Monday, August 10, 2009

Bittmanspiration and Beet caviar

The Mark Bittman 101 summer salads article I mentioned recently has already created some big hits, especially with the recent influx of sungold tomatoes in my kitchen. One of his recommendations:

"19. Mix cooked cannellini or other white beans, chopped cherry or grape tomatoes and arugula or baby spinach. Lightly toast sliced garlic in olive oil with rosemary and red pepper flakes; cool slightly, add lemon zest or juice or both, then pour over beans."

Very good. The beans gives the dish some substance, the dressing is easy, all in all a filling meal. But even Mark Bittman knows it's not as good as this:

"15. Cut cherry or grape tomatoes in half; toss with soy sauce, a bit of dark sesame oil and basil or cilantro. I love this — the tomato juice-soy thing is incredible."

Yes, sir, the tomato-soy thing is indeed incredible. This week it was paired with marinated tempeh one night and a corn/black bean combo another.

It's so good I forgot to take a photo until it was almost gone!

Another treat from this week came from Deborah Madison's cookbook "Local Flavors." She suggests using three colors of beets in the same dish to make a "caviar" along with endive and goat cheese.

Three-Beet Caviar with Endive and Goat Cheese

6 beets: 2 golden, 2 Chioggia, 2 red
1 very small red onion, finely diced (used shallot instead)
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar (used apple cider instead)
sea salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or chervil (went without it)
2 Belgian endives, red or white (skipped this too!)
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
olive oil

Leaving an inch of the stem and all of the roots, steam the beets until they're tender-firm when pierced with a knife, 25-45 minutes. Cool, then slip off the skins. (I find it much easier to scrub them to death, then cut them into reasonable pieces, rather than have to wait for them to cook all the way through. And slipping of the skins is the worst.)

Cut them into chunks, then pulse 6 to 8 times in a food processor until finely chopped, taking care not to turn the beets into mush. Alternatively, dice them by hand. Chop each color of beet separately.

While the beets are cooking, toss the onion in the binegar with 1/4 teaspoon salt and set aside. Toss each of the three types of beets with a third of the onion and vinegar. Taste for salt and season with pepper. Toss again with the parsley and chill.

Slice the endives crosswise into rounds and separate the pieces. Arrange mounds of the beets, a mound of the endive, and a smaller one of goat cheese on the place. Drizzle a little olive oil over the endive and cheese. Add pepper and serve. Toss everything together into a pile of confetti before eating.

So pretty! So good!

And, finally, this weekend's trip to the market:

Replenished the sungolds, of course! I found the best deal at the Grand Army Plaza market: $2/pint at Maxwell's Farm, the first stand on the left when you ender from Prospect Park West. Also a bag of corn and a bag on onions for $2 each, some nectarines, Lacinato kale, green beans, and a cabbage.

In other big food news this week: this blog is now a member of the Park Slope Food Coop! This means lots of inexpensive, delicious, Socialist fruits and veggies. The weekly grocery bill has already been sliced. Next up: slicing and dicing the new assortment of soy products and other goodies from the Coop.

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