While much of the country is enjoying a beautiful blanket of white snow, those of us in Southern California are experiencing an on-again, off-again heat wave this winter. Our forecast for this weekend could be as high as 80 degrees.
For someone like me who truly adores cold weather, this is not a welcomed thing, and my soup and roast making has moved over for warmer weather offerings. So, for Valentine’s Day, I’ll be sharing my Valentine Orange & Beet Salad with you.
While most dishes you’ll see online today are filled with chocolates, cakes, tarts, and whipped cream… mine is focused on keeping you a little healthier while still giving you lots of color and flavor.
Recipe 1 of 3:
Valentine Orange & Beet Salad
baby spinach (2 small handfuls)
2 blood oranges, peeled, with all membranes removed
2 navel oranges, cut into wedges, and then again in thirds to make triangles
1 ripe avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut into wedges
½ small log of Laura Chenel Goat Cheese, cut into small squares
20 – 2″ squares of Spiced Pickled Beets (recipe follows), drained on a paper towel
20 honeyed pecan halves (recipe follows)
3-4 kumquats, sliced into 4 rounds each
I used Lucero’s Crushed Mandarin Orange Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Lucero’s Lemon White Balsamic Vinegar shaken together.
Arrange baby spinach on plates. Follow with slices of both oranges. Add avocados and goat cheese. Carefully place beets on dish by using a butter knife (so as not to drip the juice on anything). Top with pecans and kumquats.
Drizzle with dressing.
Recipe 2 of 3:
Spiced Pickled Beets
This is one of those “no particular amounts” kind of recipes. You know, like you get from your mom or grandma 😉
Because beets can be anywhere between the size of an egg and a softball, it’s kind of tough to get exact measurements. The ones I used for this last pickling adventure ranged from “large naval orange” size to “baseball”. I used 9 of them, and ended up with enough to fill 2 quart jars, plus a pint (and some for my snacking too). So, bear with me, whilst I give you the “old :fashioned” version…
(Leave skins on, but with tops cut off): Boil them in a large soup kettle, with water covering them completely. Let them go an hour or so. About 30 minutes after they start boiling, mix together equal parts white balsamic vinegar (I use Trader Joes) and rice vinegar (the kind without any sweetener). As far as the amount goes, you’re trying to make enough to cover the beets, when they’re cut up, and placed in a jar. For the 9, I used about 2/3 bottle each. Add white sugar, just to cut the tartness, but not to overpower the deliciousness of the balsamic. I used approximately ½ cup. Toss in 12-15 whole cloves.
Let this mixture come to a boil, and then let it simmer another 10 minutes. Remove from heat so it can begin to cool.
Once beets are done (stick a fork in ’em!), use a slotted spoon to take the first one out.
Warning: use gloves! Your cutting board and gloves and probably kitchen sink will become overwhelmingly fuschia, but no worries… it comes off very easily with water and a little soap. If you don’t use gloves, I hope you have pink shoes and a matching handbag to complete the look.
Back to the beets… with dishwashing gloves on… peel the beets. The skins will slip right off. Place skinned beet on cutting board and slice into 3/4″ slices. Then, cut into smaller squares/rectangles/triangles. (*note: how cute would these be if you used a heart shaped cookie cutter?!) Once you’ve finished all the beets, carefully spoon them into a large jar. Pour vinegar mixture over the top. (*If you want to ensure the cloves don’t get into the jar, use cheesecloth. Personally, I don’t mind them in there, and they’re really easy to see to pull out. Top the jar with a lid, and keep in fridge. These will last at least a couple weeks.
Recipe 3 of 3:
Preheat oven to 325°
1 Tbsp. local raw organic honey
½ tsp vanilla
1 c. pecan halves
1 Tbsp. white sugar
½ tsp. pink salt
In small saucepan, melt honey and vanilla till warm and thinned. Add pecans and mix till coated. Lay out on a foil-covered baking sheet.
Bake 10 minutes. Let cool a few minutes. Mix sugar and salt in a gallon-sized zipper bag. Pour the pecans into the bag, close, and shake till covered.
Lay out on clean foil to cool. Keep in tightly covered glass jar.
I hope this Valentines Orange & Beet Salad encourages you to think about eating just a little healthier tonight!
What is on YOUR menu tonight?