I’d love to step into Op’s shoes, or whatever goddesses wear on their feet. While perusing websites relating to my upcoming trip to Italy, I came upon a dictionary of goddesses. This one caught my attention. Ops, rumored to be married to Saturn, is “an agricultural goddess of abundance personifying the earth’s riches.”*
Today my mom and I were the Ops twins; she cleaning up my raised beds and harvesting beets, Swiss chard, peas and red cabbage and moi; filling holes dug by my dogs, planting a new baby bay laurel tree, staking up my berry vines and eternally weeding.
Giggling and chatting away like two teenagers who just love spending time together, the work energized our souls. The golden warmth of the sun embraced my body, almost magically pulling me closer to the earth. I was the goddess of agriculture if only for a moment. It felt really good.
In honor of my beet harvest, I decided to make something out of my comfort zone. My neighbor, Ione, makes delicious pickled beets. In fact, she is the pickling queen, using vinegar for everything from octopus to fava beans.
I asked for her recipe. Roast, peel, then slice or cube the beets, she replied. Top with balsamic vinegar, a bay leaf and a sprinkling of peppercorns. That’s it! Marinate a few hours or a few days. I marinated one batch with a traditional red balsamic vinegar and one with a white balsamic vinegar from The San Felipe Olive Oil Company who makes thick and delicious vinegars. It has a slight sweetness that I think marries well with the sugar in the beets.
After harvesting nine large maroon rubies and roasting the root, there still remained the beet greens in plentitude. The leaves are tender and hold their shape when sautéed with olive oil, mushrooms and a shallot. For those whose taste buds require a softer taste in greens, or think the kales are too strong in flavor, try beet greens. You will be pleasantly surprised and by utilizing the entire plant, you are getting two veggies for the price of one!
As gardening connects the soul to the earth; cooking opens the soul to the arts; and believing expands the soul to the future. Mary Knight
Avec l’amour de ma maison à la vôtre, le bonheur et la bonne santé (With love from my house to yours, happiness and good health)