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Archive for February 8, 2014

RECIPE: Stuffed Baked Potatoes With Beets & Feta

Here’s an easy Valentine dish: baked potato filled with beets and feta, with a refreshing mint salad on the side. The idea is to stuff the baked potato with beets and feta instead of sour cream and chives.

Love Beets, which developed this recipe, likes to serve it with a protein of choice and a mint salad. It takes only 10 minutes of prep time, plus an hour-plus to bake the potatoes.

If you don’t want a side salad of mint, you can use the leaves in the beet and feta salad; or substitute another herb chiffonade with the beets and feta (basil is a good choice).

Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 large baking potatoes, scrubbed & pricked with a fork
  • Optional: butter
  •  
    For The Salad

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon superfine or regular table sugar
  •  

    Baked potato stuffed with beets and feta. Photo courtesy LoveBeets.com.

  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Small bunch fresh mint, leaves destemmed and chopped roughly
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 packs* traditional cooked beets, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • Handful black olives (optional)
  • 11 ounces (about 1-1/3 cups) feta cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes
  •  
    *Precooked Love Beets are 8 ounces per package, for a total 16 ounces of beets. You can also use canned beets.
     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake for 1¼ to 1½ hours until soft when pierced with a fork. Alternatively, you can par-cook in a microwave on high for 10-15 minutes, then put in the oven to finish baking, reducing the cooking time accordingly.

    2. MAKE the salad: Whisk together the oil, vinegar and sugar in a large bowl. Season to taste with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. Use 2 teaspoons to lightly dress the mint. If you don’t want a side salad of mint, make a chiffonade of some of the leaves, to taste, and add them to the beet salad along with the feta, in step 4.

    3. TOAST the pine nuts in a dry frying pan until golden brown. Add to the salad dressing, along with the beets, onion and black olives. Set aside for the flavors to mingle.

    4. MIX the feta cheese into the salad just before serving. Cut open each baked potato with an X, breaking up the inside a bit with a fork (add a little butter if desired). Spoon the beet and feta salad into the potatoes and serve immediately.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Rose Cocktails For Your Valentine

    cocktails-with-flowers-chandon-230

    Toast your Valentine with a rose cocktail. If
    you can’t find organic rose petals for garnish,
    any edible flowers will do. Photo courtesy
    Chandon.

     

    In the Middle East, rose is a more popular flavor than chocolate. It’s used in beverages, candies, cookies and other baked goods, ice cream, jam and sorbet. The flower petals are turned into syrup. The flavor is quite glorious, and it’s a perfect pairing with sparkling wine.

    Beyond Middle Eastern and Indian markets, there’s not much rose-flavored food in the U.S. (we occasionally find rose marshmallows at fine confectioners). But rose is a flavor that fits right in with Valentine’s Day, and fashionable mixologists create menus of rose syrup-accented cocktails.

    WHAT IS ROSE SYRUP?

    Rose syrup is rose water with sugar added—essentially, rose-flavored simple syrup. Rose water itself is distilled from rose petals as a by-product of the rose oil (attar of roses) produced for perfumes.

    First distilled by Muslim chemists in medieval times, both rose syrup and rose water add a subtle rose flavor and aroma to sweet foods. You can use rose water and sugar in beverages, but for confections and baked goods you need syrup, which won’t dilute the batter, dough, etc.

     

    ROSE COCKTAILS

    Our favorite, easy rose cocktail is a Champagne Cocktail sweetened with rose syrup instead of the conventional sugar cube. There’s a Rose Martini recipe below. You can create other cocktails, or add the syrup to club soda for a mocktail.

    You can buy rose syrup in pink or clear hues, or make your own from rose water. You can whip it up in about 10 minutes and color it as light or deep rose as you like. If, after the first batch, you want even more rose flavor, exchange the tap water for more rose water.

    If you decide to distill your own rose water from rose petals (our friends with a large rose garden like to do this), note that only dark red roses impart much color; you may have to supplement with food color.
     

    RECIPE: ROSE SYRUP (ROSE SIMPLE SYRUP)

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup rose water
  • Red food coloring as desired
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BRING the water to a boil. Add the sugar and dissolve, stirring constantly. When completely dissolved, remove the pan from the heat. Do not over-boil.

    2. ADD red food color as desired.

    3. COOL, then store in an airtight container in the fridge.

     

    RECIPE: ROSE MARTINI

    Ingredients For 1 Cocktail

  • 2 ounces gin or vodka
  • 1 ounce dry vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon rose-infused simple syrup
  • 3 dashes bitters (especially grapefruit or orange
    bitters
    )
  • Ice cubes
  • Garnish: organic rose petals*, raspberries,
    strawberries or lemon twist
  •  
    Preparation

    1. ADD ingredients including ice to a cocktail shaker. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

    2. Garnish and serve.
     
    MORE VALENTINE COCKTAIL RECIPES

     

    rose-simple-syrup-royalroseny.bigcartel-230

    Rose syrup. Photo courtesy Royal Rose Syrups.

     

    *Rose petals or other flowers used for garnish must be organic—not sprayed with chemical pesticides.

      

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