Let's begin with dinner tonight: roasted beets and pears with baby spinach, pickled red onions, minced dried and reconstituted figs, and herbed goat cheese.
I'm trying really hard to plan out my food for the week--this means planning dinner with ingredients I have already and/or need to use up and packing lunches. I'm doing alright at it. Last week I made a great pizza from scratch using up some of my canned goods and yeast, but I had leftover veggies to incorporate into this week's meals.
I bought goat cheese to eat with crackers and tomatoes at work as well as spinach to go on the pizza, but I haven't finished either. Inspired by a salad I had last Friday night at a restaurant in SF, I decided to not only use up ingredients already on hand, but to also make something I hadn't before. That's another thing I'm really working on: making new things. I want to be inventive with whatever I buy and be experimental. All of this led to the salad above: I had some of the ingredients and I've never roasted beets or rehydrated any fruit!
Besides the obviously awesome bit about using up ingredients on hand, I liked this salad because it didn't require making a dressing. I'm getting better at making dressings from scratch, but I always end up with too much so I tend to try to avoid them. In this dish, though, I roast the beets and pears with a little bit of olive oil, and pickle the onions in apple cider and red wine vinegar, so that plus the figs and goat cheese gives it more than enough moisture, flavor, acid, and creaminess.
(I've named it this because it's simple to make--time-consuming, but easy, and fancy because the ingredients make me feel fancy!)
-2 small beets
-1 dried mission fig
-1/4 red onion chopped into smallish pieces or thinly sliced
-1/2 c tightly packed baby spinach (or more to taste)
-2 bosc pears, thinly sliced
-red wine vinegar
-apple cider vinegar
-herbed goat cheese (I really love that "Silver" brand from TJs that comes in a log)
1. Preheat the oven to 425.
2. Wash and peel the beets, halve and quarter the halves (each beet should be in 8 pieces). Place pieces on double layer of tin foil and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Squish the foil around the beets to make a little packet. Roast for about 1 hour-1 1/2 hours.
3. Peel the pears and thinly slice. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and roast for 20-30 mins or until very tender and starting to brown.
4. Meanwhile, slice the onion. Place in a shallow bowl and cover with half cider vinegar and half red wine vinegar to just cover the onions. Let pickle while prepping everything else.
5. Heat water to boiling. Once it's boiling, pour over the mission fig until the fig is covered and let stand until the water cools.
6. Put the spinach in a bowl and tear into bite-sized pieces, if you feel so inclined.
7. The pears will be done first, so take them out and let them cool in the pan. Next, get the beets out. They're done when they can be easily pierced with a fork. Dump them out of the tinfoil onto a cutting board and continue to let them cool. Roughly chop both into bite-sized pieces.
The pears will turn pink and it will be just lovely!