Golden Beet Salad with Warm Goat Cheese

Beet Salad with Warm Goat Cheese

Hearing your manager say the words, “Laid off” strikes fear and panic in most of the corporate set. When those words rang in my ear last week, I heard “freedom” and “new beginnings” and “free time.” I’m sure the severance package softened the blow considerably. So, if all goes as planned, I happily become a member of the unemployed starting in mid-June.

Regarding what I’m going to do next, I plan on taking a nice chunk of time off and then I have a few ideas. I’m quite sure cooking will be on the agenda – and possibly buying an Inn.


Golden Beet Salad with warm goat cheese

I hated beets growing up, but can’t get enough of them as an adult, especially golden beets. This recipe is adapted from one I learned during culinary school.

Ingredients

  • 6 golden beets, peeled and cubed
  • 4 Tablespoons red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 Tablespoons Sherry Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted and slightly crushed
  • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 log Chèvre (goat cheese)
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon butter

Directions

  1. Cook beets in salted water until knife pierces beets easily 10-20 minutes. Drain beets.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine onions, thyme, and garlic
  3. In a small bowl, make vinaigrette by combining sherry vinegar, mustard and fennel. Slowly whisk in olive oil.
  4. Gently combine warm beets and vinaigrette with onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and let flavors combine for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Cut Chèvre into 6 even rounds (this is most easily done with unflavored dental floss). Dip each round in egg and then cover well with bread crumbs. Freeze rounds for 15 minutes.
  6. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add Chèvre and sauté on both sides until bread crumbs are golden brown and cheese is beginning to melt.
  7. Serve beet salad with warm goat cheese rounds.

Cranberry Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta

I’m staring at everything and everyone with a lighter in one hand and gas can in the other, prepared to burn bridges and incinerate it all. Nothing is sacred. This isn’t some high-school massacre, but a phoenix-from-the-flames rebirth. Career, home, friends, family– I’ll torch the entire lot and walk anew on freshly scorched and purified earth.

But I’ll set my gas can down for now and make one of my favorite Italian treats.


Cranberry Panna Cotta

I love fresh cranberries! To ensure I have access to them year-round, I buy extra bags in Fall and freeze them for use the rest of the year.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 ½ teaspoon gelatin
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Lightly spray 6 ramekins with unflavored oil. Pour gelatin in a small bowl with 4 T. of water. Stir and set aside for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Combine whipping cream, sugar, and salt in a saucepan and whisk over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and small bubbles appear, but before the cream comes to a full boil. Remove from heat, whisk in the softened gelatin until dissolved. Add vanilla, whisk again and let cool 3-5 minutes. Remove any bubbles from top of custard.
  3. Pour the custard into the prepared ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap (it doesn’t have to touch the surface like pudding) and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
  4. To unmold ramekins, fill a small baking dish with boiling water. Slip a sharp knife around the inside of the ramekin loosening the custard, place the ramekin in the water for about 10 seconds and invert it onto serving dish.

Classic Lemonade

Homemade Lemonade

Last night’s sankalpa was an uncharacteristically nebulous “Love” rather than her customary litany of qualifiers.  That was careless.  His email was waiting for her the next morning.  Impossible love.  Foolish love.  Lost love.

Next time, her sankalpa will be crafted with finer precision.  Actionable Love.


Classic Lemonade

A shot of vodka turns this simply classic lemonade into a decidedly adult beverage.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice, from about 5 lemons
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup simple syrup, depending on your sweetness preference

Directions

  1. In a pitcher, stir all ingredients together until well blended. Pour over ice and enjoy!

Lemon Cheese Pastry Squares

Lemon Sweet Cheese Pastry Squares

She hikes along the path, entreating the universe, “please let me find an arrowhead, please let me find an arrowhead.”  She even makes ridiculous pledges like, “I swear if I find one, I won’t keep it…I just want to see if I can wish it into existence.  I’ll bury it once I find it.”

Many years ago, she found another arrowhead, quite by accident, near an abandoned homestead on a cattle ranch outside Galconda, NV.  She placed it in the back pocket of her Levi’s for safekeeping.  After a long, dusty and bumpy ride back to the ranch in the bed of a pickup, she was astonished to find her pockets empty.  While disappointed, she decided her possessing it wasn’t meant to be.

Now, for a reason that she doesn’t understand, she’s on the hunt to locate one again.  For four days, she’s hiked with her eyes fixed on the trails in front of her.  She’s picked up a dozen of pieces of flint for closer inspection. Nothing.

She’s driving out of town today, on her way back home, leaving a little early to fit in one last brief 45-minute hike on a hill she’s never hiked before.  The day is hot, 93 degrees, under a blue and cloudless sky; time slips by quickly.  As she heads back to her car, she spots it on the path, dusty and damaged, most likely from being stepped on by hikers – a black flint arrowhead.

Decisions, decisions. She promised the universe not to keep it, but now it’s in her hand and the location and timing of her discovery convince her this was predestined.  This town is her magical place, after all.  She stops to consider her choices.  After a few minutes, she slips the arrowhead in her back pocket, concluding, if it’s still in her pocket when she arrives home, she was intended to keep it, at least for a while.


Lemon Cheese Pastry Squares

These use the same dough as the Almond Pockets, substituting a cream cheese and lemon filling. Of the two pastries, these were the crowd favorite in the office.

Ingredients

  • Danish Pastry Dough
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 Tablespoons raw sugar

Directions

  1. Follow the instructions for making the dough.
  2. Make the Cheese filling: Beat the cream cheese, sugar, yolk and zest together until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Make the squares: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough into 20” x 20” square. Divide into 16 squares approximately 5”x5”. Place the cheese filling in the middle of each square, Brush 2 all corners with egg, fold each corner over the center, pressing down firmly to seal. Proof for 15 minutes.
  4. Egg wash the outside of the pastries and sprinkle liberally with raw sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

arrowhead

Almond Pockets

Almond Pastries

Sedona’s magic has followed me home.  When I opened my laptop tonight, I had initially intended to tell you about the purpose of my latest visit to Sedona.   Upon realizing the complexity of this almond pockets recipe below,   I hesitated to incorporate a long-winded post about Sedona too and opted to save the tale for another day.  So, no sooner do I resolve to forget the story and focus on the recipe when what comes up on PBS but a First Nations Experience (FNX) program on Sedona’s Boynton Canyon – reminding me that no one puts Sedona on the back burner.  I’m still determined to save my story for another day, but rather than utterly avoiding the  topic of Sedona, I’m sharing a photo from my favorite perch in Boynton at the end of this post.  I know better than to mess with red rock juju when it happens.


Almond Pockets

Adapted from Wayne Gisslen’s Professional Baking

Ingredients

    Danish Pastry Dough
  • 4 ¼ oz. warm water (105 – 110 degrees)
  • 1 pkt rapid rise yeast
  • 18.5 oz. all-purpose flour
  • 1.25 oz. sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 oz. whole milk
  • 10 oz. unsalted butter, softened
  • Almond Crème
  • 2 1/8 oz. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ¾ oz. powdered sugar
  • 2 1/8 oz. almond flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract

Directions

Make Dough: In a large bowl, mix the water and yeast together. Sprinkle about 2 Tablespoons flour over the yeast mixture. Let stand for about 15 minutes. In another bowl, mix the sugar salt and milk together until the solids are dissolved.

Sift the remaining flour and add it to the yeast mixture. Add the milk mixture and begin mixing to form a shaggy dough. Finish by kneading the dough on the countertop until a formed until a ball. Cover and allow to ferment for 40 minutes. Punch down and refrigerate, covered for 1 hour.

Roll in the Butter: Roll the dough into a long rectangle. Smear softened butter over bottom two-thirds of the dough, leaving a margin around the edges. Fold the unbuttered third of the dough over the center. Fold the bottom third on top. Rotate the dough 90 degrees (so the folds are vertical). Complete the first fold: Roll out the dough in a long rectangle. Fold the top third over the center. Fold the bottom third over the top. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Repeat the rolling and folding two more times.

Make the almond crème:  Cream the softened butter, stir in the powdered sugar, almond flour, salt, egg and almond extract.  Refrigerate.

Make the pockets: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough into 20” x 20” square. Divide into 16 squares approximately 5”x5”. Place the almond filling in the middle of each square, Brush 2 opposite corners with egg, fold over the center, pressing down firmly to seal. Proof for 15 minutes.

Egg wash the outside of the pastries and sprinkle liberally with sliced almonds. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.


Kachina

Kachina Woman – Boynton Canyon