Monthly Archives: April 2011

Simple golden beet salad…

I love working with golden beets, they are beautiful and have such a clean flavor. The bright, golden color just invites spring.  Plus, beets are truly a no waste food. I have used the greens in a variety of dishes. I have used them in pastas and soups, made them into pesto, fried them into chips, and in this case, wilted them into the base of a roasted beet salad.  I kept this recipe really simple, it goes up without a fuss and it looks beautiful.  This salad is a result of us trying to use everything in our kitchen as we are getting ready to move, so anything complicated is out of the question. At the same time, there is a creative process to behold; unexpectedly putting together foods and using what you have, I take it as a challenge. We had no salad base in this case, so the greens just made sense. All the while, my little munchkin loved munching on the beet greens while I cooked.  Entertainment for hours I tell ya.

Simple golden beet salad…

4 golden beets

2 cloves garlic

juice of ½ lemon

1 tbs grain mustard

splash of agave nectar

kosher salt and cracked pepper

herbes de provence

Parmesan shavings

olive oil

Separate beetroot and beet greens, rinse greens and set aside.  Scrub beetroot clean, removing any grit.  Preheat oven to broil, place beetroots in a square of aluminum foil. Cover and rub with olive oil, add a pinch of salt, pepper, and herbes de provence.  Wrap tightly and place in the oven.  Cook until fork tender, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. With a paring knife or by hand, remove the thin layer of skin, and cut beetroot into quarters.

Take rinsed beet greens, remove any tough ribbing, and tear into bite-sized pieces.  In a pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and garlic.  Add beet greens and sauté until tender. Season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat.

Mix together lemon juice, grain mustard, and agave nectar.

To serve, portion out the beet greens and serve with roasted beetroot on top.  Shave parmesan flakes over the salad. Drizzle with mustard dressing.

Eat together, toast to each other, and enjoy!


Spring and mascarpone…two ways…

As we are getting ready to move our little family across country, we are making visits to all our favorite places here in Connecticut. One of these favorite places is the most charming of Italian markets. I used to be able to slip away to this market on my lunch break, sit outside in the sun with a good friend, and crunch away on a savory broccoli rabe salad with creamy feta cheese, and sip a limonata.

The counters are overflowing with calzones and pastas. There are always imported goods I want to buy, Italian deserts, and gargantuan homemade garlic loafs of bread. During my most recent saunter through this market I felt compelled to buy the richest, creamiest mascarpone cheese.
I made a surprisingly light and bright sauce that we used as both a pasta sauce and a pizza sauce. Inspired by spring, I also bought anything crisp and green to throw in with the noodles. We made the pizza two nights in a row because we loved it so much, it is really rich and sultry topped with artichokes marinated in olive oil and briny black olives.
As much as we are ready to move “home”, I’m finding pockets of my life here in Connecticut filled with people and places, that are comfortable and warm in my mind’s eye, and I guess that is what home feels like?

mascarpone sauce…

½ cup mascarpone cheese
juice ½ lemon
1 tsp lemon zest
1 garlic clove, minced and smashed smooth
salt and cracked pepper
pinch of nutmeg

Mix all ingredients together. It will have the consistency of cream cheese, but this will melt over the hot noodles. If it still is too thick, reserve a little pasta water to thin.

spring pasta…

1 shallot, minced
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 bunch asparagus, cut on bias
6-8 artichoke hearts, either fresh or fresh frozen, cut into fourths
1 cup green peas
salt and pepper
1 pound farfalle noodles
mascarpone sauce

Boil noodles in salted water until al dente. While pasta is cooking, in a large pan, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot, cook until translucent. Add veggies and season with salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender but crisp. Drain noodles, reserving about ¼ cup pasta water. While noodles are hot, add mascarpone sauce. If needed add pasta water to thin the sauce. Mix in vegetables. Garnish with chives and a little lemon zest.

Spring pizza…

favorite pizza dough, homemade or store bought
3-4 large artichoke hearts, marinated in olive oil, sliced thinly lengthwise
large handful of pitted marinated black olives, cut in half
semolina flour
olive oil
handful of grated Parmesan cheese
mascarpone sauce

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put in pizza stone or pizza pan to get hot. Have pizza dough come to room temperature (if refrigerated). Roll out pizza dough on a lightly floured surface. If using a pizza pan, remove from oven when hot. Drizzle olive oil directly onto pan and sprinkle semolina flour over the oil. Then place the pizza dough onto the pan. This will ensure a nice crispy crust. Then build the pizza, beginning with the mascarpone sauce, then top with artichoke hearts and olives. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top. Then brush the crust with olive oil (I just use the extra oil that the artichokes came in) and place in the oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes until crust is crispy and golden.

I served this pizza with a handful of baby greens on the top, tossed in olive oil and lemon juice for a little freshness.
* If using a pizza stone, build your pizza on your pizza paddle with semolina flour under the pizza dough, skipping the olive oil. Build your pizza and then slide onto the pizza stone. You can still brush the crust with olive oil.

Eat together, toast to each other, and share!