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Monday, June 20, 2011

Beet Queen Salad

The end of the story is that the Bruins won the Stanley Cup.  Connie was the happiest I've seen him in a long time.  I was sleep deprived.  I'd just gotten to sleep when our neighbors called and said they'd found a cat.  Were we missing one?  Nope, George was asleep on my pillow and Gracie had meowed good night a bit earlier.  The FOB's (fat orange boys) were both happily ensconced in the screened porch.  So, the long and the short of this was that they've wanted a new kitty for a long time.  This stray is very friendly.  And, they were going out of town for a couple of days.  What to do?  I finally suggested that I had an extra litter box and plenty of dry cat food and I'd meet them at the end of the driveway.  By the time I got back inside I was wide awake.  So, I watched the end of the hockey game.  Ok, I'll grant that it's pretty exciting for a team to win the big one after 39 years of drought.  But, I really wanted to sleep.  Consequently, the next evening I wasn't into a big production for dinner.  Home late, eat quickly, go to bed.  Get up early for the staff meeting and a full day of meetings. 

We've made this once before and loved it.  The dressing wasn't quite as good as an orange vinaigrette I made a few weeks ago so I tweaked the recipe a bit this time.  And, since this was dinner, I added a pork tenderloin and a couple of slices of smoked bacon.  This is yet another recipe from Heartland.  I typically buy a cookbook and read it cover to cover.  Get a lot of ideas and a couple of recipes and move on.  There are very few exceptions to that rule.  This is one of them.  This is the best cookbook I've seen in a long time.  We've had five or six dishes from it and all of them have been either very good or excellent.  There are several more I'd like to try.  So, to all of my foodie friends who are much more judicious than I am about buying cookbooks, I highly recommend this!  It's just a wonderful cookbook. 

What did we think?  This is a twist on a cobb salad.  Meat, vegetables, cheese, bacon all over a bed of lettuce.  Fantastic.  Five out of five.  Neither of us could think of a thing we'd change.  I think this might even be doable in the middle of winter with canned peaches.  That's when one really needs a bit of sunshine!

Beet Queen Salad
serves 2

fresh salad greens
2 large or 4 small beets, mixed colors are great if you can get them, 1/2" dice
2 peaches or nectarines, 1/2" dice
1/2 c smoked goat cheese (or regular is ok)
2 slices smoked bacon, chopped
1 pork tenderloin

for the dressing:
juice and zest of one orange
1 clove garlic, very finely minced
2 T fresh tarragon leaves
1 t tarragon vinegar
1 t soy sauce
1 t Dijon mustard
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

for the marinade:
1/4 c orange juice
2 T bourbon
1 T dijon mustard


Mix the marinade ingredients and add in the pork tenderloin.  Allow it to marinate for about 15 minutes at room temperature.  While it's marinating, start the grill.  Then, place your salad greens on dinner plates.  Put the diced beets down one side of the greens and the diced nectarines down the other side.  Mix the salad dressing ingredients, except for the olive oil.  Whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion.  Once your grill is good and hot, grill the tenderloin.  They cook really fast so you'll want to keep an eye on it.  We prefer our pork tenderloin medium rare so I no longer follow the instructions on the instant thermometer.  Once the tenderloin is grilled, let it rest for 5-10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.  Slice it about 1/2" thick and lay those slices down the middle of the salad. 

Sprinkle the chopped bacon and smoked goat cheese over the salad.  Drizzle with the orange vinaigrette.

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