Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spicy Beet, Leek & Walnut Salad-- I Heart Cooking Clubs

Here I am--participating in "I Heart Cooking Clubs" once again.  It's been over a year, but I really wanted to  try it again, but...  (and this is the nice thing about I Hearts Cooking Clubs---no pressure at all. Thank you, thank you IHCC)    I will probably only be participating every other week.  I can't keep up with the mega food bloggers.  I wish I could, but I just can't.

So, here we are, week one and it is anything goes to welcome the new chef:  Yotam Ottolenghi.  (only new to me and to IHCC).  (Check out IHCC to learn more about him--it should be an interesting 6 months.  I bought one of his cookbooks --Jerusalem-- and it is gorgeous!  Lots of veggies and healthier meals.  I hope the Handyman can handle this.  He's pretty much  a meat and potatoes kinda guy)

My 'anything' goes is a beet salad.   I wasn't as organized as I had wanted to be so I was at the market at  7am this morning, trying to find  what I needed.  We both like beets, so I figured this was quick and easy.  To be honest, I didn't think we would like this.  I was just doing it because I really wanted to participate in IHCC from the beginning. 

But guess what?  I really did like it.  We both did.  It's just a slightly spicy dressed cold beet on arugula with some leeks and walnuts and pomegranate   seeds.   (there really were a lot of walnuts in there, hiding, I suppose, under the beats)

I followed the recipe except for a couple of things in the called for walnut oil, but I didn't want to spend  $8.99 for   1/2 tsp walnut oil.  I just used a little extra peanut oil.
And  tamarind water.  I had to  Google it to see what it was, and then Google how to make a substitute for it.  It said to use lemon or lime juice with a couple of pinches of brown sugar.  So, that's what I did. 
I think it turned out great.

Spicy Beet, Leek and Walnut Salad
  • medium beets
  • medium leeks, cut into 4-inch segments
  • 1/2 oz cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups arugula
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely copped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon tamarind water
  • 1/2 teaspoon walnut oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon walnut oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Cooking directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Wrap the beets individually in aluminum foil and roast them in the oven to 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on their size. Once cooked, you should be able to stick a small knife through to the center easily. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Once cool enough to handle, peel the beets, halve them and cut each half into wedges 3/8 inch thick at the base. Put in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Place the leeks in a medium pan with salted water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes, until just cooked; it's important to simmer them gently and not to overcook them, so they don't fall apart. Drain and refresh under cold water, then use a very sharp serrated knife to cut each segment into 3 smaller pieces and pat dry. Transfer to a bowl, separate from the beets, and set aside.
  4. While the vegetables are cooking, mix together all the dressing ingredients (starting with walnuts through salt) and leave to one side for at least 10 minutes for all the flavors to come together.
  5. Divide the walnut dressing and the cilantro equally between the beets and the leeks and toss gently. Taste both and add more salt if needed. To put the salad together, spread most of the beets on a serving platter, top with some arugula, then most of the leeks, then the remaining beets, and finish with more leeks and arugula. Sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds, if using, and serve.


Couscous & Consciousness said...

Beautiful salad, Debbie. Jerusalem is a gorgeous book - I only got my copy of it last week, and this was one of the first recipes I bookmarked. Beetroot are very plentiful here right now, so home to make it soon.

bermudaonion said...

It's pretty but it contains beets! Yuck! Carl would probably eat it, but not me! lol I love the plate!

kitchen flavours said...

This looks great! I have never tried using beets before, though have always wanted to!
A lovely salad! Looking forward to more of your YO dishes!
Have a great week!

Susan Lindquist said...

It's just beautiful to look at! I am proud of you for getting it together! I tried, but failed ... have it in mind to make his pork and beef pie today. That's the beauty of the IHCC, though, no pressure, but the cut-off for posting is a drag ... albeit a necessary evil.

Kudos to your guy for trying new and different!

Karen said...

That is a beautiful salad!I did IHCC when it was Rick Bayless, but the chefs since haven't interested me.

Michelle said...

Yay! I'm glad you're cooking with us for this round, Debbie. I love the way the salad looks on your green plate--beautiful.

Had to laugh at your comment about not expecting to like it--only making the recipe b/c you wanted to join in. I have done that so many times and every time I think, "why am I doing this?" Of course, I move forward with it anyway! I ended up being an every other weeker for Madhur Jaffrey. We'll see what happens this time around.

Deb in Hawaii said...

So nice to have you back with us Debbie! I have this salad tagged to make--I love all the ingredients and the pretty colors. ;-)

Kim said...

We are so glad to have you! Please don't every feel pressured to join in if things get hectic. We are very laid back at IHCC.

Do you know I've never tasted a beet? I always think they look really pretty and I definitely want to try them, but I guess I'm a little scared for whatever reason. I do think this salad looks absolutely gorgeous and vibrant. Sounds like it has a lot of texture going on with the walnuts and such and I definitely like that. Very pretty!

Mairi @ Toast said...

Love this salad, I was eyeing it up for roots week just down the track :) May have to make it before them ;) Look forward to seeing more of your Ottolenghi dishes.

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