I am spending the week with my best friend Emma, house sitting for her parents in the Texas hill country. And it is spring time! Emma is my oldest friend (besides that sister of mine of course), she was one and I was three when we struck up our friendship, and it has only grown with time. She is a dear friend. Buttercups and bluebonnets are beginning to bloom and our weather is perfect, breezy and wonderful. Emma is a vegetarian, so I made her this dinner, and she really liked it! The spicy beets were really well complimented with the tangy goat cheese and toasty walnuts. I also found the gently caramelized shallots a sweet relief from the heat. Plus I served us some olive oil grilled bolillos and a simple salad of mixed greens and fresh pear with balsamic; it made for a nice springtime dinner. —Helenthenanny
beets, mine were big fellas
whole grain mustard
tuong ot toi viet nam chili garlic sauce
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put the whole beets on a sheet pan lined with foil and parchment (or a silpat if you prefer) and fill shallowly with water. Bake for forty-five minutes.
While the beets are roasting up, prepare the spicy glaze by combining the whole grain mustard, chili garlic paste, and honey into a small bowl. Set aside.
When forty-five minutes are almost up, peel and quarter the shallots, then put them into a plastic bag with the three tablespoons of room temperature butter and the 1/3 cup brown sugar. Close up the bag and shake like its Shake n Bake!
After forty-five minutes or so, take the beets out of the oven. As soon as you can muster the courage, peel away, then chop into rather small chunks. Empty out the fuscia beet water from the sheet pan, but do keep it nearby because we will be using it soon. I was hungry, so I waited about thirty seconds before I started peeling them beets. Emma looked at me from over the top of her advertising research paper to ask, "doesn't that hurt?" She was very impressed with my skills.
Return the beet chunks back to the sheet pan, but only let them cover one half of the pan. Pour the chili garlic, mustard, honey mixture over the beets and gently massage until they are thoroughly coated. Next, put the walnuts in the middle of the sheet pan. Last, put your buttery, sugary shallots on the remaining area of the pan. Season everything with a good pinch of salt. Then, return to the oven for fifteen minutes or so, until the shallots are cooked through, the walnuts are toasty, and the beets are tender. I like putting everything on one pan like this because the flavors meld into the walnuts in a subtle and very yummy way. Also, its less to have to clean!
Serve the beets and walnuts with goat cheese crumbles and keep the shallots nearby as a sweet garnish.