When you grow-up with your grandparents and spend a fair amount of time with your grandmother and her crew of girlfriends and sisters, you will undoubtedly eat your fair share of root vegetables – beets, rutabagas, turnips, etc. On occasion I would accompany my grandmother to work. She served as a housekeeper at the Ramada Inn near Love Field Airport on Dallas’ north side. Between the clothes left behind by patrons and the nearby Salvation Army grandma shopped at on her way home I always had nice clothes.
One of my favorite all time musicians is the uber talented Willie Hutch. He wrote for many Motown artists including Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson as well as the Jackson 5 and a young Michael Jackson. Hutch grew up in Dallas and graduated from Booker T. Washington High School for Performing and Visual Arts Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts which also boasts Erykah Badu and Roy Hargrove as alumni. Most know him through his music sampled on the UGK and Outkast collabo “International Player’s Anthem”.
The first song I ever heard by him was “The Way We Were”. It was at the aforementioned Ramada Inn Hotel. I had gone to the maids’ quarters to provide a “Young and the Restless” update to my grandma and her coworkers. There was a jam box playing Willie Hutch. Later I would see movies like Foxy Brown and The Mack both of which he did the soundtracks for. And if you attend any party in Chicago long enough into a house music set you will hear “Brother’s Gonna Work It Out”. Be for warned, if you’re an out of towner like I was that first “house set” can freak you out. Imagine dancing to Biggie or Ludacris and then right at midnight the DJ switches to House Music at which point normal black people turn into the disco dancing version of the Walking Dead.
This shaved root vegetable recipe was inspired by the bowls of leftover beets and turnips the Ramada Inn Housekeepers used to share during their breaks. This is essentially a fancied up salad version of those pickled root vegetables. Though the vegetables will be thin there will still be some crunch to them. If you prefer a little more tenderness feel free to quickly blanch them in salted water. Also for additional variety feel free to add green for more of a “salad” feel.
Great beats, better eats. Enjoy!
Shaved Root Vegetable Salad
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh herbs cilantro, basil, parsley, etc.
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium golden beet peeled
- 2 small radishes peeled
- 1 carrot peeled
- 1 medium cucumber peeled
Make the vinaigrette
Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, and vinegar. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper.
Make the salad
Thinly slice beets, cucumber, carrot, and radishes using a mandoline. Place vegetables in a medium bowl. Spoon vinaigrette over vegetables. Add herbs and then toss to coat.
Season with salt and pepper.
The carrot and beet greens can be chopped and added to the herb mix for additional flavor