Monday, October 6, 2008
The weather in LA is as manic as the people are. I'm not sure which came first -- the people or the weather.
Last week, it was cool and slightly rainy one day, 90 degrees the next. This PMS-y weather often arrives around autumn here, thanks in part at least to those annoying Santa Anas. It has made us all prone to mood swings, lethargy, coughs and colds, and for me, manic cooking. One day we're having tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches...
...the next we're having salad and cold cuts.
I cannot tell you the heartbreak of walking past gorgeous beets at the farmers market, their leafy tops crying out for a quick saute, whilst their saucy round bottoms are just ASKING for a good roasting... all the while mopping the rivulets of sweat pouring down your brow. Oh the heartache!
This week, I gave in. I hopefully grabbed a bunch of golden beets and a bunch of carrots at the farmers market, crossing my fingers for a cooler day later in the week to roast 'em; our apartment is so small that turning on the oven makes a drastic impact on the temperature of the entire flat.
Yesterday, EUREKA! A nice cool day. I cranked the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, wrapped the unpeeled beets in foil, threw them on a foil-lined baking sheet (you'll see why in a sec) and bunged them in the oven for about an hour. Here's a tip for you, if you didn't know it already: most ovens are very uneven. For example, I've figured out that the right side of my oven is much hotter than the left. That's easy to remedy if you're using a baking sheet. Just rotate the pan half way through, or if you're really obsessed, you can rotate a quarter of the way 4 times. Make sense?
These beets are just gorgeous, the colour of a sunset.
When you're about halfway through the cooking process, move the beet foil packets to one side of the sheet, and throw the peeled carrots on there, whole (I halved the bigger ones lengthwise). Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and my favorite, coriander powder. Seriously, try it. Your house will smell amazing.
The beets are ready when a knife glides smoothly through them. Same with the carrots. Let them caramelize a little -- that's my favorite part! Oh, and yes, peel the beets once they've cooled down a little.
It was hard not to eat them all right then, but I decided to save them for a quick salad later in the week. And boy was it worth the wait. Tonight I had a nice cool salad that looked like a sunset on a plate: Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad, with Blue Cheese and Salami!
The dressing is a simple one: White balsamic vinegar (or lemon juice), olive oil, a touch of agave nectar if your lemons are very sour, salt and pepper and some fresh herbs if you have 'em.
And voila! Quick weeknight meal!
at 11:09 PM