Golden Goddess-A Warm Salad

Music Pairing: Diana Krall, A Case of You

Story

This one comes as an idea for any of our vegan/vegetarian friends or those who enjoy warm veggie salads.  During a peaceful spring weekend at home, Afa felt like experimenting with available veggies in the fridge.  Her culinary journey has always included fresh vegetables, which are abundant in her native of Azerbaijan.  Root vegetables are a big staple in the Russian cuisine, which was also dominant in her upbringing.  But interestingly, Afa grew up with a strong presence of meat (lamb, mostly, as well as beef and chicken, secondarily) and fish, as a non-negotiable a daily offering, accompanied by vegetables, succulent greens and fragrant grains and legumes.  It would be extremely rare to only have standalone vegetarian meals and in fact, her memory is devoid of any family members or friends being vegetarian or vegan growing up.  For years since coming to the US, Afa continued the omnivore route, eventually transitioning to being a pescatarian and now vegetarian with vegan preferences, slowly departing from the once beloved cheese and eggs.  As she continues to cook and experiment with the ingredients she no longer eats for her adored boys, she is following a separate track in the kitchen to satisfy her tastes.  We named this one the Golden Goddess in honor of one Afa’s (and our) favorite jazz artists, Diana Krall.  Pair this one with a glass of the French Cotes du Rhone and “A Case of You” by Diana Krall (warning: we don’t recommend drinking a whole case at once:)).

Recipe

  • 1 large golden beat (washed/skins peeled and cubed)
  • 8-10 baby potatoes, each cut in half
  • ½ cup red beans, canned or cooked overnight (may use cooked red lentils instead)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of cayenne or Aleppo pepper
  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • About 20 leaves of French mint
  • 1 teaspoon of aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice

DIRECTIONS:

  • In 2 small saucepans, bring water to a gentle boil
  • Add cubed golden beets to one and cut baby potatoes to the other.  Cook both separately (beets should take about 40-45 minutes and potatoes around 25-30)
  • If using canned beans, rinse them in cold water very thoroughly, then warm them on a skillet with a sprinkle of olive oil (otherwise, if pre-soaking, do so for 8 hours overnight and then boil for about 1/5 hours, until tender)
  • For the dressing, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, spices and lime juice well
  • Wash the mint leaves, then mince in food processor well.  Add to the dressing and mix thoroughly
  • Combine the potatoes, golden beets and beans on a skillet, add the dressing and serve warm

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