The calendar says it’s Fall, but the thermometer at my house is screaming SUMMER! Blazing hot sun…no breeze to be found anywhere….Where the hell was this weather in June, July or August? My entire summer was spent wearing UGG’s and most of my winter wardrobe. Thanks Mother Nature for sending the sun immediately following me yanking the last of my little producing tomato plants out this year – Thanks A-LOT bitch!
Whew- now that I got that rant out of my system…
As per my usual weekend routine, I hit the farmer’s markets. In a city that really doesn’t see much in the way of seasonal weather changes, we do get a change in the fruits and vegetables that are available in a given season (although admittedly not like those of you who see snow do). There were more apples that showed up this week along with a few pomegranates and quince. The figs are starting to wane as are the blueberries. But coming on strong now are hard squash (like butternut, acorn and pumpkin), leeks and my personal favorite…beets. All the makings for roasted vegetables and some great fall recipes.
I’ve always liked beets, even as a kid (go ahead, call me weird – like you’re going to offend me or something). Something about their earthy yet somewhat sweet flavor just sucked me in. Plus, how can you ignore a vegetable that can stain your fingers and clothes such a beguiling shade of fuschia pink? But don’t let that girly pink color fool you. Beets are a hearty vegetable that just beg to be roasted. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you no doubt are aware of my obsession with roasted vegetables. I’ve got a roasted carrot soup, roasted asparagus and roasted sweet potatoes salad. In case the obvious isn’t so obvious to you…1 – you’re going to be getting fall recipes from me now and 2 – I’m making roasted vegetables in this post.
Craig and I both have a love for beets (how convenient). Whenever we find a beet salad on the menu, you can pretty much bet money that we’ll order it. On our recent trip to New York, we ordered a roasted beet salad at this little Italian restaurant. Usually a restaurant beet salad comes on a small plate and is decorated very prettily with a few sprinkles of some kind of nut, a little goat cheese and some micro greens for a dash of color. What greeted us at this restaurant was not a dainty plate of roasted beet salad but a massive pile of roasted vegetables (beets). My dinner plate looked like an appetizer compared to this salad. Of course we both inhaled our salads and had no room for dinner.
Today’s roasted beet salad recipe is take on the humongous pile of roasted beet salad that we had last week in NYC. This will definitely be the first of many fall recipes (and probably winter recipes too) that will include roasted vegetables. But trust me when I tell you that if you haven’t eaten roasted vegetables before, you will fall in love with vegetables all over again. Roasting vegetables not only gives them a different texture, but a different flavor than you would get from them by steaming or even baking them. The roasting process brings out the natural sweetness in vegetables that you may have never even known was there. You’re in for a wonderful ride. Now pull out your sweaters and mittens….here comes fall.
I’m turning to my e-mail for today’s bit of advice.
I have thought of just about everything to get my crush guy down to my office but to no avail. He continues to send his minions instead. Sometimes you just have to bonk them over the head with a baseball bat. And even then, as in my case, they just don’t get it! I have officially given up on this one. Maybe I need to send him some tomato paste.
Here’s the thing. While guys may claim to be observant and to know when a woman is giving him signals, the reality is they don’t. The only time I ever call a guy “Captain Obvious” is when I am being overly sarcastic. Most guys wouldn’t get the hint that you were interested in them unless you stood in front of them naked with the words “Do Me” scrawled across your naked body. I’m guessing that tactic wouldn’t be appropriate in your office (unless you work in the porn industry…then it would be totally acceptable, except it would probably be filmed and you wouldn’t get paid for it because they would say it’s just the usual course of business…sorry – got off track there.).
So what should you do, short of literally clubbing him over the head with a 9 iron?
Clearly your guy is in your office arena, but this tactic can be used anywhere. It’s called – be direct. You’re going to have to put on your big girl britches and call him up and request that he personally come to see you because you need to speak to him and not one of his workers. Once he’s in your office you have your opportunity to ask him out. Why not start by asking him to get a drink with you after work? This works a couple of different ways. You don’t have to be so direct as to have to say the actual words “would you like to go out with me” and the alcohol might loosen you both up a bit when you’re out of the work environment. If things are going well, you may end up spending more time together than the time it takes to consume your drinks and end up getting dinner together. Before you know you could be on to a second date.
Roasted Beet Salad
Makes 4 salad servings
- 8 Small to Medium Red Beets
- 6 Small to Medium Golden Beets
- Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt
- 1/4 Cup Toasted Hazelnuts (roughly chopped)
- 1/4 Cup Shaved Parmesan Cheese
- 2 Tablespoons Mint (finely chopped)
- 5 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
- 2 Tablespoons Hazelnut Oil (can substitute olive oil)
- Pinch Kosher Salt
- A Few Grinds of Ground Black Pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit.
While oven is preheating you can mix up the dressing.
In a small container add the orange juice, hazelnut (or olive) oil, kosher salt and pepper. Whisk ingredients together and taste. If it needs more salt or pepper, add it now. Set dressing aside.
Wash the beets and trim the leaves and bottom tip off of all beets (the greens can be cleaned and sauteed in a little olive oil and garlic or chopped and tossed into a salad). Do not peel the beets.
Depending on the size and number of beets you have tear sheets of aluminum foil. You’ll want to put 3-4 beets into each packet and the golden beets should be roasted separately from the red beets.
Place 3 or 4 beets into the center of a piece of the foil with their tips pointing up. Drizzle them with approximately 1 tablespoon of oil and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt.
Crimp foil into a sealed packet containing the beets. Continue this process with the remaining beets.
Place the packet on a baking sheet (just in case they leak while cooking) and bake for 45 minutes.
When done cooking, remove from oven and let cool until the beets can be handled. (approximately 30 minutes)
Open the foil packets and rub beets to remove their skins. Trim up any rough spots on the top or bottom that may remain. Continue this process with all of the beets.
Thinly slice beets and arrange in an overlapping circle on salad plates.
Sprinkle plates of beets with the chopped hazelnuts, cheese and mint.
Whisk the dressing and drizzle over tops of each salad plate and serve.
This salad can be served at room temperature or chilled.