Thursday, September 18, 2014

Roasted Beets Salad

I've always heard about beets but have never tried them until fairly recently. The things I heard about them were always mixed; some say it's wonderful and tasty, while others swear it's disgusting. For a food to be so polarizing, I reasoned it must be one of those love-it-or-hate-it types--like cilantro (love!) or liver (also love!) So to be safe, I avoided trying beets and waited for an opportunity where my first beet experience would be optimal (I don't even know what that meant).

One day, I was having lunch with my friend Christina at the restaurant Park & Sixth in Jersey City. A roasted beets salad was on the menu and both Christina and our waiter were gung-ho about it. I was less enthusiastic, and told them about my reservations. It was then explained to me that the beets that a lot of people find disgusting are usually pickled beets (it even sounds gross) but that roasted beets are rather wonderful.

Fast forward to a finished lunch and a full belly, I was now a beet-lover! It was wonderful. Sweet, earthy, and with a meaty bite, roasted beets were delicious.

When I recounted my discovery to another friend, Coco, she heartily echoed my new-found love for beets and said she makes a roasted beets salad that she loves. I knew right away I had to learn the recipe, I needed beets in my life! And the result is no disappointment, this roasted beets salad recipe is easy and delicious. If you're a first-timer when it comes to beets, I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Weekend In Big Sur

Phew! I needed a full week after Labor Day weekend to decompress from traveling and get back to my routine at home. Now that things are back in order, let me share with you some snippets from my trip :)

We flew into SFO on Friday night and on Saturday, drove down to Salinas for a pre-wedding lunch at the groom's family home. They live in a beautiful hacienda style home, I loved the warm terra cotta floor tiles throughout and ample use of exposed natural wood. It was welcoming and relaxed, made even more so by the gracious and hospitable hosts.

There was no shortage of drinks and good food. We literally ate for hours.

[ The groom's own home-brewed and aged cocktails ]

[ Juicy and sweet home-grown tomatoes, served simply and perfectly with olive oil and basil ]

[ Just a few of the many things that went into my belly ]

[ Creamy and delightful, mixed berry trifles ready to be devoured ]

[ Sadie the springer spaniel taking the lead on nap time ]

After we ate, drank, and napped to our satisfaction, we headed further down the coast to Carmel, where we'd be staying for the rest of the weekend. Getting to our--what I call--"mountain-top, ocean-side" abode was a trip in itself.

We first had to drive through a forest of redwood trees, beautiful and towering above us. As we ascended out of the forested canyon, the road became more and more narrow and the pavement gave way to lose dirt. The single lane dirt path snaked its way uphill in a series of hairpin turns and with more bumps than on a mogul slope. Thank God our rental car was a SUV! I don't think we could've made it otherwise.

But the view at the top was SO worth it.

The wrap-around deck allowed amazing views straight to the ocean. It was the perfect place for a cup of tea in the morning while birds sang to the sunrise. In the evenings, the views were even more stunning as the sunset painted the sky and the mist rolled in. Aside from the vista, the house itself was just as charming.

[ The house was surrounded by an abundance of fragrant lavender ]

[ evening comes ]

Thanks for a beautiful weekend, Big Sur! I will miss your sun, sky, and waters until we meet again.