Archive for April, 2010

I love a good roasted beet salad. Usually I just pair the beets with mixed greens, goat cheese, and a balsamic vinaigrette, but as we’ve gotten a lot of beets this season, that particular recipe was getting old.

Enter this salad. I love how the brightness of the cilantro, crunch of the walnuts, and saltiness of the cheese combine with the sweet beets. I’ve adapted this recipe a bit from a Michael Chiarello version that called for a few fairly exotic ingredients such as hazelnuts and hazelnut oil. I’m sure they’d be delightful here, but I’m in my hometown in southeast Texas this weekend, and as there isn’t a Whole Foods for miles, I made do with some substitutions. The salad still tasted great. I also sub frozen pearl onions for the fresh ones, which are a pain to peel.

This salad will come together quickly on a weeknight if you roast and peel the beets Sunday night, then chill until you are ready to use them.

Roasted Beet, Onion, and Orange Salad (adapted from Michael Chiarello)

  • 1 pound beets, quartered (or halved if they are very small)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 30 frozen pearl onions, about 1/2 pound
  • 2 oranges, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil oil
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler or grated on the large holes of a box grater

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the stems and tails off the beets. Do not peel. Line the bottom of a baking pan with foil. Place the beets in the pan and toss them with half of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes.

Toss the pearl onions with remaining olive oil and salt and pepper. Add pearl onions to the beets and roast an additional 15 minutes, until beets and onions are tender. You should be able to slide a fork easily in and out of the beets.

Peel and remove the membranes from the oranges with a sharp paring knife. Cut the oranges into chunks. I used navel oranges so I didn’t have to worry about seeds.

Peel and quarter the beets. The easiest way to peel beets is to rub the skins off with your fingers. Sometimes a paper towel can help if some of the skins are stubbornly clinging to the beets.

Combine beets, orange pieces, and onions in a platter/

In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil, cilantro, and orange juice. Whisk until well combined and season with salt and pepper.

Drizzle the dressing on top and sprinkle with cilantro, walnuts, cheese. Serve immediately.

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We get a batch of juicy strawberries this week –the first of the season! I’m using them in this Spring Strawberry Pie, which gets a unique flavor from a touch of balsamic vinegar. The entire box consists of:

So I’m making:

Spinach and carrot quiche (recipe to come in your Local Box)

Smothered mushrooms and kale

Hearts of palm and red onion salad with citrus vinaigrette (subbing salad greens for the spinach, unless I have some left over from the quiche)

Chinese spring onion pancakes to accompany a beef and bok choy hot pot

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Caldo Verde

Q: How do you get a dedicated meatatarian who hates greens to stuff his/her face with a lesser-known veggie like kale?

A: Mince it up really finely and add it to a soup flavored with chorizo, mint, and cilantro. Yum!

This soup gets a nice hit of smokiness from 1/2 lb of diced chorizo. Make sure you get the Spanish kind, which is cured like salami, and not the Mexican kind, which is raw and must be crumbled and cooked before eating. I made a few changes to the directions for ease of use, mainly to modify an odd part that instructed you to run the kale through a meat grinder to chop it up. A food processor (or just a plain old kitchen knife) does the trick just fine.

For a vegetarian option, I imagine this recipe would be delicious with vegetable broth replacing the chicken stock, and crumbled, cooked soyrizo replacing the chorizo. (With those modifications, it would also be vegan.)

I took several pictures of this but none of them turned out well, so forgive me for the lack of images in this post.

Caldo Verde (from Food Network)

* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 1/2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
* 9 cups chicken stock, or canned low-sodium chicken broth
* 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
* 1/2 pound chorizo or linguica, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
* 1/2 pound kale
* 1/4 cup chopped parsley
* 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
* 2 tablespoons chopped mint
* Salt and pepper
* Crusty bread, as an accompaniment (I used a seven-grain loaf I found in HEB’s bakery section.)

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil and saute onion and garlic until vegetables are wilted, about 4 minutes. Add potatoes, chicken stock, and minced crushed red pepper. and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, until potatoes fall apart, about 1 hour.

While the soup is cooking, finely chop the kale with a food processor (or by hand).

When the soup is thick and the potatoes have broken up, whisk to break up the remaining potato pieces. Add the sausage and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the shredded kale and simmer until the leaves are softened but still slightly crunchy and flavors have melded, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the parsley, cilantro, mint, and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Serve with crusty bread.

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