I invited my family over and cooked up a 3-course dinner a normal, quite gloomy Monday a while back. Sometimes it’s nice embellishing a boring weekday by catching up with your family – especially if you haven’t seen them in a while and especially if there’s food involved. The dinner wasn’t super pretentious an I didn’t put to much energy and effort into the cooking. I simply checked the refrigerator and took the things I had on hand. Since I felt for taking a walk I supplemented the ingredients at home with just a few groceries from the supermarket. It turned out to be a real feast, and it was just too lovely adding some flavor to everyday life. I truly believe we need this kind of small pauses in the hectic surrounding we otherwise live in.
For dessert I served some homemade blueberry ice cream that just was lying around in the freezer. Simple! Dessert done! The main course is a classic in my and Stefans home – roasted garlic veggie pasta with halloumi, rocket and homemade pesto! So delish! I have to share the recipe with you when I got the time. This was also a great way to introduce my family to vegetarian cooking. They’re not exactly into food from the plant kingdom so it was nice satisfying their pallets with something else than a meet based dinner. And did you know, they actually loved it ☺
But let’s talk about the appetizer, because that’s the star of the evening. This chioggia beet and goats cheese carpaccio is also vegetarian so I really gave my family a challenge that night. And luckily for me they adored the starter as well, especially my sister who loves the goat cheese- beetroot flavors.
I had high expectations for the carpaccio but it turned out even better than I imagined. It was just perfect! Goat cheese, beets and honey is a classic yet wonderful combo; the addition of julienne raw beets and balsamic vinegar makes this one stand out from the rest. Raw beets actually tastes really good; they have a earthy tone with a slight bitter taste and the texture reminds of raw carrot – crunchy in other words. The cooked beets are softer with a high sweetness and fruity vibes. Combining this two is a nice way of generating both interesting flavors and textures . The chioggia beet also known as candy cane beet or bull’s eye beet does not only taste good, it’s also a joy for the eye. Unfortunately it looses some of its looks when boiled, but the raw one… it’s so pretty with the bursting dark pinkish/purple/red and white stripes.
Do you remember the blog challenge “Månadens gröna”? Well, this is my contribution to this months theme – root veggies. Check out Vibrant Food Stories to read the original post and to find out what Sylwia makes in her kitchen.
And last but not least… This starter beets most others! Haha see what I did there? Pun intended! That’s just my way of saying – Make this amazing appetizer it will make your taste buds tingle.
Chioggia Beet and Goats Cheese Carpaccio – 6 Servings
Nice looking and good tasting! Make use of the amazing ingredients the fall has to offer and throw together this carpaccio. It might be the best starter I have hand in a long while.
600 g chioggia beets (Swedish polkabeta) 6 small ones
200 g soft goats cheese
125 g crème fraiche
15+45 g runny honey
60 g balsamic vinegar
40 g pine nuts
40 g rocket salad
Cook about 500 g of the beets in a pot; cover completely with water, add a pinch of salt and bring up to a boil. Put the lid on and simmer for 20-60 minutes depending on the size of the beets. Check with a toothpick or the tip of a small knife to see if the beets are ready; they should be tender but not mushy when done. Be careful not to poke to many test holes in them since they have a tendency to bleed. Drain the beets and cover with cold water. When cooled down its easy to peel the skin off, most of it will diminish just by rubbing with your hands over the skin, for the tougher parts use a paring knife. Now its time for some cutting action – I find it absolute easiest to use a mandolin for thinly slicing the beets. If you haven’t got a mandolin at hand you can either use a speed peeler, a potato peeler, an osthyvel (cheese slicer) or a good old fashioned knife; it doesn’t really matter what you use just make sure the slices are thin, because that’s the whole point with carpaccio. You could cut them into chunks, but then it’s more of a salad.
Peel the raw beet (about 100 g) as well; this task can not be done just with a little rub with your hands but requires something sturdier like a potato- or a speed peeler. Slice the raw one the same thickness as all the others. Arrange the raw beet slices into a pile and use a chef knife to thinly cut the slices into julienne (thin strips). Put the raw beets in a bowl of cold water to remain their color and make them stay crisp.
Bring 45 g honey and the balsamic vinegar up to a boil and gently simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Mush the goats cheese with a fork until you have a fine crumb. Add crème fraiche, 15 g honey and season with salt and pepper. Stir with the fork until combined, but be careful not to over stir the mixture because crème fraiche has a tendency to become loose and watery.
Roast the pine nuts with a small pinch of salt on medium heat in a dry pan until golden. Toss the nuts around occasionally to make sure they get and even coloring. Set aside and let cool.
Put the cooked sliced beets in the bottom of 6 individual plates or serve it “family style” and use a single big platter. Divide the goat cheese cream over and scatter the julienne beets on top. Add some rocket, roasted pine nuts and drizzle with honey balsamic syrup and olive oil. Add a small pinch of salt flakes and serve.