Archives for posts with tag: beets

I’ve totally lost touch with my blog.  I’ve been trying to write a post for ages, but something was stopping me.  I have no idea what it was, but I put my foot down finally and decided I really want to resume my posts.  They are fun for me and I love the interaction with all of you!  I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but my resolution this year is to get back into blogging and stop making excuses about why I’m not, because there’s no valid reason except my own laziness.  I’m so silly, I will buy things thinking I’ll use them for my blog and they sit untouched.  I’m sure some of you with blogs know what I’m talking about.

I didn’t really fall off the wagon from cooking, but I haven’t been as enthusiastic about it as I used to be.  It’s slowly coming back and I’m ready to start up again.  Maybe it’s the winter – winter blues, I guess.  I know there’s lots to cook during the winter, but until recently I was totally uninspired.  Summer produce and colors inspire me.  This is probably also probably why I’ve been thinking once my husband is done residency we NEED to move somewhere warm.  It’s been on my mind for a few weeks now.  I’m craving sun and warmth.

Despite my love for summer, I do have a few winter produce favorites.  Most notable are beets.  I almost always have them on-hand.  Must have something to do with the color, I suspect.  As I’ve said before I’m a sucker for vibrant colors.  To the same effect, I buy watermelon radishes ALL THE TIME, not because I love thetaste, but more that I love the way they look.  For this dish there were no watermelon radishes, unfortunately.  But this tart is good with whatever you have on hand: mushrooms, spinach, caramelized onions – you name it.  I used to be daunted by making dough, but now I’ve formulated my own proportions and it works every time like a charm.  This sort of tart is one of my go-to dishes.  Although it does take some time, it is by no means difficult to make.

Roasted Beet and Carrot Tart

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

for the crust:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter, frozen

up to 1/4 cup ice water

filling:

6 ounces goat cheese, softened

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence

salt and black pepper, to taste

for top:

2 golden beets

2 carrots

1/4 cup chopped parsley and chives, or any herbs of your choice, for garnish

Method

Roast the beets in the oven (at 350 degrees) in a foil pouch on a baking tray drizzled with some olive oil, salt, and pepper for 45 minutes or until cooked.  At the 30 minute mark add in the  whole carrots, also tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Once cooked, slice the beets and carrots into thin slices.

To make the tart dough: in a food processor, add the walnuts and pulse until they turn into a fine grind, add in the flour, sugar, and salt and pulse until combined.  Grate the frozen butter and add it to the flour.  Pulse until the mixture forms pea-sized clumps.  Next, through the top, stream in the ice water, one tablespoon at a time until the dough forms a ball.  Once the dough comes together, cover it in plastic wrap and refridgerate for at least an hour.  After the dough has chilled, roll it out and fit it into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and blind bake (cover it with foil and use pie weights or dried beans to weigh down the crust, so that it doesn’t puff up while baking) it in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.

For the filling: whisk the goat cheese, ricotta, and egg together.  Add in the salt, pepper, and herbes de Provence.  Pour it into the partially baked crust and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  After 15 minutes, take it out of the oven and arrange the cut beets and carrots over the goat cheese and ricotta and bake for another 10-15 minutes.  Garnish the tart with chopped parsley and chives, or any herb of your choice.  You can also sprinkle the final product with some flaky sea salt and drizzle with olive oil, if you like.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Let me first say that I love beets.  I do not know exactly when I started liking them but I can tell you it was not in childhood.  I think it was the time in undergrad when I started getting over my preconceived notions of how I thought some “different” things taste, i.e. BAD.  Boy, was I wrong not only about beets but a few other things that I love now.

Plus, it’s winter…Beet season!  I love their earthy taste and I adore them in a sweet and salty application.  As you have probably figured out, I am drawn to bright and rich colors like no other.  The deep blood red color is absolutely gorgeous (although it leaves a big mess everywhere. 😉 )  Usually, I like to pair beets with goat cheese and intended to do so, until I got a whiff of it which reminded me of the Berber family’s goat stable I visited in Morocco.  I know, I’m pathetic.  Mind you, before visiting this stable I would eat chevre on salads, sandwiches, or even on its own.  I hope I get over this very soon.  I want my love of goat cheese back!

Instead of chevre I paired the salad with Gorgonzola (no stable reminders there, though generally it is a far more stinky cheese…)  The Gorgonzola worked wonderfully, cutting the earthiness of the beets, creating perfect harmony.  I mentioned that I like beet salads to be sweet and salty.  That is why I prepared a shallot jam to go with the beets.  It would be delicious on its own with a soft room temperature cheese and crostini and maybe a drizzle of honey.  Yum!  Another sweet component were the  Anjou pears I lightly sauteed with kosher salt and dried cranberries.  I thought to myself, “forget about the salad, I’ll just get a spoon and eat these right now.”

I also added avocado, a bit out of place but I love the pop of green and a raw component to the dish.  The dressing I made was simple and balanced out all the flavors.  I made an orange and stoneground dijon dressing, which was so simple to prepare and would go on practically any salad you choose.  I did not use too much because the salad did not need it.  Of course, I added some sort of nut for some crunch, in this case toasted walnuts.

Yummy Beet Salad

Serves 3

Ingredients

For the salad:

3 beets

3 shallots, sliced

1 pear, cubed (I used Anjou)

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/2 an avocado, cubed

1 handful crumbled gorgonzola cheese (or chevre)

1/4 toasted walnuts, in pieces

2 tablespoons brown sugar

salt to taste

red chili flakes to taste

black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons of butter

olive oil

chives for garnish, optional

Method

Boil beats in water for about 40 minutes or until tender.  When cooked removed the skin and cut into half moon shapes.  (You can roast them if you like.)

Prepare the shallot jam by placing them in a pan on medium heat with 1 tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil.  Add a pinch of salt so they start sweating.  After about 10 minutes add the crushed red chili flakes and turn the heat to low and allow the shallots to caramelize.  After 15 minutes add the brown sugar and stir the shallots so that the sugar down not burn.  Cook for another 5 minutes.  Take out of the pan and set aside.

In the same pan add the cubed pears with 1 tablespoon of butter and a pinch of salt.  Cook them on medium low heat for about 10 minutes or until they start to caramelize.  At the 10 minute mark add the dried cranberries and allow them to reconstitute.  Remove from the pan and set aside.

Assemble the salad by laying the beats down first and topping with the shallot jam and the pears/dried cranberry mixture.  Top off with the gorgonzola, avocado, and walnuts.  Sprinkle with a little salt and fresh black pepper.

For the dressing:

1 garlic clove, minced finely

juice of 1 orange

1 tablespoon creme fraiche

1 teaspoon stoneground dijon mustard

salt

pepper

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Combine all the ingredients except the olive oil into a bowl.  Next slowly whisk in the olive oil so that the dressing emulsifies.  Top the beets with a drizzling of the dressing.

*Vegan Option: Use olive oil instead of butter where butter is mentioned.  Omit the cheese (add extra dried fruits or nuts if you like) and use soy yogurt in place of the creme fraiche in the salad dressing.