Roasted Baby Beets With Creamy Goat Cheese Dip

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Happy spring….errrrr….whatever it is.  Today is March 25 and we had whiteout conditions for parts of the day.  Nevertheless, I have some faith, due to thirty two years of walking this earth, that one day soon the sun will shine, the snow will melt, the crocuses and daffodils will force their way through the thawing ground, and it will be spring at last.

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And besides, Cooking Light Magazine told me it is spring.  I thumbed through this month’s magazine, growing more and more excited about my favorite spring produce.  Fava beans, pea shoots, baby beets, radishes, asparagus…can’t wait!  I especially love all of the baby vegetables you can get your hands on this time of year.  They are so new and tender and just sing spring and fresh starts.  This roasted baby beet with creamy goat cheese dip recipe from this month’s Cooking Light issue felt so springy to me and was just what I was craving so in defiance of this weather, I whipped it up.

First, scrub the beets and cut the greens off, leaving a one inch stem.  Don’t toss those beet greens!  They are marvelous sauteed with some lemon juice, garlic, flaky sea salt, and crushed red pepper!

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Next, put them into a baking dish with some water, unpeeled garlic cloves, and thyme:

DSC_0522 Keep the red beets separate from your light colored beets to prevent discoloration.  I make a little boat for them out of tin foil.  Roast at 400º until tender, about 1 hour:

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Allow to cool and slip the skins off, taking care to avoid the stems, which can fall off if you are too rough with them.

DSC_0527 Blend roasted garlic from pan, buttermilk, dill, horseradish, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and goat cheese together to create sauce.  Artfully drizzle the goat cheese sauce on the plate, arrange beets on top, and enjoy!

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Roasted Baby Beets With Creamy Goat Cheese Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds baby beets (about 12)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces soft goat cheese (about 1/3 cup)
  • Dill sprigs (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Rinse beets thoroughly. Leave 1-inch stem on beets; reserve greens for another use. Arrange the beets, 1/4 cup water, garlic, and thyme in a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Cover with foil; bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Uncover dish; cool completely. Reserve garlic and pan juices; discard thyme. Peel beets, keeping stems intact. Cut beets lengthwise into quarters.
  3. Squeeze garlic pulp into a mini chopper; discard peels. Add buttermilk and next 6 ingredients (through goat cheese); process until smooth. Spoon 3 tablespoons sauce onto each of 6 plates; arrange 8 beet quarters over sauce. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon pan juices over each serving; garnish with dill sprigs, if desired.
  4. From Cooking Light.
http://dinnerwithaura.com/roastedbabybeets/

 

A Story of Cooking, Carving, and Love

I cook.

Drew carves.

I asked Drew to make some spoons for me to use in the kitchen. The end result is a story of love, craft, and the heart warming meals that come from our handmade life.

To order Drew’s spoons, spatulas, salad tossers, tasting spoons, and other beautiful wood work, head to his Etsy site, The Hearth and Spoon.

Endless thanks to Dan Socie for his beautiful video work.  xo

Carolina Grit Cakes With Aged Cheddar, Roasted Peppers and Caramelized Onions

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What a lovely weekend.  First off, I got to stay home for most of the weekend, a rarity these days.  The sun came out bright and shiny on Sunday.  We got to enjoy Sunday morning in bed listening to our BBC Radio Drama, The Archers, and eating migas breakfast tacos (one of the most perfect breakfasts EVER).  But the best thing about this weekend was that we hosted our very first house concert/potluck ever with the remarkable Michigan artist, Joshua Davis. Continue reading

Golden Beet Salad With Dill and Pine Nuts

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I have a interesting quality that I haven’t mentioned on my blog up to this point.  I guess I haven’t mentioned it because it’s something I’ve always had so don’t think about it often.  But Drew mentions it to friends from time to time and I feel a bit like a carnival act.  I have a memory like an elephant when it comes to food.  The meal we ate on our first date?  Ancho lentil tacos, barramundi cod tacos, a tea, and a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting.  Our meal at the Vierling Tavern?  Cajun Blackened Lake Superior White Fish with wild rice pilaf and green beans, finished off with a piece of key lime pie.  My birthday meal four years ago?  Cedar planked salmon vesuvio.  Anyway, you get the point.  I remember my meals.  The good and the bad.

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In the summer of 2006, I had recently begun subscribing to Cooking Light Magazine.  One of the first recipes I dog eared and cooked was this golden beet salad.  I made it for my packed lunch to eat during a work day on my summer gardening job.  That summer I was home from graduate school and was working with my friend, June Moon, in the gardens she designed and maintains around town.  That day, we sat at the patio table near the pool at a client’s house (my favorite part of his place was the English garden June had designed for his wife before she passed) and enjoyed this salad.   I remember that moment every time I eat this salad. I remember the feeling of friendship.  I remember the hot summer day and dipping our feet in the pool to cool off.  I remember the feeling of working hard and looking forward to the best part of the day; taking a break to put our feet up and share lunch with a dear friend.  I’m grateful for such a good food memory because it is so often tied to memories of where I was, who I was with, and how I was feeling at the moment.

Cooking Light’s recipe for this salad calls for roasting the beets and I can attest that it is a delicious way to prepare the  beets–they develop a depth and sweetness that other methods don’t draw out.  But when I’m in a bit more of a rush, I opt to boil the beets until just-tender.  It takes less time and still yields great results.  I also add copious amounts of chopped dill (adding some chopped fresh mint to the mix tastes great too!) because I love it.

Be careful when toasting the pine nuts.  It is easy to go from toasted to burned before you know it!

For Cooking Light’s original recipe, click here!

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Golden Beet Salad With Dill and Pine Nuts

Ingredients

  • 3 large golden beets
  • 3/4 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion (about 1 small)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • ½ cup chopped fresh dill
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons extravirgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Scrub beets with vegetable scrub brush. Cut off any “hairs” growing out of the beets. Cut off tops of beets and slice lengthwise into ¼ inch slices.
  3. Place slices into a pot and cover with water. Salt water and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer until tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  4. When tender (but not mushy!), drain and rinse with cold water. Drain thoroughly. Combine beets, onion, and remaining ingredients in a bowl, stirring gently.
  5. This also tastes quite nice with some crumbled goat cheese or served on top of some quinoa or rice as a more substantial dish.
http://dinnerwithaura.com/golden-beet-salad-with-dill-and-pine-nuts/

Collard Green Wrap With Carrot-Ginger Hummus and Rainbow Veggies

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I’ve been making collard burritos for some time now.  They have never made it to my blog.  Maybe it’s because I think of them as my go-to quick meal that I eat when I don’t have time to play around with making things pretty.  They are usually filled with a hodgepodge of quinoa, beans, and some random veggies.  Nothing fancy.  Maybe it’s because if I’m eating a collard burrito it means it is late and I don’t have daylight to photograph my creation for the blog.  Winters are hard for food bloggers.  There are nights that I prep my dish the night before, then race home, fly into the kitchen, and make a mess of everything, just so I can get the last ten minutes of daylight to capture my creation.

Continue reading

Baked Oatmeal With Walnuts and Blueberries….AND an Announcement!!

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Hi!  Great news!  My sweetie and I are getting hitched!  Just thought I’d let you know.  I feel so fortunate.  Drew is a gentle, kind soul.  A hard worker.  A true friend.  An artist.  And he brought baked oatmeal into my life.  What more could you ask for?

Continue reading

Asian Lettuce Cups With Spicy Dipping Sauce

Asian Lettuce Wraps

I really grappled with what I should title this post.  Why, you ask?  Well….this dish is based on tofu.  Now, I know a good number of people.  And if there is one thing I know, it’s that they probably don’t all agree on the topic of tofu.  Some eat tofu, some eat it if they have to, some would never let it pass their lips, and some tried it and don’t like it.  It’s a pretty polarizing ingredient to be sure so I hesitate to call it out from the get-go, afraid it will turn off the fussy eaters among us.

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Baked Root Vegetable Chips

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Anyone else out there have cabin fever?  I’ve got a bad case of it.  Drew has about had it with the shoveling and pushing stuck cars out of a foot of packed snow.  He has become the unofficial neighborhood snow expert.  As I type, he’s out there in his Carhartt bibs and  wool-lined Sorels helping neighbors and doling out advice on when to take a break while shoveling, where not to park, where not to drive, and how to avoid making things worse when you’re stuck.  If he asks one more helplessly stuck college girl to buy a cheap bag of kitty litter to have in case of emergency I’ll die laughing.

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Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili with Chipotle

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili with Chipotle

Some things from my childhood have stuck with me and a love of chili with cornbread is one of those things.  I fondly remember the big pots of chili my step dad would make when I was a kid.  The soup was always served with a skillet of cornbread and it was always nice and spicy.  When I commented/complained about the heat, my step dad ribbed me, telling me that the heat would burn the germs from my intestines.  It’s a disturbing image but it was the start of my love affair with spicy foods, if not for the medicinal qualities, then for the taste.  

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Huevos Rancheros With Tomatillo Sauce

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Order up! Many years ago, when I was in college, I worked at a vegetarian restaurant called Gaia Cafe. The restaurant is still open after almost 30 years, and the menu has changed very little over the years. When you have a good thing, why change it? It’s one of my favorite places for breakfast or lunch, with a cozy, eccentric vibe and self serve, fair trade, and strongly brewed coffee so you never have to wait for your server to deliver your morning buzz. If I didn’t cook all the time at home, I’d be a regular at Gaia–I sure do miss my almost daily meals there from my four years of serving. Continue reading