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Beet & Apple Salad

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It’s time for something a bit lighter on the blog, right? After duck curry, deep dish, pizza, (oh, and some unblogged goat chorizo in there too), it’s time to write about something a bit more colorful and vegetable friendly. The January issue of Food & Wine comes to the rescue with this fun Beet and Apple Salad. I was all about this salad from the time I saw it. I love beets. Apples are always cool. And horseradish, when used appropriately, is awesome.

I made this ahead of time (which worked wonderfully by the way), and had it throughout the week. I felt like a light dinner on Monday night and ended up throwing a bit of light feta on the salad and just eating that for dinner.

This dish made me remember how crazy good pistachios are. I remember when I was younger my mom would buy huge bags of the bright green ones and we would sit on the couch cracking the shells and eating a ton of them. Roasty, salty and delicious. A perfect compliment to this dish. Oh, and how gorgeous is that beet-stained pink color? I’m in love with it. This salad is a real winner. It’s hearty, healthy, pretty and delicious with just a slight bite from the horseradish. And without my feta addition, it’s vegan too. 🙂

I realized today that the Cook’s Illustrated issue I checked out from the library yesterday features a recipe for DIY deep dish pizza!! [insert shriek of happiness here] I sense a fun weekend project coming up!

Winter Root Vegetable Tart

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I’ve been wanting to make something simple and seasonal, and this recipe fits the bill. There’s no real Wow! factor, but it was just very simply delicious.

I used my quiche dough and made it two days a head of time, so that when I went to roll out the dough it was very chilled, and it worked a lot better this time! As a result, I think the crust was super flaky and extra tasty. I rolled out the dough, prebaked it at 375 with a weight for 20 minutes, removed the weight and baked another 15 minutes. While the crust was prebaking, I got started on prepping my root veggies.

After collecting a variety of root vegetables at the farmer’s market and the grocery store, I got out my new favorite kitchen toy: the mandolin, and sliced them up thinly, about 2mm thickness. You could do it by hand as well, but my slices are never than thin, or that even, and I wanted the veggies to cook evenly.

I used a russet potato, a large parsnip, a rutabaga, a sweet potato, and 2 golden beets. I ended up using 3/4 of the veggies I cut, but if you make this, I would pile the veggies higher and use all of them, because Brent really wishes the veggie layer was thicker. After slicing all the veg, I arranged them in layers in the crust. You could do 1 layer for each veg, or do like I did and alternate the veggies, so each layers gets all the vegetables. After each thin layer, I drizzled it with a thin layer of olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. I should include more prep photos, but I always forget! I think I had 5 or 6 thin layers total. After the last layer, I again drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper, and then added a bit of rosemary.

The tart went back into the oven for 35 minutes at 375. After 35 minutes, I opened the oven door and sprinkled some crumbled goat cheese over the tart and baked for an additional 10 minutes. The goat cheese isn’t necessary, but I decided to add it at the last minute because I thought it would go with the beets and other veggies. Goat cheese is always delicious. 🙂

Don’t worry about brown edges. The top layer wrinkled up and browned a bit, making it even more delicious! This was flaky and comforting and totally tasty. I would definitely make it again! I think using all different varieties of beets and adding more goat cheese would be pretty stellar as well.

This makes great leftovers too! I reheat it in the oven at 325 for 10 minutes and it comes out tasting exactly like it did the first time.

Winter Root Vegetable Tart

  • One recipe pastry dough for an 11″ tart
  • 1 Russet potato
  • 1 Sweet Potato
  • 1 Rutabaga
  • 1 (big) Parsnip
  • 2 (medium) Golden Beets
  • Extra-virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Rosemary (I used dried, but fresh would be good)
  • 2oz Goat Cheese (optional)
  1. After chilling dough for at least one hour, roll out into a 13 inch circle.
  2. Carefully place dough into a tart pan and press gently into shape.
  3. Jab the dough with a fork a few times.
  4. Place pie weights, dried beans or another weight mechanism onto the dough and bake at 375 for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove weight and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile…
  7. Set a mandolin slicer to 2mm and slice all of the vegetables.
  8. When the pastry has prebaked, begin arranging the vegetable slices in slightly overlapping layers in the crust.
  9. After each layer, drizzle with approximately 1t. olive oil and sprinkle with a dash each of salt and pepper.
  10. Repeat layering process until the tart is all full – these vegetables will cook down a little bit, so you can go over a bit if you want.
  11. Drizzle with 1t. olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rosemary.
  12. Bake tart for 35 minutes at 375.
  13. After 35 minutes, sprinkle with goat cheese and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  14. Slice and enjoy!

This was a fun way to incorporate a ton of winter vegetables without simply roasting them. Roasted root vegetables are delicious, but it’s nice to have them prepared in another way! 🙂

“Damn rapini, you bitter as hell”

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The above quote was said by me while eating lunch today. But before I get to that, thank you for the birthday wishes. I had a wonderful day ending in a sushi dinner that involved me stuffing my face with tuna sashimi and avocado rolls. Couldn’t ask for better, right?

Today, I woke up at the super early hour of 8:30am and started doing some laundry. I waited a bit for Brent to get out of bed. He has a super annoying habit of reading his iPhone in bed for at least half an hour before he actually gets out of bed. I don’t know why this annoys me so much, but it totes does. Once it became apparent he would not be joining me downstairs anytime soon, I made breakfast for myself: a faux “English muffin” made on the cast-iron griddle using half whole-wheat artisan bread dough, sandwiched with a fried egg and smoked provolone, along with a bowl of fruit salad using what was left in the fridge.

Brent and I planned to attend Buskerfest in downtown Fort Wayne this afternoon, and to combine it with a workout, we decided to walk there – downtown is about 5 miles from our house. I’m leaving for Chicago for a week starting tomorrow, so I figured I should try to eat the rest of the produce left in the fridge before I left. For “lunch” Brent sauteed some rapini (broccoli rabe) with olive oil and garlic, and I topped that with roasted beets and goat cheese. Ummm, beets and goat cheese are obviously amazeballs, but this rapini? Not so much. Like the title of the post says “bitter as hell.” Sometimes I talk smack to my food – I’m gangsta like that. I ate most of it, but I don’t think it’ll be making a repeat appearance. Lunch also included an iced coffee. Caffeine was necessary before our long walk.

Then we embarked on our trek downtown. The weather was so much more tolerable than it’s been lately! It was about 80 degrees and super sunny, but we took water with us. Here are some of the shots from our trip. (Everything here on out is courtesy of the iPhone camera.)

Blogworld, meet downtown Fort Wayne:

Look, tall buildings! Shocking, right? That might be a bit uncalled for, but sometimes Fort Wayne really brings out the saracasm in me. We arrived at Buskerfest and watched a few of the performers.

That lunchtime salad did not really hold me over and after 5 miles, I was feeling a bit hungry, so we headed to one of our favorite places in the Fort, J.K. O’Donnell’s. We each got a half-pint of one of the rotating taps, Goose Island “Sofie” – a Belgian Style Saison. I was in love with this beer, and I love that they offer half-pints. Although, after the sandwich, we each ordered another half-pint, but it made me feel like I was drinking less.

We also split the Smoked Salmon Club, served with “chips.” The sandwich is slices of smoked salmon, arugula, bacon and tomato chutney on pumpernickel bread. Unfortunately, they were out of arugula and gave us spinach instead. Totes fine, but the arugula was missed. It adds more flava. This sandwich is always a winner though. I love that tomato chutney.

After another street performance, we made the hike back to the house. It seemed wayyyy hotter on the way back. I spent the last few miles really looking forward to the A/C and the couch! After a bit of relaxation, I started making dinner. Hmmm, when you write a post about all your meals, it really seems like you do nothing but think about food, huh? Anyway, dinner was more of that half whole wheat artisan dough, flattened into pizza dough and topped with some leftover sun-dried tomato pesto.

Then I topped it with three (yes -3!!) cheeses: mozzarella, goat cheese, and Parmesan. I’m a daredevil, I know.

After 12 long minutes in the oven, I was able to enjoy this:

It was insanely delicious. I’m on the couch with a beer and Revolutionary Road playing now, and I think I’m going to bed early, but I wanted to leave you with a funny photo of Larry running like crazy through my in-laws garden (they have a huge 7 acre property).

His flapping, flying ears crack me up!

Brent turns 29

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Today was Brent’s 29th birthday. I make a big deal out of birthdays. Brent thinks of them as just another day, but I like to make them special. I started out waking up early so I could make Brent’s breakfast before he got up. I made some biscuits with bacon gravy. The biscuits were delicious. I’m not sure about the gravy because I do not get down with gravy, but Brent seemed to enjoy it. I just ate a plain biscuit and some coffee because I had plans to run later in the morning.

While Brent was at work, I made use of my time off and made a ton of stuff in the kitchen, including Brent’s birthday cupcakes. I love to bake – especially for birthdays, so I basically insisted Brent find something for me to bake for his birthday. He skimmed through Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and decided on Lemony Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream. He’s really been into citrus flavored sorbets this summer, so he wanted something that would taste “refreshing” when he bit into it.

These were wonderful, and I thought they looked pretty cute too! Brent really seemed to like them, so I was happy.

Of course, we had to have dinner before dessert. I’m slightly ashamed to say, Brent actually made his own birthday dinner. He decided he wanted Steak & Frites, and I’m not great with cooking meat or frying things, so he chose to do it himself. He made steak au poivre from Alton Brown and french fries from Serious Eats. The fries were a production. He started them yesterday! They involve frying, then freezing, then frying again. I do have to say these were some freaking amazing french fries, so if you’re looking for a salty, crispy, stick of potato goodness, I recommend these. The steak was good, but it was probably my least favorite part of the meal. I was just too enamored with the fries and the arugula, beet & goat cheese salad I threw together to add color and veg to the plate. I LOVE this salad.

An impressive looking plate, right? Enjoyed every bite! 🙂

After dinner we went out for a drink with some friends and it was way more trouble than it was worth. We got there at 8:30 and they were out of the first 4 types of beer Brent tried to order, and then when we finally got a drink, the bartender told us they were closing in 3 minutes at 9pm. The bartender felt a little bad for us, so he let us hang out a have a drink with our friends while he closed up. It was very nice of him, but what kind of bar runs out of most of their beer and closes at 9pm?!

We’re now ending the evening watching Futurama in bed… it must be Brent’s special day, because I can’t stand this show! I’m making freezer jam with my friend tomorrow! 🙂

Roasted Beet Salad

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Tonight’s dinner was all about the side dish. I roasted a bunch of beets earlier in the day to use throughout the week. I just wrap them in foil and roast at 400 degrees for an hour. Super easy to peel and slice. I threw together a salad of some beets, arugula, and goat cheese and topped it with a homemade apple cider vinaigrette: squirt of dijon mustard and honey, 1 part vinegar, 2 parts olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper. So good!

I also grilled some wild Keta salmon, but I was mostly obsessed with the salad. 🙂 I packed another salad to take to lunch with me at clinical tomorrow. I love something to look forward to in the middle of a hectic day!

Bean & Beet Burgers

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A few weeks ago Brent must have had a really slow day at work because he emailed me a long list of recipes to try out at some point. Included in that list was this link for the “Best Ever” veggie burgers. I like black bean burgers, but I was curious about the added beets and brown rice. I made a batch of them last night, and I don’t know if I’m willing to call them the best ever, but I really enjoyed them. Plus, they were pink!

I did, however, make a few changes. First, I shredded the beets rather than dicing them. It just seemed easier. Also, once it was all mixed, I had doubts about the ability of the burgers to hold together so I added 2 beaten eggs and increased the flour to 1/2 cup. I think my changes worked out for the best. A complete burger, topped with pickles!

At first Brent and I thought the burger seemed a little bland, but the more I ate, the more it grew on me. By the last couple bites, I was like “Wow. This is really good!” The burger held together beautifully. Along with some roasted orange cauliflower, this made for a very satisfying meal. We have leftover mix to make more burgers for a quick dinner tomorrow after clinical.

Valentine’s Day Dinner

Editor’s Note: This post was written in its entirety by Victoria’s husband, Brent, and has been posted in its original format.

So as Victoria mentioned earlier, it’s become something of a tradition for me to make dinner on Valentine’s Day.  This tradition has its roots in necessity, as when we first married, we were fairly broke and Victoria could scarcely work the stove.  Victoria’s cooking has improved slightly since then, but I suspect she likes making me work.

As is apparently standard practice for this whole food blog genre, here’s a picture of the wine we drank (it’s a pinot grigio).


The first course was a pretty tasty salad  This was a pretty big hit.  Victoria loves anything with avocado, and I never pass up an opportunity to throw down with some bacon.  The obligatory photo follows.  I’m always a little surprised at the number of photos Victoria takes of each dish.  She spares no expense bringing you only the most vivid digital representations of her food.


The main course was a pasta.  The only real shortcoming was the amount of lobster.  I grossly underestimated the amount that would come out of the two lobster tails I bought.

This dude is not for the faint of heart.  I halved the recipe, and still used nearly a stick of butter and half a cup of heavy cream.  You could probably make it without the lobster, and it would still be pretty good.  I would definitely recommend keeping the beet, though.  It brings a surprising amount to the party.


Black Bean Burgers with Cilantro Mayonnaise

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Today has been a pretty long day. I’ve spent a lot of it studying for my microbiology exam tomorrow. I’m really on information overload. The weather was still warmish (for Indiana in February anyway), so I got in a run outside, followed by some restorative yoga. I managed to be fairly productive in the kitchen as well.

When planning this week’s menu, I knew we still had some dried beans to use, so I decided on some more black bean burgers. These were awesome! I made them about the same way as I did last week, but I tried to be a bit more precise so that I could repeat them and have the same results, and that means you all can make your own now too! Also, the mayonnaise really put these over the top, in my opinion. Brent actually gave a double thumbs-up in the midst of chewing.


  • ~2 cups cooked black beans (can just use one can, thoroughly rinsed and drained)
  • 1 egg, beaten (or egg replacer as I used last week)
  • 1/2 cup ground oats
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon sriracha (or a big sprinkle of red pepper flakes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons canola oil for pan-frying
  1. Saute the red onion and garlic until softened, about 8 minutes.
  2. Combine all ingredients (except oil) and thoroughly mix and mash until pretty homogeneous, leaving a few whole beans.
  3. Divide mixture into 4 equal portions.
  4. Heat oil in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Place burgers carefully into the oil, one at a time. (I find it easiest just to cook them 2 at a time).
  6. After 4 minutes, flip and cook another 4 minutes. They should feel firm to the touch when finished.
  7. Serve with cilantro mayonnaise or whatever condiments you like. 🙂

The cilantro mayonnaise was 2 tablespoons mayonnaise mixed with 2 tablespoons cilantro. (Brent added sriracha to his mayonnaise as well). These were so good!! I made some whole wheat buns, using my half whole wheat overnight bread recipe, which I need to post tomorrow now that I think I’ve got the proportions right.

On the side, we had some caramelized beets. I’ve noticed we always tend to eat the same veggies as sides: roasted green beans, sauteed broccoli and roasted potatoes, with the occasional sweet potato fry thrown in. I’m trying to make sure at least one meal a week includes a veggie that is not one of those, in an effort to get more variety in. We like others, but when I am feeling uninspired, I always fall back on those boring basics.

Tonight we had baby beets, quartered and tossed with a tablespoon each of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. They were roasted in the oven at 425 for about 30 minutes, until the outsides were crispy and crunchy and the insides soft and delicious.

Tomorrow will be a bit of a busy day too, starting with getting our car to the shop and picking up our rental car, and ending at 10pm when my exam is over. This week will hopefully go by quickly, because I am really looking forward to next Saturday! I finally get to see Milk, and Brent is making dinner. 🙂

I hope your week gets off to a good start tomorrow!!