I watched the first four seasons of Sex and the City in my best friend’s basement in high school.
We would set the TV to something innocuous, but believable, and shut off the DVD player as quickly as possible when somebody came down the stairs.
It was fascinating to us, the life of 30-something single women. And it seriously warped my sense of how women that age lived.
Not because of the whole women as sex symbols thing, or even the fantastic notion of large, rent-controlled New York City apartments being available to once-a-week columnists. Those fights have been nauseatingly overplayed and I won’t subject you to them here.
Mostly, it made me think that adult women have wardrobes containing endless cocktail dresses and matching pajama sets.
Please tell me that I’m not alone in not owning even one matching pajama set.
I’m older now. I know better than to judge myself based on movies and HBO dramas, but sometimes I still feel like I’m doing it all wrong.
When Jason said was going to be gone for a Saturday night to help a friend move, my inner slave to Sex and the City had visions of a girls’ night where we all sat around gossiping about our love lives and sipping from martini glasses.
Instead, I made beets and watched at least four consecutive episodes of The Big Bang Theory. Jason hates both. Alone, it was my chance to indulge in the things I usually give up in the name of compromise and not subjecting somebody to my love of controversial root vegetables and (not controversial) CBS sitcoms.
Plus, beets leave everything stained pink and that’s kind of girly, right?
If you do decide to make a girls’ night of it — matching pajama sets or not — these crostini make great appetizers that can be completely prepped in advance. And that seems like something fashion-forward women on TV would do, right?
Roasted Beet Crostini
Very slightly adapted from Eating Well
I was drawn to these crostini because they use all parts of the beet — bulb, stem and leaves. Knowing that, I probably shouldn’t have been so surprised that they were, um, beety. They taste like you are eating beets on top of beets on top of bread. Because, well, you are. After eating the first couple, I stirred some red pepper flakes into the beet and goat cheese spread to add a little umph, and I’ve written the recipe with that included. I think lemongrass, ginger or grated lemon zest might also do the trick, but haven’t tried any of those.
1 bunch beets, greens attached
1 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
6 ounces goat cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced or chopped
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (red wine or balsamic would work)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I admit, I eyeballed this, so not sure on exact measurement)
Preheat over to 400 degrees.
Trim leaves and stems from beets, and set aside. Place beets in a baking dish (no need to peel beets first) and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Mine were small and only took 45 minutes. Eating well has its cooking time go all the way up to 1 1/2 hours, but I’m not sure where they got their softball sized beets. The beets will be ready when you can easily prick them with a knife or fork. When finished, uncover and let cool.
Wash and chop reserved stems and leaves, keeping them separate. Don’t worry about getting them dry, the water that is clinging to the leaves will help them cook in the pan.
Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped stems and cook, stirring occassionally, until tender. Again, Eating Well’s wacky cook times say this can be done in 3 minutes. It took me more like six or seven. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to one minute. (EW says 15 seconds here! Have you ever cooked anything in 15 seconds?) If you want to jazz this up more, you can add additional red pepper flakes/ginger/lemon at this step, too.
Add the chopped greens and cook, stirring occassionally, until tender and liquid has evaporated, about 6-8 minutes.
While this is cooking, set your broiler to low and spread crostini slices on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with about a tablespoon of olive oil and broil until brown (flip to brown each side).
Peel the cooled beets (the peel will easily slip off with your fingers) and cut in half, or quartered if you have really large beets. Put about a cup of the beets into your food processor with the goat cheese and red pepper flakes and process until smooth.
Spread the goat cheese mixture on each crostini and top with greens.