Saturday, February 18, 2017

Cate's Roasted Beet Salad with Chickpeas

A few weeks ago I hosted a formal dinner party for a group of high school seniors. This salad was on my menu.  A few days after the dinner I received several thank-you notes in the mail.  Cate's sweet note included the sentence, "I hope that beet salad recipe is posted on the blog!"
It is my sincere pleasure.  This one is for you, Cate!

Cate's Roasted Beet Salad with Chickpeas

Three organic red or orange beets (any size), stems removed, rinsed and dried with paper towel
One 15-oz can organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained and dried (gently) with paper towel 
1 bunch organic cilantro, chopped 
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Kosher Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

NOTE:  This salad is delicious and fresh tasting but it is also very rich.  A little goes a very long way.
Three little beets may not seem like a lot but it is!  Trust me.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  (Make sure to have other items to roast so you don't use the oven just for these few beets!  I roasted several sweet potatoes at the same time as my beets.)
Lay each beet on a square of tin foil, drizzle a little olive oil over each beet and sprinkle with salt.  Close foil to wrap each beet.  Place wrapped beets on baking sheet and roast in oven for about 45 minutes.  Beets are done when a skewer easily punctures beet.
Let beets cool for a few minutes - until cool enough to handle with your hands but still warm.  Use the foil around each beet to rub skin off of beets or use a small knife to peel the skin.  Yes, your fingers may be temporarily stained red.  This will wash off with soap and water and fade quickly.
Chop beets into small cubes.  It is important to add the balsamic vinegar and oil to beets while still warm so they can absorb these flavors.  Place chopped beets into a bowl and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and balsamic.  Add the chickpeas and chopped cilantro.  Season with salt and pepper.
Taste and add more of any of these as you see fit.  Yep - that's all there is to it!  Enjoy!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Potato, Butternut Squash, & Black Bean Salad (Plus: Lunch Box Suggestions!)

When my refrigerator is organized I am happy.  What makes me even happier is having lots of options ready for packing lunches.  Yes, I do make my kids' lunches most days and it is something I cherish.  I must admit that when they were younger it sometimes seemed like a burden.  Now that they are teenagers it has become kind of a special bond that I share with them.  It's truly a way that I express my love to them.  They each take a bag lunch to school every day because  they prefer a homemade lunch.  That makes me feel pretty good - great, in fact!  I like to have items ready to layer in jars or use for sandwiches.  My daughters love egg-salad sandwiches and my son prefers roasted chicken with cheese and mustard.  Having these homemade items on hand in the refrigerator make packing lunches a breeze.  It also ensures a delicious and healthy meal.  If you open my refrigerator door on a Sunday or Monday night you will likely find several mason jars filled with delicious, ready-to-use items such as:
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • cooked french lentils
  • boiled yukon gold potatoes
  • sliced carrots
  • roasted butternut squash
  • cooked whole wheat cous cous
  • cooked quinoa
  • roasted or boiled chicken
  • homemade lemon and olive oil vinaigrette
This potato, butternut squash, and black bean salad can be layered with avocado, hard-boiled eggs, whole-wheat cous cous, feta cheese, etc. Another favorite option of mine is to slice up carrots and toss them with boiled potato and a little lemon vinaigrette to layer with romaine lettuce & hard-boiled eggs.  Roasting a large butternut squash can provide ingredients for this salad and you will have plenty extra to use in quesadillas, mini tamal cakes, or wheatberry salad.

Butternut Squash, Yukon Gold Potato, and Black Bean Salad
1 cup butternut squash, roasted, cut into cubes
1 cup potato, boiled, skinned, cut into cubes
6 ounces cooked black beans, drained & rinsed if canned
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
juice from 1/2 lemon or lime and a few tablespoons of olive oil to make the vinaigrette

Place squash, potatoes, blackbean, and cilantro into mixing bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste and fold ingredients together with large spatula or spoon.  In small measuring cup or bowl whisk lemon (or lime) juice with olive oil until emulsified.  Drizzle half of  the vinaigrette over vegetables and taste to see if more salt or pepper is needed.  Add more vinaigrette if desired but less is more!

Friday, December 02, 2016

Concord Pear & Raspberries: School Lunch Idea!

Pears are a favorite at our house.  D'Anjou, Bartlett, Bosc, Comice, and Concord are currently in stock at my local grocery store.  Instead of the usual apple in the lunch box I have been switching it up with a raspberry-filled pear half.  The Concord travels very well and does not brown.  The taste is sweet and the texture is buttery.  I like the skin which has a little bit of chewiness but not too thick/tough.
These can be prepared the night before but if you like to make lunches in the AM it can be prepared in less than a minute.  All you need is a spoon and a knife to prepare. Use the spoon to scoop out the seeds leaving a perfect space to fill with raspberries.  Use a knife to cut out the stem.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving Preparations

My Mom's Roast Turkey
My husband made our Thanksgiving celebration absolutely perfect by adding a heated tent a few years back.  It has become a tradition and the best way to celebrate with 30 people at one long table! I just love it and love him for doing this for our family.  I hope you are way ahead on your preparations and I hope some of my recipes will make your job a little easier.  I got lots of feedback last year and over the past few days and it gives me so much joy to hear that so many friends are cooking up My Mom's Roast Turkey!  It is so easy and always turns out perfect.  Happy Thanksgiving! xoxo

Claire's Thanksgiving Menu
Pumpkin Pie (to be posted)

Cranberry Sauce

Butternut Squash Casserole
Make-ahead Gravy
Brown Rice with Leeks
Spinach, Fennel, Apple, & Pecan Salad
Old Fashioned Carrot Salad
 French Apple Tart
French Apple Tart

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Sugarnut Squash with Black Beans, Basil, & Chevre + Bonus Recipe

I don't know if these are just tiny butternut squash but the sign at My Organic Market read, "Sugarnut Squash".  They were just too cute to pass up!  You can see just how tiny they are in the picture above next to a clementine and an avocado.  The taste turned out to be just like butternut squash and at our house that is a winner.  I adore the tiny size of this squash which allows for the perfect individual serving.  This recipe would be just as wonderful using a full-size butternut squash - - serve the large halves on a platter and then slice for servings.  I plan to add this to my Thanksgiving buffet. This recipe is hearty and delicious and will be a nice option for the vegetarians in my family.

Sugarnut (or Butternut) with Black Beans, Basil, & Chevre
three sugarnut squash or one butternut squash
one 15-ounce can black beans
handful of fresh basil, chopped
6 ounces chevre (goat cheese)
olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper

Prepare Black beans using this recipe (can be prepared up to several days in advance)
Slice squash in half, scoop out seeds, drizzle cut side with oil, salt & pepper and place cut side down on parchment lined baking sheet or casserole dish - bake for 35-45 minutes at 375 until squash is cooked through and skin is easily pierced with fork or small knife.
Remove cooked squash slices from oven, allow to cool for a couple of minutes then place cut side up on platter.  Fill squash with black beans and top with basil and chevre.  Serve warm with roasted romaine (see BONUS recipe below).

 BONUS RECIPE: My BFF Sarah prepared romaine this way when we ate dinner at her house recently.  An alternative to cooking on the grill - when roasting in the winter just throw the sliced romaine hearts onto the roasting pan for a couple of minutes after your items are done (i.e., after I took the sugarnut out of the oven I added the romaine hearts to the baking sheet and they roast in the juices from the cooked squash.)  Remove and serve with anchovies - DELICOUS!!!!