The Beets That Mother Gives You | Honey-Roasted Chioggia Beets on Mustard Greens with Goat Cheese, Crispy Shallots, & Walnut-Thyme Crunch
When I hit a writing block, I narrow my eyes toward the world, try to crop out the big picture, and find a detail, a single specificity, on which to focus. It might be a person’s movement, like the way my acupuncturist widens her stance and grounds her feet before reading my pulses. I have found poems in the negative shapes made by steam on a shower curtain or in the knots of a wood-paneled wall—a lone buffalo, a face in agony, a trickster in a hat. Characters for stories emerge from the expressions on strangers’ foreheads.
As it turns out, cooking isn’t all that different. When I sliced into a Chioggia beet for the first time, the Wonka-esque swirl of pink and white inspired me to make a dish more focused on details than the simple seasonal dishes I turn out for a weeknight dinner typically would. With a psychedelic root sliced up on my cutting board, how could I resist a little experimentation? Which is not to say that I have gone psychotropic, molecular gastronomical, or even all that outside of any box. Instead, I improvised a recipe that layered details into a stack without taking up too much of my evening or requiring a trip to a store for anything I didn’t already have on hand. Oooh, trippy.