Well, hello there.  Long time no see.  I’ve missed you! Sorry for missing last month (and being a day late here).  Work obligations kept taking me away on Sundays and I just didn’t have the time or energy to write the column.  But, now that summer festival season is over, I’m back and ready to cook again.  This month, we’ve got a delicious salad, although this recipe almost never happened.  I’ll explain later.  Here are your ingredients:

  • 3 golden beets
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 green onion
  • A bag of salad greens (preferably from Revelry Greens!)
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp honey (maybe…)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard ( maybe…)
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • ½ cup grapeseed or olive oil
  • A lot of basil 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Remove the stems and leaves from the beets and wrap each in foil.  When the oven is hot and ready, throw those beets in a roast for a good 45 minutes or until you can easily push a fork into them. Set them aside and let them cool.

This, my friends, is where things went awry.  Sorry, that’s putting it lightly.  More like it was a ********* catastrophe from here on out. See this, this is Dijon mustard

This is the duct tape of salad dressings.  It’s got great tang, acts as a binder to emulsify your dressing, and is an absolute workhorse.  What it is not is non-perishable.  Always check the date on your bottle to make sure you’re not about to poison yourself.  Thankfully, the weird discoloration also alerted me that it was a bad idea to use.  Thankfully, I had its distant cousin in the fridge:

Now, here we’re going to modify the ingredient list.  You really don’t want to add honey when using honey mustard.  Not using the honey and Dijon was the first of many things that my ire would fall upon.*  So here we go:

  • 1 Tbsp honey (maybe…)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard ( maybe…)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp honey mustard

In a blender add the balsamic, basil, homey mustard and a little salt and pepper.  Add as much or as little basil as you like.  I wanted a heavy basil flavor so I went for the scientific measure of “a buttload” of basil. Also, make sure your blender base doesn’t crack and everything spills out onto your counter and floor in a horrific brown waterfall of doom.  Yup, my blender decided it was time to go when I was doing this. This was not ideal and I was devastated.  After a not-so-quick clean up with a fair amount of salty vocabulary, it was back to dressing making.   

Lesser beings would have given up, but not me. I dug the balsamic and mustard drenched basil out of the broken blender and proceeded to chop it to all sloppy hell.  This was fine in a moment  of desperate improvisation, but there’s something about the blender and the way it mixes everything that would have made this dressing much better.  BUT, that is not to say it wasn’t already delicious.  Put the ingredients in the bowl and get ready for the pain.  After an ungodly amount of whisking with even more sailor-like monologuing, the dressing was done.  Voila!

Time to toast the nuts. Put a small sauté pan on medium low heat  Put the nuts in and move them around often.  Toast them for a little bit, maybe 4-5 minutes tops. Once you smell the nutty fragrance of warm, toasty nuts, they are done.  If you smell burning, you have gone too far.  Take the pan off the heat and let cool.

Salad, Assemble!  The first step is to put the salad greens in a bowl.  Easy enough.  Now, peel the beets and cut them into ½ inch cubes.  Thinly slice the green onions and give the dried cherries a rough chop.  Now it’s time to layer. On top of the salad greens go the green onions.  Next layer the dried cherries.  After that it’s the walnuts, and them the top is the beets and the goat cheese crumbled.  

Look how pretty that is.  It’s also delicious and healthy!  All that’s left to do is put some in a bowl, pour some of that delicious salad dressing on it and enjoy!   

Thanks to all 6 of you for reading! See you in October. I promise!!

* I was extraordinarily mad about the Dijon mustard.  If you look at the ingredients picture, there is an unmarked bottle of honey.  I have a friend who raises bees and she makes the all time best honey. Legitimately, I’ve never had better.  Thanks CG!

Jay Flanders

Jay Flanders is a native of Newport and avid cook. While he studied at the University of Rhode Island, he also attended the College of Food Network via his television set where he learned the basics of cooking. Also being an all-too-avid eater at restaurants, he really began to learn what ingredients went together, cooking techniques and other tips and tricks in the kitchen. He used that knowledge to teach himself how to cook and how to start making his own recipes. Now, he’s here to give you his tips, tricks and sometimes uniquely tasty spins on recipes and to show you that great cooking can be done is the tiniest of kitchens like his.