Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Feta

20 02 2010

 

Beets in cold storage

 

I tend to think of salad as a summer dish, which makes sense considering all the great produce available during the summer months.  Salads are the perfect meal when it’s hot out – crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes and sweet peppers are refreshing when the weather turns humid.  However, salads can work in colder months too. Winter salads can be made with seasonal vegetables such as beets, celery root or potatoes and often incorporate cheese, nuts or meat to make them more substantial. 

Pairing roasted beets with nuts and cheese is not a new idea; in fact, I recently tried a delicious version with gorgonzola and pistachios at Locanda Verde restaurant in New York City.  My version calls for walnuts and feta cheese but goat cheese can be substituted if you’d prefer.  A bright sherry vinegar dressing pulls all of the flavours together.  Don’t skip the pickled shallots – they take a few minutes to make but add a nice sweet-tart element to the salad.  The salad is substantial enough to be a main course but you can always adjust the servings to work as a starter.

Roasting Beets:  To roast beets with minimal mess, trim the roots and greens, if still attached (reserve the greens for another use). Peel the beets and discard peelings. Cut beets into 1-1/2″ cubes and toss in a bowl with a tablespoon of neutral tasting oil such as canola or safflower oil. Spread beet chunks on a baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 20 minutes or until beets are tender and beginning to caramelize. Wash hands immediately after handling the beets to avoid staining.

Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Feta

(VEGETARIAN)

Makes 2 main course salads or 4 starter course salads

  • 4 cups mixed salad greens
  • 4 beets, cubed and roasted (see ‘Roasting Beets’ above)
  • 1 cup toasted walnut halves
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese or to taste
  • Pickled shallots (see recipe below)
  • Sherry Vinaigrette (see recipe below)

Pickled Shallots

  • 5 shallots, peeled and cut into thin rings (about ½ cup of shallots)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  1. In a saucepan, combine sugar and vinegar and stir until combined. Bring to a boil and add shallots.
  2. Let mixture simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand until it cools.
  3. Drain vinegar and use pickled shallots as desired

Sherry Vinaigrette

  • 3 Tablespoons of neutral oil such as canola or safflower
  • 1 Tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon style mustard
  • A pinch of salt
  1. In a small bowl, add all ingredients and whisk until combined.

To Assemble Salads:

  1. In a large bowl, toss mixed greens with enough vinaigrette to moisten leaves. Assemble greens on plates.
  2. Top greens with beets, walnuts, feta and shallots. Lightly toss each serving until ingredients are combined. Drizzle with more vinaigrette if desired.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

This article first appeared on Suite 101.com.

Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Feta

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Dark Chocolate Fondue

18 02 2010

 

Dark chocolate fondue with a plate of fruit and cake is a fun way to enjoy dessert by the fire.

 

We’re mid way through February, a month many consider to be the grimmest of the year.  However, we can make the best of the season by enjoying winter activities such as skiing and skating.  What better way to end a day of outdoor activity than by putting on a fire and gathering to enjoy some chocolate fondue?  Almost anything goes when it comes to dippers – you can try everything from fruit to cookies to cake (or let your imagination run wild!).  Fondue is also a great casual dessert for a romantic date. The fondue sauce and dippers can be prepared in advance, making things simple after dinner.

Visit Suite 101.com for a great dark chocolate fondue recipe and some dipper suggestions: Dark Chocolate Fondue.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!





A Valentine’s Day Menu

11 02 2010

 

Preparing a juicy roast chicken with crispy skin is a great way to celebrate Valentine's Day

 

This Sunday is Valentine’s Day, a holiday that seems to inspire mixed feelings in people.  Some people feel that it’s just an excuse for card companies, florists and chocolatiers to profit while more romantic folks see it as an opportunity to celebrate their love with a significant other.  Whatever your feelings about Valentine’s Day, I believe that it’s a day you should avoid restaurants if at all possible.  Most places are packed to the rafters and often feature set menus with overwhelmed service. Being rushed to eat mediocre food with bad service is not my idea of romantic!  Why not prepare a nice dinner at home instead?  It doesn’t need to be difficult and a nice home cooked meal is always the way to someone’s heart.  

Here is a suggested menu that is guaranteed to please.  It will yield enough for 4 to 6 people – if you’re making it for two, the leftovers will make a nice meal the next day. The mignonette and tart can be prepared in advance and the chicken can be prepped and refrigerated until ready to roast.

Oysters with Mignonette Sauce

Juicy Herb Roasted Chicken

Mashed Potatoes (cut recipe in half if making dinner for two)

Roasted Green Beans with Shallots

Fresh Crusty Bread

Apple Caramel Tart

Champagne, of course (or an inexpensive sparkling wine such as cava or prosecco)

Bon Appétit and Happy Valentine’s Day!





Arancini (Fried Risotto Balls)

9 02 2010

 

Arancini: A great way to use leftover risotto

 

I recently featured a primer on how to make basic risotto, a Northern Italian rice dish. It’s very versatile and is delicious as a base for braises or as a main course dish on it’s own. But what if you have some risotto left over at the end of the meal?  Not to worry  – it can be transformed into a delicious snack.

Arancini are small balls of risotto that have been rolled a crumb crust and lightly fried.  You can make them with plain or flavoured leftover risotto and I often make a simple tomato sauce to serve with them.  I like arancini so much that sometimes I deliberately prepare extra risotto just so I can make them!

You can find the recipe on Suite 101.com:  Arancini – Italian Fried Rice Balls Recipe

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!