Vegetables I Have Known
Oh beets, with your vivid, royal coloring, the shock of hot pink spiraling through you like Mother Nature’s own blacklight poster. I am so in love, I clicked on a NYT recipe for a salad of shredded you. My eyes juiced your image, regarded only briefly the measurements and directions, and then returned to you, a root the color of guts in my dreams.
Follow the recipe or throw caution to the wind as I did and trust your own gut as it resonates with the most bewitching of vegetable forms. (How could I have ever scoffed at still lifes?)
Let the juices stain your fingers as you shred the mighty beet with your common cheese grater. Squeeze in half a lemon after scornfully discarding the seeds. Taste. Another half a lemon, then, or not. Do the same with oranges.
Drizzle just the slightest bit of olive oil. Tip your palm cupping just a touch of salt. Stir. Taste.
Make a lot. Over days in your fridge, the flavors commingle and mellow. The citrus, less bright. The beet, less earthy.
Like ĺkaros, my ambition spurred me to dig up yet more roots for grating. The passé carrot found new life with sesame oil. Since I posses no mixing bowl and own only, instead, a purple Kool Aid pitcher, I shoveled my pile of three shredded carrots into this container. Sesame oil goes far, flavor-wise, so a few drops was all this dish required. Next, peeled tomatoes, chopped and strained, were added as a second layer. A touch of sweet Mirin and rice vinegar spilled onto those.
A little salt goes a long way in this dish, too. A couple of hearty stirs dispersed the tomatoes and carrots. (Not too many, or the delicate flesh of the tomato may be pulverized.) Once served, top with unadorned avocado.