A friend and I were talking about blogging recently, and she commented, “Wow, you must eat delicious amazing food ALL the time!” When creating, photographing and writing recipes is a big part of what you do day to day, you would think, right? She was surprised by my nebulous answer. “Eh, sort of.”
I don’t know how else to describe the phenomenon that happens when you are immersed in food for a living. I call it Fooded Out.
I typically photograph 3-4 recipes at one time, especially if the natural light that day is particularly clear and stellar for sharp, beautiful food photos. This means a cooking and baking spree using every bowl, piece of cooking ware, measuring spoons and cups, and baking sheets in my kitchen. Countertops are buried, the living room a chaotic mess of food props, camera parts, and backdrops.
By the time the work is completed, the kitchen cleaned, I am DONE for the day. Fooded Out. “What do you want to do for dinner?” met with laughter. CJ goes into the fridge for leftovers from the day’s shoot, and I make myself a big ol’ bowl of cereal. Glamorous, indeed.
Occasionally, I crave a bit more than cereal after a long day of food work. Something healthy, flavorful, and filling, but not complicated and certainly no special trips to the store. That is how this warm Roasted Orange & Maple Beet Salad with Pecans and Goat Cheese came to be, ironically borne out of a Fooded Out phase.
Beets have been included in our weekly CSA (community supported agriculture) farm share the past few weeks. CJ and I both adore beets, either warm or cold, relishing in the earthy freshness from a local organic farm.
As I peeled and sliced into our latest bunch of beets, I was surprised at the colors my knife revealed. These beets were beautifully swirled with pink and white, vibrant Candy Cane Beets. The second bunch of regular ruby red beets seemed pale in comparison. I was going to add beets to a salad of mixed vegetables, but after seeing the beauty on the cutting board, beets had to be the spotlight.
My favorite way to prepare beets is with the foil packet method. The beets are peeled, tough ends removed, cubed, seasoned with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil, then enclosed tightly between two pieces of foil. Place the foil packet on a large baking sheet, then roast in the oven for about 30 minutes until fork tender. The foil packet is a hands-off easy method, freeing up your hands to do other things in the kitchen as they roast…like sip wine.
Once the beets are finished roasting to an even deeper hue of maroon than thought possible, toss them in a mixture of fresh orange juice and maple syrup. Let the beets sit in the juice to marinate and cool for about 10 minutes.
When no longer piping hot, but still warm, remove the beets with a slotted spoon and pile onto a plate. Sprinkle chopped pecans and crumbled goat cheese over top and finish with a tablespoon or two of the orange and maple syrup marinade.
This is a simple, rustic, no-frills dish, but so full of flavor.
These natural sweeteners balance the earthiness of the beets. The chopped pecans add texture (you know how I love mixed textures in my recipes), and the tangy goat cheese softens in the pile of oven roasted warmth, finishing the dish with another layer of flavor.
This warm beet salad is a lovely side dish, but also a delicious main dish when you want something besides cereal after an exhausting day.. Let that foil packet do its thing as you sit back with a glass of wine and unwind. You deserve it.
I would love to hear from you. Do you love beets, too? What is your favorite way to prepare them?
- 2 bunches beets (about 12 small beets, 2 cups cooked)
- ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
- 2 tsp real maple syrup
- ¼ cup goat cheese crumbles (or more, to taste)
- ⅓ cup pecans, chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Pre-heat the oven to 425 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a sheet of aluminum foil.
- Wash and peel the beets. Trim the ends, then cut into roughly ½" cubes. Place in the center of the aluminum foil sheet. Drizzle olive oil over top and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Take a second sheet of aluminum foil and place it on top of the beets. Seal all four edges of aluminum foil together creating a tightly sealed packet.
- Roast beets in the foil packet for about 30 minutes, until beets can be pricked with a fork (you can unseal a tiny corner to check). Remove from oven and open packet, allowing the steam to release. Scoop the beets into a medium sized bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice and maple syrup. Pour over the beets and let sit for 10 minutes.
- With a slotted spoon, spoon the beets onto a rimmed plate or bowl. Top with half the chopped pecans and goat cheese crumbles. Toss to combine, allowing the goat cheese to melt slightly. Top salad with remaining cheese and pecans. Serve immediately.
This recipe was originally shared on Landeelu where I serve as a monthly contributor.