Beets glazed with tamari, lime, and hot pepper

Beets glazed with tamari

Beets glazed with tamari

On the local news they were running a story about the demolition of an old hotel…a historical landmark. A fresh-faced local reporter informed us of the traffic problems we might expect, and about proposed plans for the site. Then they told us our “backyard” weather report, before returning to the national morning program, on which a group of plastic-faced plastic-haired individuals cheerfully and ignorantly speculated on the murder of a sad-seeming “reality” TV star. Later we drove home through miles of winding mountain roads covered with pine forests. We passed small towns and farms, and almost more churches than houses. I always feel a little lonely driving through strange neighborhoods, getting small glimpses of people’s lives there…a couple of kids playing volleyball without a net, a line of people waiting for a bus (where are they going?), an unchained dog ambling back to his place in a service station. Something about the pines and the veering hills makes this part of the world seem unusually wild, and it’s obviously a place people have travelled to for some time to escape the cares of the world. It’s beautiful, silent, pitch black at night, and desolate. We passed by huge strange buildings from the last century–giant resort hotels and spas, in crumbling disrepair or transformed into apartments. We passed abandoned resort towns from the sixties and seventies, where trees grow out of the tennis court, and the bright groovy colors welcome the ghosts. We passed colonies of small houses–cabins or shacks, really–they must have been for families roughing it for a week or two, or for artists’ gatherings or religious retreats. And now they’re dilapidated, missing doors and windows and crumbling apart, but judging from the possessions strewn over the front lawn, there are people living there, people with dogs and children and worries just like mine. It’s so strange to think about the people who have come here for vacation, maybe year after year, until the buildings were boarded up and the business closed down. It’s strange to think about the people who live here now, in these small towns and old cities and ex-resorts, all connected by the morning show piped into their televisions, with its gruesomely breezy jolliness, its forced fake stories that have nothing real about them, nothing that touches anybody’s life, not enough substance to even crumble and decay. Humans are so strange, sometimes.

Beets glazed with tamari

Beets glazed with tamari

Almost everything in this dish came from the farm! The beets, scallions, garlic, hot pepper, basil, cilantro. It’s simple, but with nice strong flavors, sweet, salty, hot and tangy. You could toss it with rice or pasta to make a meal, or eat it on the side with all the other good summer vegetables.

Here’s Who Cares, Michelle Shocked’s ghost town song.

4 or 5 small beets
1 T olive oil
2 scallions, white parts mostly, sliced quite finely
1 garlic scape or 1 clove garlic, minced
1 small hot pepper, deseeded and minced
1 – 2 T tamari
juice of one lime
small handful fresh cilantro & basil, washed and roughly chopped
plenty of freshly ground pepper

Trim and peel the beets. Cut them across in 1/8th inch slices, and then cut each slice into about four strips.

Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beets, and stir and fry until they start to soften and brown. Add the scallions, garlic and hot pepper, stir and fry until they, too, begin to soften and brown. Add the tamari, lime juice and a few tablespoons of water and continue to cook until all the liquid is absorbed. If the pan dries out, add a little more tamari or water. Cook until the beets are just as soft as you like them. Remove from heat, and top with fresh basil, cilantro and plenty of freshly ground pepper. Serve.


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