What a rough couple of weeks! Sorry things have been so slow around here but as I mentioned in my last post, after enjoying the Thanksgiving festivities I was knocked down with walking pneumonia, something I had never had and don’t recommend (although the free ab toning and weight loss was a nice bonus, lol). Normally if I’m sick I know I have to cook something for myself to make sure I keep going but this hit me so hard there were times I forgot I had a kitchen or the need to eat. Fortunately after a lot of rest (a week off work – D’OH! I shudder to think of the financial consequences of this…) and plenty of meds I am back at work and back in the kitchen. I’m still not 100% but I’m definitely much better than I have been the past couple of weeks and couldn’t be happier about that. So far I’ve had a blast making a huge batch of my (almost) famous Hearty Mushroom & Potato Soup and toying around with the beginnings of the recipe I am about to feature. It’s great to be back in my kitchen and even better to be back in blogging mode.
I don’t know about all of you but after I’m really sick I just want to eat a lot of healthy and green things. I’m not sure if it’s something my body craves to detox itself from the ickiness of meds or if it’s something purely psychological, but the last thing I want to eat is anything unhealthy! I crave leafy greens, fresh vegetables, LIFE. Unfortunately it’s too friggin’ cold here in Sacramento to really enjoy these things in their perfectly raw state (we had SNOW on Monday, for crying out loud!), so I thought I’d improvise a bit. I had some gorgeous beets still hanging around from the last time I went shopping that I knew I’d be roasting and putting into something eventually. I remembered I’d rinsed & saved their beautiful greens too, so I wanted to make sure to use those before it was too late.
Now you all know how I feel about my roasted beets - I LOVE them! The sad part is that I haven't really played much with the incredibly healthy greens that come along with them. I've tossed them in a couple of stir-frys here and there just for texture but I've never experimented with their own unique flavor. I thought it would be fun to contrast their very slight bitterness against the natural sweetness of the actual beets, with the extra treat of roasted pears. Though I'm sure a good Bosc pear would be great in this recipe because of its firmness, feel free to use any pear varietal that you might have at your disposal; it's the sweetness & texture that counts more than the actual type of pear. (NOTE: I do not recommend adding too much to the pears in the way of spices as this will detract from the simplicity of the flavors and not go well with the beets.) A simple balsamic-honey dressing tossed with this early winter salad brings everything together, and the addition of gorgonzola crumbles adds extra zip. I would imagine adding some sort of candied nut like walnuts or pecans would just put this dish over the top in excellence, but alas, Poor Girl must make due with what she's got. I'm not complaining, though! This is a great side dish that easy to make and would probably go well with a nice pork loin, though I ate my big bowl of early winter goodness on its own. It definitely gave me the health boost I needed and now I'm ready to start concocting another sinful dessert to bring to you later this week. ;) But first, eat your veggies!
Roasted Beets & Pears with Sautéed Beet Greens (serves 3-4 as a side; total cost per serving: ~$2.50)
3 medium beets AND their greens (stems and all!)
2 firm, medium pears of your choice
1 T butter
1 T brown sugar
2 T olive oil
1 t granulated garlic
Salt & pepper to taste
1/3 c crumbled gorgonzola cheese
3 T balsamic vinaigrette
1/4 c honey
Preheat the oven to 425°. Prepare the glaze by whisking together the honey and balsamic vinaigrette until smooth and set aside. Cut the greens from the beets and rinse very well, drying with plenty of paper towels or with a salad spinner. Chop the leaves and stems coarsely (about 2” strips) and set aside in a large bowl. Scrub the beets well, wrap each in foil and place in the oven to roast for about 15 minutes.
In the meantime, rinse and core the pears (peeling is optional; sometimes the aesthetics of the peel are quite lovely) and cut into 1” thick slices. Toss the pear slices with the brown sugar and place in a baking dish that’s been greased with the butter. Place in the oven (on a separate rack, of course) along with the beets after the beets have passed the 15 minute mark and roast for another 10 minutes. The beets should be easily pierced with a fork and the pears should be tender but still slightly firm. After allowing the beets to cool for a few minutes, carefully remove the skin under cold running water. Slice into ½” thick slices or wedges.
In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the beet stems, garlic, salt & pepper and sauté until the stems begin to soften (about 2 minutes), then add the greens. Saute quickly until the beets just begin to wilt – do not overcook! The leaves should still retain some of their texture and not be mushy.
Place a generous amount of greens in a large bowl or on a plate followed by the roasted beets and pears. Drizzle the glaze on top, add as much crumbled gorgonzola as you like, and enjoy!