Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Beets, two ways!

We recently relocated to Austin, Texas and in the wake of our arrival several friends and family members have invited us over for very yummy, spring-like dinners.

Jeff and Marissa, two of our great friends, are simple wholesome eaters. Jeff is the head honcho chef of the house and he whipped up a killer kale and beet salad that was totally memorable and left you feeling like you are the embodiment of healthful eating. Here is his recipe...

Beet Salad a la Jeff:

Serves 8-10
- 5 oz., or about 5 packed cups, raw baby kale
- 1 cup, or 2 medium sized beets, peeled and cut into matchsticks ( Cutting the beets into matchsticks is the most time consuming part, especially if you don't have a mandoline, but you can cut the beets several hours ahead of time and mix them with 1/3 of the dressing to keep them from drying out).
- 1 slightly unripe pear, sliced thin
- 1/2 cup lemon dressing (1/2 cup olive oil, salt, juice and zest from 1 lemon)
- 2 or 3 handfulls of toasted pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese
- extra salt

Jeff hardly ever actually measures things, so the measurements are just ballparks. Mix and taste, mix and taste...

A week later we dined at Casa Clough. Mr. Clough clearly inherited some of his Italian grandmother's cooking instincts and he also served an amazing beet salad. Clearly beets are in the air in Austin! Mr. Clough's beet salad was smooth, very summery, a tad gourmet but easy to throw together. I couldn't resist sharing.

Beet Salad a la Mr. Clough:

-3 medium beets
-one small shallot
-Olive Oil
-Salt and Pepper
-5 Strawberries
-Small chunk of goat cheese
-White Wine Vinegar

Wash outside of beets but leave skin on.
Brush with olive oil, add salt and pepper and bake at 350 degrees in a loose foil package for 1 hour 15 mins or until knife slides through easily (Note, smaller beets will cook more quickly and you can start checking on them at about 30 minutes).
Peel skins when cool. You can do this day before.

Slice beets. Add thinly sliced strawberries and goat cheese.
Slice thinly a shallot into a mixing bowl and mix with the beets and strawberries.
Add a couple of shots of white wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper to taste.

Cheers, and happy BEET eating!
- Katharine

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