An old Ukranian proverb forewarns, “A tale that begins with a beet will end with the devil.” As a big beet fan, I’d like to think that a tale that begins with a beet will end with deliciousness.
My cooking style has changed considerably since my baby boy arrived in November. Meals are simple, quick, freezable, and lunch-packable. Sundays are filled with food prep to make the work-and-baby-filled weeks a little easier. This Sunday I prepped muesli for breakfasts, grains, tofu, and greens for lunches, and snacks for the whole week. As a nursing mom, I need to make sure I’m eating small, healthy snacks in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon and hummus is a clear winner. Hummus is packed with protein and fiber, easy to make, and endlessly versatile (spread on crackers or in a sandwich, use as a dip with carrot sticks or sugar snap peas or put a dollop on a grain salad). Sometimes I get stuck in a rut with a basic hummus recipe but last month’s Cooking Light magazine inspired me to get a little crazy with my hummus and the results were great. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
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.
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!
“The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things: of shoes and ships and sealing-wax. Of cabbages and kings. And why the sea is boiling hot. And whether pigs have wings.” –Lewis Carroll
I’ve had this quote stuck in my head all day because I keep thinking, “the time has come, the time has come!” The farmer’s market has returned and along with it, the excitement of seeing the produce parade, unfolding week by week. Last week the most exciting finds at the market (for me) were pea shoots and sunflower sprouts. This week, asparagus. I wait all year for asparagus and am giddy when I see it make its brief appearance, standing at attention all down the rows of the market. Alas, I am in Denver this week (well, not alas–I get to learn fly fishing in the mountains–can’t beat that!) and am missing out on the first appearance of asparagus at the market. But lest I get ahead of myself…let’s talk about pea shoots. And sunflower sprouts. And last but not least, for a tour of my local farmer’s market, click here and I’ll show you around my beloved Fulton Street Farmer’s Market.
Before we went to the farmer’s market on opening day, May 4, I was imagining what we might find. It was a cold and long winter so our produce in Michigan got a slow start. Radishes, asparagus, pea shoots, leeks…all popped into my head. We didn’t find radishes or asparagus last week but found pea shoots! And sunflower sprouts! I knew exactly what to do with these two wonderful spring vegetables. This salad seemed the perfect thing to make and it allowed me to experiment with sauteing pea shoots. This salad has both raw and sautéed pea shoots, some sunflower sprouts, yellow beets, radishes, and crumbled goat cheese. Finished with a light honey-mustard vinaigrette, this salad was the essence of spring.
Spring Pea Shoot Salad with Sunflower Sprouts, Yellow Beets, and Goat Cheese; serves 1
1 medium yellow beet, peeled
1 teaspoon olive oil
2-3 oz bag of pea shoots
1/3 cup sunflower sprouts
2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Peel the beet and slice from top to bottom into thin wedges. Place in a saucepan with water to cover and a dash of sea salt. Bring to boil then turn heat down to simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until beets have softened but are not mushy. They should still have a little bite to them. Drain in a colander and let cool.
Split pea shoots in half. Arrange half of the pea shoots in a salad bowl—I like to use a shallow bowl to showcase the salad…much prettier that way! Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet or wok. Add the other half of the pea shoots to the pan and saute briefly, just until wilted. Add the wilted pea shoots to the raw pea shoots in your salad bowl. Add the sunflower sprouts to the pea shoots and toss. Arrange the beet wedges amongst the greens and sprinkle the goat cheese on top of the salad.
Mix the mustard and honey together in a small bowl until combined. Slowly drizzle the oil into the honey-mustard mixture. Add the vinegar slowly then whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle a little vinaigrette over the salad (there will still be vinaigrette left over for more salads). Sit down and welcome spring with this simple salad.