Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine-Inspired "Beet-heart" Salad

I'm not big on Valentine's Day- I'm one of those who thinks you should show people you love how much you care every day of the year.  But, my sweetheart had been out of town a few days and I missed him while he was gone, so I decided to do a lil something special for dinner- nothin' too crazy.

So, I used what I had on hand, a few ingredients from the garden and whipped up this fun little salad that I am calling the "Beet-heart Salad." That's because the stars of the show are beets and artichoke hearts, but for added lovey dovey-ness I cut the roasted beets into heart shapes... I just couldn't help myself.

Below are instructions on how to make your very own "Beet-heart Salad" for your sweetheart! (It looks lengthy, but that's just 'cause I babbled... it's really quite easy!)

Here's whatcha need: 
2 medium beets
1 c quartered artichoke hearts
a couple handfuls of salad greens
(I used some red-tipped lettuce & pretty red-veined sorrel from my garden)
2 Tbsp (more/less) goat milk feta cheese (or any other feta)

1 Tbsp fresh orange juice
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1 tsp lemon thyme (from my garden- can use dried thyme if fresh unavailable)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
sea salt + cracked pepper (to taste)

Here's whatcha do:
Roast the beets:
Preheat oven to 375, wash beets, rub 'em down with a lil oil (I use coconut, you could also use olive), sprinkle with a lil salt, wrap 'em in foil. 
Bake for 30-40 mins or until they start to feel soft- not too soft though!
(This should be done ahead of time if you want a cold salad. Could even do it up to a couple days ahead. I was in a hurry, so they were still a lil warm and it was good that way too.)

Make the dressing:
Put all dressing ingredients in a dressing bottle or jar w/lid & shake, shake, shake.... shake, shake, shake... shake yo boo---ottle. 

Cut out the hearts:
Let the beets cool. I repeat- let the beets cool!!
Rub the skin off the beets w/your hands (your hands will turn a lovely shade of fuschia, but hey it's festive!)
Now, you can either cut notches out of the entire beet so that when cut into slices they all resemble hearts, or you can cut slices first and then shape them into hearts with kitchen shears. I used both methods not really coming to a conclusion as to which worked best- so do what you want!

Assemble salad:
Toss salad greens in a little dressing just to lightly coat. 
Place a bed of greens on each plate. 
Toss the artichoke hearts in a lil dressing. 
Arrange them on the bed of greens all pretty-like.
Toss the beet-hearts in a lil dressing.
Arrange them on the artichokes (for contrast) even prettier-like.
Sprinkle feta over each salad like it's magical fairy dust. ('cause it pretty much is)

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