Monday, July 03, 2006

beet salad, cupcakes, and lentil soup

I made Cooking Light's Roasted Beet Salad With Tarragon Vinaigrette last night, and boy is it tasty! I've never really had beets before, and I have to say . . . I think I like gold beets! (At least prepared in this way!) I have to tell you, between the recipe calling for the same ingredients in different parts of the recipe, and then cutting the recipe in half, this was a bit confusing to execute . . . until I rewrote the recipe "Joy of Cooking" style. Here is is:

Toss together and roast 1 hour in a 350 degree oven:
1 1/2 pounds gold beets, scrubbed well and root ends trimmed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon

Cool, peel, and cut up the beets into about 1-inch cubes, or a little larger.

Whisk together:
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Toss the beets and 1 cup thinly sliced red onion in the vinaigrette. Chill overnight before serving.
This salad is a bit spicy from the raw onion, raw garlic, and raw shallot. Enjoy!

Then, while the oven was still on, I whipped up a batch of Double-Chocolate Cupcakes -- I'm still tweaking this recipe for Party of One, and I think I've almost got it! They are plenty chocolatey enough, and they don't sink any more -- they aren't nicely rounded on top like a normal cupcake, but they suffice, I think. I made a test batch of my Creamy Vanilla Frosting for them as well, and then topped each cupcake with a slice of strawberry and a mint leaf. Cute and yummy!

This morning, I decided to whip up a batch of Post Punk Kitchen's French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme, to use some more of the leftover tarragon and thyme I had from making the beet salad. I have always been a bit frustrated by this recipe, because it makes a really simple thing seem more complicated than it really is, but the ingredients blend together nicely and make a killer lentil soup. Here's my edited, simplified version:

Saute together on low until everything is softened and beginning to brown:
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
about a cup of roughly chopped mushrooms (my addition)
4 cloves garlic, minced

Add, bring to a boil, lower the heat, then simmer for 45 minutes:
6 cups vegetable broth
1 14-ounce can no-salt added diced tomatoes with liquid
2 cups French green lentils, rinsed well
2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
black pepper to taste

Fish out the bay leaves and thyme stems with tongs once the lentils are tender. Cool and freeze in small portions for a non-90-degree day!

I still have a big bunch of fresh oregano leftover, as well as some mint, thyme, and Thai basil. (The basil may go into more spring rolls later this week.) Any suggestions?


KleoPatra said...

I can't wait for the cookbook! Maybe i can review it for the newspaper that employs me...


Vicki said...

it all sounds awesome! i really enjoy beets & i'd like to try this recipe. looking forward to your cookbook! :o)

Catherine said...

Kleopatra, if I ever publish the thing and you want to pitch the story idea, I'm all for it! Awesome.

Vicki, definitely try the recipe -- I've never had beets before, (at least, not that I can remember,) and I really liked this!

Neither of these recipes will be in the cookbook, however, because they are exact replications of recipes that have already been published. :) I just rewrote the directions to make them more user-friendly.

Melody said...

I can taste that beet salad... Golden beets are wonderful..

As far as the oregano and thyme go goes, make some red sauce and freeze it! Also, thyme and mushrooms are a great combo..

Mint.. make a chocolate smoothie with some mint leaves (soymilk, ice cubes, sweetner, cocoa, coffee) or the thyme, mint and oregano would work well in a cool bean salad.. topped with a mustard vinaigrette.
Thai basil... use it with tomatoes, hoisin sauce, tofu, onions, garlic, soy sauce, ginger and scallions on top of noodles.. or rice.. add some cilantro and peanutes

Jesska said...

Okay, so I made the lentil soup except I added sausage, celery and some ground coriander to your list. I also added a second can of tomatoes, which were tomatoes with italian herbs. So yeah, I changed the recipe majorly, but the soup was FABULOUS. Thanks for the recipe! :)

Dori said...

I have never had golden beets. I'll have to look for them. Neet! This recipe looks absolutely grand.

My favorite way with fresh beets is roasted and I have done this alot... but I've never had it with the tarragon dressing!

Anonymous said...

That beet salad is one of my faves. I made it last summer for a pregnant friend who swore she hated beets, and did she ever change her tune. Now she's asked me to bring it to her son's first birthday party!