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— Beet Greens

It has been pretty rainy here in Germany this past week, which has been good for the garden since the end of August was very hot and dry, but not good for us getting out of the house much. I have been with Anna at her new Kindergarten every morning of this and last week while she adjusts to the new setting, teachers and kids, and I seem to have caught a really bad cold (I wonder how!). For the past day or two this cold has had me completely wiped out. Being stuck in the house then for the past few days while it has rained hasn’t been so bad after all. I always feel like curling up on a rainy day with a good book, a mug of hot tea and a warm blanket anyway and in this instance I’ll also be needing a large stack of tissues and possibly some paracetamol!

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Since this cold has been wearing me out I don’t feel much like cooking at all and luckily this dish is done in no time (minus the cooking time for the rice, but this can be done ahead of time) and requires very minimal effort. I love beet greens, more than beets, and steamed or sautéed they are such a versatile green which amazingly tastes nothing like the beet root itself but much more like spinach or Swiss chard. The red stems can be chopped and added in too. The stems add a fabulous red color to the dish when cooked and have a really faint beet taste (those of you who hate beets beware!). It doesn’t matter if you are a beet lover or hater, though, you should give the greens a try (you can omit the red stems if you really must). They are amazingly tasty, healthy and packed with nutrients. So don’t toss those green tops into the compost the next time you harvest your beets but make this delicious dish instead!

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Sautéed Beet Greens over Red Rice with Tofu

Serves 2-3

For the Beet Greens
1 large bunch of Beet Greens
6 cloves of Garlic
1 brick of Tofu
2-3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

For the Marinade*
1/4 cup of Soy Sauce
1/4 cup of White Wine Vinegar (or plain vinegar)
1-3 Dried Chillies (broken up into small pieces)

Red Rice (or rice of your choice)

Wash and cook the rice according to the package’s instructions. Cut the tofu into bite sized pieces. Mix the soy sauce, vinegar and chillies in a deep bowl then add the tofu pieces and let them marinate. Clean the beet greens with cold water and trim the ends. Cut the greens (and stems) into 2 inch pieces. Peel and chop the garlic. Cover the bottom of a large frying pan with olive oil and heat on high. When the oil is hot add the garlic, cooking until fragrant but not burnt, about one minute. Add the tofu and then the beet greens and stir to combine. Put a lid on the pan, stirring occasionally and cooking over medium-high heat. If the greens start to dry out or stick while cooking you may need to add a few tablespoons of the soy marinade. Cook just long enough until the greens are tender and the tofu is hot, adding more marinade if the pan becomes too dry and the tofu or greens start to stick. Serve over warm rice with more of the marinade on top and crushed black pepper to taste.

*This marinade is something that I picked up from my friend Jaye Li. I’m not sure of the actual proportions that she uses, as she would always make it to taste without any precise measuring, but I have found that equal portions of soy and vinegar work well together. You can add more soy sauce or more vinegar to your liking as well as more or less chillies depending on how hot you want it to be. I find that when I make this dish 2 dried chillies is enough heat without it being too overpowering.

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