Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mixed Greens with Roasted Vegetables and Goat Cheese

I started to become interested in cooking around the time I graduated from college, which was about 5 years ago.  Since then I've accumulated PILES of recipe cut-outs from various magazines.  I have subscribed to everything from Kraft Food and Family to Gourmet.  Most of the clippings are sorted nicely into files, but I've probably only gotten around to cooking about 10% of them.

I pulled out one randomly this week, from a 2005 issue of Fitness Magazine.  I think I cut it out back then because not only was the salad eye-catching - with the purple beets and bright orange carrots on a bed of green lettuce - but also it was the kind of food I aspired to cook, though at the time the idea of cooking with something as foreign as beets was too daunting.  For me, beets were just those shredded things in a long line of salad bar ingredients at Ruby Tuesday.  Sometimes I dared to put a small spoonful on my plate, but I made sure to smother them with dressing so I wouldn't taste them.

Now, after receiving them in various CSA boxes, I've learned how to cook them, and learned how tasty they are, especially roasted!

Even if you don't want to make this exact salad, you HAVE to make this dressing sometime.  It was incredible.  It's better than any bottled cranberry vinaigrette you've ever had.  I bought some goat cheese that had honey in it to go along with the honey in the dressing.  Since the salad is warm, it melts the goat cheese a bit, making it really soft and creamy which really compliments the tangy sweet dressing.  So good.

Mixed Greens with Roasted Vegetables and Goat Cheese
adapted from Fitness Magazine, September 2005
Serves 4

2 large beets
8 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 onions, peeled and cut into 8 wedges (16 total)
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 cups mixed greens
2 ounces goat cheese

For the dressing:
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Wrap the beets with foil, place in a roasting pan and roast for 30-40 minutes.  Put the carrots and onions in a large bowl and toss with 2 teaspoons oil, the thyme, and 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.  Add to the roasting pan with the beets.    Roast all the vegetables for 20 minutes more, stirring every 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, dissolve the sugar, honey, and mustard in the vinegar over medium-low heat.  Add the cranberries and let simmer for 5 minutes.  Whisk in the salt, pepper, and oil and remove from heat.

When the vegetables are done, (you should be able to poke through the beets with a fork fairly easily) remove the foil from the beets and let cool slightly.  Or not.  I used tongs to hold the steaming beets while I peeled them with a knife.  It was too frustrating to use my vegetable peeler since I don't have a very sharp one.  But anyway, peel them somehow and cut them into 1-inch pieces.

Divide the lettuce among your plates, and pile the beets and the other vegetables on top.  Drizzle with the dressing, then add the crumbled goat cheese.  

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