Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chicken souvlaki and the greatest beet salad ever

That was our dinner last night. Let me note here that I am lucky enough to have a husband who takes great food photos for me. I love that shot.

Anyway, my mom is staying with us for a few more days before she flies back to Brazil to pack up their life there and my parents move back here in September, so there were three of us eating last night. Mom brought that utterly delicious bottle of Argentinian malbec, which was yummy with the food. The souvlaki was tender and grilled to perfection by Chris, after bathing for four hours in a marinade of my own invention (probably pretty close to traditional souvlaki marinades, but I haven't checked): olive oil, plenty of chopped garlic, lemon zest and juice, and chopped fresh dill and oregano. The oregano was from the farm share - I was lucky enough to grab the last bunch from the bin, and I need to figure out what to do with the rest. Suggestions are, as always, welcome.

The beet salad was a triumph of colour and flavour. I read in a food magazine or on a blog somewhere last year that beets with goat cheese is horribly overdone and that restaurants should just stop pairing them together. I beg to differ. Beets and goat cheese are popular because they WORK. I'd go so far as to call it a classic pairing, and I will be eating them together for as long as there are beets and goats.

What really made the salad were the amazing, lush beet greens that came with the mix of golden and red beets. This was the first week we've had golden beets, and I hope we get more because they are delicious, milder and less bitter-edged than the red ones. Their leaves are also less rough and more tender and abundant, so I chopped and cleaned them, wilted them down in a hot pan with a little olive oil and salt, plated it with the beets and cheese, and finished the whole thing with a drizzle more olive oil and a splash of balsamic (not even the good kind, and it was still yummy). I think this might be the most visually stunning dish I've ever made. That platter is my latest acquisition - eight bucks at the best garage sale ever, held by the gay couple down the street.

Some soft pita bread and homemade tzatziki (Greek nonfat yogurt, finely chopped peeled seeded cucumber, fresh dill, lemon juice and salt) rounded out the meal, along with that amazing wine. Later, I threw together this chocolate pudding cake for dessert, because we needed something sweet. Let me just say that if you're still slightly tipsy from great wine, that cake is easy enough that you won't screw it up.

This was an incredible meal, utterly inspired by the farm-fresh produce. I'm sold on the concept, one hundred per cent.

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