Sweet And Crumby

Baking, a Love Story

Cover Girl Beet Salad

17 Comments

It’s gorgeous isn’t it?  Sorry, I usually am not so disgustingly transparent with my bragging rights, but this salad deserves to be on the cover of any magazine.  And to think, this is just the second string version of my original salad I made for my book club last Friday night.  That one was the real stunner because the golden and purple beets both were in abundance on the original version.

As the doorbell rang on the night of my book club, I sprinkled the finale of toasted almonds across the top and wanted to desperately run for my camera since I am a crazy food blogger.  The ladies filed in, all bringing their own fresh and delicious contribution to our spread, and gathered around my kitchen island.  It took a lot of self-restraint, but since my five book club cohorts were already mingling and eyeing the food,  I just didn’t have the heart to say, “Freeze, step away from the salad, and let me take—oh, just a million shots of this cover girl of a salad.”

When I went to bed that night, all I could think of was, “I should have gotten at least a couple shots,” and frankly, I am embarrassed to admit this, but yet here I am being totally honest…it kept me up for an hour lamenting the lost salad shot.  Yes, I’m nuts, but I think we have established that in let’s say the last six or so blogs (I am only on number 7 8 now and I have admitted to being crazy yet AGAIN!).  I think if you do a WordPress or Google search under crazy, my blog pops up as number one!

Oh, back to the salad. Besides its obvious good looks you want to know if it is a salad of substance–am I right?  After all when us regular women look at those supermodel types on the cover of Vogue or Elle, we think, “Yeah they may look perfect, but what are they really made of? ”

Well let me tell you this salad is no charlatan, it is good from the inside out with organic greens, steamed sweet golden and red beets, Medjool dates, toasted almonds, ripened but firm avocados and homemade, finger-licking good delectable champagne vinaigrette.

I served it on a big white platter to show off the natural splendor of all the vibrant jewel tones that adorned the greens and placed a big basket of homemade zucchini bread aside it.  I also had made couscous stuffed zucchini to complete our Mediterranean fare.  There are a few before pics of the stuffed zucchini in the “how-to” below, but no after photos, and they were pretty hot little numbers themselves.  The bread was pretty too, but I didn’t get one photo of that either.  Alas.  Sigh…I guess the recipes will just have to do for now.

Cover Girl Beet Salad
Serves 6 as a large side salad or 4 main course servings
1 head of red leaf lettuce, washed, spun dry and chopped (I prefer hand torn)
1 head of romaine lettuce, washed, spun dry and chopped
2 steamed coarsely diced red beets
2 steamed coarsely diced  golden beets
2 just barely ripened avocados, coarsely chopped
1 c. of chopped Medjool dates (other date variety is a-ok)
3/4 c. chopped toasted almonds

Optional: Grilled chopped chicken breast, quantity of 4-6,  skinless boneless breast halves

Beet note: Salads are pretty self explanatory, but the one questionable element for some of you is the steaming the beet process.  I highly recommend  doing this ahead of time.  Beets are messy and staining so proceed with caution.  Simply chop off the ends and stems of the beats, peel with a vegetable peeler and then dice into nice 1/4-1/2 inch cubes.  You can steam them on the stove top if you have a steamer, but since I don’t I steam them in my microwave(I know that’s weird…I own pie weights but no steamer.  That says a lot about me, doesn’t it?).  I put them in a medium sized bowl with 1 tablespoon or so of water (I don’t measure…no need), add a little salt and pepper, cover with a microwave safe plate and turn on the microwave for 2 minute increments, stir, and repeat until they are fork tender.  Usually, this takes 4-5 minutes of steaming.  Then I dump them in an ice water bath so the colors remain vibrant and refrigerate them for later to add to the salad.  For the Golden Beets, everything is the same EXCEPT I add a 1/4 teaspoon of crushed rosemary in addition to salt and pepper BEFORE they steam.  Try one after you steam it, it’s super yummy with rosemary.

Champagne Vinaigrette
Taken from http://www.epicurious.com
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dijon Mustard
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 or 3 dashes hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Put all ingredients in a bowl and whisk rapidly to create an emulsion.  This is good to do ahead as well.

Recipe is directly taken from a Farmer’s Market Fare cooking class at Chez Cherie in La Canada, CA.  Cherie Twohy is also the author of  The I Love Trader Joe’s Cookbook (it’s fab!)
2 round zucchini (conventional is fine)
1/2 of a red onion, finely chopped
1/2 of a red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 of a yellow pepper, finely chopped
1 c. Israeli couscous (find it at Trader Joe’s!)
2 c. chicken or vegetable broth
salt and pepper
1/4 t. finely chopped mint
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Chop off the ends and cut each zucchini in half lengthwise, from stem to bottom.  If I am serving them as a small portion, I cut the zucchini in half width-wise as well.
Hollow out the center with a small spoon leaving about a 1/2 inch shell.  Discard the removed zucchini if it is very seedy or cottony, or reserve if it is meaty.  Brush the inside of the shells with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place shells on a baking sheet, cut side up, and bake until starting to soften, about 10-15 minutes.
While the shells bake, cook the couscous.  In a medium saute pan, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil and saute the onions until starting to soften.  Then add the peppers and any reserved zucchini.  Saute until tender about 4-5 minutes.  Take out the pepper mixture and set aside.  Add in the couscous to your empty saute pan and saute/toast the couscous for 3-4 minutes.  Pour broth into a medium-sized pot and add toasted couscous.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed and the couscous is tender, about 12 minutes.  Stir in the reserved pepper mixture and the chopped mint and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Mound the couscous mixture into the zucchini shells and return to the oven for another 10-12 minutes.
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17 thoughts on “Cover Girl Beet Salad

  1. Geni, This looks beautiful! I’ve never had a beet salad before, but I am totally going to try this. Looks and sounds gorgeous!

    -Liz

  2. I love beets! And recently I’ve discovered how much better fresh roasted beets are compared to canned beets. Your champagne viniagrette looks killer by the way!

  3. This salad looks tempting..I love the beets!
    I”ll try to make it tomorrow, let you know how it went!

  4. Geni, it looks delicious. I have some beets in my garden and need to try this, but I don’t know if the summer beets are any good because the last time I tasted, it didn’t have the kick.

    • How about adding a teensy bit of honey to the beets and stir before you steam them? I also add crushed Rosemary to my golden beets before steaming…this would be a nice kick to the reds as well.

  5. Last year was the first time I ever had beets, and now I’m hooked! I love the sweetness of them, especially paired with a tangy salad dressing!

  6. Geni, thanks for visiting my blog.
    Oh how I love beets. so very yummy as a drink as well as roasted or like your salad. They are mighty tasty.

    Did you know that Martha Stewart suggests to save an open bottle of champagne and make champagne vinegar out of it, is to leave it open and sit for 2 weeks – voila, vinegar!!

    Back to your suggestion to call my pie “cover girl pie” I love it, I’ll use it 🙂

  7. Your salad does look absolutely beautiful, and the combination of flavours you have used sound just divine!

  8. It does look beautiful and you are not crazy, at least, any crazier than the rest of us.

    Scenario: My husband has the fork to his mouth.
    Me: Stop, I haven’t taken a picture yet.
    He obediently, posing like I was taking his picture. What a ham!
    Then, I remove the plate and tell him that was for show. Here is your dinner. If you want seconds, you can take it from here.

    That is crazy. Join the club.

  9. Pingback: To Beet or Not to Beet, That is the Question {Grilled Beet Pizza with Blue Cheese and Pine Nuts} « Sweet And Crumby

  10. Oh my!
    this is one amazing creation Geni.
    Thank you so much for linking back to this treasure

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