You Can’t Beet These Roasted Roots

Oven-roasted beets are easy to prepare  DIANA HELFAND PHOTO

Oven-roasted beets are easy to prepare

It’s been six years since the release of the locally produced independent film Princess Kaiulani, but Island Film Group’s Roy Tjioe and Ricardo Galindez quietly have been keeping the film and television business going in Hawaii. Their newest project, Life Unknown, just began principal photography and is the first China-Hawaii feature film co-production for worldwide distribution.

Ric and Roy have been instrumental in creating and maintaining the film and television credits offered to productions that film in Hawaii, spending countless hours at the Legislature lobbying for this cause.

Roy focuses on story and script development at Island Film Group, drawing on his experience as a stage and indie film actor, screenwriter and editor. His Chinese language film Dao won a Special Jury Award at Hawaii International Film Festival.

Ric oversees company operations and is regarded as an expert in tax-credit structuring and financing for film and television projects in Hawaii.

Stay tuned for the release of Life Unknown sometime this year that stars Chinese actress Michelle Chen of You Are the Apple of My Eye, Jackson Rathbone of the Twilightseries, and Sung Kang of Fast & Furious fame. The film will be shot entirely in Hawaii and released worldwide.

This week’s column, in which I am featuring beets, a favorite of mine, is dedicated to Roy and Ricardo.

The Romans believed beets to be an aphrodisiac, and cooked them with honey and wine or used them in broths, and in salads dressed with oil, mustard and vinegar. Early beets were long and thin and looked like carrots; the rounded beet shape that we know today was not cultivated until the 16th century. Beets became very popular several centuries later in Eastern and Central Europe, and it was there that the popular beet soup called borscht originated. In Victorian times, beets were pickled, used in soups, salads, and as an ingredient in cakes and puddings.

Beets and beet greens contain many vitamins and minerals, including beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C and folic acid. They are good for pregnant women, as vitamin B and iron are very beneficial to new growth cells during pregnancy and for replenishing iron in the woman’s body.

Many of my readers have asked about how to cook beets, so here is an easy way to roast them. They are good dressed with some oil and vinegar, used in salads, or just as an accompaniment to a meal or added to energy drinks.


• 1 pound (approximately 4) large red or yellow beets

olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash beets under cool water and dry with paper towel. Coat with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Wrap each beet in foil. Put in pan and roast for 1 hour or until beets are fork tender. (Stick a toothpick in the beet; it should come out easily.)

Cool beets and peel skin with potato peeler or paring knife, dice into 1/4-inch cubes or slice, depending on what you are using them for.

NOTE: Beets will stain anything they come in contact with. Use gloves, and rub your cutting board with oil before you cut your beets.