Friday, September 3, 2010

Roasted Beet Salad w/Orange Juice reduction dressing

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The bounty of the Farmers Markets! I try to always find bunches of fresh beets, butter leaf lettuce (the family favorite) yummy cheeses and whatever else looks pretty and shiny in the early morning light. This salad can be a bit time consuming to prepare because of roasting and washing and slicing and watching orange juice boil...but worth it! Once the beets and dressing are ready there will be plenty for several salads and assembly will be quick going forward.


1 bunch fresh beets (see note below) *
1 head butter leaf lettuce (arugula and spinach good also)
a little goat cheese (or whatever mild flavor cheese you prefer)
olive oil
Orange Juice Reduction Dressing (recipe follows)

OJ Dressing:   
Pour 4 cups of orange juice into a medium/large sized saucepan (save yourself the time and purchase the orange juice at your local grocery) Bring to a boil at medium high setting then leave it alone. It needs to boil down to about 1 cup of liquid - this part takes FOREVER! When ready it will be rather dark.                   FOOD 054
Don't worry - after a little soaking and light scrubbing the pot looks good as new.                                      
Turn off heat. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain liquid into a small saucepan - add the juice from 1/2 fresh lemon (save the other half for later) add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Back to stove on medium high heat - bring liquid to boil and let reduce until "light syrup" consistency (you should have about a half cup of liquid). Turn off heat. Strain again into a bowl or measuring cup big enough to add olive oil and work with a whisk. Let cool for a few minutes. Add 1/2 a cup of good olive oil - the juice from the other half of the  lemon - salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Taste. Dressing should be tart - but if too strong for you add more olive oil. Salt and pepper if needed. Let cool completely.
I now pour this into a canning jar with those nifty seals and lids. That way when I need to dress the salad I can just give it all a good shaking then drizzle on my salad.

* HOW I PREPARE FRESH BEETS                                                                                                    
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They look like this when I get them. Lovely aren't they?  Wash and dry. Cut off leafy parts and stems. Completely cover a baking pan - or baking sheet - in foil. Place beets in - drizzle with olive oil - sprinkle with bit of salt - completely cover entire pan with beets in foil - roast in 350 oven for hour to hour and a half depending on size of beets. These were about the size of baseballs - I roasted them for an hour and twenty minutes. Out of oven - leave covered and let cool about half hour. Peel and set aside until ready to use.                                              
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Slice or cube the beets when you are ready. Cover and refrigerate leftover.

If you did all this in the same afternoon you have probably ordered a pizza by now!  If not, grab a big bowl, add washed and dried lettuce (I prefer Butter leaf for this) add sliced beets, drizzle with OJ dressing, sprinkle with goat cheese then sit down and relax and eat!

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