So, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, right? I have had a sort of love-hate relationship with this holiday. There’s just something very wrong to me about a day in which you feel obligated to say “I love you” and buy presents for the ones you love. On the other hand, it’s sort of sweet that there’s a day set aside and totally devoted to L O V E.
To me, February 14th has evolved into the day that I cook my heart out for my family. That’s right….my “love language” is food, and cooking is the best way I know to tell people I love them. And so, the next few posts will be all about putting together a simple, delicious Valentine’s meal for the ones you love!
First course: Roasted Beet and Orange Salad with a Balsamic-Citrus Dressing. Yum!
I have a very close friend who also expresses love through food. She’s an incredible baker, and I often find plates of delicious cookies and sweet notes from her on my front porch. Not gonna lie…I’ve been known to eat the entire plateful before my family even sees them at all. She’s an amazing person. She’s smart, funny, caring, full of love, beautiful, positive and very, very wise.
She’s also 17 years old. And somehow, age doesn’t matter when I’m with her. We can talk about anything, and we usually do! She’s a huge blessing in my life, and I feel very grateful to call her my friend. I hope everyone has someone like that.
Honestly, I think that’s what Valentine’s Day is all about…not fancy restaurants, expensive gifts, elaborate plans. It’s simply about letting people know that you love them.
And so, Louisa, thank you for being my friend. Plain and simple…please know that I love you.
- 3 roasted purple or orange beets
- 3 oranges
- 1/2 red onion
- 4 cups mixed greens
- 1 ounce goat cheese
- Zest and juice of 1 large orange (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chop beets into bite-sized pieces.
- Take rind off oranges and cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Cut onion into very thin slices and add to dressing for up to 24 hours ahead.
- Chop goat cheese into small pieces.
- Arrange fruit and cheese on a bed of greens. Add dressing-soaked onions and drizzle more dressing over salad.
- Combine orange juice and zest, vinegar and honey in a blender.
- Add olive oil very slowly while blending to emulsify.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
*Some stores (like Trader Joe's) carry roasted beets, which is very convenient. However, roasting beets is super easy!
If roasting yourself, simply heat oven to 425 degrees, wash beets, cut off leafy greens and wrap each beet tightly in foil. Place directly on the middle rack of the oven and roast about one hour, until tender.
To peel, let beets cool for 10 minutes and rub them between two paper towels. The skins peel right off. You can also peel them with your bare hands under running water. You'll get some beet stains on your hands, but the water helps keep that to a minimum, and a good wash with lots of soap should remove most stubborn beet stains.
Roasted beets also keep well in the fridge for days, so roast up a truckload and use all week! *Hint: Put chopped roasted beets in the freezer and add to smoothies for an extra punch of vitamins and antioxidants.