Ahhh….summer. Why is summer always considered the ‘relaxing’ season? It is so busy – what with the end of school year craziness, warm weather sports, the start of camp which includes a snack AND a lunch (read twice the morning hassle) and lots of wet towels, and last but not least, great parties and trips that I am more than happy to attend but are the opposite of sitting on the dock of the bay. Of course, that might just be June – July and August may hold some hope of slow sweet days.
Our busy June (and baby of course) is why The Humble Onion has been neglected, at least in terms of actually publishing a post. But don’t worry – I’ve been cooking up a storm and taking pictures along the way, so I have lots to share with you.
Last post I mentioned how inspired I was to have fun with vinegar and vegetables and herbs this season. Pickled beets and herb goat cheese fit right into the farmers market offerings and hot days (my town just started a farmers market and I am going to visit it today, so excited).
My mom always had beets in the fridge growing up, so I never knew how special they were as a kid. Now they are like jewels to me, especially the golden beet. Seeing the gorgeous color, then biting into that soft, briny texture, especially mixed with creamy cheese, is heaven for the senses. When we went out for my birthday and I ordered the beet salad, I was so happy to find it presented like the picture above, just sliced beets and a crostini with goat cheese. I had to recreate it at home – I added the herbs to my goat cheese because I had fresh tarragon and chives are growing everywhere outside. Turns out I love it even more than the restaurant version.
Roasting beets is SO easy. Turn up your oven to 400, wrap them in tin foil with a little olive oil and some shallots, and let them cook for 40 minutes.
They are ready to peel and eat at this stage, but pickling them makes them even better. I have had a long desire to pickle things (my grandmother gave me a jar of pickles on my 8th birthday because I loved them so much). After a bad turnout pickling cucumbers one year (too salty) I haven’t tried it again until my quest for the pickled beet took over. This brine couldn’t be easier:
It is equal parts water and vinegar (I used apple cider but you could use white wine or just white vinegar), in this case I used 1 cup each, then 1/2 cup sugar and 1 and 1/2 t. salt.
Bring it to a boil then pour over the beets:
Let them sit for a few days, then they are ready to enjoy. For the herbed goat cheese, I just took 4 oz. room temperature goat cheese and mixed it with 1 T. of chives, tarragon and parsley.
Really, this herbed mixture can be used in countless ways. Stuff a chicken breast, roll it into a log and serve with crackers, throw it into a béchamel to make a yummy cream sauce. Got an idea on how to use herb goat cheese? Leave it in the comments! Or just share what you like to pickle.
Pickled Beet Salad with Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini (for printer friendly, click here.)
3 Red Beets, roasted and sliced
3 Golden Beets, roasted and sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
½ cup sugar
1 ½ t. salt
Arranged sliced beets and onions in a jar or plastic container. Boil vinegar, water, sugar and salt, stirring to dissolve sugar. Pour over the beets and and place in a refrigerator. Let is 3 days before serving.
For the Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini:
4 oz. cream cheese
1 T. chopped tarragon
1 T. chopped chives
1 T. chopped parsley
Mix all ingredients, spread on toasted Cibatta bread (to make, slice Cibatta, drizzle with olive oil and toast at 400 for 7-10 min.)