Sunday, July 02, 2006

Cold Cuts

After this morning's rain and cooler weather, the sun came out and heated the air sufficiently to make a cold supper sound just right.

Good thing I planned it that way!

Having found some beautiful beets at the farmers' market yesterday, I searched through Local Flavors to find an intriguing new recipe to try and discovered one for beet "caviar" with Belgian endive and goat cheese. So while we browsed the aisles at West Point Market, I kept my eyes open for fresh Belgian endive and a nice little lump of tangy goat cheese.


The goat cheese in question, Purple Haze, is one I had seen before and been tempted to try, but I had not followed that impulse until today. The cheese includes lavender and fennel pollen, a combination that sounded like it might go well with the rest of the caviar ingredients, and I was pretty certain that I would have plenty left over to enjoy on good bread.

The beets, first steamed and then peeled and chopped, are intended to be mixed with a little red onion (I used one of my red spring onions), a dash of vinegar (none other than last year’s borage-dill), and fresh parsley. The recipe indicated that the dish should be presented in parts and then mixed at the table.

I can see why. First you have very distinct colors and textures, and then... exquisitely vibrant purplish-pink confetti of vegetables and cheese, perfect for spooning onto fresh locally-produced whole wheat pita wedges.

The combination of flavors ended up being quite tasty, but I confess that the whole concoction was a little rich and overwhelming for me. (I'm still learning to like beets, you see.) Still, it was definitely worth a try.

Perhaps I had too much creaminess in the dinner overall, since I had started off the meal with a radish and kohlrabi borani, a Persian dish with yogurt, walnuts, and fresh herbs (mint, basil, and dill in this case).

I've had this dish before and like it very much for warm weather, since the creamy yogurt (well drained) balances the crunch of the fresh vegetables, the bite of fresh garlic, and the mixture of fresh herbs (all from my garden). It, too, makes a nice dip for whole wheat pita, though I could probably line a pita with lettuce and spoon the borani into it for a tasty sandwich.

Even though the whole meal was probably a bit much (I don't like to eat as much in warm weather), it was still very satisfying, both in taste and in the quantity of local food used. Only the goat cheese, endive, and yogurt were not from the farmers' market or my herb garden.

And that makes me feel very good, indeed.


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