Saturday, January 9, 2010

Can't BEET the Best

I don’t know if you’ve taken the time to peruse my blog roll below, but there are some tasty food blogs in there, which I gobble up like others do with tabloids or gossip sites. Last night, as I got caught up on my reading, I noticed a trend… a lot of my favorite food bloggers were ending the year with a ‘Top Eats of 2009’ list. Since I wasn’t in the blog writing biz when we rang in ’09, I guess I never got the memo!

I tried to think of my top 10 favorite foods I’ve posted on here, but that’s like picking your favorite child (John and Mel, it’s ok, you can pick me if you want…I won’t tell Amanda). My cider pork tasted amazing…but the crack chicken was so much fun to eat with friends! My chocolate chipotle cookies were creative and exciting to experiment with, but my orange spice teacakes are by far a better cookie. How could I possibly choose!? I kept thinking about all my recipes and delicious eats, and kept coming back to one meal, not just for the flavors, but for the experience—my favorite meal of 2009: dinner at Elemental.

We went for Father's day, and we're still talking about it. The meal's multiple courses were creative, fun, and fantastic. The truffle popcorn changed our lives (seriously, Amanda makes it about 2 times a week now). The wine was (a little too) plentiful. We drank until we couldn’t walk straight (wait, was that just me?), we laughed hysterically throughout the several hour long meal (wait, was that just me?). We forced Amanda to try the liver. We ooh’d and aah’d with every new plate. We made quite the impression on the owners (oops, was that just me?). And it was the first time that Amanda and I really got to share our passion for food and for Seattle with our parents.

We all agreed that our favorite dish of the night (and the one we could all remember the next day...wait, there was a dessert course?) was the stack of pineapple rings, beets, and goat cheese sprinkled with pistachios, olive oil, and sea salt. Thinking about this amazing dish got Amanda and I dreaming of the suprisingly delicious flavor combo. With Christmas packages containing home-canned jars of beets from Mel and John’s garden, Amanda and I decided to put a spin on the components and toss them up a little…making a tossed salad with beets, greens, feta, pistachios, and pineapple dressing. As with the salad at Elemental, the flavors melded perfectly. And, like I said, I'm starting out the New Year with a few more salads (and maybe a little less wine)!

Elemental Inspired Beet Salad


2 servings mixed greens with spinach
1 small-medium jar of canned beets- sliced (reserve a few tablespoons of the juice)
2 green onions- sliced
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/2 cup pistachios-toasted
sea salt

Pineapple Dressing:
2-3 slices of pineapple with juice (or can of pineapple tidbits)- blended
equal part extra virgin olive oil
fresh ground pepper
1 splash cider vinegar

Layer salad ingredients in 2 bowls in following order: greens, onion, beets, nuts, feta. Whisk together dressing ingredients- with equal parts pineapple slush and olive oil (you could also use just canned pineapple juice instead of whole pineapple). Or shake in a cruet to mix. Pour dressing over salads, sprinkle with beet juice, and top with sea salt. As at Elemental, enjoy with multiple glasses of wine!
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