Sunday, May 24, 2009

Beet Salad

היום ארבעה וארבעים יומים שהם ששה שבועות ושני יומים לעמר
Today is the forty-fourth day of the omer - six weeks and two days
גבורה שבמלכת

A day of strength in a week of majesty

The air was cool but our souls were warmed by heartfelt davening at the services of the Beit Yakov/Gan Aliora Havurah. We celebrated the life of a loved one lost, marking the one year anniversary with remembrances--bringing laughter and tears.

And we shared food, our way of offering thanks to the community around us. I brought my beet salad, a dish that never fails to please--and today was no exception. I had a request to post the recipe so it can continue to be shared with others. I don't use exact measurements when making this dish, and there's a lot of room for variations. Aside from some key ingredients, what goes in depends on what I have on hand. Feel free to use what seems good to you....


First of course, you need beets. Any kind will do, although I prefer the sweet chioggia beets, but the golden or standard red beets will be fine. Cut the tops if the greens are still on and put the beets in a pot and fill the pot with water. Bring the water to a boil, then cover and set to simmer. In about 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the beets, they should be soft enough to easily run a knife through them. Drain the pot and fill with cold water to cool the beets a bit. When they're cool enough to handle, slip the skins off.

Cut the beets into approx. 1" cubes and put into a bowl. Chop 3 or 4 green onions and add that. Chopped red onion is also a good option.

You can then add any number of herbs--either fresh or dried. Today I used a handful of chopped cilantro and a handful chopped mint. Dill and parsley work as well. I often like to add some chopped celery for crunch, or may some chopped jicama. Wondering what to do with that can of bamboo shoots you bought months ago? This is a good place to use it.

I always add some sort of dried fruit--raisins, cranberries, chopped apricots. Add chopped nuts if you'd like.

The key ingredient in my beet salad is the chopped pickled ginger. This is now readily available--you can even get it at Safeway! I try to always have it on hand in my kitchen. Take a big pinch chopped fine and stir it into the mix. Season with salt and pepper.

Then stir in some raspberry vinaigrette. These days you can get this at most supermarkets in the salad dressing aisle. I know it's available at Trader Joes. If you don't have any, use orange juice and some vinegar. There are times I've also added some toasted sesame oil.

As you can see, this is far from a precise recipe. I don't give any exact amounts. Because it just depends on what I have and how it tastes. I tend to cook using the theory I learned from my mother. When you have enough good ingredients...."What could be bad??"

So now that I've given you the basics---just go for it.

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