Thursday, April 22, 2010

Don't wear white

I wear white t-shirts a lot.  My uniform is pretty much jeans and a white v-neck tee, worn with boots or sandals depending on the season.  My college roommates can attest to watching me get ready to go out on the weekends--as I plowed through my closet, trying on colorful dresses and patterned shirts that, upon buying, I thought I would wear all the time, until after two hours of dressing and undressing I would surrender and sheepishly throw on what I always did: jeans and a white v-neck tee (swapping white out for dark grey or maybe even black if I was feeling risky).
So, if you're anything like me and patterns make you hyperventilate, take some deep breaths and don't wear white while making this recipe.  You're probably thinking, "well, duh, I wouldn't wear white while I was cooking anyway, who could be that dumb?" Well, me. I could be that dumb.  Don't make the same mistake or your favorite white tank will be permanently demoted to undershirt.

Like white tees, I'm also a sucker for beets.  But, sadly I just don't eat them that much. I guess it goes back to the ol' cooking dried beans syndrome--thinking it just takes way too much time and effort.  But, how wrong I was!

I did a little experimenting and this combination of ingredients turned out the best.  Simple and delicious, this salad can be eaten with a a glass of rosé for a relaxing lunch or as a first course to a yummy dinner.  You can serve the beets over a bed of arugula, like I do in this recipe, or serve them on their own--either way, it's sure to be a hit.
Beet Salad with Crumbled Gorgonzola and Toasted Walnuts

1/4 lb baby arugula (or 1 5-ounce package), washed and dried
3 medium beets, red or golden
1/3 cup walnuts
1/4 cup gorgonzola, crumbled (or goat cheese)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp honey (optional)
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  If the beet greens are attached, trim all but 1/2 inch of the stems (Be sure to use those beet greens for another dish!).  Wash beets well and place in a baking dish with 1/4 cup water.  Cover with foil and bake until beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about 45 to 60 minutes.  Cool beets in a bowl of cold water and slip off the skins.  Once peeled, allow beets to cool completely, then cut into small 1/2 inch wedges and chill for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or you can opt to kills two birds with one stone by toasting walnuts while beets are cooking).  Arrange walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.  Allow to cool before giving them a rough chop.

In a large bowl, mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, and salt and pepper to taste.  Toss in beets.  Add in chopped walnuts.

Spread the arugula out on a serving platter to make a bed for the beets and lightly drizzle with olive oil.  Spread the beets and dressing over the arugula and top with crumbled gorgonzola. Serve immediately.

Serves 2-4.

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