Happy Sundays morning world! Even though it is quite late already, my family is still fast asleep, so I’ll take some time for myself to do some writing and blogging. it is still a boiling hot summers over here, the flowers are all droopy and exhausted from months of unstoppable heat. We had some episodes of rain here and there, but other then that it’s been petty much like living in the desert since the middle of June. I am not complaining though, I just adore the Summer in Italy, I love all about it, the heat, the poppies, the sunburnt yellow rolling hills, punctured by slim, tall cypresses, the sea, the sand, the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, the sound of the crickets, the hot sun, the sunflowers, and the wine, sipped along with a delicious sea food dinner, sitting at a table listening to the sea.
This is perhaps the one dish, along with stracchino cheese, that I mostly missed living in the Mid-West. Lightly fried, crispy squid. Yummy! Another really exquisite Summer dish that comes to my mind and that it is perfect on a hot night, eating al fresco with friends is prosciutto (seasoned, raw, cured ham) with figs. What I especially like about this dish is the combination of the tickling salty flavor of the prosciutto and the sweet juicy taste of the figs. A must try!
Since we talked about squid, prosciutto, and figs, we cannot leave out another all time favorite of mine: beets and their infinite wonders! I just inspired myself to a yummy lunch, since I have fresh little purple beets waiting for me in my garden. As I am done writing, I’ll run outside and take out of the ground its precious gifts and will cook them for my family for lunch. Here below I will share this quick and delicious recipe that all of us can prepare and be sure to impress our family and guests!
Beets with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinegar
Beets are simply beautiful! Their color, their leaves and the way they half stick out from the dirt in the garden is a treat to the eyes. Beets are delicious steamed, pickled or roasted. Their smooth and earthy texture allows this root vegetable to be savored on its own, as a complementary food to a main dish, or accompanied by other foods. I shall not forget to mention raw beets, favorite ingredient in juices. Try as morning juice a fresh squeeze of beets, carrots, orange and spinach, this elixir of fresh foods will energize your whole system…deliciously!
As far as our recipe goes, I believe that beets and goat cheese is a match made in heaven.
The balsamic vinegar accentuates the combination and brings the flavors together.
Whenever I can, I chose local goat cheese that I find at farmer’s markets, the taste of fresh goat cheese is incredible! The quality of the vinegar also helps to make this dish special: if you have the chance try balsamic vinegar aged in wooden barrels and you’ll taste what my friend Laurie calls the “nectar of the Gods”. Mix all of these ingredients and you can be sure that the result will leave your guests in awe.
Never discard the juice of beets, whether raw or cooked, it works wonders as a natural dye. The color of the raw juice is a stunning, vibrant, intense pink, while the cooked juice is more of a brown-yellow color. Use vinegar as mordant to fix the color on the fabric or wool you are dying.
1 package of chevre or goat cheese
3 heaping Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 handful of pumpkin seeds
salt and pepper
Cut the green part of the beets off, stem and all and save for another recipe. Wash the beets and scrub them if necessary (It will be necessary if they come from your own garden…yum!)
Place the beets in a sauce pan with water and a tablespoon of salt and boil until tender (to test for readiness you may try to stick a fork in the beets). Drain the water and let cool for ten minutes. Peel off the skin and cut the beet in cubes. Crumble the goat cheese and add the pumpkin seeds. Incorporate the condiments: salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Gently stir and enjoy how the goat cheese turns into a vivacious pink as it touches the beets!