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Roasted Beets with Walnuts & Feta

20130626-074142.jpg Many of the farm stands have had beets as part of their offerings. This is a simple salad that is hearty and I think looks so cool with the contrast of the deep hue of the beets and the white of the smattering of feta. Beets can be intimidating and messy. Here is how I cook them to try and avoid both.

Turn oven to 400. Snip the green from the beets. Wash and dry with a paper towel. Put all the beets onto a baking sheet. Roast in the oven until the beets are somewhat soft to the touch. This will vary greatly depending on the size. Once done, take out of the oven and set aside to cool completely. Scatter a handful of walnuts onto another baking sheet and put into oven. Every few minutes shake the sheet to move the walnuts around. You are really just wanting to get them to release their natural oils, so stay with them and take out of the oven when they start of get added color. 5 to 10 minutes max. Set aside. Once the beets have cooled, now you get to cut away the wrinkly skin. I like to do this on a plate, as beets with stain the heck out of cutting boards. With a sharp knife, cut away all the skin of the beet. Then half or quarter beet and put into a large bowl. Do this with the rest of the beets. Once done, add a bit of the very best extra virgin olive oil you have. Add salt and pepper. Mix. Put this mixture onto a plate or platter. Take cooled walnuts and break up a bit and scatter on top of beets. Do the same with good feta. Kind of like snow falling. I like the combo of tiny pieces and large pieces. Lastly, add a few pinches of fresh cracked black pepper to the top. Done. Enjoy.



Grapefruit, Avocado & Walnut Salad

20130208-073701.jpg There is something about the chilly Winter months where I just crave citrus. We also both love grapefruit, so I thought I would come up with a salad using them that was savory that we could have in the evening. I am also somewhat on a superfood kick, as so many ingredients that have made the lists I have read about in the past year are foods we really enjoy–walnuts and avocados being on said lists. Off we go!

Cut up an avocado and assemble on a plate. Then add slices of grapefruit about. In a small bowl add a dollop of Dijon mustard, a bit of grapefruit juice, a pinch of salt, and whisk in extra virgin olive oil for a vinaigrette. Spoon over the waiting avocado and grapefruit. Dry roast a handful of walnuts that have been chopped up for a few minutes to really bring out the oil and flavor. Add them to the top. Lastly, be quite liberal with the grinder, grind freshly cracked black pepper over the entire concoction, creating a pepper snow of sorts over the entire plate. A healthful salad packed with interesting flavors.