January is coming to a close, folks. There's a bittersweet taste in my mouth as this first month of 2011 whizzes by. On the one hand, spring is working its way closer to us with each passing day. That is most definitely cause for excitement. A look out the window on the other side of this train, though, reveals the reality of time's lightening-quick progression and my own inability to keep tabs on it. I crane my neck to look back for it without success. Where did it go, all that time? Didn't I cross the border into my thirties just last week? Oh, that was six months ago? Jeeze, I need to open my eyes - life is obviously moving right on by, with or without me.
One thing is for sure about this time of year. Eating seasonally requires increasing amounts of patience and creativity as the last weeks of winter are ridden out on stockpiles of root vegetables and kale. This is about the time at my house when noses begin to rise and crinkle at the idea of yet another stew full of turnips and potatoes. Good thing I'm still sitting on a five pound bag of root vegetables. Bring on the asparagus! The peas! Pretty please?
Not that we don't love root veggies. It's just that sometimes cooking can start to feel a little like a chore when they're the only ones showing up for dinner.
Oh, you again? Yeah, I guess you can eat with us.
I've been doing my best to change things up. Roasted beets are an old favorite that most always pleases, especially when creamy goat cheese gets involved. I dug out three different types of beets from the aforementioned five pound assortment of roots, oiled them up, and waited while they softened and sweetened in the oven. Then I livened them up with a lemon dressing. The sunny tang of citrus practically carries me through the winter months on its back. I've been squeezing lemons into damn near everything.
Roasted Beets w/ Lemon Dressing & Chevre
1/2 lb. (or so) beets - whatever kind you fancy
2T. olive oil, divided
1 T. fresh lemon juice
dash of salt
1-2 oz. chevre, crumbled
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Scrub the beets, and trim off any skinny tails or ends that may burn while roasting. If the beets are large, cut them into roughly 2" pieces, otherwise keep them whole. Oil the outsides of the beets with 1 T., or so, of the olive oil, place them on a baking sheet, and put them into the oven. Roast about 30-45 minutes, or until the beets are tender when pierced with a fork. Set aside to cool.
- Once the beets are cool enough to handle, slip the skins off with your fingers. This isn't always the easiest thing to accomplish, but they should come off fairly easily. Chop the beets into large chunks and place in a medium mixing bowl.
- Put the lemon juice in a small bowl and slowly drizzle in the remaining 1 T. of olive oil, stirring rapidly. Season the lemon dressing with a little salt, pour it over the beets, and toss to coat.
- Divide the beets into bowls, top with goat cheese crumbles and serve.