Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Beets & Goat Cheese Spinach Salad

Here's a simple and seasonal salad idea. Beets are a root vegetable that are available all year round but is most prominent in the Fall season. You see it on most dinner tables during Thanksgiving. To cook it, some people will tell you to boil it but I usually roast it in the oven. Remember to oil the beets first before roasting it covered with tin foil. It usually takes about 90 minutes to 2 hours at 400F. Use a fork to poke the flesh to see if it has soften enough. If you meet resistance, continue roasting. When it is done cooking, let it cool for a few minutes and start peeling the skin off while it is still hot. It is easier to get the skin off when you peel it in a pot of water. When done, just cut it into half inch cubes.

The next ingredient is goat cheese, which is made from......drumroll.....goat's milk! It is slightly tart and very creamy, easily spreadable. Goat's milk is also an ingredient used in Greek feta cheese. Goat's cheese is very popular in Europe and also the Mediterranean. For this salad, just use your fingers and crumble the cheese or pinch them into pea-sized balls.

For the rest of this salad, I used spinach as the base but a more appropriate vegetable would be using the spring mix of frisée or arugula. Also in this salad are dried cranberries, which I reconstituted by boiling them briefly in sugared water. In fact you can use any other kinds of dried fruit for this application, like apricots or figs. The addition of candied walnuts or pecans should also add some texture and crunch to this salad (which, sadly I don't have on hand for this salad). As for the dressing, you can go with a basic balsamic vinegraitte or a sweet/tart combination like honey ginger or honey lemon.

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