glutton for...

My fondness for butter, bacon, cheese, and other sundry cholesterolicious delights has not gone unremarked upon, either here on the blog (bacon chocolate chip cookies, what what), or while standing at my closet this morning and realizing that many of my clothes no longer fit over my Hibernation Belly.

And this weekend, a friend said "no, I don't really like bacon". No, he's not a vegetarian, either.

In the interest of proving myself to be more than a one-trick high-fat pony, I made an accidentally vegan side dish for Thanksgiving, and damned if it's not really tasty, despite the lack of pork products or cheese or, I don't know, foie gras.

It was far more photogenic when made on Wednesday evening, btw.

Roasted Beets with Hazelnuts and Lemon
3 lbs. red beets
3 lbs. yellow beets
1 cup hazelnuts, lightly toasted, skins removed
2 meyer lemons
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

If you've got to toast the hazelnuts yourself, put them on a jelly-roll pan (y'know, a cookie sheet with sides. What, am I the only person who calls it a jelly-roll pan?) and pop into the oven at about 350 degrees until they're lightly browned: about 10 minutes. Let them cool a little bit, and then roll them around with your hands in a kitchen towel so the skins will peel off.

While the hazelnuts are toasting, peel the raw beets. Cut off the stalks and any tough spots, and use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. If you peel the red ones first, and then the yellow ones, you'll minimize the eventual magenta tint of your palms.
If you really want to go for the bi-color effect (which is why I got two different colors of beets, after all), you'll want to keep them separate until after they're cooked. If you don't care, put all the beets in a large bowl and prep them to roast all at once. If you really don't care, just get one color of beets and roll with it.

Otherwise: take the two meyer lemons and juice them. Take half this juice and mix it with salt & pepper to taste and half the olive oil. Toss the red beets in this mixture, and put them in a large enough pan for roasting. Cover the pan with foil, and roast at 400ish degrees for about 40 minutes. Remove the foil, and roast for about 20-30 minutes more, depending on how large the beets are, and how tender you like them.
Set the beets aside to cool.

Do the same thing with the yellow beets in a separate roasting pan, if you're fussy enough to keep your food sorted by color. Except! While the yellow beets are roasting still covered in foil, cut up the meyer lemons you've already juiced. Yeah, you're basically cutting the rind into pieces, and it's not pretty, but so what. If you're hell-bent on making them pretty, though, get two new pristine meyer lemons and cut those up. Add the lemon slices to the pan of yellow beets to cook, uncovered, for that last 20-30 minute stretch of roasting.
Cool the yellow beets.

Slice each color of beets once they're cool and layer them together in a pretty pattern in a serving bowl (or your sole 9x13" casserole dish, if you're me). Sprinkle the hazelnuts between some of the layers, and on top.

Hey! It's vegan! I totally didn't plan it that way, either.
It pretty much fills a 9x13" pan, so it's however many servings you think it is. I don't know: I have no way to gauge how much you like to eat your vegetables.

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