Can I just say, I have the most amazing parents ever. I mean, I see so many stories about children growing up in horrible conditions. I watched the Casey Anthony trial like a hawk and was disgusted at the thought that she very likely killed her daughter and walks free to this day. I’m not interested in hearing everyone’s opinions on the case whether you think she was guilty or not – the child experienced something traumatic at an age when all we should feel is love. It kills me. Anyways, I just wanted to say how grateful I am and how blessed I feel to be loved by both parents and to have parents that appreciate me and are proud of me. I love them so much and hope I can repay them in some way for every sacrifice they have made for me….so I start small. I have been cooking my booty off for them since I have landed here in Minnesota and I couldn’t be happier. (Did I ever mention that I am a huge Vikings fan? And that I’ve met Jared Allen before? I just found this picture and thought I should share….)
Haha he makes me look like a twerp! I’m actually rather tall (5’7) but he’s Jared Allen so…yea….Anyways. My mom and I got to meet him at the Vikings 50th Anniversary party last year, so cool!
Anywho! Last night I made them a fabulous meal (if I do say so myself). My parents recently built a new house that embodies their personalities to a tee. Coming from Chicago, cooking in their kitchen is beyond words. Look at this insane kitchen I get to cook in?
As we embark into the bitter cold of winter we start to lose our fancy for salads (if we even had one in the first place.) Well believe it or not, there are ways to make salads more “fall/winterish vs Summerish. I told you about the Farro, fennel salad but today I have a classic beet and goat cheese salad that is actually appropriate no matter what the weather. If you don’t have or don’t like beets, pears would also be great with this recipe. This is a very classy salad that takes very minimal effort and looks very gourmet.
2-3 medium beets – scrubbed, trimmed and cut in half
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
3 handfuls of mixed baby spinach (or your choice of greens)
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1. Wash and remove stems and ends from beets and place in a saucepan of water and bring to a rapid boil. Cook on boil for 20 to 30 minutes, until tender. Test beets by sticking a knife through it – it should go through pretty easily. Drain and cool. Remove skin and cut into small pieces.
2. While the beets are cooking, place the walnuts in a skillet over medium-low heat. Heat until warm and starting to toast, then stir in the maple syrup. Cook and stir until evenly coated, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice concentrate, balsamic vinegar, garlic and olive oil to make the dressing. (add S&P to taste)
4. Toss spinach in a big bowl with the candied walnuts and beets then top with goat cheese. You can drizzle the dressing on each plate separately or toss with the spinach before adding other ingredients. (I was entertaining so I forgot to snap a pic but this photo will give you an idea of what it should look like.)