Today was a dreary, drizzly spring day in Portland. The sky never brightened, the crisp air smelled like homey fireplaces, and I spent the whole day wishing I could curl up in a fuzzy blanket with a mug of hot cocoa. Alas, stuck in the house with a toddler, I had to spend my day entertaining him, but I wanted to make something satisfying and easy for dinner.
My husband was in Seattle on business again, so I knew I'd be having dinner alone. Despite my foodie tendencies, I tend to opt for bachelor food when my husband is out of town- frozen pizza (the shame!), macaroni and cheese, anything easy. I just hate cooking for myself, and my son doesn't care WHAT we eat, as long as it's some kind of noodle, cheese, or chunky mess. Most of my enjoyment of food comes from sharing it with people I care about, so when I am stuck eating alone, I'm always uninspired. This morning, though- maybe it was the weather, maybe it was just knowing I hadn't blogged in awhile (haha) but I felt like doing something a little less lazy than usual. I roasted some beets first thing in the morning, planning to use them in a salad.
I should always buy a huge amount of beets at once, because whenever I roast them, I end up wanting to eat the whole bowl at once, still warm from the oven. I showed some restraint today and only ate a handful. I think everyone has their own way of roasting beets, but if you've never done it before, it can sound kind of weird and intimidating. I never used to roast vegetables because it never crossed my mind that it was the EASIEST THING IN THE WORLD. I would always just steam or fry whatever veggies I wanted to eat. But I still remember the first time I tasted a roasted beet. I was 21 and my friends brought over a bunch of beets to snack on. I had no idea they were so earthy and complex- before that my only experience with beets had been the canned variety- yuck.
The only thing I do with my beets when I roast them is wrap them up with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Today I realized after I checked on them that I'd forgotten to oil and season them, haha! I just tossed in a dollop of oil, some salt & pepper, and they came out fine. Roast peeled, sliced or rough-chopped beets at 350ºf for about an hour and a half, depending on the size and quantify. Today I wrapped mine in parchment paper because I was out of foil, and I'll probably do parchment from now on. Aluminum foil kinda weirds me out.
My enormous restraint paid off. I made a simple salad using mixed greens that I bought in bulk from the market down the street, a little tomato, the beet slices, and crumbled some more of that AMAZING Rogue Creamery Smokey Blue Cheese that I picked up at the farmer's market awhile ago. I can't rave enough about this cheese. It's got that amazing blue cheese flavor and a hint of smoke that evens it out and makes it taste so smooth, you can just pop it in your mouth like any old snack cheese. So, so amazing with chilled beets.
Even better, I found a friend to come have dinner with me! My good friend Meg, who also happens to be one of my favorite painters works down the street on Wednesdays, so it worked out perfectly. I gave her a call right as she was getting off work, she popped in, and we chowed down on some amazing beet salads. Served with the perfect comfort food: Spaghetti with Italian sausage, browned in the pan and then finished with red sauce.
Now can someone hook us up with some more summer weather? I love the rain, but shouldn't we be barbecuing by now?