Maui Girl Cooks

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” Luciano Pavarotti


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A Delicious Bowl of Beans

Before getting into the nitty gritty of garbanzo beans, which I love, I want to pass along information on a couple of free online classes.  Go to Craftsy, and check out their free mini-classes.  I don’t know if these classes are forever free, or if  just a current special, but it’s worth checking into.  What I have watched of the knife skills class so far, about 30 minutes, has been interesting and helpful.  I’m also signed up for a free class called Perfect Pizza at Home, with Peter Reinhart {The Bread Baker’s Apprentice author} as the helm as instructor.  I have not started that class yet {where does my time go???}. Reinhart is also teaching a class {not free} called Artisan Bread Making, which I have started; so far it’s great!

Beans are on many people’s lists of healthy foods; they are full of fiber, both soluble and insoluble, and they taste great.  There is something very satisfying about cooking a pot of beans.  I can’t put my finger on it, but for me, it’s in the same vein as baking yeast bread.  The kinesthetic aspect of making bread isn’t present in cooking beans, but a pot of well-seasoned beans can make your house smell wonderful, and they make for some mighty fine eating.  Cooking a pot of beans can take about the same amount of time as baking bread, but it is hands-off time for the most part, which is nice.  Think of all the things you can get done while your beans are slowly simmering and bubbling away on the stove.  Many people think that beans are too much trouble because they need to be soaked overnight and their cooking time is less than speedy. . . fast food they are not.  Beans will cook faster if soaked overnight, but they do not have to be soaked.  Rarely do I think about cooking beans tomorrow.  Rather, I get up in the morning and decide to cook some beans.  The age of your beans has something to do with how quickly they cook, with fresher beans cooking more quickly.

I find all beans delicious {except maybe black-eyed peas, but I’m trying}, but my favorite bean is the garbanzo bean, also known as the chickpea.  I didn’t eat them as a kid though.  My mom used to buy canned chickpeas, and I wouldn’t touch them because I thought the name sounded gross.  Maybe that’s why I prefer calling them garbanzo beans.  I like them because they are so versatile and tasty with the flavors that I find totally irresistible {Middle Eastern flavors in particular}.  Anyway, now I eat them in a variety of ways.

  • There’s always hummus, especially with homemade pita bread or fresh fennel.
  • Garbanzos are great on top of a green salad.
  • Falafel burgers!
  • Middle Eastern Tacos!
  • You can put some beans, preferably freshly cooked & still a titch warm, into a bowl, and then drizzle with your best extra virgin olive oil, a healthy squeeze of lemon, salt and freshly ground pepper.  Don’t worry about draining the beans thoroughly, because the broth is delicious and mingles nicely with your dressing.  Some diced avocado would be great here too.  Simply delicious!

My favorite way to enjoy garbanzo beans just may be this recipe from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  I love pretty much everything I’ve made from this cookbook, and this dish is right up at the top.  It’s one of my husband’s favorite things I make, and he would rather have a pot of pinto beans than garbanzo beans, so that’s saying a lot.  First, you will need some cooked garbanzo beans.  I’m hoping that you will try this recipe for preparing dry garbanzo beans, as it is excellent.

Garbanzo beans, onions, garlic, fresh parsley and kombu

Garbanzo beans, onions, garlic, fresh parsley and kombu

Freshly Cooked Garbanzo Beans
adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

1 cup garbanzo beans, cleaned & soaked {you don’t have to soak them, but they will take longer to cook}
Aromatics: 1 onion, quartered, 2 parsley sprigs, 4 garlic cloves
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6” piece of kombu, or a few pinches asafetida, optional {I love to eat the cooked kombu}
1 ½ tsp salt

Cover garbanzo beans with 2 quarts fresh water & add remaining ingredients, except salt.  Add the salt when the beans have been cooking for about 30″.   Simmer until completely tender, but not mushy.  I start checking at around 45”.  Let the beans cool in the broth.  I will often leave all the aromatics in the beans, except the parsley and bay leaf.

Spicy Chickpeas with Ginger and Aioli make a delicious meal!

Spicy Chickpeas with Ginger
adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

3 tbsp mustard oil or vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp minced ginger
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tomatoes, peeled and diced {I usually use a 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes}
1 1/2 cups chickpea broth or water
3 cups cooked chickpeas, or 2 15-oz. cans, rinsed
Juice from 1/2 lemon

Garnishes:  diced onion, minced jalapeño, chopped fresh cilantro and diced fresh tomato

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until well-browned, 12 to 15 minutes.  Lower the heat and add the bay leaf, garlic, ginger, spices, 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper and the tomatoes.  Cook for 5 minutes, then add the chickpea broth and chickpeas.  Simmer until the liquid is reduced to a sauce like consistency.  Taste for salt and season with lemon juice.  Serve with the garnishes {in small dishes} or scatter them over the chickpeas.

Spicy Chickpeas with Ginger and Aioli

Hands down our favorite way to eat this dish.  In fact, I don’t think we have ever eaten it without the aioli.  All of the garnishes, particularly the aioli, make this dish fabulous, in my opinion.

Notes:

  • Make the aioli-it’s totally worth it!  The warmth of the beans accentuates the flavor and aroma of the aioli when you slip a dollop of it right in the center of your bowl of beans.  Then top with the onion, jalapeño, tomato and cilantro.  Use commercial or homemade mayonnaise for your aioli, but please do try it, at least the first time.  You won’t be sorry.
  • For the best end result, cook dry beans instead of using canned.  Even though I prefer starting with dry beans, I’m not opposed to all canned beans.  However, my experience with canned garbanzo beans is that the beans tend to have more bite than I like.  A well-cooked garbanzo bean is tender enough to be mashed between your tongue and the roof of your mouth {a good test for doneness!}.  They should be soft and creamy, not al dente.
  • Soak or don’t soak, and cook your beans using whatever method you prefer, but season them well, so they will be delicious even when they stand alone.  I like Deborah Madison’s method for producing a fantastic tasting pot of beans.  If you put the kombu {seaweed} in, it is a real treat to eat when the beans are done; I love it.  Kombu adds a lot to the beans, so I encourage you to put it in, and eat it when the beans are cooked.
  • I buy Rising Tide Kombu from Mana Foods, here in Paia.  You can purchase kombu on line, or I’m sure you can find it at Whole Foods or any good natural foods store.
  • Serve with cooked brown rice, naan or all by itself with the garnishes & enjoy!

I do hope you will give this a try, and that you love it as much as I do.  Let me know what you think!Spicy Chickpeas with Ginger and Aioli

Bon appétit!

 


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Refrigerator Confidential Day #4

Welcome to Day #4 of Refrigerator Confidential!  I’m not sure if you noticed, but we can sure tell that the fridge has more room to move around.  Even though it’s great to have a well-stocked refrigerator, it is fun to “eat it down” and look forward to starting all over again on Saturday.

Tuesday’s Meals with Recipes:

Breakfast

Me- leftover baked potato from yesterday’s lunch, 1/2 grapefruit, Breakfast “Borscht”
My husband- same as the last 2 days {plain yogurt, nuts, dried fruit, local honey}

Lunch

Roasted Carrot Soup
Ryvita Crackers with Organic Cultured Butter

Dinner

Leftover Baked Salmon
Orange & Molokai Purple Sweet Potato Fries
Steamed Beet Greens

Breakfast Beet and Yogurt “Borscht”

I was going to blend up a frozen banana and some plain yogurt to make a banana lassi {although I don’t think you would use frozen fruit in a lassi}, and then it occurred to me that pickled beets and yogurt would be a good combination {think chilled beet borscht with a dollop of sour cream top}.  Mine would be kind of a speedy version of chilled beet borscht.  A big spoonful of pickled beets, with a creamy cloud of plain yogurt swirled in, and a sprinkle of dill and voila, “borscht”!  I tasted it, and thought that some capers would add a nice punch of flavor, and indeed they did.  I love capers!  Actually, I just learned on the Splendid Table podcast last week that capers are more properly called caper buds, because they are the bud of the caper flower {from the caper plant} before it opens.  When the flower drops off, what is left is a caper berry, which looks like a giant caper bud.  I have never tried caper berries, but I hear that they are not quite as pungent as the caper buds.  Had I not eaten the baked potato, I would have enjoyed my yogurt with a buttered Ryvita {a buttered Ryvita is always good}.

Roasted Carrot Soup
adapted from Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen 

This is another of my favorite soup recipes from Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen .  I think I have mentioned before that it is my favorite soup cookbook, and Madison is my favorite cookbook author.

1 pound carrots, cut into chunks
2 small potatoes, cut into chunks
1 large onion, cut into chunks
5 garlic cloves, peeled
2-4 tbsp olive oil {I used 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil}
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 hefty thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf {I used 2}
*1 quart vegetable stock or water
1/2 cup light cream {I used 2% milk, and the soup was delicious.  I don’t think I’ve ever made it with cream.}
2-3 tbsp creme fraiche or sour cream, stirred with a fork until loosened {I used plain yogurt, but would use one of the other choices if I had them on hand.}
Fresh minced parsley or chives

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F {I used 375 degrees F.}.  Toss the vegetables with the olive oil and season with 1/2 tsp salt and some pepper.  Put them in a large baking dish sprayed with pan spray for easy cleanup {I used a 9″x13″ Pyrex baking dish.}, along with the thyme sprigs and bay leaves.  Roast until tender and glazed, about 1 hour, turning them 2-3 times.

Transfer the vegetables to a soup pot, add stock or water and bring to the boil.  Simmer until the carrots are soft, about 20″, then puree until smooth.  An immersion blender is a great tool for this-very quick and easy.  Return the puree to the pot {if you used a blender}, taste for salt, and season with pepper.  Stir in the cream or milk.

Ladle the soup into bowls, swirl in a spoonful of creme fraiche, sour cream or yogurt into each, top with minced parsley and serve piping hot.  Delicious and super healthy!

Makes about 4 servings {6 cups}.

*I used to make homemade vegetable stock for soup until I read Deborah Madison say that if you have great vegetables, you can use water in lieu of stock.  So unless a soup calls for a specific stock {i.e. red stock for tortilla soup, mushroom stock, etc.}, I use water and the soup is great.  I do not care for store bought vegetable stock.

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We had a tasty little wine and cheese pupu {appetizer} while waiting for our Orange and Molokai Purple Sweet Potato Fries to roast.

wine and parmesan appetizer

 

Orange and Molokai Purple Sweet Potato Fries

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Roasted Orange and Molokai Purple Sweet Potatoes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Make sure you have a rack positioned on the bottom of your oven.
3 potatoes will fill up a half-sheet pan-use 2 pans if you want more fries

Cut potatoes so they are approximately the same size; you can cut them into any shape you want {slices, wedges, French fries…}.  Place potatoes on a sheet pan that has been lined with foil, sprayed with pan spray {they will stick if you don’t} and drizzled with olive oil.  Season with kosher or sea salt, freshly ground pepper and red pepper flakes.  The red pepper flakes add a great spicy counterpoint to the sweetness of the potatoes; I wouldn’t leave them out, but if you aren’t a fan of spicy, by all means don’t use them.  I love spicy!!

Roast the potatoes on the bottom oven rack until they are browned and starting to get crispy, stirring occasionally. They will be tender in about 20 minutes, but leave them in longer so they will brown and crisp up.  The purple potatoes can get dried out if you leave them in too long, so keep an eye on them after 20 minutes or so.

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Steamed Beet Greens

Fresh beet greens {1 pound will serve 2-4 people}
Extra virgin olive oil
Butter
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
Sherry vinegar or lemon juice

Wash greens well, making sure water is clear, as beet greens can be quite dirty.  Discard any tough stems {or cut small & sauté} and roughly chop the greens.  Spin them mostly dry, but leave some water clinging to the leaves for steaming.  Put greens in a pot large enough to hold them, cover and cook over medium high heat until tender, 10-15 minutes.  Stir occasionally so they do not burn or stick.  When the greens are tender, season with a little butter, olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  If desired, sprinkle with a bit of sherry vinegar or lemon juice.

What’s gone?

  • 1 bottle kombucha
  • salmon
  • both potatoes
  • purple & orange yams {from Costco}
  • beet greens

 

Here is the refrigerator on Day #4:

Wed fridge

 

 


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Express Post: Asparagus

This is going to be an express post, because I have a lot of things I want to get done today, but I want to tell you about our new favorite way to eat asparagus . . . just in case you get your hands on some fresh asparagus.  To our great delight, a new crop of Maui-grown asparagus has hit the Upcountry Farmers Market!  If asparagus isn’t available in your area just yet, don’t fret-spring is coming your way soon.  Just for the record, I love thick spears of asparagus;  I want to know that I am biting into something.  We enjoy asparagus steamed, then topped with freshly squeezed lemon/lime juice, freshly ground salt and pepper and homemade mayonnaise.  It’s also fantastic roasted in a hot oven, after rolling around in some extra virgin olive oil, freshly ground salt and pepper and sprigs of fresh thyme.  I was looking for ideas in my newest Deborah Madison book, Vegetable Literacy, and found a way to cook asparagus that we think is genius, not to mention downright delicious.  It is pretty much the same technique as this green been recipe I shared with you a few months ago, which is our new favorite way to eat green beans.

pan griddled asparagus 2

Griddled Asparagus
adapted from Vegetable Literacy {Madison}

1 bunch asparagus
olive oil, for coating asparagus
kosher salt
Maldon Sea Salt, or other flaky sea salt, to finish
freshly ground pepper

If you are using asparagus with thick spears, peel the lower parts so they will be tender.  Toss the spears with olive oil to coat {you don’t need a lot} and season lightly with salt.  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.

When the pan is hot, add your asparagus.  Don’t move it around just yet; you want some color to form on the spears that are in contact with the pan.  When you see some beautiful browned spots on your asparagus, toss the spears around in the pan.  You do not need to methodically move them one by one. Keep the heat on medium high and continue cooking the asparagus for several more minutes, until they are tender when poked with a sharp knife.  Some of the larger spears may still be a little al dente {crisp}, but I assure you they will be perfectly delicious.

Serve the griddled asparagus on a platter sprinkled with whatever crunchy salt you have selected.  Although I think it is perfect just like this, without any other additions, Madison suggests rolling the cooked spears around in Tarragon Butter and a few other sauces from her book.  I greatly respect Madison’s opinions when it comes to making delicious food, so I will probably try some of these sauces in the future.

Bon appetit!


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“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.”  James Beard

A few months ago, I thought it would be fun to write a series of posts, during the holidays, with some suggestions for gifts/stocking stuffers for the foodies on your list {including yourself of course!}.  Well, it comes as no surprise to me that the train has left the station and I am late {yet again} in bringing this idea to fruition.  For example, I make fruitcake every year for my mom and aunt.  The recipe states that the cakes should be made around Thanksgiving so that they will be boozy, ripe and ready to eat by Christmas.  I was thinking about said fruitcakes around Thanksgiving, had all the ingredients out in plain sight, but the fruitcake ingredients have not yet turned into fruitcakes.  After I go swimming this morning, the afternoon’s project will be fruitcake . . . . . after lunch, of course.  As far as gift ideas for my readers, consider them gift ideas for any time of the year.  I certainly don’t need a holiday to buy myself something special for my kitchen!

But first, a friend mentioned that my most recent post listed all the ingredients for Date Walnut Cinnamon Bread by weight, specifically in grams.  Sorry about that!  I just updated the post to include measurements by volume, so now you can run to your kitchen and bake this scrumptious {and easy} bread.

And now, on to the gifts. . .

Holiday Gifts

1} Digital Scale– I have cooked without a scale for many more years than I have cooked with a scale, but now I cannot imagine not having one.  A scale offers ease and accuracy in cooking, and baking in particular.  It seems logical to think that if you measure 3 cups of flour, they will all be identical; no, they probably won’t be identical, and could be off by an amount significant to whatever you are preparing.  Professional bakers measure ingredients by weight to be precise and accurate, and to ensure consistent results.  In addition to being more accurate, measuring ingredients by weight is faster, and there aren’t lots of measuring cups to wash.  Cooks Illustrated likes this one {www.cooksillustrated.com}: OXO Food Scale model # 1130800.

2} Penzeys gift certificate or collection or herbs/spices- I love Penzeys!  They have an extensive catalog of herbs, spices and delicious blends.  Penzeys offers friendly, quick service and their products are high quality. Some of my favorite Penzeys’ products are:  Penzeys Extra Fancy Vietnamese Cassia Cinnamon {make this into cinnamon sugar to top your Date Walnut Cinnamon Bread}, Shallot Pepper, Sunny Paris Seasoning {yummy on popcorn!}, French Grey Salt and Dried Jalapenos {better than red pepper flakes on pizza and spaghetti!}.

3} Silicone Spatulas– Cooks Illustrated likes this one and this one.  The beauty of cooking with a silicone spatula is that they withstand very high temperatures, so your food is not laced with melted plastic.

4} Salt– A selection of different salts is tasty and fun.

  • Kosher salt– Use kosher salt for cooking & baking.  It is easy to find at most grocery stores.  Many cooks have a little bowl of kosher salt by the stove because it is easy to pick up a “pinch of salt” with your fingers.  It dissolves into food quickly so you can add it and taste for seasoning without waiting.
  • Fleur de Sel {salt}- After reading David Lebovitz’s blog post about his favorite fleur de sel {means “flower of salt” in French}, I got on line with Amazon straight away & bought some.  It is delicious!  Lest you think that if you’ve tasted one salt you’ve tasted them all, be assured that there is a distinct difference between salts.  Fleur de sel is not a cooking salt, but a finishing salt that you might sprinkle on a salad, steak, vegetables, or perhaps mix with some unsalted butter for a delectable spread for some warm yeasty bread.
  • Maldon Salt– Maldon salt is another finishing salt, and is great on Mocha Truffle Cookies and Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I have also made herb butter with Maldon salt, which makes a delicious herby, buttery spread with a few crunchy flakes of salt here and there; fantastic on a great piece of bread!

6} Salt Grinder– My mom & dad gave us salt and pepper grinders for Christmas one year, many moons ago, and we wouldn’t think of using sprinkle salt and pepper.  The taste of freshly ground salt and pepper is far superior to table salt and pepper that has been pre-ground so that it becomes a rather tasteless black dust after a while.  Once you get used to freshly ground salt, or one of the other specialty salts, iodized table salt will taste harsh and medicinal, and you will wonder why you ever put it in your food.  The salt grinder that we have used for quite a few years now is a Unicorn.  It has no metal parts to corrode, which can be a hazard of salt grinders.  It works well and is easy to fill.

7} Books

  • Vegetable Literacy {Deborah Madison}-This is my latest purchase from my favorite cookbook author.  Her recipes are delicious, uncomplicated and well-written.  In my opinion, if you love good food, you cannot go wrong with a book by Deborah Madison.
  • The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America’s Most Imaginative Chefs {Karen Page, Andrew Domenburg}- This excellent reference book gives cooks ideas on what flavors work well together.  What acid works best with arugula?  What are the best herbs to use to jazz up your polenta?  What flavors work well with the chanterelle mushrooms you just bought {lucky you!!}?  The Flavor Bible has these answers and more.  The book is arranged by categories such as season, cuisine, ingredients, flavorings, tastes {i.e. sour, bitter, etc.}, oils, peppers, salts and more. There are no recipes in the book, but limitless ideas for making food the best it can be.
  • A Homemade Life {Molly Wizenberg}- I bought this book to take on a trip to visit my family on Oahu, when we were still living in Washington State.  Once I started reading, I could not put this book down.  I read Molly’s stories and recipes all the way across the Pacific Ocean.  Molly is a wonderful writer; you can also check out her blog Orangette, which I love.
  • My Berlin Kitchen {Luisa Weiss} – I just bought this at Costco and am almost finished with it.  Luisa is the author of The Wednesday Chef, another of my favorite food blogs.  Her book is a lovely read, a very personal memoir with recipes.

Happy holidays & bon appetit!


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“The secret of good cooking is, first, having a love of it… If you’re convinced that cooking is drudgery, you’re never going to be good at it, and you might as well warm up something frozen.”  James Beard

Hummus

If you think you don’t like hummus, perhaps you have only had store bought varieties, too stiff and poorly seasoned.  I must admit, I haven’t tasted much packaged hummus; there probably are some good ones, however, I  prefer to make my own hummus from freshly cooked garbanzo beans.  Of course, you can use canned beans, but I have found them to be a little more al dente than I like.  They are best when they are nice and soft, ready for a whirl in the food processor with garlic, olive oil, lemon, tahini and seasonings. The beans take awhile to cook, but it isn’t hands-on time, so you can be doing whatever you like while they simmer away on the stove. For me, cooking a pot of beans is kind of therapeutic, like making risotto, kneading bread or watering plants.  Homemade hummus isn’t difficult to prepare and the results are worth any effort required. People are favorably impressed if you show up at a potluck with a gorgeous platter of hummus with tasty garnishes {especially if you make homemade pita bread!}.  As promised in my last post, here is my hummus recipe.

Hummus 

1 ½ c cooked garbanzo beans {I always cook my own, because they are much better, but you can use canned.}
3 cloves garlic, minced
Scant ¼ c tahini
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil {I use quite a bit more, for a smooth & silky texture.}
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp kosher salt

 Puree all ingredients in the blender or food processor until really smooth.  I like to spread it out on a platter and drizzle extra virgin olive oil over it.  Sprinkle with chopped tomatoes, kalamata olives and cilantro {any or all are good}.  Eat with pita bread, or whole wheat flour tortillas that you brush with olive oil, cut into eights and then bake at 350 until semi-crisp.  Also good with fresh fennel Fennel Bulb or sliced cucumbers.


Freshly Cooked Garbanzo Beans

1 cup garbanzo beans, cleaned & soaked {you don’t have to soak them, but they will take longer to cook}
Aromatics: 1 onion, quartered, 2 parsley sprigs, 4 garlic cloves
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6” piece of kombu, or a few pinches asafetida, optional {I love to eat the cooked kombu}
1 ½ tsp salt

Cover garbanzo beans with 2 quarts fresh water & add remaining ingredients.  Simmer until completely tender, but not mushy.  I start checking at around 45”.  Let the beans cool in the broth.

Wilted Dandelion & Arugula with Walnuts & Beets

We enjoyed the plate of hummus with homemade pita bread and this salad of Wilted Dandelion Greens & Arugula with Walnuts & Beets.  Dandelion greens and arugula are supposed to very good for you, so we are eating them regularly.  They are kind of bitter, which is what makes them good for you.  When you eat them with something sweet like beets, it somewhat neutralizes the bitterness, and they are quite tasty prepared this way.  This recipe is adapted from Deborah Madison’s excellent cookbook Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone {I love this book!}

Wilted Dandelion Greens & Arugula with Walnuts & Beets

Dandelion greens and/or arugula, about 1/2 pound
1 large garlic clove, mashed into a paste with 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 large shallot, minced
4 tsp sherry vinegar or aged red wine vinegar
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper

Whisk together the garlic paste, shallot, vinegar & olive oil.  Heat the vinaigrette in a small skillet until it sizzles.  Pour over the greens & toss with plenty of freshly ground pepper.  Top with toasted walnuts, cooked beets & a grating of Gruyere or Jarlsberg cheese.  It’s delicious with just the cheese, but the walnuts & beets add a bit of crunch & sweetness.

The first time I made this, we were too full to eat it all at dinner.  I put the leftovers in the refrigerator, not knowing how delicious they would be cold the next day.  I think I probably like them leftover as much, if not more, than freshly made.  Who would have thought?

Aloha & Happy Cooking!