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.


Claudia said...

I've been watching with makeover with great interest (don't love beets). But love their vibrant color and love how you put this together - the couscous are like little gems. Kudos!

Anonymous said...

I really love this article! And your photos are so good!

Natasha Price said...

The couscous with beets really does look like caviar! Nice!

FOODalogue said...

Beet juice is a wonderful thing. I'm learning all kinds of ways to up my presentation through its use -- and I'm really loving your caviar couscous.

Faith said...

What a beautiful dish! It really looks so elegant and would be perfect for a vegetarian "caviar" dish!

lostpastremembered said...

I so know what you mean, I have really broken my tomorrow pattern with this blog.. even my friends are amazed that I have pretty much done one a week for 2 years... I am too! It makes me feel a sense of accomplishment to have done it. On weeks when I don't feel terribly inspired I just keep writing until something comes out... good for me in a million ways. And this group is great fun... pushes me in new directions... always a good thing!

That digression out of the way... great little dish. Those couscous are an amazing color and make for a perfect salad ingredient. you should be very proud!

Angie's Recipes said...

What a wonderful healthy dish! I had brown rice with beet before, but never thought of pairing with couscous...must give it a try.

angela@spinachtiger said...

I can see this little dish on a white plate in a fancy restaurant getting a lot of oohs and aahs.

Magic of Spice said...

Beautiful! The beets gave the pearl couscous such an amazing color! Lovely salad all around :)

Bren @ Flanboyant Eats™ said...

I know what you mean about putting things off until the next day. I'm such a culprit and often times talk myself into that quote. Glad you got it done and that pearl couscous looks great! I can imagine how wonderful the beet juice would make it taste.

Karen said...

What an amazing color...such a beautiful salad. I love cooking with beets, or just eating them roasted in olive oil. So many possibilities.

Lazaro Cooks said...

The visual appeal of the dish is amazing. Love this couscous. People eat with the eyes first and this dish would certainly pass that test.

Good luck finding time to get your blog on.

Great job.

Lori Lynn said...

Dying the couscous with beet juice is brilliant. Lovely dish, great addition to the Cooking Group challenge!

Koci said...

This is such a cool idea! I've never really given beets a fair try, but they sure make that couscous look delicious.

Gwen said...

Wow! How pretty that cous cous is. What a fun idea using beet juice. I really need a juicer!

Biana | said...

What a great idea for a colorful dish! I made beet risotto a while ago, and it also had this nice deep red color.