July 25, 2014

A cool beet salad for summertime

Twice Baked Twins cool beet salad.

As Joy and I try to survive the summer with her kids, (they are driving me crazy too!!) We try to sneak in some work, but they always have to be driven somewhere, at least twice a day. Why do they need to have their nails done? When we were their age we did it! Anyway we try to get away early in the morning while they are still sleeping, which gives us enough time to visit the farmers markets or a small local farm. We love to see what fruits and vegetables have been harvested this week and each one inspires us with an idea for a new recipe!

As we pull up to one of the markets, the aroma of fresh bread baking hits us right where it hurts! Our stomachs! We are starving. We are always starving. Why is that? That big “cuppa” coffee we started off with was not enough to stop us from sampling everything in sight including fresh fruit and cheeses to lovely home baked goodies and the local honey.

To our surprise, someone is baking fresh pizzas in a portable wood oven, with whatever fresh fruits and vegetables the farmers have supplied him with this week. It’s just delightful. From peaches and red onions to red beets and basil. That’s it!! Beets! We remember the beet salad Nana served quite often. Gosh, how did we forget that?

Most people are not familiar with fresh beets at all and have no idea how to prepare them. Actually it is very simple.

Fresh Beet Salad with Candied Walnuts

1 pound beets (3-4, medium-sized) stems removed, washed

good quality bleu cheese, crumbled (Maytag is wonderful)

sea salt

pepper

olive oil (best quality)

balsamic vinegar

candied walnuts (recipe follows)

goat cheese, optional

To prepare  the beets: 

Wash the beets and cut off each end. Place in a roasting pan  with a little water to create some steam. (Maybe a 1/2 inch-ish of  water? Yes, that sounds good!)

Roast  at 425 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes,  depending on the size of the beets. They are ready when you can pierce  them easily with a knife. Let them cool slightly, slip off the skins  then slice. Cut into round slices or wedges, whichever you prefer.

Dress with a bleu cheese balsamic vinaigrette (your usual proportions); top with candied walnuts and a dab of goat cheese.

Candied Walnuts

1 cup walnuts

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablepoons water

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Heat oven to 350. Spread walnuts onto lined sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Set aside. In a medium sauce pan combine sugar and water and bring to a boil. Increase heat slightly and cook syrup, without stirring, about 12-15 minutes, until golden. You’re looking for that golden-to-amber color. Remove from heat stir in roasted walnuts. Work quickly and spread onto that lined baking sheet and flatten the mixture with the back of a big spoon. Let cool, crack and sprinkle! Yum!