Saturday, October 2, 2010

Roasted Beets, Toasted Pistachios, Goat Cheese and Watercress Salad

This morning I woke up to fresh coffee and donuts that Pat had gone out to get. I'd planned to go for a 9 mile run, but it is extremely rare when Pat is up before me in the morning, and also rare that I turn down coffee and donuts. So instead I enjoyed my treats and postponed the run until later in the day.

I went home for the afternoon to get a few things from my mom's house and to have lunch with my mom and Jim. We went to New London Pizza in Concord. Back in my vegetarian days I frequented New London for their vegetable subs, and I still haven't found a place that makes them quite like this.

Tomatoes, peppers, and shredded lettuce with salt and pepper and a drizzle of oil on a toasted bun. Yum!

When I got home this afternoon I went out for my 9 miler. Everyone has probably heard me say this about a thousand times, but there is nothing like running in the fall. And there's nothing like fall in New England.

The leaves are starting to change color!

While I ran, Pat made lasagna. I can't tell you how nice it was coming home to the delicious aroma of lasagna after a long run.

After a big glass of chocolate milk and some stretching, I dug in.

Sorry, his recipe is top secret!

After showering I made a post-dinner salad:

Roasted Beets, Toasted Pistachios, Goat Cheese and Watercress

  • Beets
  • Watercress
  • Pistachios (raw, unsalted)
  • Goat cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Maple Syrup
  • Green chili powder (or spice of choice)
  • Salt

First: the nuts.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

In a small pan, dissolve about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon green chili powder into 1/2 cup water (I added green chili powder for spice, but its not necessary). Throw in a handful of raw, unsalted, shelled pistachios. Heat on high until all water is evaporated and salt and chili powder is deposited on the nuts.

Then put nuts on cookie sheet and cook for 1 hour, stirring halfway through for even toasting (they can cook for up to 2 hours, if you want a more roasted flavor...I cooked for about 1 hour 15 minutes).

I read that you should always let the nuts cool before chopping. A lot of the oil in the pistachios is brought to the surface from the heat, and the oil needs to be reabsorbed before chopping, otherwise you'll end up with greasy nuts (and how appealing does that sound!?).

Next its time for the beets.

Turn the oven to 400 degrees.

Peel, slice and halve the beets, then add lots of balsamic vinegar (I started with just a splash but needed to add more halfway through). Put in the oven to roast for about 50 minutes.

While the beets are in the oven, make the dressing. I used the following measurements, which is enough for 1 generously dressed salad or 2 lightly dressed salads:

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Put in bowl and whisk together.

Beets done roasting:

Put your watercress on a plate and top with chopped nuts, beets, goat cheese, and dressing.

This salad came out so well. The sweetness of the beets was nicely complemented by the slightly spicy/salty taste of the nuts and the creamy goat cheese. The dressing was other way to describe it.  I'll probably make this dressing a lot now that I know how great it is! I was originally thinking of making this salad with arugula, but came across watercress at the store and decided to try something new. Its a nice leafy green that's a tiny bit peppery, and I saw that it is being touted as the "New Superfood" by Dr. Nicholas Perricone (in his book Forever Young). One serving has over a third of your daily Vitamins A and C requirements, and over 100% of your Vitamin K requirement! I would definitely recommend picking up some watercress at the store, and also trying out this salad!

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