Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad

Roasted beets are one of my favorite items to serve as a side, and especially on top of a sweet and spicy salad. This arugula based salad is an excellent partner in crime for my Brie, Pancetta and Berry Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, or served up in a big bowl to share. The recipe comes in 3 parts: Roasted Beets, Candied Walnuts, and putting the salad itself together.

Roasted Beets


Ingredients:

  • 1 large beet (2 small)
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • salt and pepper

Method:

1. Wash and peel beets. Slice into approximately 1/8 in. thick slices.

2. Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, sugar and garlic in a bowl.

3. Arrange beet slices on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. pour the vinegar dressing over the beets. salt and per to taste.

4. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Candied Walnuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. walnuts
  • 3 Tbs melted butter
  • 1/8 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp chili powder

Method:

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the nuts, butter, sugar and chili powder. stir until nuts are thoroughly coated.

2. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove from oven, and stir nuts with a rubber spatula to ensure nuts are evenly coated with sugar mixture. set aside, and allow to cool.

Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of arugula
  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 1/4 c. blue cheese crumbles
  • 10  chive sprigs, chopped
  • 3-4 Tbs balsamic vinagrette
  • Candied Walnuts
  • Roasted Beets

Method:

1. In a large bowl, mix together 1/2 container of arugula with 1/2 bag of spinach. Add dressing and toss thoroughly.

2. Top with a handful of walnuts, beet slices, chives and blue cheese crumbles

Brie, Pancetta and Berry Grilled Cheese

Add some glitz to an old favorite for a jazzed up week night dinner, OR slice these babies up into bite sized pieces for fancy schmancy appetizer for cocktail hour! This sandwich pairs great with my roasted beet and arugula salad for the whole she-bang.

Ingredients (for 6 sandwiches):

  • 1 loaf crusty bread, sliced (choose 12 slices)
  • 6-8 slices of pancetta
  • brie cheese at room temperature
  • 1 small jar of raspberry fruit spread
  • 1 package of fresh chives
  • 1 Tbs butter (cut from stick, keep in wrapper)

Method:

1. Spread cheese on both halves of the bread for each sandwich. Spread a dollop of the fruit spread atop the cheese one one side of each sandwich. Pile on a slice of pancetta and 3-4 chives. Top with 2nd piece of bread.

2. Spread a small amount of butter on top of each side of the sandwiches (You can actually just grab the stick of butter, cut 1 Tbs off while still in the wrapper, and rub the butter directly on the bread).

3. Heat a grill pan to medium high, and grill each side of the sandwiches for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown and cheese is melted.

Sportello: Boston

If (or, rather when) you find yourself wandering the streets of the waterfront district in Boston, make your way to Sportello (Italian for ‘counter service’) – a Barbara Lynch original. Inspired by classic Italian dining counter fare, Lynch puts her creative spin on traditional dishes which result in sprightly combinations of old world and new. The Tagliatelle (wide pasta ribbon) with her sweet and spicy bolognese is topped with fried basil (!), and phenomenal. Also suggested: the steamed mussels served up with flavors of garlic and anchovy, house made crusty bread to sop up the flavorful broth.

The diner-meets-mod decor brightens the spirit, and enhances an inviting atmosphere that encourages patrons to make a new acquaintance while enjoying a flakey croissant and cup of creamy seasonal soup (FYI: it’s Winter Turnip right now…).

A really unique part of Sportello is the the bakery counter which looks like a display window from a magazine. The tasty confections, displayed in glass cases, domed cake plates, and porcelain platters, evoke kid-in-a-candy-store memories, but for the sophisticated palate. A take away treat is a must.

Sportello 348 Congress St. Boston, MA 02210, (617) 737-1234

Granola Revisited: Perfected Recipe

I’ve been consistently testing and tweaking my granola recipe. I think that I’ve FINALLY, got the perfect mix, and consistency down pat. If you’ve tried the last recipe, you’ve got to give this one a go. For a comfort-food feel, enjoy this granola mixed with some almond milk. DE-lish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. water
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 c. oats
  • 1 c. nuts
  • 1/2 c. pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 c. coconut flakes
  • 1/4 c. sunflower seeds
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 c. dried fruit

Method:

First, make a simple syrup from the water and brown sugar: In a small sauce pan, heat 1 c. water, add 1 c. sugar and stir until dissolved. Bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute, and then remove from heat. Set aside to cool.

Melt the butter and honey together, and stir in vanilla. Add this mixture to the simple syrup.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix all of the dried ingredients together EXCEPT for the dried fruit (I used dried cranberries in this version, you can use any dried fruit that you like!). Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Pour the syrup mixture over the ingredients, and mix together thoroughly so that all the goodies are covered.

Coat 2 baking sheets with pan spray. Spread the granola mixture onto the trays, and then bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and immediately add the dried fruit to the baked granola mix. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes in order for the mix to set before storing away.