What's Happenin'

A Sidelines blog

Good Food Hunting: Arugula Beet Salad

October 17, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Wojtylak

Arugula Beet Salad is a lovely and easy way to appreciate beets, but also to enjoy good food without a ton of preparation.

Arugula Beet Salad is a lovely and easy way to appreciate beets, but also to enjoy good food without a ton of preparation.

This salad comes together with the nutty creaminess of the pistachio, sweetness from baked beets, peppery arugula and some tangy pecorino cheese. You get textures and many flavor notes to balance the salad out. Simple but elegant enough for entertaining, or just to help liven up your mundane weeknight meals.

For those of you who are thinking “ewww beets,” bear with me and try this recipe. You can always pick them off later. Beets can be cooked similarly to that of a potato or carrot. You can roast them, boil them, fry them, etc. However for a non-beet enthusiast, I choose baking.  I start by cutting off the greens, washing them and then baking them in an oven. When they’re done, you simply let them cool and peel with your hands. You can also boil them, but if you do that and you have a variety of beet with stripes, the colors will bleed and you’ll loose those beautiful striations (and much of the taste too).  I wholeheartedly believe though that after trying this you may think twice about these root vegetables you’ve chosen to hate since you were a child. Not to mention, baking beets seems to concentrate their flavor and sweetness so you’re getting farther away from the canned varieties.

Source as much as you can locally for this recipe, which should be easy this time of year. Bake the beets when you’re in the shower the night prior, and just dig in! There’s not much to do other than to enjoy some much needed down time and good food.

To full plates and eating your tarte out,

Arugula Beet Salad

3 medium sized whole beets, any variety
1/2 cup of pistachios
4 cups (10 oz) of baby arugula
1/2 cup of shaved pecorino
1/8 cup of balsamic vinegar (good quality)
1/8 cup of extra virgin olive oil (good quality)
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.

Using a sharp knife, remove greens from the beets leaving about a 1/4 inch of the stems. Scrub thoroughly. Place a piece of foil directly on oven racks and place beets on top. Cook for 30-45 minutes or until they give slightly when you press on them. Cool completely.

Once the beets are cool, rub your thumb gently on the skin, it should come off easily. Remove all skin and trim as needed. Slice beets into around 1/8 inch thick slices. Set aside.

In a skillet (without oil), heat the pistachios on low heat for 5-10 minutes. Flip every few minutes to bring out the flavor of the nut without burning them. Allow to cool completely.

Either divvy up your arugula into four plates, or set leaves into one large serving bowl. Place the beets onto of the arugula, next add the pistachios and finally the pecorino. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to serve.

In a small bowl combine the remaining ingredients and whisk till incorporated to form your vinaigrette. Add more salt and pepper as needed.

When ready to serve allow guests to dress their salads with your homemade vinaigrette. Enjoy!

About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.

Good Food Hunting: Cucumber Blueberry Salad

August 31, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Wojtylak

Finished salad just waiting for you to dig in.

Finished salad just waiting for you to dig in.

Our equestrian lifestyle barely leaves us with any time with our horse, and then comes a garden we had every intention of weeding and caring for meticulously during the summer months. We may not have gotten the yields and the picturesque garden we had hoped for, but buried underneath all those weeds is almost always an abundance of cucumbers we have no idea what to do with. You can make endless pickles, put them in your water, or top off salads, but in the end you’re fighting a losing battle. They will prosper no matter what you do to them (kind of makes you wish horses were more like cucumbers as maybe there’d be less vet bills due to their resilience).
But have you ever considered using cucumbers as the star of your show? By using a unique and very simple preparation technique, you end up with a non-soggy mess that’s able to take on a ton of flavors. I liked what I saw in a magazine, and from there doctored it up for what I had around the kitchen. No fuss, no muss. The beauty of this newfound inspiration was no hassle, and no heating up the kitchen.
All the fun and colorful ingredients to make this version of Cucumber and Blueberry Salad.

All the fun and colorful ingredients to make this version of Cucumber and Blueberry Salad.

slicing and seeding a cucumber in half moon shapes, showcasing exactly how it's done.

Slicing and seeding a cucumber in half moon shapes, makes for a super easy way to take this unsung hero and apply it into a variety of uses.

Slicing and seeding a cucumber in half moon shapes.

Slicing and seeding a cucumber in half moon shapes for this recipe.

Enjoy your holiday weekend! To full plates and eating your tarte out.

Cucumber and Blueberry Salad

3 medium cucumbers
1/4 cup of sunflower seeds, unsalted
1/4 cup of white vinegar
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
1/2 cup of red onion, minced
1 pint of blueberries, rinsed
3 tablespoons of mint, thinly sliced
1 cup of feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Rinse your cucumbers and peel them. Slice in half lengthwise and scoop the center out with a spoon. Slice into bite sized pieces and set aside in a medium sized bowl.

In a skillet over low heat, place the sunflower seeds and lightly brown them. Should take about two minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a small microwave safe bowl, combine the vinegar and sugar, heat for thirty second and stir till sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the olive oil, garlic powder and onion powder, add a little bit of salt, fresh ground Pepper and set aside.

In your large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients with the cucumbers and sunflower Seeds. Pour on half of the vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Add more vinagrette as desired, season accordingly. Serve immediately. If not serving immediately, wait on adding the blueberries and mint until you’re ready to go. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Wegmans

The finished Cucumber Blueberry Salad just waiting to accompany your next dinner, or during labor day festivities.

The finished Cucumber Blueberry Salad just waiting to accompany your next dinner, or during labor day festivities.

About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.