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. 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
Yield: 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.
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.
1/2 of a red onion, 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
May 29, 2011 at 4:06 am
You are quite correct! This salad is gorgeous!
May 29, 2011 at 5:09 am
The salad looks – and sounds – delicious. Definitely worthy of being a cover girl salad!
May 29, 2011 at 6:37 am
It looks pretty, but it contains beets (did you know that?) 😉 I just haven’t been able to get over my childhood aversion yet… I know I should just give them another try. We’ll see. Nice work!
May 29, 2011 at 7:42 am
Just for the record, canned beets (the ones I am assuming from your childhood) give beets a bad rap. Fresh beets prepared either roasted or steamed are just slightly sweet, firm and quite different than their canned ugly cousin.
May 29, 2011 at 4:07 pm
Yeah, I know. I think it’s the smell I remember most… do the fresh ones smell, too?
May 29, 2011 at 6:59 am
I don’t blame your book club for devouring that!
May 29, 2011 at 7:18 am
Wow, the salad is lovely looking. I love the combination of dried fruit and beets in a salad. The fried chicken (below) looks fabulous as well. Could be dinner tonight.
May 29, 2011 at 7:39 am
Geni! Wow. Gorgeous “cover girl” salad (love the moniker, too!) 🙂 I ♥ beets (even sneak into strawberry smoothies in this house–shhh!) .. love that you added rosemary before steaming them…I am sure it was delicious. Going to have to check out Cherie’s book–that Zucchini looks fab! (Another sneak-in for our chocolate smoothies! Ha!) Hope you having a great holiday weekend! xo
May 29, 2011 at 7:41 am
Your secret is safe with me Nina. I think I may have to try your ideas of sneaking in beets.
May 29, 2011 at 7:59 am
That is gorgeous. I can’t get my wife to eat beets. Apparently she overdosed on them as a child. I know, I know. I love the dressing and the stuffed zucchini are amazing. I can’t wait to make those. Also, are we supposed to be modest when we blog? I will have to stop saying this recipe rocks at the start of every post!
May 29, 2011 at 8:05 am
And yes she’s had the fresh. Just saw your earlier comment about childhood beets.
May 29, 2011 at 8:20 am
I can understand why you weren’t quick enough for a shot, I’d have dove right into that salad. Fantastic!
May 29, 2011 at 10:31 am
She certainly is a gorgeous cover model, and definitely has substance! I would dive right into this salad too!
May 29, 2011 at 11:30 am
veggie meals ftw!!! looks delicious!
say what you think about my dishes 🙂
Have a lovely weekend,
May 29, 2011 at 12:19 pm
the zucchini looks good
May 29, 2011 at 1:24 pm
This salad looks amazing! I adore fresh beets, and trying to serve them everyday in any form…Really tasty, healthy refreshing!!!
May 29, 2011 at 9:25 pm
Yes, that definitely deserves to be on the cover of any cooking magazines! Looks gorgeous!
May 29, 2011 at 10:23 pm
You sound totally sane to me! I do the same thing. I agonize about pictures, recipes, ingredients sitting in my fridge. Sigh.
This salad is totally cover girl worthy though. I’d rather see it on the cover of my latest Vogue than whatever too-thin girl is on there.
May 30, 2011 at 1:44 am
Lol, what a funny post. I also have that feeling sometimes specially when the wife and daughter is already hungry and I dont have much time to take 1 million shots. I always left with that feeling that I should have taken more.
May 30, 2011 at 6:59 am
You always crack me up with your post titles. That salad looks delicious. It makes me wish the beets from my garden would hurry up and be ready 🙂 Have a good one, Geni!
May 31, 2011 at 1:57 am
This looks yummy….you have a lovely blog…I am having a giveaway in my blog..Y dont you check and join that
May 31, 2011 at 7:19 am
Love the name of this salad and you’re right, it’s a real looker! The two different kinds of beets add so much color (and yummy flavor!) and I love the sweetness from the dates!
May 31, 2011 at 8:44 am
Yes indeed, it is gorgeous and so healthy! I can so relate to you and the photo taking, I’ve made many a dish I wished I could have held up the dinner for a photo! I’d say we are both passionate – not crazy!
May 31, 2011 at 10:13 am
Looks fabulous! And the champagne vinaigrette looks great too! Can’t wait to give it a try:)
May 31, 2011 at 11:06 am
Geni, I love beets and like the idea of mixing both colors of beets. The salad sure looks great…beautifully done 🙂 Thanks for the tips using microwave to cook beets, I’ve been cooking on the stove and takes forever! The stuffed zucchini with couscous sounds really good. Have a great week ahead!
May 31, 2011 at 11:53 am
This salad looks great, and I can’t imagine how good the original must have looked! Thank goodness you didn’t stop book group to take a photo. If I tried to do that with my book group, I think they’d eat my hand off.
May 31, 2011 at 12:02 pm
That salad really does look so healthy and fantastic. Bookmarking!
PS. I e-mailed you, in case you haven’t seen it before you see this comment. Thank you for checking in on me. 🙂
May 31, 2011 at 12:27 pm
That is a beautiful salad! Definitely want to try this one.
PS: Thanks for finding your way to my new blog 🙂
May 31, 2011 at 9:23 pm
I am definitely not into beets but I have to say this recipe definitely made me think about trying them again. Wonderful looking salad Geni 🙂
May 31, 2011 at 10:07 pm
I am paying the love forward and awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award and if you like, you can pay it forward too. http://wp.me/pT5Tj-VO
June 1, 2011 at 4:18 am
Thank you! What an honor! 🙂