If you’re a parent, you know the feeling when you hear someone else is having a baby.
Smiles. There’s always lots of smiles. And hugs. Hugs all around.
And then there’s that 10 second shock from nerve endings going on high alert with your own memories of nervousness, wonderment and anxiety about whether or not you’re ready—or capable—to bring a little bootied being into the world. If you’re a woman, there’s also the little nick in the back of your brain of whether you’ll be able to weather the delivery room drama.
Just as quickly, anxiety gives way to the feeling of excitement as the memories of the first time you nuzzled your own little munchkin in that spot of his or her neck, right behind the ear, breathing in that special scent that only newborns possess.
Love seeps its way into your bloodstream and, suddenly, whether you wanted it, craved it or were apathetic about it, you’re now a parent.
And this baby is all yours.
Today, this recipe is in celebration of a dear friend who is having her own baby. It’s a virtual baby shower for Erin, of Naturally Ella.
Erin and her husband Mike’s delivery is due any day now and I’m betting like any first-time mom, Erin’s to-do list runneth over.
Erin has more than just baby baking on her plate. As a food blogger, Erin creates healthy, vegetarian and totally whole food based recipes. As an author, she is busy promoting the debut of her second cookbook The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen. You’ll be seeing my interview with her and a recipe from the book soon. And she’s also one part of Wooden Spoons Kitchen, the company who designed this very blog.
This salad is my contribution to Erin’s virtual baby shower from a smattering of her food blogging friends. It’s not your traditional leafy-green salad, instead it features a ton of texture and big chunky bites.
About the recipe
I first had a version of this salad at a favorite Salt Lake City restaurant, Copper Kitchen. Instead of the fried goat cheese balls I use in my version, they serve their rendition with a swath of ricotta cheese. Certainly delicious in it’s original form, but as usual, I had to go and do something different.
While I love ricotta, I decided to replace Copper Kitchen’s ricotta cheese with fried goat cheese for crunch and tang. Like little cheesy crouton bombs. When frying the cheese balls, be sure to watch that oil temperature. I’ve found 350 degrees allows the outside to crisp without burning while the cheese gets warmed in the center and a little to ooze out of the crust.
I flour, egg and bread crumb the balls twice. This gives them a nice crunchy shell.
This salad has lots of layers of varying texture. Creamy avocado. Earthy roasted beets. The crunch of pistachios that do me in every time.
The roasted beets give the salad body. I roasted Chiogga and yellow beets for color and purchased roasted red beets from Trader Joes. A mix of me, myself and I and store-bought convenience. That’s how I like it.
I give you the directions on how to roast your own beets below, but if you’re not into roasting beets or simply don’t have the time, you can certainly use all store bought if you want. I saw that Costco is also carrying them in their refrigerator section.
- 8-10 beets, I used a mix of red beets, yellow beets and chiogga beets
- ⅓ large shallot, peeled and sliced thin
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of salt
- 6 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
- 1 egg
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- 2-3 cups canola oil
- 1 avocado, cut in half and seeded
- ¼ cup shelled pistachios or pistachio meat
- Microgreens for garnish
- Snipped chives for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Wash and trim the beets and pat dry. Place the beets in foil, making packets of 3-4 beets per packet. Drizzle with some olive oil and kosher salt. Wrap the beets tightly and place on a baking sheet then bake for 40 minute to 1 hour or until tender. Remove from the oven, unwrap and set aside to cool.
- Once cool, rub the skin of the beets off the cooked beet. Using a paper towel sometimes makes this easier. Cut the beets into quarters or chunks and place in a bowl. Set aside.
- Place the sliced shallot in a small food processor and chop finely. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sugar and whiz to combine until the dressing is thickened and the shallots are minced fine. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour ⅔ of the dressing over the beets to marinate until plating.
- Remove the seed from the halved avocado and scoop ¼ of the avocado out with a spoon so you have large chunks. Continue with the rest of the avocado and set aside.
- Roll the goat cheese into small balls about the size of a large gumball. Gather three shallow bowls and place flour in one bowl, whisk egg in another bowl and place the bread crumbs in the remaining bowl. Dredge a goat cheese ball first in flour, then egg and then in the bread crumbs. Repeat flour, egg and bread crumb steps one more times. Set aside and repeat with the rest of the cheese balls.
- Fry cheese balls in batches of three or four at a time for about 2 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
- Plate the marinated beets with the avocado chunks and the fried cheese balls that have been sliced in half or kept whole. Drizzle with the remaining shallot dressing and a sprinkling of microgreens, chopped pistachios and snipped chives. Season with additional kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper if desired. Can be served immediately or at room temperature.
Bloggers for Babies
Following are links to the rest of gals holding up their whisks and forks in baby celebrating today. Follow along on Instagram or post your own versions of these dishes by tagging #showerforerin.
The Fauxmartha | A Pasta Dish for Busy Hands
A Couple Cooks | Breakfast Parfait with Roasted Strawberries
Edible Perspective | Avocado Pesto Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
Eat This Poem | Penne with Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula
Cookie and Kate | Brussels Sprouts Pizza
The Bojon Gourmet | Tempeh BLTs with Avocado + Chipotle Mayonnaise
Girl Versus Dough | Spiced Lentils with Poached Eggs
Dolly and Oatmeal | Chickpea Bean Bowl with Toasted Bread Crumbs and Dill Tahini
Food Loves Writing | Erin’s Veggie Burgers
With Food + Love | Creamy Polenta with Crispy Beets
London Bakes | Ricotta Gnocchi with Wild Garlic and Pistachio Pesto
Flourishing Foodie | Glazed Tofu with Ramen
This Homemade Life | Chickpea Greek Salad
My Name is Yeh | Creamed Spinach
Brooklyn Summer | One-Pot Pasta Primavera
Happy baby shower Erin! Can’t wait to see the new babe. XO, H.
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