, but I love the leaves [which] you can cook like spinach. You take them and boil for two minutes. Then you shock them in cold water, squeeze out the water, chop them up, and sauté in a pan with Scotch bonnet and some onion, garlic, and olive oil."

Eyes coming alive with the thought she continues, "Squeeze a little lemon on top, it's delicious. Trust me, and very nutritious."

Maybe this is a new way to try beetroot. Give it a try and let us know how it turns out.