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Life has been a bit of a rollercoaster lately.  The seasons are changing, and so are our lives.  Minda is starting her first year of preschool.  I am so happy for her, but at the same time I will miss spending our days together, visiting the zoo and going to the playground.  She has been my best friend lately, but it is now time for her to make new friends her own age, and perhaps I am a little afraid of the inevitable separation between that will occur between us as she becomes more and more independent.  I still have a baby at home to keep me busy too.  Kaya is nine months old, and just now beginning to really be mobile and interactive, so I am looking forward to spending a little more one on one time with her.

The gardening season is almost over too, and I will be sad to see it go.  The garden has been like my third baby this summer, and all of the nurturing love I have put into it has come back to me in a bounty of vegetables. Most recently we have been harvesting beets, carrots, and green onions.  Ironically, I had never tried beets until a couple of years ago.  They just were not something that we ate at home when I was growing up.  Now they have become one of my favorite vegetable.  I love them in this salad with arugula and clementines.  The earthiness of the beets is amazing with the contrasting sweetness of the clementines and the spiciness of the arugula.  My trick is roasting the beets with a couple of clementines cut in half.  It gives them just a hint of the orange flavor, and then I use the juice from the roasted oranges to give the vinaigrette a subtle orange flavor. The addition of some walnuts and crumbled goat cheese make it a satisfying main course dish.

Arugula with Beets and Clementines

  • 1 bunch of beets, about 6 small or 3 large
  • 4 small clementine oranges
  • 1 tablespoon extra- virgin olive oil
  • 2 large handfuls of arugula, about 4 packed cups
  • ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese or feta
  • ¼ cup walnuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup walnut oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Sea salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Remove the greens from the beets and place in a small baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cut two of the oranges in half and add to the baking dish with the beets, cover with foil and let roast in the oven for about 1 hour.  Remove the beets from the oven and allow to cool covered for about 30 minutes.  Peel and segment the two remaining oranges. Peel and cut the beets into quarters (or more if they are large). Place any juice you can squeeze from the roasted oranges and any liquid from the baking dish, the balsamic vinegar, walnut oil and Dijon mustard in a small bowl and whisk together.    Place the arugula in a large serving bowl and toss with ¼ cup of the vinaigrette.  Top with the orange segments, beets, goat cheese, and walnuts.  Serve immediately.

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