I think my cheese grater has made a new best friend. Grating young, colorful beets and carrots has to be one of the easiest ways to use the root vegetable staples, and the result is quite versatile - raw or cooked, these pretty shreds show how the humble grater can save time and make the most of fresh-from-the-farm produce. This morning I dug around in the crisper for the last of my pretty golden beets (note to self: buy more beets!), pulled out the gorgeous baby carrots I bought yesterday, and found some raw spinach that my roommate Dragonfruit had purchased a while ago. The carrots were perfectly tender - nothing like the big, tough guys you find at the supermarket.
I grated the beets and carrots, chopped up a beautiful red and orange heirloom tomato, threw in some dried cranberries and pine nuts (these two are making their way into everything...) and dressed it all with olive oil, rice vinegar, chopped cilantro, and salt. On a bed of fresh spinach, this salad is a great balance between sweet, crunchy, and nutty, and the whole thing took less than five minutes. Try your root veggies raw - it gives them a summery crunch that challenges the usual connotations of winter borsht!
While we're on the subject of raw foods and summer crunch, the July 5th episode of The Splendid Table featured a pretty helpful discussion of which foods should and should not be refridgerated.
Russ Parsons, food and wine columnist for the Los Angeles Times and author of How to Pick a Peach: The Search for Flavor from Farm to Table, says never refrigerate these fruits and vegetables:
Have a great Sunday, and Eat Well!
Underripe stone fruit like peaches and nectarines
Tomatoes - never never never never never. Please. Just don't.
Onions - except sweet onions like Vidalia, Maui and Walla Walla