Gingered Beet and Berry Salad

beetsalad (2)

gingered beet and berry salad photo by vsimon

This is intense.

Intense flavor- sweet and spicy. A cool salad with a hit of hot ginger.

Intense color- red beets and red raspberries.

Intense texture- crunchy grated raw roots.

Intense nutrition- click on each ingredient in the recipe below for in depth information from The World’s Healthiest Foods website.

Garden fresh.

Beets, beets, beets. I ask myself, “What new can we do with the beets, just pulled from the garden?” 

Blue cheese, goat cheese, roasted. Been there, done that. And I have to say, I loved all of it, but I don’t have any cheese today and it is much too hot to turn the oven on for an hour.

And we have so many raspberries. There is a chunk of ginger root in the fridge. OK, let’s see what we can do with these.

Don’t have fresh ginger root?

I respectfully say, “Get some.”

Just a few fragrant gratings perk up anything it is added to, sweet or savory. It isn’t expensive and lasts a long time. A chunk of fresh ginger root in the veggie drawer of the fridge is as useful as jars of pickles in the pantry.  And it is amazingly healthful.

Ginger root grows with finger like projections. At the store, you can break off as much as you need. If you are a ginger virgin, start with a knob just an inch or two long.

Gingered Beet and Berry Salad

serves 4

4 small beets, 1-1/2 to 2” in diameter

1 cup raspberries

2 tablespoons honey

4 crossways slices of ginger root,  each 1/4” thick

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Hold onto the stems of the beets and using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the beets.

Grate beets using a box or plane grater, into a small bowl.

Or use a mini food processor. Transfer beets to a small mixing bowl.

I have shaved them using a ribbon microplane. This works too, and you get a softer texture. I prefer more crunch.

In a mini food processor, puree 1/2 cup of berries, honey and ginger root together. Note: this is a lot of ginger. You can start with half as much as the recipe calls for if you are a bit timid.

Add raspberry ginger mixture to grated beets. Mix thoroughly. Chill until ready to serve.

Right before serving, garnish with the remaining whole berries and walnuts.

What is your favorite beet recipe?

What do you do with fresh ginger root?

8-3-2010 This recipe is included in the July Grow Your Own #43 recipe round up at Kitchen Gadget Girl Cooks. Check out what yummy things people around the world are growing and cooking.

Quinoa Salmon Salad with Fresh Lemon and Dill

quinoa salmon  dill lemon salad

quinoa salmon lemon and dill salad photo by vsimon

It’s too hot to cook!

Luckily, I have some leftover salmon from yesterday. What to do with it?

Quinoa is quick on the stovetop, it won’t heat up the kitchen.  I have lemons and celery in the fridge. Dried tomatoes in the freezer. And lots of fresh dill in the garden.

Quinoa colors

White, red, black, purple, orange? I have used white and red, the only difference is the color. Any color would work here, use whatever you have.

Wild or farm raised salmon?

There is only one answer for me, wild caught Alaskan salmon. Click on the link for a thorough review of all the issues at World’s Healthiest Foods website.

Lemons 1, 2, or 3?

You choose. Are you timid, or do you like lots of tangy lemon flavor? Are you making this to serve right away, or for tomorrow?

We like sharp, fresh lemon flavor and heady aroma. Personally, I almost don’t think you can get too much. And the flavor fades over time. So I made this with the zest and juice of two lemons for tonight. And will add the zest and juice of a third lemon before I serve the leftovers tomorrow.

I buy fresh lemons by the bag, not one at a time. Don’t even bother with that insipid bottled juice. And add fresh zest to anything that calls for juice.

And I hope you know, fresh lemons are a great way to add flavor to foods without adding a whole bunch of salt.

Dried tomatoes?

Yep, that is what I have. Dried from last years garden. Red, yellow and orange tomatoes. I know they look like colored bell peppers in the picture, but they are tomatoes. Come to think of it, sweet peppers would be good in this salad, but I didn’t have any.

I keep our thin dried tomatoes in the freezer because they are crispy and easy to break up into smaller pieces by hand. At room temp they are leathery and I need to cut them with a knife or scissors.

Our crop of garden tomatoes won’t be ripe until August. But by all means, use fresh tomatoes if you have good ones. I would stir in about 1 cup diced raw tomatoes at the end. Don’t cook them with the quinoa.

Fresh dill

Dill is a two-fer. The seeds and the soft feathery green fronds each have their purpose. Use the fronds here. Vince puts whole seed spays in jars of pickles. They are pretty and add flavor there.

Go ahead, plant this fragrant herb in your garden. Dill is so easy, you will only have to do it once. You will get volunteers every year after.

Sow a few seeds it in the veggie or the flower garden. It quickly grows about three feet high, with a starburst of seeds at the top.

If you can’t find a packet of seeds, just buy dill seeds in the spice aisle and plant them.

Dried dill weed works well in this recipe too. It is mild, don’t be afraid to use a few tablespoons. But you will miss out on the distinctive fragrance of fresh stalks.

Fresh herbs are another great help to add flavor without lots of salt too.

Quinoa Salmon Salad with Lemon and Dill

1 cup quinoa

2 cups of water

1/4 cup dried tomatoes, chopped

1/4 pound cooked salmon, flaked

1/2 cup diced celery

1, 2, or 3 fresh lemons, zest and juice

1/2 cup chopped fresh dill weed, soft fronds only

salt to taste

Check the quinoa package to see if you need to rinse it before cooking. Many kinds are now prewashed, saving you a step.

Add quinoa, water and dried tomatoes to a saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes. Then cover the pan and let stand for 15 more minutes. It always comes out fluffy, not mushy this way.

Spread the quinoa tomato mixture on a rimmed sheet pan to cool quickly.

When cool, transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add celery and dill.

Add the zest and juice of as many lemons as you like. Toss to mix thoroughly. Taste and chill until ready to serve.

Flower garnish

Did you notice the nasturtiums in the photo above? They are from our garden too, and edible. The flowers are bright, beautiful and peppery. They provide a surprising kick of heat. They are easy to grow in full sun, flowering all summer long.