Roasted Golden Beet Salad with Frisée, Goat Cheese and Candied Walnuts

Roasted Golden Beet Salad with Frisée, Goat Cheese and Candied Walnuts

Chef Nathan Lyon Beet Salad

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Beets:

3 pounds golden beets

3½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

⅓ cup water

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Salad:

1 large head frisée, rinsed, dried, and chopped or torn into bite-size pieces

3 medium oranges

4 ounces goat cheese (chèvre) (about ½ cup)

Candied Spiced Walnuts (or pecans)

Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice (from the oranges)

1 medium shallot peeled and diced small (3 tablespoons)

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Cut off the greens half an inch above the beets and reserve for later use (like, sautéed beet greens!). Scrub the beets.

Cut the peel and pith off the oranges, then segment them by cutting between the dividers (i.e. supreme). Discard any seeds, but reserve the juice for the vinaigrette.

In a roasting pan large enough to hold the beets in one layer, add the beets, then drizzle with 1½ tablespoons of olive oil, the salt and water. Cover tightly with aluminum foil, place on a sheet pan and roast in the oven for approximately 50 minutes to an hour, or until the beets are easily pierced with the tip of a knife. Remove from the oven, remove the foil and allow to cool.

When the beets are cool enough to handle, using a not-so-important hand cloth, wipe the beet skins off and discard them. Know this, though: even in your sweetest of dreams, you will most likely never wash the red stains out of that hand cloth.

Cut the beets into wedges, place them in a bowl, then combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a cup and drizzle over the beets. Fold to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a medium container with a tight fitting lid, combine the vinaigrette ingredients, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

Gently toss the frisée and orange segments with your hands, then dress with half the vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper and additional vinaigrette to tasteDivide the salad among plates, then garnish with the beets, candied walnuts, and goat cheese, divided equally.

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Sweet Summer Corn Soup

What is summer without corn?! Grilled, sauteed, boiled – it’s all delicious, but one of my all time favorite ways to enjoy corn is corn soup.

This recipe is packed with that sweet corn flavor because everything comes to a boil, including the otherwise discarded cobs. Even when you take all the kernels off, they still hold so much flavor! So, why not use that flavor to your advantage? This recipe is also drought friendly: not only because we use every last inch of that corn on the cob, but also because it’s creamy without using any butter or dairy. The trick? Throwing a potato into the mix to give it extra richness. Oh, and there’s also that dollop of avocado. Mmmm.

corn soup1 corn soup3 corn soup4 corn soup5 corn soup6

 

Creamed Summer Corn Soup with Chopped Cilantro and Avocado Puree

Yield: 6 cups

 

¼ cup grapeseed oil

2 large yellow onions, peeled and diced small (3 cups)

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

6 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh thyme

teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste

4 ears corn, kernels sliced off the cob (2 cups), reserving cobs

1 medium yellow potato, peeled and diced medium (1 cup)

4 cups vegetable stock

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (juice of 1 large lime)

1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder (or more to taste!)

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

Avocado puree (recipe below)

 

Heat the grapeseed oil in a small pot over medium heat.

Add the onion, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.

Stir in the garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add the corn (and their cobs), the diced potato and the stock, then cover. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer for approximately 30 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through.

Remove from the heat, then remove and discard the corn cobs.

Using an immersion blender, blend continuously until smooth. Add the lime juice, chipotle powder and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve warm and garnish each bowl with a dollop of avocado puree, a good sprinkle of chopped cilantro and a light grind of pepper.

 

Avocado Puree

1 large avocado (9 ounces), flesh scooped out, seed and skin discarded

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice (juice of 1/2 large lime)

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

A few good grinds of black pepper

 

In a small food processor combine the ingredients and puree until smooth.

Herby White Sweet Potato Foccacia

Last week, the NY Times published an article “Your Contribution to the California Drought” which displays the water footprint of various foods. Since California exports 50% of its produce nationwide, Super Sous and I have been developing Drought Friendly Recipes as a way for all of us to conserve California water. We are using the same sources as this NY Times article references, the Water Footprint Organization and studies from UC Davis. We are aiming to create recipes that have a lower water footprint relative to others. So, for example, fruit and vegetable centric recipes which stay clear of animal protein (except wild fish) and nuts.

Today’s recipe is an Herby White Sweet Potato Foccacia. It’s definitely a weekend project recipe. It’s not a 15 minute meal, but I can guarantee that it is fluffy, light, sweet, and everything you would ever want in a piece of focaccia, especially since it’s slathered with caramelized onions, garlic and fresh herbs.

Enjoy and save a piece (or two) for us!

 

Herby White Sweet Potato Foccacia

Yields: 1 18×13-inch sheet pan of foccacia

 

1½ pounds white sweet potato

5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

2 cups warm water (115 degrees Fahrenheit)

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon dry active yeast

6 cups bread flour, plus more as needed

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

nonstick spray

¼ cup grapeseed oil, divided

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced small (4 cups)

20 large cloves garlic, peeled and rough chopped (½ cup)

¼ cup fresh rosemary leaves, rough chopped

¼ cup fresh thyme leaves, rough chopped

¼ cup fresh oregano leaves, rough chopped

 

Adjust an oven rack to the upper middle position and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place ¼ cup of kosher salt in a pile in the center of a sheet tray and rest the sweet potato on top of the salt mound.

Place sheet tray in the oven and roast sweet potato for 2 hours.

Remove sheet tray from the oven. When the sweet potato is cool enough to handle, slice the sweet potato in half and scoop out flesh to fill 1½ packed cups roasted sweet potato. (Enjoy any leftover sweet potato as a delicious snack!)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add warm water and sugar. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Add yeast and stir to combine. Let rest for 15 minutes, until mixture gets very foamy.

Add 1½ cups packed (warm, but not hot!) sweet potato, flour, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper to the bowl.

Spray the hook attachment with nonstick spray to coat and attach to mixer.

Mix on low for 5 minutes. Check on dough at this point. Scrape down sides of bowl if necessary. If dough is wet, add additional flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the flour absorbs the excess moisture. Mix for an additional 5 minutes until a smooth ball is formed. (Photo below)

In a large bowl, add 1 tablespoon of oil to coat the inside of the bowl. Transfer dough ball from stand mixer to the large oiled bowl and roll the doll around to coat the dough evenly with oil.

Cover the large bowl with plastic wrap and put the bowl in a warm place in your house. Let rest until the dough ball doubles in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

While bread is rising, make the onion garlic topping mixture.

Place a medium (3½ quart) sauce pan over medium-low heat and add 2 tablespoons oil, onion and 1½ teaspoons salt. Stir to combine and cover with a lid. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, until the onions are soft.

Remove lid and add garlic, chopped herbs and remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper. Stir and cook for an additional 5 to 8 minutes, until all the water evaporates and the onions start to caramelize. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Evenly coat the bottom and sides of an 18×13-inch sheet tray with remaining 1 tablespoon of oil.

Lightly dust a work space with some flour. Turn dough out onto workspace. Gently stretch the dough into a rectangular shape. (Photo below)

Transfer the rectangular dough into the oiled sheet tray. Using your fingertips, gently spread dough evenly to fill the sheet tray. Let rest, uncovered, for 20 minutes. (Photo below)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Evenly sprinkle remaining ½ teaspoon salt over the dough.

Spread the onion / garlic / herb mixture evenly over the dough. Dot/ firmly press your fingertips into the entire surface of the dough to create small “potholes” in the dough. (Evenly space the “potholes” throughout the dough, about 1-inch apart from each other.)

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the edges of the bread are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.

foccacia dough ball

Dough ball ready to be oiled and rise 

Foccacia on table

Spreading the dough into a rectangle

Foccacia in sheet tray

Pressing the dough evenly in the sheet tray

cooked foccacia2

Finished foccacia

cooked foccacia

Delicious!

Spicy Mango Ginger Popsicle

As I write this blog post (another in the series of “Drought Friendly Recipes“), a light rain is falling in Los Angeles – music to everyone’s ears.

Some good news on the drought front – Starbucks has said that it is phasing out its use of California water for its Ethos brand bottled water. Ethos brand water gives a percentage of it’s sales to ” help support water, sanitation and hygiene education programs in water-stressed countries” so it makes sense that pulling water from drought stricken California makes no sense at all.

Meanwhile, Nestle is still sucking up California water at the rate of some 240 million gallons a year. Aquafina and Dasani are also using California water for their bottled water, among others.

In an effort to conserve California water, let’s fill our own water bottles before we head out of the house and avoid buying bottled water as much as we can since it’s most likely coming from California.

And now for something sweet, refreshing and delicious – perfect for your upcoming summer potluck and barbecue parties.

spicy mango popsicle

Spicy Mango Ginger Popsicle

Yields: 6 popsicles

 

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fresh ginger juice

1/16 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1½ cups sweetened mango puree or pulp

 

Combine lime juice, sugar, ginger juice and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add mango puree and stir to combine. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

Switching it Up. From Sweet to Savory Breakfasts. And this Morning’s Sticky Rice with Bok Choy and Pickled Cucumbers

One of our (Super Sous & I) favorite things about our time in Asia was breakfast.

As luck would have it, the hotels we stayed in had huge buffet breakfasts (this seemed standard for hotels) and while there was a handful of sweet items available, the majority of choices were savory. Dim sum, pho, fish, salad, soup, congee, noodle dishes, stir fry vegetables… The choices seemed endless! There were western items as well: bacon, eggs, beans (British), breads, but the real gems were the local/regional specialities. 

What we came to experience after 2 weeks of savory breakfasts was that starting our day with savory instead of sugar was not only a great way cut sugar consumption, but to keep ourselves energized until lunch as we felt much more satiated. 

Even though we are used to eating a healthy breakfast, like nonfat Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, that breakfast alone can contain the equivalent of several tablespoons of sugar. 

It takes a little more forethought to eat savory for breakfast, but you can pull together something quick (photo below) like my sticky rice dish with pickled cucumbers and sesame stir fry bok choy. 



And… don’t forget about last night’s leftovers! How quick is that?!

Here’s to savor(y)ing the mornings… 

Ginger Glazed Carrots

A perfect side dish for Thanksgiving, treat for kids, or a big snack. Take your pick! Oh, and did I also mention very easy to make?

Ginger Glazed Carrots

Ginger Glazed Carrots

Yield: 2 to 3 servings

 

1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1/4-inch slices

1½ tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated on a Microplane

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B

⅛ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

¾ cup water

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

 

Add the carrots, butter, ginger, maple syrup, salt, a few healthy grinds of pepper and the water in a medium-sized sauté pan over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened slightly (like a glaze) and almost completely evaporated. The carrots will be just cooked through in 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped parsley.

Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Toasted Almond Toffee with Orange Zest and Fleur de Sel

It’s Halloween week, so here’s some candy that your and your friends can enjoy come trick or treating time (kids love it, too!). All you need is a candy thermometer and you’ll have your very own homemade delicious toffee in no time. Costume optional.

Toasted Almond Toffee with Orange Zest

Toasted Almond Toffee with Orange Zest and Fleur de Sel

Yield: 1 sheet tray of toffee

 

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1¾ cup granulated sugar

½ cup water

1/3 cup organic light corn syrup

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into 1 tablespoon pieces

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¾ teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons orange zest (approximately zest of 3 oranges)

1 pound toasted unsalted almonds

A few pinches of fleur de sel

 

Line a sheet pan (bottom and sides) with aluminum foil. Very lightly oil the aluminum foil (bottom and sides) with the olive oil, using a paper towel.

In a 3.5-quart saucepan, over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, water, corn syrup, butter and salt. Do not stir.

As soon as the mixture begins to simmer, add a candy thermometer.

Once the temperature reaches 300 degrees, remove from heat, carefully remove the thermometer and, using a rubber spatula, stir in the baking soda, zest and almonds. The liquid will foam up a little and lighten in color.

Pour the mixture onto the prepared sheet pan. Using a rubber spatula, press the toffee evenly across the bottom of the sheet pan. Sprinkle some fleur de sel atop the toffee.

Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Once cool, break into pieces and enjoy. Store in an airtight container with layers of parchment between pieces.