Thursday, February 23, 2012

Beet Juice, Beet Juice, Beet Juice!

While I have been cooking up some good dishes lately, I unfortunately haven’t been able to find the time this month to blog about them. Thomas Jefferson has a famous quote that says, “Never put off tomorrow what you can do today.” My mom likes this quote and cites it often; though every time she says it, she says, “Don’t put off today what you can do tomorrow.” It’s funny because, admit it, we are all guilty of putting off tomorrow.

I am most definitely a “do today” kind of girl. In fact, between work and other projects, I am so wrapped up in “doing today” that my blog has admittedly become somewhat of a poster child for my mom’s quote. Plans to blog tomorrow turn into next week, and then next week turns into the next. Although “Cook’s Book” may be on the back burner for now, I still have my eye on it.

Blogging is something that I do for fun; it’s a place for me to document and share my recipes, a comfortable forum to write about what I love, and an outlet for me to meet others who share a common interest. I don’t ever want it to feel like work.

Anyway, back to beets. I have always liked beets. They sort of lack in the flavor department, but all they need is a little push—which is why I especially enjoy them in salads. I find their unique taste and texture to go really nicely with the sweet tang of a vinaigrette dressing.

That’s not caviar—it’s pearl couscous dyed with beautiful red beet juice! I cooked the couscous with finely chopped roasted beets so that it would absorb the color. After cooking, I tossed the couscous with diced roasted beets and orange vinaigrette. It is served topped with herbed goat cheese (a classic pairing for beets), carrots, fennel, red onion, and cilantro. A gorgeous and healthy side dish!

Pearl Couscous Beet Salad
Yield: 4-6
- 3 beets, roasted and peeled, divided
- 1 ¼ cup water
- 1 cup pearl/Israeli couscous
- 1 orange, zested and juiced
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
For garnish:
- Shredded carrot
- Thinly sliced fennel
- Cilantro leaves
- Thinly sliced red onion
- Crumbled goat cheese
1) Finely chop one beet and dice the other two.
2) To prepare the dressing, whisk together the orange juice, orange zest, mustard, honey and sherry vinegar in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3) Add the finely chopped beet and the water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir the couscous into the boiling water and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook 8-10 minutes. When all of the liquid has evaporated, transfer the couscous to a bowl and toss with a few tablespoons of the dressing. Cool for about 10 minutes.
4) Add the diced beets to the couscous and toss with the rest of the dressing. Serve topped with carrot, fennel, cilantro, red onion and goat cheese.