lima bean + beet salad

Life has been really busy lately. I have a few projects I’ve been working on [more on that soon], and school is demanding more and more of my energy. That being said, I feel like I’ve been a bit neglectful of this space, so I wanted to check in briefly.

I came across these lima beans during my weekly visit to the farmer’s market yesterday, still in their shells, and was immediately inspired by the prospect of a earthy, fall salad. It ended up working out beautifully, and so despite the simplicity, I wanted to share it with you.

The beans are sautéed over high heat in a cast iron skillet [after blanching], giving them a crisp exterior to their otherwise creamy, meaty interior. And, for some textural contrast, I made some beet chips, which add a bit of crunch and earthiness. Everything is tossed in a simple vinaigrette, meant to bring the flavors together, but definitely not to overshadow them. I think it would work beautifully served alongside something light for dinner, like a broiled salmon with lemon, although I just ate it by itself for lunch which was lovely as well.

I’m off to finish up some chores, and am looking forward a nice glass of wine and the new episode of Homeland tonight. Wishing you all a relaxing and peaceful Sunday evening.

 

lima bean + beet salad

Despite being vegetarian, this salad offers a heartiness that is perfect for crisp, fall temperatures. The lima beans impart a meaty texture, while the beet chips add a slight crunch for textural contrast. This dish would be delicious as a light lunch, or served along something light — like a broiled salmon — for dinner.

for the salad:

1 beet, peeled and green tops removed

2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

8 ounces shelled fresh lima beans

1 cup mixed greens

1/3 cup ricotta cheese

coarse salt, to taste

 

for the vinaigrette:

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt + freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Slice the beet on a mandolin into 1/16-inch-thick medallions. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with 2 teaspoons of the olive and oil and season with salt to taste. Toss to combine. Arrange beet slices in a single layer on a parchment-lined sheet pan, making sure to leave space in between each one. Transfer to the oven and bake, flipping chips halfway through, until crisp and golden on the edges, about 25 – 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Fill a stock pot or large sauce pan with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the shelled lima beans and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for two minutes, drain, and shock beans in ice water to stop the cooking. Drain on paper towels.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat in a cast iron skillet. Add the blanched lima beans and season with salt. Cook, stirring only occasionally, until just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds longer. Remove from the heat and transfer beans to a serving bowl.

Next, make the vinaigrette: in a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and mustard. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the mixed greens to the bowl with the lima beans and drizzle over half of the vinaigrette. Toss to combine. [Add additional vinaigrette if desired]. Garnish with the beet chips and the ricotta cheese.

Yield: serves 2

spring potato salad


spring potato salad

Unlike some potato salads, which I find to just be a pile of mush, this version is full of flavor and texture. The acidity from the vinaigrette and lemon zest adds a nice brightness to the heartiness of the potatoes, while the caramelized leeks pay homage to long awaited Spring produce. Make it in advance for a weekend cookout (it’s actually even better the next day) or pack it for weekday lunches. It’s totally versatile! Just remember to toss it with a bit of the reserved vinaigrette before serving. 

ingredients:

1 1/4 pounds baby potatoes, washed and cut into equally-sized pieces [I cut larger ones into thirds, and halved smaller ones]

1 leek, washed and thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 slice of thick-cut bacon

2 hard boiled eggs, chopped

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

First, add the prepared potatoes to a medium-sized sauce pan. Fill pan with water until potatoes are just covered. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat slightly and continue to boil for 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and set aside.

Add bacon slice to a large saute pan and cook over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. Leave bacon fat in the pan. 

While the saute pan is still hot, add sliced leek to the bacon fat, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until just starting to brown, about 4 – 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute. Pour leek and garlic mixture into a large mixing bowl and set aside. 

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the saute pan and increase heat to high. Add the boiled potatoes to the pan, making sure they are in an even single layer. Cook on high for 10 minutes, only shaking the pan several times throughout the cooking process, until the potatoes’ edges are browned and crisp. [Use restraint here — as much as you might want to stir the potatoes, you’ll prevent them from browning if you move them too much while they are cooking]. Remove pan from heat and transfer potatoes to the large mixing bowl with the leeks and garlic. Add lemon zest to hot potatoes and toss mixture. Set aside to cool slightly.

As potatoes cool, prepare the vinaigrette: add vinegar, mustard, and salt, and pepper to a small bowl. Whisk until combined. While whisking, slowly add 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Continue to whisk until mixture is emulsified and thick. 

Add 1/2 of the dressing to the warm potato mixture, and toss [reserve the rest of the dressing — see Note for use]. Crumble bacon and add to the bowl, as well as the chopped hard-boiled eggs. Toss until combined. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve warm, or at room temperature. 

*Note: Store leftover potato salad in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature to serve. While the potato salad sits, it may become dry, so toss with some of the leftover dressing before serving. 

brussels sprouts galette

Spring may be [finally] in the air, but piles of root vegetables, winter greens, and Brussels sprouts still fill the farmers market. And while I pine for the colors and freshness of Spring produce, I’m also trying to appreciate the hearty, earthy flavors of Winter before they’re gone. Keeping this in mind last Saturday, I piled my bag high with handfuls of Brussels sprouts, thinking all the while of how I could add some variety to the seemingly unending monotony of Winter meals. 

A galette seemed the perfect compromise – something simple and unassuming, yet different enough to mix things up a bit. I had never made a Brussels sprouts galette before (nor seen or tried one), but assured myself that I couldn’t go wrong as really anything would taste delicious enveloped in a buttery pie crust. I sauteed onion slices with fresh thyme and balsamic vinegar until they were deeply caramelized, collapsing into a sweet, fragrant relish, which I smeared over the butter-studded dough. To accentuate, but not overpower their delicate flavor, I tossed the Brussels sprouts with simple flavors – fruity extra virgin olive oil, tart lemon juice, and a touch of raw garlic – and piled them high before folding the dough in around the edges.

The galette emerged from the oven in a puff of steam — golden brown and bubbling. While I waited for it to cool, I added crumbles of freshly made ricotta as a creamy and fresh contrast to the galette’s otherwise deep, rich flavors. And, to balance everything — a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of flaked sea salt.

I cut two pieces and Henry and I took our first bite as we stood at the kitchen counter — the smells too overwhelming for us to deny ourselves a second longer. With full mouths, we turned to each other — and laughed.


brussels sprouts galette

This galette is a culmination of so many contrasting flavors and textures — sweet and savory, buttery and bright, creamy and crispy — it really hits every note. Serve it alongside scrambled eggs for a lovely Winter brunch, or with some simply dressed greens for a light dinner. It is delicious as leftovers as well – just reheat in a warm oven. 

 

for the galette: 

pastry dough  

1 yellow onion, sliced

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced  

12 ounces brussels sprouts

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon salt + more to taste

freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup of ricotta or farmer’s cheese, for garnish

drizzle of honey, for garnish

 

Make pastry dough

, and refrigerate. While dough is chilling, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add sugar, balsamic vinegar, and thyme. Stir, and allow vinegar to deglaze the pan. Cover, and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are deeply caramelized. Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare the brussels sprouts: clean, remove any tough outer leaves, and slice into 1/4-inch pieces. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with remaining 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil,  1 tablespoon lemon juice, minced garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

On a floured board, roll dough into a large circle – approximately 13-14 inches in diameter. Transfer to a silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread caramelized onions evenly over the dough, leaving a 3-inch border around the edge of the circle. Spread brussels sprouts over the onions. 

Working around the circle, fold border of dough up over the edges of the brussels sprouts, sealing everything in around the edges, but leaving most of the brussels sprouts exposed. 

In a small bowl, whip the egg with a splash of water to create an egg wash. Brush the egg wash evenly over the top of the exposed dough. 

Transfer to the preheated oven and bake until dough is golden brown, about 40 minutes.

Remove galette from oven, and top with crumbles of ricotta or farmer’s cheese and a drizzle of honey. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!

 

for the pastry dough:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon sugar

pinch of salt

12 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons ice water

In a bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut in half of the butter until small pieces are incorporated throughout (the mixture will be the consistency of coarse meal). Cut in the remaining butter. Pour in water and knead dough with your hands until the dough is smooth, and no longer sticky. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

roasted beet and fennel winter salad

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   

But I have promises to keep,   

And miles to go before I sleep,   

And miles to go before I sleep.

– robert frost


roasted beet and fennel winter salad

I was inspired to make this salad after spotting the colorful assortment of beets at the farmers market this weekend. In a season that is devoid of so much color, I’m always on the lookout for something to brighten my meals. and, with such deep, earthy flavors, this meal also satisfies a winter’s appetite.

ingredients:

2 bundles of beets [about 6-7] of any variety

1 bulb fennel

olive oil + coarse salt

1 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. thoroughly wash the beets and remove greens. lightly coat each beet in olive oil and wrap each one, individually, in aluminum foil. Place each wrapped beet on a cookie sheet and roast for 45 minutes to an hour [depending on how large the beets are]. after 45 minutes, test the largest beet with a pairing knife – the knife should easily slide into the beet without resistance. return to oven if they need more time. Once finished, Set aside and allow to cool slightly.

meanwhile, while beets are roasting, prepare the fennel. Cut stalks from the bulb and set aside [the fronds can be used as garnish]. Cut the bulb into 1-inch pieces and arrange in one layer on a small cookie sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil and season with coarse salt. Roast alongside the beets for 25-30 minutes, until the edges of the fennel are just starting to brown. 

While beets and fennel are roasting, add the balsamic vinegar to a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a fast simmer [is that such a thing?] over medium heat. reduce until the vinegar is a quarter of its original volume [1/4 cup] – This should take about 20 minutes. Pour reduction into a small bowl and allow to cool [it will thicken as it cools]. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream and heavy cream. Add smoked paprika and season with freshly ground black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, and mix until combined. 

Once beets are cool enough to handle, scrape skins off with the back of a spoon or knife. Slice into 1/4 – 1/2-inch medallions. 

To plate, smear some of the sour cream mixture on the bottom of the serving plate, and sprinkle the fennel pieces over the top. Arrange the beet medallions over that, and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Sprinkle the chopped pistachios and fennel fronds [optional] as garnish. Finish with flaked or coarse salt. 

the small plate at the end of this post [with the serving of beet salad arranged on it] is made by julia paul of julia paul pottery. be sure to check out her beautiful work!