Gimme a Beet: Roasted Beets with Tarragon, Goat Cheese, and Pine Nuts

Wow.  Am I original with the recipe titles…  But that’s what this recipe is, so I guess it works.

To beet, or not to beet?

To beet or not to beet?

Anywho, I remember going to the grocery store with my Grams as a kid to get some random supplies for whatever it was she was making for dinner that night while the ‘rents were being busy doing whatever it is that parentals do while there are no children around (gross).  I like to think they were napping.  I don’t have kiddos, but I have babysat before and rugrats are exhausting.  So, I was spending time with Grams and my parents were napping.  🙂

My favorite part of going to the grocery store with Grams was that we would stop by the salad bar for lunch and stuff a container full of salad-y deliciousness (surprisingly, I liked salad as a kid, although I’m sure I drenched it in dressing).  We would get the standard tomatoes, cucumbers, whatever deli meat they had cubed, maybe a hard boiled egg (which I didn’t like at the time, but Grams was fond of them).  But my favorite part of the salad were the baby corns and the pickled beets.  I would stuff the container as full of them as Grams would allow (3 or 4 baby corns, and several beets — always disappointing…).  I loved how the beets made every thing various shades of fuchsia.  However, up until recently I had never actually had a real, from-the-earth beet; they either came from a salad bar or a jar and were tangy and tart with a hint of sweet on the side.

Well, when I went on my epic berry picking adventure with the ladies, the beets were ready and, being ever curious and looking for new things to try, I picked out a few.  This was a risky move given that Hubs is not so much a fan of their pickley counterparts no matter how much I try.  But can you really blame a girl for trying to broaden the veggie horizon?  He liked kale, which was new to both of us the first time I made that…  Besides, I had heard that roasted beets were T.O.T.A.L.L.Y different from jarred beets.  Needless to say, I paired these puppies with steak just so Hubs would have something to eat were they not a hit.

I shouldn’t have been worried.

So. Freaking. Nums.

You see, unlike pickled beets, which are — ya know– pickled, therefore tangy, roasted beets are sweet, sweet melty nums on the tongue.  So nums I even got a “Hmmmmm, these aren’t bad” from Hubs, which translates to “Super good but I”m not going to tell you because I refuse to like (insert veggie here).”  I just let the second helping speak for its self (the steak was the size of a small dinosaur so clearly the second helping of beets were not strictly necessary).

I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with them, so I went to our reliable and informative friend, Google, for some help.  I found a really interesting recipe on foodnetwork.com by Guy Fieri for a beet salad and used that as my jumping off point.  Hubs and I lurve us some goat cheese, so I figured why not make it as enticing as possible.

Ingredients:
Pre-heat oven to 400º

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8-10 small beets, greens removed (the larger the beets, the less sweet)
2-3 garlic cloves, halved
salt and pepper
1-2 tbsp olive oil

Small log of goat cheese
2-3 tbsp pine nuts, dry roasted in a frying pan

Tarragon Dressing:
*adapted from here*

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1/4 c rice vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Dijon
1 tbsp Greek yogurt
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil

First, I cut the tops off the beets and washed them.  I then laid them out on some tin foil, scattered the garlic halves around and drizzled the olive oil on top.  I folded the tin foil into a little packet around the beets and threw them in the oven at 400º and let them roast for a little over an hour.  You can pull them out any time after they are soft, but the longer they roast, the sweeter they get.  Caramelization at its best, yeah?

When the beets were done (~1 hr 15 min) I let them cool in the tin foil packet for a bit, until I could handle them without burning my fingers off.  Next, I pulled the skins off.  No need for a peeler, the skins just slipped right off.  However, my fingers did get a bit, um, purple during the process.

Once they were peeled, I cut them into cubes.  I added about half the log of goat cheese, the pine nuts, and added a little less than 1/4 cup of the dressing.

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I mixed everything together.  It looked a little strange, but I was determined to not let that get in the way.  Once the steaks were done resting, I served up my pretty purple concoction and dug in.

Gimme A Beet

Gimme A Beet

Mmmmmm, the nums!  The creaminess from the goat cheese, the sweetness of the beets, the light crunch from the pine nuts, and the tang from the tarragon dressing.  Perfection.  Really, it’s one of my new favorite side dishes.  Don’t be alarmed by the purple goat cheese… beets stain E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. (so don’t wear your favorite shirt…).  Oh man, I’m a convert.  I don’t know if I will ever be able to appreciate a pickled beet again without daydreaming about their roasted counterpart.  Yummy.

So, what do you guys think?  To beet or not to beet?

Printable Recipe

Magic Green Sauce & Pablano Carnitas Soft Tacos

I must say, this post was inspired by a pin I saw floating around Pinterest a while ago.  I was trying to come up with an interesting green salsa to pair with our left over pork shoulder for carnitas soft tacos.  The original recipe, courtesy of Savvy Style, Mindful Home, looked so nums that I just had to try it.  I have never had tomatillos before, but have always been curious.  So when I saw that it was combined with avocados I knew this was one pin I really was going to try. In true Jess fashion, I tweaked a few things and made it my own, and boy let me tell you it was super delish!

Fixin's for Magic

Fixin’s for Magic

Magic Green Sauce (aka Salsa Verde)
Printable Recipe
*this makes A TON of salsa, and if you don’t want to eat the whole jar by yourself in one sitting with a spoon, I would cut the recipe in half…

2 ripe avocados
6-7 small tomatillos (husks removed)
4-5 cloves of garlic
1 small white onion
1-2 jalapenos*
juice of 2 limes
large handful cilantro
1-1.5 tsp ancho chili pepper**
2 tsp roasted cumin**
salt to taste
2-3 pinches sugar, or 1-2 tbsp honey

*We used 1 jalapeno and felt it was a little too mild for our tastes.
**I added this after I made the salsa to give it a little bit more kick and depth of flavor.  Without it it’s very bright and fresh and very nums, but I like me some cumin!

I rough chopped all of the ingredients and put them in the food processor (or blender) and gave it a whirl until everything was blended together.  I then put it in a mason jar, thinking we would keep some in the fridge… that didn’t last long! (Although, it will keep for up to a week)

Sauce to Spare

Sauce to Spare

For dinner, I started some rice in the rice cooker, then chopped up an onion and two pablano peppers and sautéed them in some olive oil (not extra virgin, just the regular stuff which is a little more heat stable.  I would also suggest trying coconut oil) until almost soft.  I then added some ancho chili pepper (maybe about 1/4 tsp) and roasted cumin (about 1/2 tsp), salt and pepper.  I didn’t want to add too many more spices since the pulled pork was so liberally seasoned already.

Then I added the left over pork shoulder and let that warm up.  I poured in just enough water to deglaze the bottom of the pan and coat the pork with the spices, then let it evaporate.

Once the rice was done, Hubs added a handful of chopped cilantro, the juice of one lime,  and fluffed it together.  I warmed up some tortillas and we started serving.  I layered the cilantro-lime rice, pablano carnitas, a little sour cream, the magic green sauce on the tortilla and wrapped them up.  Wowzah!  It was so nums!

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Not only was this a fantastic leftover recipe, the salsa verde is really what pulled all of it together — hence, “Magic Green Sauce.”  You could also just eat it with chips… which we did.  I also think it would be good in breakfast burritos, or any kind of recipe that calls for a salsa.  I would also use it as a dressing on a salad with some red onion, seasoned chicken, ripe tomatoes, and some sweet corn.  Really you could put this sauce on anything.

I have also been contemplating a roasted version of this sauce.  What do you guys think?  Let me know in the comments.  🙂

Where the heck ya been?!? And other updates.

Wow.  It’s been a while, you guys!  The coffee vs. computer incident put me out of commission for a while.  Then summer hit and is now almost over.  Not really sure where the time went, but clearly I haven’t been spending time writing.

Anywho, in order to get back into the swing of things I thought I would give you a quick preview of what I plan for this week:

Magic Green Sauce

A couple of recipes I’ve been waiting to post.  Magic Green Sauce and Tarragon & Goat Cheese Roasted Beets.

A new outfit post.

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A powder room makeover — finally!

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And a fun new 7 week workout series.