Food Bloggers Recipe Swap: Shredded Beets with Citrus Vinaigrette

It’s my first time posting in the Food Bloggers Recipe Swap and I’m pretty excited.

I probably should have just waited until the new year to begin participating, but I was just too excited!

There’s been a lot going on here, as I’m sure in most people’s homes, the past two months. I’m now feeling the crunch to Christmas (and that is in no way a bad thing) and have been neglecting a lot of my blogging responsibilities, frantically scrambling to pull together a post the night before it’s due to go live.

I’ve been enjoying the bit of a break though, and have revived my cross stitch hobby. Christmas time always does that to me. I’ve also just begun a new friendship and have enjoyed getting out of the house and killing time at the mall talking to another adult human being during the day.

Somehow this week though, I’ve got to find time to pack for our holiday vacation, wrap the kid’s presents, send those Christmas cards, and order a few final gifts. My mother-in-law is coming into town tonight so I’m hoping I’ll be able to sneak in some of that holiday cheer while the kids are otherwise preoccupied. (hint hint, Tilly!)

What does any of that have to do with Food Bloggers Recipe Swap?

Well, nothing really. Except that by opting in for December, I committed myself to being assigned a blog, finding and recreating a recipe from that blog, and then sharing it with all of you, my dear readers. Much like the Secret Recipe Club which has sadly come to an end.

The main difference between this group and that is the posting leniency. As long as I get my post completed by the end of the month, life is peachy! I don’t think the assignments are a secret either, and should I choose, I could search through the assignment list and figure out who is digging through my recipe index, but I won’t spoil the surprise. ūüôā

For my first month, I was assigned Love and Cilantro written by Danya. Danya grew up in Jamaica and now lives in Canada where she attends culinary school. I envy her bravery to switch up her life and live out her dreams. I often think about going to culinary school, maybe after the kids are in elementary school?

Danya’s blog is relatively new, just over a year old if my calculations are correct! With a shorter recipe selection than some blogs I’ve scoured you’d think my decision would be fairly simple. Think again! I’d narrowed it down to Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast (which will still probably happen),¬†Asian Salad, and the Raw Beet Salad I ultimately picked. Oh wait! There’s this beautiful Greek Chicken she shared on Sunday, too, dang – too late!

I’m really happy with the Beet Salad, though.¬†I¬†mean, I love beets, so why wouldn’t I like this salad!? I don’t often work with beets raw and it was fun to do so. The vinaigrette the shredded beets are tossed in is perfectly balanced – the lemon mellows out the orange and the white balsamic is a fun new ingredient to my pantry. I didn’t have chives so very thinly sliced a scallion.

I think this salad would make a beautiful addition to your holiday table this month – the bright color and flavor would brighten your plate wonderfully!

Shredded Beets with Citrus Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch beets, peeled and shredded
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 C white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp agave (or honey)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1-2 scallions, thinly sliced (or 4 chives)

Steps:

  1. Place shredded beets in a bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the citrus, vinegar, oil, mustard, and agave. Season to taste with S+P. Toss beets with as much dressing as desired. Garnish with scallion/chives.

*This recipe is adapted from Danya at http://loveandcilantro.com/orange-beet-salad/*

Shredded Beets with Citrus Vinaigrette for Food Bloggers Recipe Swap from Sew You Think You Can Cook

 

Maple Walnut Vinaigrette

Now that we’ve closed the door on Halloween, it’s comfort food season.

You totally thought I was going to make some joke regarding Christmas.

Nope!

There won’t be a hint of Christmas (well, except for getting a start on my Christmas gift shopping) happening in my house until after Thanksgiving! That’s right people, there’s another holiday (at least in the US) before putting up that tree. (You hear me, Mom?!)

Sorry for that little rant there….

Back to salad.

Salad? What?

Yes. Salad.

Even amid the sea of hearty baked casseroles, you still need to eat something a bright and fresh and a salad with hints of fall is the perfect way to break up your weekly menu.

I served this walnut dressing over a salad of Brussels sprouts, spinach, and romaine lettuce. The “mix-ins” included walnuts, bacon, and apple. Dried cranberries or cooked chicken would work great, too!

Maple Walnut Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C maple syrup
  • 1/2 C walnuts
  • 1/4 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Steps:

  1. Place all ingredients except oils into a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. With the blender running, pour in the oils. Add a little water, if needed.

*This recipe is adapted from Monica at http://www.theyummylife.com/recipes/38*

Maple Walnut Vinaigrette | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

#EVOOChallenge: Winter Salad with Shallot Balsamic Vinaigrette

It’s day 2¬†of the #EVOOChallenge. This challenge, in which we make foods with the only cooking fat being olive oil, was issued by Spartan Olive Oil. The goal is to highlight the benefits of using olive oil over its less healthy counterparts, I’m looking at you butter and vegetable oil. Search the hashtag on social media to see more great recipes!

While both olive oil and vegetable oil have 120 Calories and 14 grams of fat per tbsp, olive oil has 10 grams of monounsaturated fat (the good fat) whereas vegetable oil has only 3 grams of monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fat is actually good for your health; it reduces bad cholesterol and provides vitamin E. (Source: American Heart Association)

This unfiltered extra-virgin olive oil is made from the olives of 700 year old trees in Sparta, Greece. The flavorful oil has a rich golden color and smooth texture. I wanted to highlight the nutty, fruity flavor of the oil in my recipes this week.

Shallot Confit for the #EVOOChallenge from Sew You Think You Can CookOne of the cookbooks I got for Christmas is The Chef Next Door¬†by Amanda Freitag. While flipping through it for the first time we came across a recipe for Shallot Confit. I knew I just had to try it for this challenge! The recipe calls for a mix of olive and canola oils, but as that would go against the rules I omitted the canola oil. I was a little nervous about omitting the canola oil and didn’t think substituting was the right way to go either. I opted with using fewer shallots than called for. And it worked.

These shallots would be incredible as a pizza topping, would add a little something extra to a sandwich, and could even work well in an onion dip. I decided to add them to salad. And as a bonus I used some of the oil in a vinaigrette!

The shallots will keep up to two weeks in the oil.

Winter Salad with Shallot Balsamic Vinaigrette 

Ingredients:

  • 4 whole shallots, peeled and trimmed
  • 1 C + 1 tbsp olive oil, divided use
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 oz balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • mixed baby greens (I used spinach, swiss chard, and arugula)
  • crumbled Feta cheese
  • cooked, crumbled bacon
  • pear, sliced

Steps:

  1. Make shallot confit: Place shallots in a small saucepan with 1 C oil to cover. Add the thyme, peppercorns, and S+P. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, reduce heat to low and cook 25 minutes until shallots are easily pierced. Allow shallots to cool. Store in fridge, covered.
  2. Roast chickpeas: Lay chickpeas out on a clean towel and pat dry. Remove any lose skins. Leave chickpeas out until completely dried, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lay chickpeas out on the prepared baking sheet. Roast 40 minutes, or until crunchy. Toss roasted chickpeas in 1 tbsp oil. Add the garlic powder and a little salt to taste.
  3. Make dressing: Put 3 oz of the shallot confit oil in a jar with the balsamic vinegar, Dijon, and S+P. Shake until combined.
  4. Assemble salad: Top greens with Feta, bacon, pears, chopped shallot confit, and roasted chickpeas. Drizzle with vinaigrette.

*The shallot recipe is adapted from The Chef Next Door*

*The chickpea recipe is adapted from Debbie at http://www.madefrompinterest.net/roasted-chickpeas-recipe/*

Winter Salad with Shallot Balsamic Vinaigrette for the #EVOOChallenge from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Disclaimer 1: By participating in this 5 day challenge I received a bottle and pouch of Spartan Olive Oil. 

Disclaimer 2: This post contains affiliate links. 

Brussels Sprout Salad with Caramelized Onions

Over Memorial Weekend we went to D.C. to go visit Tara (of Tara’s Multicultural Table) and her family. There will be¬†more on¬†that trip tomorrow, so stay tuned! On Sunday,¬†we went to a Farmer’s Market. We were so happy to have decided to drive so we could actually buy produce to take home with us the next day!

Dale City Farmer's Market

We took home two cartons of big, beautiful Brussels sprouts, a bunch of red beets, cinnamon peanut butter from Sprelly, sweet potato pasta from Gypsy Hill, and some local honey.

I’ve used the peanut butter in a popcorn recipe that you’ll see in July. I’ve used one beet to make some sweet potato beet baby food and another for a beet potato salad, I’m not sure yet when I’ll share that latter recipe with you. The honey is about to be opened (I just emptied what we had already) and I’m still deciding what to do to highlight the fresh pasta. The Brussels sprouts are showcased in today’s recipe.

I had planned on making this Brussels sprout salad a few days after we got back from our trip but a night of feeling ill postponed the dinner plans for when our family was here for the little man’s baptism. With 5 extra people who also enjoy Brussels sprouts I had to expand my supply with a bag from the grocery store. Separating the leaves of the sprouts to create the “lettuce” for the salad is tedious work, the large Brussels sprouts from the Farmer’s Market were very much appreciated! As was the help I recruited from the moms.

This salad does take some time to make, but it can easily be done in stages. And it is absolutely worth it! We’ve never had Brussels sprouts raw before and tossed in a salad with warm caramelized onions and tart dried cherries is a fresh way to enjoy this vegetable in the spring and summer.

This salad makes 8 servings. I paired it with grilled pork chops and mashed potatoes.

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Caramelized Onions

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2/3 C plus 4 tbsp olive oil, divided use
  • 4 Vidalia onions, sliced
  • 4 tsp¬†brown sugar, divided use
  • 2 lb Brussels sprouts, leaves removed
  • 2 tbsp dried cherries (or more, to taste)
  • 1/2 C apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp agave
  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard

Steps:

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat melt butter and 4 tbsp olive oil. Add sliced onions and caramelize for 1 hr. In last few minutes stir in 2 tsp brown sugar and a little bit of salt. (You could also do this in the slow cooker.) Set aside.
  2. Make dressing: Whisk together vinegar, 2 tsp brown sugar, agave, mustard, and 2/3 C olive oil. Season to taste with S+P.
  3. Place Brussels sprout leaves in a microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave about 1 minute. Note: This will not cook the sprouts but will warm them slightly. 
  4. Toss warmed Brussels sprouts with dried cherries, caramelized onions, and dressing.

*This recipe is modified from Susan at http://thewimpyvegetarian.com/2014/11/warm-brussels-sprouts-salad-with-caramelized-onions/*

Brussels Sprout Salad | Sew You Think You Can Cook