I had every intention of sharing a recipe for a bright pink beet pasta (which seemed like a really pretty thing). But then I got caught up in visiting with my father-in-law, we drank too many late night beers, ate too many honey roasted beer nuts, and became too obsessed with the TV show True Detective to really give a hoot about beet pasta. Theoretically, beet pasta sounded like a pretty good idea, but then when I actually thought about the process, the staining of my counters and hands, trying to incorporate the beets into the dough, it all seemed like a whole lot of work for something I was pretty unsure about.
I didn't have that much time last week to commit to something that artsy, so I abandoned the pasta idea and instead decided to make something much simpler, and a little more nourishing. It's a pretty manageable recipe for these shorter nights, when the sun sets at 6:00pm (but don't you worry, because daylight savings time is right around the corner!) and we find ourselves, one too many times, rummaging around that messy kitchen drawer (the one that accumulates pens, papers, lost keys) trying to find that $10 off pizza coupon (because you are pretty certain it is in there, but maybe you used it last week?). We all want to spend the least amount of time possible preparing dinner so that we can get in our sweatpants, and eat on the couch with our faces glued to the TV, because we can't get enough of Detective Rust Cohle.
If you live in a similar geographical location as myself (yay Seattle!), with a some-what close proximity to California, Florida and Mexico, you're probably also spoiled with a large availability of pretty delicious citrus fruit. It seems like every time I step into the grocery store there is either a new fancy looking orange or a new pomelo/grapefruit hybrid on the shelf. All that citrus brings me back to the time when I was living in South East Asia (where the availability of citrus fruit was abundant) and pomelo sprinkled with chili salt, and fresh squeezed sweet mandarin juice became a staple in my diet. I've been experimenting with citrus in a few recipes (which means more orange-themed recipes in the future!), and also enjoying the creations of others, here, here, and here.
After my last trip to the grocery store, where I impulse bought way too many oranges (don't know what I was thinking, how many oranges can one person eat?), I have been trying to come up with inventive ways of using them in recipes. After my failed attempt at making beet pasta, I was now left with a big bunch of beets. Clearly, the beets and oranges were meant to be together, tucked away in the vegetable crisper by themselves.
I decided to roast the beets in a sweet thick balsamic vinegar with olive oil salt and pepper because that's what you do when you have beets, am-I- right? When I pulled them out of the oven, they were so tender on the inside, and sweet and caramelized with a slight crunch on the outside, I stood hunched over the counter, with a fork in one hand shoveling beets into my mouth in some sort of trance until I eventually realized that I was actually eating all of the beets before I had a chance to even pull this salad together. I put them to the side (way out of site) until they cooled. When the beets eventually cooled, I constructed this salad with some goat cheese, because goat cheese and beets are a pretty wonderful combination. I added some sliced shallots because I put sliced shallots in all of my salads. Segmented orange slices, of course. And finished it off with some pumpkin seeds and a maple balsamic vinaigrette. The flavor combinations are so powerful, they lingered on my tongue for hours. I am still thinking about this salad, and might even make it again tonight, because I've got episode 7 of True Detective all queued up, and those sweatpants are calling my name.
BALSAMIC ROASTED BEETS, SWEET ORANGE, AND CHEVRE SALAD WITH PUMPKIN SEEDS
3 large beets
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and pepper
2 cups arugula
2 small or 1 large orange, segmented (
1 shallot, sliced
1 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1 - 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 clove of garlic, minced
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
Cut away the stalks, leaves and any pointy bits from the beets. Peel and then cut into 1/2 inch wedges. Place onto a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar. (It is preferable to use a sweet thick aged balsamic vinegar, but of you only have a thin more pungent balsamic, add a tbsp of maple syrup to the beets). Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and toss. Place into the oven and bake for 40 minutes (or until tender), flipping the beets after 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
To prepare the dressing, add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, garlic and a dash of salt and pepper to a jar with a lid. Shake. (If you are using a sweet thick balsamic vinegar, omit the maple syrup).
In a bowl, toss the arugula with the dressing. Place the arugula onto a serving plate, and top with the roasted beets, orange segments, sliced shallot, goat cheese, and pumpkin seeds. Season with salt and pepper and serve.