Thursday, May 31, 2012

Rising Like a Phoenix from the Flames

Pardon me... is this blog taken? Hello my friends; sorry to have been away for so long... I suppose that sometimes things just are what they are... Hope you have all been well.

Now, let's get down to business.

Sitting on the cusp of summer, the flame reference seemed only too appropriate (the Phoenix has another more poignant meaning; I may get into that one day). So... the heat... Last night was no exception. A little more than warm and a little less than hot last night when I finally got home. Didn't seem like a great day for heating the oven up if it could be avoided. The grill was a nice option to have and it took care of part of the dinner (I ran a few zucchini through the mandolin and then grilled with some olive oil... perfetto!)
But I had been thinking about the beets that came from the local farmers earlier this week. I really wanted to try them and I had a fair idea of how I wanted to prep them. So, after Mia Bambina was kind enough to roast them (and peel, cube, and refrigerate them) I went about finishing the beets for the table. I toasted a handful of walnut halves in a pan on the stove. I added these and a handful of feta to a bowl with the beets and let them rest a little. The nuts were still warm and helped to soften the cheese. I was thinking about what to dress them with... I wanted something to foil the sweetness of the beets, but not quite as sharp as the feta. I settled on a little bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar... simple, easy. I added just a couple of tablespoons over the top and tossed it a bit. The result was just about exactly what I was hoping for. The beets were tender and sweet, still had a little chill on them too. The walnuts, still a little warm, had nearly blended themselves with the feta and made great little clumps of flavor and texture. The cross over of the warm with the cold was as important as the sweet and sharp foiling each other. The balsamic vinegar added just the right amount of flavor: complementing but not overpowering. All in all, I was very happy with the dish for a first attempt. I think next time I may fill it out a little more. More beets for sure and I think it would go well with a nice bunch of arugula... Can't help quoting one of my favorites here, from "My Blue Heaven":  

     Vincent 'Vinnie' Antonelli: Arugula. I haven't had arugula in six weeks.  
     Supermarket Manager: What's that?  
     Vincent 'Vinnie' Antonelli: It's a vegetable.

So.. there you go... easing back into things with a nice cold side of vegetables, light enough to accompany almost anything you may be putting on the table.  I promise to come back with it again after I try it with the arugula.  In the meantime, give it a try. I am sure you'll love it.
'Cause Johnny Tomatoes says so!!


Proud Italian Cook said...

Wow, Is it really you? Welcome back to blogland, you've been missed!I've always enjoyed your stories and now you have me craving beets with feta and walnuts! Now don't be a stranger anymore!

The Food Hunter said...

Good to have you's been awhile and you've been missed!