We all have our obsessions with food items. For some it’s chocolate. For others it’s chips. For me, it’s cheeseburgers. Not the fast-food, nasty-ass, garden-variety, poop-containing 99 cent versions off every exit on every interstate in America. No way. It’s the out of the way, hand-formed, chef-cooked, hand-ground, awesome examples of American Cuisine. That’s what I will drive 100 miles for, go out of my way for, drool over and start a war for, if needs be. Yumm…
But, for my wife, it’s beets. She will fight you over beets. Raw, fresh, salted, not, pickled, stewed, roasted, marinated, brined, made into sliders – she loves them. She will eat them until I am worried she will literally turn pink. All of her. Last night was an ultimatum in beet preparation. She wanted beet chips. Contrary to popular belief, she is perhaps a better cook than I am, but she is limited to her time in the kitchen by her photography. This is her down time, so she gets more chances to cook.
Yesterday, she sliced beets. Paper thin, as her knife skills are AMAZING, and placed them by the fire to dry. After twelve hours or so, we heated a skillet full of peanut oil on medium heat to fry them, and went down to the first floor to plan remodeling. Big, Big mistake.
We were debating on selling or donating our used skis when Laura froze, looked upstairs, and said “I think something is wrong.” She sprinted up the stairs and then screamed, “The house is on fire!”
There are those moments when you just don’t question things. When your date says, “I’m pregnant.” When your mom says, “You have a new baby brother!” You just don’t question those moments. So, at that moment, I sprinted up the stairs. Laura tossed me the fire extinguisher, and I registered that there were about four feet of flames cascading out of our cast iron skillet. Our cabinets were smoking. The smoke alarms were shreaking, all at once. I hesitated, briefly, then pulled the plug. My coal mining experience took over and I fired the extinguisher at the base of the fire. Then flipped the empty cannister over and read, “Not suitable for kitchen fires.” Great. Flames hit the ceiling and oil splattered all over the kitchen. I looked at Laura, our kitchen, which is on fire, and grabbed a towel. This is not a time for the faint of heart. I grabbed the skillet, thought about surfing and headed through the house with it.
Laura flung the door open for me just as my pain tolerance was ending and I flung the skillet into the yard, into the rain. We blotted out the rest of the fire with wet towels and I dealt with third degree burns all night. A small price to pay for our house. Nothing some aspirin can’t help.
In the end, it’s all about who you are with. My wife is amazingly cool in the face of overwhelming adversity and I would go to war for her. Her beet chips? Absolutely, yes, we finished them. They were awesome.
Slice beets as thin as you can. Use a Mandarin if your knife skils are questionable or if you are lazy, like me. Allow to dry for 10 to 12 hours on paper towels, until they are stiff. Heat peanut or vegetable oil over medium heat until it is about 350 degrees. Ladle the beet slices in carefully, be sure to not overcrowd the skillet. Cook until crispy, 3-4 minutes. Place on paper towels to drain. Season immediately, and enjoy!