Friday, May 6, 2005

Recipes for Josh

I love it when one of my sons calls me for a recipe. Despite all the years of odd food items appearing on their dinner plates while I was "creating" in the kitchen, that phone call means to me that my creativity, or at the very least experimentation, got through. I am an appreciated cook by my now adult children. Could higher praise be given?

Roasted Beet & Walnut Salad with Blue Cheese and Christine's Vinaigrette

3-4 medium size red beets, scrubbed clean, tails trimmed & leaves trimmed to 1/2 inch
1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted on a cookie sheet in a 350 oven for about 12 minutes. Allow to cool.
Mixed spring baby lettuce or washed and dried fresh spinach
2 oz. good, crumbly blue cheese

Wrap each beet in foil. Place them on a cookie sheet in a 350 oven and bake for about 1 hour. Check for doneness by pinching with your fingers. A nicely roasted beet will "give" like a ripe avocado. There should be beet juice at the bottom of the foil packet also.

When done, open foil packets and allow beets to cool. Peel with a small, sharp knife, cutting off the beet tops. Cut into small wedges or whatever shape you heart desires. Just be sure they are bite-sized for your guests.

When toasting walnuts, watch them carefully. Nuts will attain a golden color and smell "nutty" when they are done. Leave them in the oven too long and they'll burn very quickly.

To assemble:
Toss greens, beets and walnuts with vinaigrette. Top with crumbled blue cheese and toss again gently. For presentation, you don't want to turn the blue cheese beet red.

Christine's Vinaigrette

First, buy a jar of Bonne Maman jam or jelly. Use up the jelly, then thoroughly wash the jar and lid.
With a permanent black marker (a Sharpie works great) and a ruler in hand, place the jar on a flat surface and stand the ruler upright on the flat surface and against the jar.
Take your Sharpie and make a mark on the jar about 3/4 inch from the bottom. Make another mark at about 2 inches from the bottom, or at the bottom points of the arches.

Now you are ready to make vinaigrette.

Pour black raspberry vinegar, or your favorite vinegar, to the first line
Add one clove fresh garlic, finely diced
A pinch of sea salt and generous grindings of Tellicherry pepper
A teaspoon of sugar
A heaping tablespoon of Grey Poupon

Blend well and taste. Adjust to your liking and slowly whisk in
extra virgin olive oil to the second line until thick and creamy.
Alternatively, pour in the olive oil, place the lid on the jar and shake like crazy until blended and thick.

There you go! Easy huh?

PS - I've been using the same jar and lid for about 20 years and it's time to get a replacement. The jar is just fine. It's the lid that wears out. So just in case you find that you LIKE Bonne Maman jelly, buy a few jars and when you recycle, tuck the lids away in a drawer. You'll be glad you did.

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