Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Homemade...Warm Beet and Goat Cheese Salad



A few days ago I cleaned out the refrigerator in order to make room for 25 pounds of Mustang grapes Jason recently picked (more on this in a future blog post!). In my cleaning frenzy, I happened upon two large beets in the back of the veggie bin. Realizing Jason purchased these about a month ago (yes, I apparently need to clean out my fridge more often!), I figured it was high time to put these to good use. I had planned on baking some bread in the afternoon anyway and realized there would be space in the oven going to waste. So I quickly made a plan for these delectable red orbs.

I concocted an extremely easy side dish (or main dish if you have more beets) that I think is perfect to share with you here. A warning: I tend to not measure things – I kind of just throw in what I imagine would be good together. I think this makes my mom crazy (!), but the results usually taste just as good as a more formal recipe – and I know my mom would agree with that. So the measurements I’ve attached to the ingredients here are close approximations. The “recipe” is as follows:

Warm Beet and Goat Cheese Salad, serves 2

2t. Olive Oil (divided)

2 Red Beets (each about 3 inches in diameter – cut into 1 inch cubes)

5 or 6 cloves Garlic, kept whole but crushed

1T. unsalted Butter

2T. Red Onions (thinly chopped)

½ to 1 handful of Walnut pieces

A few dashes of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt

2T. Goat Cheese Crumbles

Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions: Place cubed beets in small baking dish, drizzle with 1t. olive oil, and add a dash of coarse kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Bake in oven until beets are easily pierced with a sharp fork or knife. Check on beets halfway through baking process. If they appear too dry you can add a bit more olive oil, or to reduce calories add a teaspoon or two of water. Add the garlic cloves during this mid-baking check. While the beets are in the oven you can prepare the onions and walnuts. Place butter in small sauté pan, add onions, and cook for a minute or two. Add walnuts to onions and sprinkle with seasoning salt. Continue to cook for a few more minutes, being sure to agitate the mixture every 30 seconds or so to ensure the walnuts don’t burn. Take mixture off burner once the walnuts are slightly roasted. After the beets and garlic are cooked, place mixture in two individual small bowls. Add onion/walnut combo to each. Sprinkle each with 1T goat cheese. To finish, drizzle ½ t. olive oil on top of each serving.

That’s it! The directions are a bit wordy, as there really are only 4 or 5 steps to this meal. And oh my gosh it tastes so good. Truly like something out of a gourmet magazine. I wish I had quadrupled the recipe! The bread I was baking called for a 325 degree oven and an hour and 15 minutes of baking time, so that’s what I used to cook the beets. The temp could certainly be raised and beet cooking time decreased if you so desire. I’m already salivating when thinking about my fall garden and the varieties of beets I’m going to try. Though I’ve unfortunately never had them, I think this recipe would also taste great with golden beets – or perhaps a mixture of gold and red. Experiment, try new things. A sprinkling of dried rosemary here, a few sprigs of fresh basil there. This was only my second time cooking beets - they are a very forgiving vegetable! Come up with your own perfect beet-and-extras concoction. Let me know how it turns out!

As an aside, I used a “local” olive oil for the final drizzle. We came across Texas Hill Country Olive Company while perusing the Dallas Farmer’s Market about a month ago. I’m so used to buying the cheap stuff at the grocery store with a coupon, I naively didn’t even realize how much depth of flavor an olive oil could have. They have a line of various olive oils and fruit balsamic vinegars. We ended up purchasing the Texas Hill Country Miller’s Blend made from Mission and Arbequina olives. It’s 100% organically grown and has an amazing, almost nutty flavor. While the price is more than I’m used to spending on olive oil (again, I’m a recovering processed foods coupon queen…), it is totally worth it. You can purchase it at the Dallas Farmer’s Market (though check with them beforehand – I don’t know what days they are there) or online here. - Carrie

4 comments:

  1. This sounds so good! I have so few recipes for beets, yet I really like them. I have high hopes for a good harvest from my upcoming fall garden. And maybe next year, we'll have our own goat cheese!

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  2. What Pigs Don't KnowJuly 13, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    Oh my gosh I didn't even think about it! This is probably right up your alley! Homegrown beets & red onions, soon to be goat cheese, and didn't you plant some sort of nut tree not too long ago? Now you just need to press yourself some olives! - Carrie

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  3. Carrie, In the past I would have tossed the greens. But, I saved them after making the beet salad last night. Yum.
    Tonight I briefly boiled the trimmed beet greens, then sauteed them with unsalted butter (just because I have it and it is approaching the "out" date) and chopped onions with a dash or 2 of salt and pepper. Since I don't have a microwave, I just added the warm greens to the leftover cold beet salad, sprinkled with some more fresh goat cheese and had enough for 2. It was equally delish.
    Thanks for the inspiration.
    Love ya
    TSF

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  4. What Pigs Don't KnowNovember 15, 2010 at 6:11 PM

    Great greens idea, TSF! I almost always buy beets green-less, but now that I'm trying to grow our own I'll have to come up with uses for the greens, too. Will definitely try this (that is if my beet greens ever make it past 3" tall...a pox on your shade big pecan tree!) -Carrie

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