I discovered at a rather young age that I am the kind of person who gets hit by a javelin in gym class (as an aside, it turns out, I'm also the kind of girl who would date someone who hit her with a javelin). I'm also the kind of person who has to go to prom on crutches after a midnight game of kick the can took an ugly turn. You'd think with all of that I wouldn't be surprised at the damage I've done to my ankle; but it turns out, no Most Accident Prone caption under your yearbook picture can prepare you for the words "may never improve." Which is, sadly, exactly what the surgeon told me at my appointment on Monday. And so, after a year of braces, crutches, casts, wraps, physical therapy and pain, I have no clue what to do next. Except maybe cook.
from Tyler Florence
3 medium beets (each one I got was a smidge smaller than a tennis ball)
4 T olive oil plus more for drizzling
2 sprigs each of marjoram, thyme, oregano (like I have marjoram)
kosher salt and black ground pepper
4 slices bacon (I used turkey bacon, the original recipe calls for pancetta) chopped into small pieces
1/2 log goat cheese
2-3 cups good crusty bread cut into 1" squares
juice from 1/2 a lemon
juice from 1/2 an orange
1/4 C honey (you can probably cut this down a bit)
2 T balsamic
1/2 C dates, chopped (buy them pitted, you'll be happier)
1/3 bag spinach, stems removed, rinsed and patted dry.
Preheat your oven to 475 F. Peel your beets and chop into pieces. Do NOT wear or touch anything of value or it will turn pinky red. Place your beets on a sheet pan that you've covered with aluminum foil. Split your shallots in half lengthwise, but don't remove the skin. Add them to the foil. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 40 minutes. You can probably check after 30, depending on how small you cut the pieces. Mine were like this:
While they're baking, cook your bacon until crisp and set aside. Also, mix up the dressing. In a large bowl, combine the honey, lemon juice, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, 4 T olive oil, salt and pepper and stir well.
If you have a toaster oven (or second oven), you can cook the bread at the same time as the beets, or if not, do the bread ahead of time. Place the chunks of bread on a cookie sheet or baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Cook for 10 minutes on 350.
When your beets are done, cut them into bite sized pieces and remove the skins from the shallots.
To make the salad, combine the spinach, dates, bread cubes, beets, shallots (skins removed now), bacon and toss very gently with the dressing. Remember the beets want to turn everything red, so be very gentle. Add the goat cheese at the end by crumbling over the top. Unless you want pink goat cheese, don't stir anymore.