Wheatless Wednesday – Endive Salad Bites

5

20150324_192857

Appetizers are the little things you keep eating until you lose your appetite. ~ Joe Moore
I don’t know who Joe Moore is but I’m with him on this.  The way I look at it, you might as well make the appetizer as yummy and nutritious as dinner.  This one is sure to satisfy, or at least start your night off on a delicious, healthy and low cal note.  I’m loving the three bite salad!

I was feeling a bit under the weather today, perhaps a result of spending so much time clearing out and planting my garden.  My raging allergies  have turned into a cold and the best remedy for a cold is soup.  So I made a big pot of White Bean and Swiss Chard Soup for dinner last night, which is a personal favorite. It has luscious creaminess without any added cream or thickener. Click on the link for the recipe. I also had some endive from my CSA box that was not yet destined for anything so decided to make salad bites. I am a sucker for foods that have a nice presentation and are easy to eat appetizer style, my kind of eating! Their shape is perfect for stuffing. I just tossed all the salad ingredients with the dressing and piled them up in the endive spear, or boats as I have always thought of them.  Their slight bitterness is offset by the sweetness of the orange and grapes and the creaminess of the avocado and goat cheese.  The vinaigrette is simple but helps to blend the flavors nicely.

20150324_193209

Alternatively, you could julienne the endive and toss the whole thing together as a large salad.  Either way, delicious!

20150324_185940

This is only the second time I can remember using endive.  It definitely won’t be the last.  I thought it was a really tasty salad/appetizer and I will make it again with whatever is in season.  My CSA box came with an informational blurb on endive which I found quite interesting.  Endive is a member of the chicory family (which makes me think of coffee for some reason).  Belgiun endive is grown from chicory roots in a dark environment, which is why their tender leaves are such a light color. I was enthralled, so I googled, and here is what endive looks like growing. You can click on the photo link for the full story on endive.

For their pale complexions, endive are surprisingly nutritious, providing many valuable vitamins and mnerals, including vitamin C, calcium, iron and zinc, among many others.  The biggest surprise is that it is a good source of beta-carotene which we usually attribute to the orange vegetable family.  But that’s not all.  It has more than 50% of the potassium of a banana. Not too bad for our pale friend, the endive.  It also makes a darn good edible appetizer boat.

20150324_185853

ENDIVE SALAD BITES

1 head Belgian endive
1 orange or grapefruit
1 avocado
1/2 cup red grapes
4 scallions, chopped
1/3 cup crumbled goat, gorgonzola or blue cheese
1/3 cup cilantro or parsley, chopped (or more)

Marinade

2 Tbsn olive oil
1 Tbsn balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsn red wine or apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

20150324_190230

  • Cut the ends off orange and remove the peel by cutting in a downward motion going all the way around.  Cut into wheels and then sections.  Place in a large bowl.

20150324_190721

  • Slice grapes and admire their gorgeous jewel toned colors.

20150324_190824

  • place in the bowl with the oranges.

20150324_191511

  • Halve avocado and cut into pieces a similar size to the orange segments.

20150324_191938

  • Add avocado, cilantro, scallions and crumbled goat cheese to the bowl.

20150324_192024

  • Prepare marinade and drizzle over salad sparingly.  You can always drizzle more later and since they are to be eaten by hand, you don’t want them too drippy.

20150324_192857

  • Cut the core end off the endive. Clean by gently wiping both sides with a lightly damp paper towel. Pull off as many leaves as you want to use. The remainder can be stored in the refrigerator under a lightly damp paper towel.Place 1-2 tablespoons of salad into each endive spear.   Arrange on a platter and garish with extra cilantro.

 

Endive Salad Bites

  • Servings: 12 pieces
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

20150324_192857

1 head Belgian endive
1 orange or grapefruit
1 avocado
1/2 cup red grapes
4 scallions, chopped
1/3 cup crumbled goat, gorgonzola or blue cheese
1/3 cup cilantro or parsley, chopped (or more)

Marinade

2 Tbsn olive oil
1 Tbsn balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsn red wine or apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

  • Cut the ends off orange and remove the peel by cutting in a downward motion going all the way around.  Cut into wheels and then sections.  Place in a large bowl.
  • Slice grapes and place in the bowl with the oranges.
  • Halve avocado and cut into pieces a similar size to the orange segments.
  • Add avocado, cilantro and scallions to the bowl.
  • Crumble goat cheese and add to the salad.
  • Cut the core end off the endive. Clean by gently wiping both sides with a lightly damp paper towel. Pull off as many leaves as you want to use. The remainder can be stored in the refrigerator under a lightly damp paper towel.
  • Prepare marinade and drizzle over salad sparingly.  You can always drizzle more later and since they are to be eaten by hand, you don’t want them too messy.
  • Place 1-2 tablespoons of salad into each endive spear.   Arrange on a platter and garish with extra cilantro.

Wheatless Wednesday – Beet and Citrus Salad with Goat Cheese & Pine Nuts

2

20150308_195202
Citrus is here!  I love eating with the seasons, especially when nature provides such colorful abundance.  Right now citrus is at it’s best and, for a short time, blood oranges are available.  So take advantage!  I paired citrus – oranges from my tree, which are surprisingly sweet and juicy this year in spite of the drought we are having in California, blood oranges and grapefruit – with golden and red beets.  This is the time of year for root vegetables as well, and together they make a spectacularly colorful presentation.  Topped with creamy goat cheese, toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of a savory-sweet balsamic vinaigrette, this salad is a sensory delight!

20150304_170849

Beets are funny little root veggies, rather on the homely side with their tough skins and little ‘mouse’ tails (root end) until you cut them open to find their jewel-like interiors.  The greens, on the other hand, can be quite lovely.  So looking at these gorgeous beet greens, I knew I had to  make something with them.  Often I saute them with butter and garlic for a delicious side dish and if you don’t overcook them, they keep their brilliant colors. This time, however, I wanted to make more of a main course.  When I spotted the 10 eggs on my counter fresh from my next door chickens, I decided to make a frittata which did not disappoint.  Recipe will post tomorrow but here is a preview:

20150308_111437

Okay, back to the Beet and Citrus Salad, which actually pairs nicely with the beet top frittata by the way.  The intense colors of this salad are a visual indicator of how nutritious this salad really is.  Roasted beets are rich and intense in flavor but also loaded with vitamins, phytonutrients and antioxidants.  We all know that citrus fruits are a good source of vitamin C but they also contain an impressive list of other essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.

20150308_160126

TIPS AND SUBSTITUTIONS: Beets can be roasted a day or so ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.  I like to sprinkle a bit of micro greens over the top of the salad to add freshness without covering all the bright colors, however, a good alternative would be to place the beets and citrus on a bed of greens. Arugula or baby spinach would be good choices.  Toasted pine nuts add a nice buttery crunch but roasted pistachios would also make a nice alternative. Non goat cheese fans can substitute feta or just omit the cheese and let the vivid colors stand on their own.

20150308_195202

BEET AND CITRUS SALAD WITH GOAT CHEESE

1 bunch red beets(3 large or 4 small)
1 bunch golden beets (3 large or 4 small)
1 orange
2 blood oranges (if available, or substitute any other citrus)
1 pink grapefruit
3 oz goat cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup micro greens (optional)

Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp honey, agave nector or sugar (scant teaspoon or to taste)
1/3 cup olive oil

20150304_171107

  • Cut beet greens from beets leaving a half inch of stem remaining.  Do not cut into the beets.  Rinse, dry and place beets on a square of aluminum foil.  Drizzle with olive oil and close the foil so no steam will escape.

20150304_171305

  • Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour or until they are easy to pierce with a fork.

20150308_154434

  • Let cool.  Using a papertowel, peel the skins from the beets and pinch or cut the beet tops to remove.

20150308_155236

  • Cut the top and bottom off of the orange and the blood oranges, then cut  downward to remove the peel and pith and work your way around the fruit.

20150308_155734

  •  Slice into rings

20150308_175632

  • Repeat the process with the grapefruit, except that once the peel and pith are removed, use your knife to separate the tough membrane from the segments.  For my wordsmith friends, these membrane free sections are called ‘supremes’ and they are worth the extra work.

20150308_171540

  • Dry toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet until golden brown and aromatic, several minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.

20150308_160126

  • Slice the beets into rounds and place on a serving dish.  Top with citrus and micro greens.

20150308_180333

  • Sprinkle with goat cheese and pine nuts

20150308_195202

  • Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together and drizzle over beet and citrus.

Beet and Citrus Salad with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

20150308_195202

1 bunch red beets(3 large or 4 small)
1 bunch golden beets (3 large or 4 small)
1 orange
2 blood oranges (if available, or substitute any other citrus)
1 pink grapefruit
3 oz goat cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup micro greens (optional)

Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp honey, agave nector or sugar (scant teaspoon or to taste)
1/3 cup olive oil

  • Cut beet greens from beets leaving an inch remaining.  Do not cut into the beets.  Rinse, dry and place beets on a square of aluminum foil.  Drizzle with olive oil and close the foil so no steam will escape.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour or until they are easy to pierce with a fork.
  • Let cool.  Using a papertowel, peel the skins from the beets and pinch or cut the beet tops to remove.
  • Cut the top and bottom off of the orange and the blood oranges, then cut  downward to remove the peel and pith and work your way around the fruit.  Then cut into rings
  • Repeat the process with the grapefruit, except that once the peel and pith are removed, use your knife to separate the tough membrane from the segments.
  • Dry toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet until golden brown and aromatic, several minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Slice the beets into rounds and place on a serving dish
  • Top with citrus
  • Sprinkle with micro greens, goat cheese and pine nuts
  • Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together and drizzle over beet and citrus.