Monthly Archives: August 2014

Beet & Plum Salad

August 25, 2014

I love the change of seasons. That gentle, nearly imperceptible shift from summer to autumn is my favorite. 
It comes in, barely noticeable, on the tops of the warm summer breezes, chasing at their heels. A coolness, the smell of earth, the little changes in the light ~ 

My neighborhood farmers market starts not too early every Sunday morning. And there isn’t anywhere else I would rather be, coffee in hand, pick over produce for the coming week. Its become a ritual I’ve come to cherish. 
Apples, fennel, cob nuts, the most gorgeous colored beets and sweet plums have been first on my shopping list of late. 
They bridge the gap between the light sweet flavors of summer and darker earthier flavors of autumn. 
This salad mixes some of those early flavors of autumn with some of the last bits of summer lightness. Rich jewel tone beets, sweet english plums, toasted shallots, and creamy goat cheese ricotta. 

Poach the beets covered in a baking dish in the oven with a bit of red wine vinegar and water to really release their sweetness. The skin should be tender enough that you won’t need to peel them just make sure to scrub each really well before putting them in the oven. Use the freshest ricotta or better yet, make some! Its really very easy and super satisfying. Bring a pint of goat’s milk and a dash of salt up to just boiling, take it off the heat, stir in 3 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice, stir once or twice and let it stand for 5 minutes. Then pour the mixture into a strainer lined with cheesecloth. I like to keep the whey that runs off and use it in smoothies! After about an hour the ricotta should be ready.

Beet & Plum Salad 

1lb of beets. mixed colors but roughly the same size. scrub well and place in a shallow baking dish with 1 cup water and 1/4cup red wine vinegar, cover with foil and bake aprox 1 hour at 200C/400F until tender. When they are cool slice, rough chop into various sizes – the different textures are wonderful. keep lighter color beets away from the darker red if you want to keep their color. 

1/4 lb of plums. washed and chopped 
1 large leek sliced very thin and toasted over a low heat with a knob of ghee until tender add in 1 clove crushed garlic and  1 tsp grated fresh ginger and cook another few minutes until fragrant.
For the dressing, whisk together in a bowl the juice of 1 lemon, 1 lime 1 tbsp honey 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill a pinch of sea salt and a grind or two of black pepper. Then whisk in the cooked leeks & ginger. discard the garlic clove. 
sautee a few shallots in ghee over a very low heat until lightly browned and crisp. transfer to a paper towel to drain and cool. should make some leftovers which will keep in an airtight container for a few days.  
Mix chopped beets & plums through half the dressing (reserve some to drizzle over the top), stir through until everything is well coated. 

Plate the beets along with any golden beets, if using, and a large dollop of the ricotta. drizzle with some of the remaining dressing and sprinkle with a generous handful of crispy shallots 

broad bean summer salad & a trip to the seaside

August 4, 2014

I am finding a feeling of connectedness to England through the food – not that that should come as any surprise – and more specifically the produce. England’s offerings are impressive and yet simple. Berries, pears and apples grow wild here, yours for the picking. Beans, courgettes and tomatoes have ushered in a summer style of eating that is raw, clean, and simple.
 London seems to play everything close to the chest. I have really had to work hard here to discover the good markets, butchers, fish mongers and spice stalls, but I am finding them! – finally.  
A good part of this summer has been about the broad bean (favas as they would be called at home). Their bright green color and tender creamy texture is so easy to love. They have gone into risottos, been made into spreads and hummus, but my favorite has been this simple salad. 
Simple has been some what of a theme around here. Both of us are working hectic full-time jobs that required late hours and long days. Weekends have been precious and, in an effort to maximize those two days we have been taking simple, easy going excursions to some of Britain’s seaside towns. 

They are the perfect getaway. Accessible by train, cups of coffee in the morning, a late breakfast in a new city & home to bed after dinner. 
Brighton was a recent day trip – nostalgic, slightly faded beach front and a vibrant little town waiting just up the hill. 

Up the hill from a sleepy beach front is a young, lively town full of winding streets, outdoor markets, shops and restaurants. 
Sitting for a while to take it all in – live music being played and big inviting picnic tables on which to sit, rich second cups coffee. Poking through shops and keeping an eye out for the perfect lunch spot – it was a carefree & easy day & just as summer should be 

for the salad
serves 2
about 1 1/2 cups of blanched, shelled broad beans
1 very small red onion or shallot 
3 tablespoons of muscat vinegar 
1 small head of romanesco broken into very small pieces 
3 or 4 strips of lemon peel, cut very finely into strips 
2 big handfuls of pea shoots – or other micro greens
10 or so small – medium mint leaves 
10 or so sprigs of flat leaf parsley 
olive oil (i used a beautiful orange infused oil – go for one that has sweet floral notes)
the freshest ricotta 
salt & pepper 


chop an extra small red onion (or shallot) very finely, just cover with muscat vinegar and set to the side 

peal and blanch the broad beans (there is something nearly therapeutic in this task). after blanching, i like to remove the tough light green outer pod to reveal the gorgeous colors you see below. 
break apart the romanesco into very small pieces – they are sweet and crunchy and raw in this salad – 

assemble the pea shoots, romaesco, lemon zest fronds, broad beans, flat leaf parsley &  mint leaves on each of the plates. 

into the onion mixture add a pinch of salt and whisk in the olive oil. 

dollop on your ricotta, as much or as little as you like really and then drizzle the entire salad with the dressing. 
finish with a few grinds of black pepper