Monday, January 27, 2014

cook the mag: bon appetit's beet salad with miso + black sesame

I’ve had a sweet tooth for as long as I can remember. It became more intense with my first pregnancy and by the time my second son came around, well, I couldn’t walk past a bakery without stopping in and buying something. I have self-restraint in some areas, but this is not one of them.
It’s been 2 ½ years since I gave birth to Theodore and I still have a pretty intense desire for a daily sugar hitevidenced by the fact that almost everyone who works at a bakery, pastry shop, cupcake store, or donut plant near my home knows me by name. Within a minute of walking through the door I’ll hear “Oh hey, Batya. How was your trip?” or “Did that biscotti come out right?” or “Is Otis feeling better? I hope so…” and knowing that I’ve been looking for a good deal on a mid-century modern piece I’ll get asked, “Did you find that credenza for the dining room?” It’s possible that I’m a little bit too regular, a bit too familiar,  at some of the local establishments selling sweets.
That said, I can’t and I won’t give them up. But I am determined to get a bit more balance back into my diet. I cook a lot and there aren't a ton of preservatives in the foods I eat, but I've kind of lost my way a little bitI feel more lethargic and sluggish than usual. Some of this I attribute to the exhaustion that comes with raising two young boys. Game of Thrones marathons that run well into the night don't help either (I need more sleep!). But I just haven't been eating right and that causes drag too. I know it, I really do. I'm keenly aware that when I eat well I feel better. So I've started picking up juices at a fabulous local place my friend introduced me to (and I joke that I'm "juicing"-- not in the hey-my-neck-is-gonna-disappear-athlete sort of way but in the cold-pressed-raw-vegetable-and-fruit sort of way) and I'm incorporating lots of super foods into my diet.

As I celebrated my 38th year on this Earth, I made myself a promise that I’d add more salads to my repertoire and treat them as meals (which I rarely do) and if I really crave something sweet then I will walk to get it…but maybe only once a week. Two times, tops! For now, let there be salad...

Beet Salad with Miso + Black Sesame  (Courtesy of Bon Appetit Magazine) 

         6 small beets (about 1 lb.), preferably golden, scrubbed, divided
         3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
         Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
         ¼ cup white miso
         2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
         1 bunch watercress, trimmed
         1 teaspoon black sesame seeds or toasted white sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 400° F. Place 4 beets on a large piece of foil and rub with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and close up foil around beets. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender. Bon Appetit says 30–40 minutes but mine took about 1 hour and 10 minutes (maybe because I used larger beets) until they were tender.

Unwrap beets and let cool slightly.  Peel and cut into ½” wedges.

Meanwhile, whisk miso, vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Set dressing aside.

Thinly slice remaining 2 raw beets on a mandoline. 

Arrange watercress and roasted and raw beets on a platter and drizzle with reserved dressing; top with sesame seeds.

Do Ahead: Beets can be roasted 2 days ahead. Cover separately and chill.
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  1. Thanks for posting this recipe! We all LOVED it! I almost took my finger off slicing the raw beets so thin because I didn't have a mandolin-- but it was worth it :)

    1. So glad you liked the Bon Appetit salad...we did too! And I'd really recommend getting a mandolin- they are cheap, useful and they might save that finger next time :) I was gifted one a few months ago and it's become my go-to kitchen tool after my immersion blender. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Awesome and interesting salad! Everyone loved it.

    1. Glad to hear it Robin! I'm thinking of starting a series called "Saturday Salads" - which will encourage (force!) me to try new and interesting salads. Enjoy!

  3. Love this piece, Batya! That second photo is beautiful and is seriously making me crave my greens this afternoon! My go-to place for guilty indulgences is Pajama Baking Company on Pearl Street and, of course, Devil's Food Bakery and Cookery. Baaaaaaad news! ;-)

    1. Haha! Hi Jayme! Thanks for the compliment and the comment. I'm really getting into the greens-- which is sometimes hard in the winter because all I want it comfort food...I have much better energy since I've started incorporating more salads into the repertoire. That said, let's meet up at either one of those places when I get back from NYC! Stay warm, it's frigid our there! xo

  4. Hi Batya,
    I love miso and beets. What a great combo idea! And so colorful. Thanks,