Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Eastern Bloc Rockin' Beets: Yummy Moldovan Salad

My 'Eastern Bloc Rockin' Beets' salad- dressed with mashed Northern beans, carrot ribbons, arugula, and on top of a bed of brown rice!

So it's been 21 days since I've been on my detox diet with one more week to go!  I've sworn off the 3 C's- coffee, chocolate, and cabernet.  And I've cut out the following:  salt, sugar, meat (except fish), dairy (except goat/sheep milk/cheese), and bread/ flour products.  It was a little rough at first, the caffeine withdrawal turned me into a zombie for a few days.  As my body started to adjust to my new healthy routine, I began to feel the amazing effects of eating natural & whole foods in a heavily plant-based diet.  I OWNED the detox!  I've lost 5 pounds so far, as well as an inch off my waist and half an inch off my hips.  My clothes are fitting better and I no longer have the 'one cupcake short of a muffintop' waistline that was occurring!  YAY!

At the office today we had one of our quarterly potluck luncheons.  I expected the worst and brought along lots of fruit and veggies to eat in case there'd be nothing detox-friendly for me to eat.  I was pleasantly surprised this time- there were several healthy offerings on the buffet table for this potluck.  It's been great to have this kind of support in the office with everyone being on a healthy tear nowadays!!  One of the benefits of working at my company is that not only do we have amazing potluck luncheons with yummy, tasty, healthy foods to savor, but with everyone's diverse backgrounds- it's like a Sizzler of the UN on our table.

Case in point:  my coworker Viktor.  He's originally from the country, Moldova.  I had to look that up on the internet- it's sandwiched in between the Ukraine and Romania.  Anyway, Viktor brings some of the tastiest dishes to the potluck, inspired from his Eastern European roots.  Once he brought stuffed cabbage rolls that folks fought over with fork & knife.  And this time around, he brought this dish that I can't even pronounce- but I like to call it layered beet dip-  a layer of pickled mackerel, grated beets, grated carrots, mayo in between all, and a topping of finely grated hardboiled egg.  Oooweee...it was yummy (and yes I broke away from my detox plan to eat it)!  I told Viktor about my love of beets and he shared another Moldovan recipe with me.  He said to take boiled/roasted beets, grate them, and mix with chopped walnuts, chopped garlic, and mayonnaise.  mmmmm!  I knew what I was going to make for dinner tonight!

So here's my take on an old Moldovan standard.  I like to call it 'Eastern Bloc Rockin' Beets', with the name being a mashup of the old term used to describe the area where Moldova is located and the old Chemical Brothers techno jam 'Block Rockin' Beats'.  The ingredients of my inspired Moldovan salad react together with perfect chemistry to rock your tastebuds!!!

Here's what you'll need to make the 'Eastern Bloc Rockin' Beets':

  • 3 Medium Red Beets
  • 1/2 cup Walnuts
  • 1 Bulb of Garlic
  • 6 oz of Sheep Milk Yogurt
  • 3 tbs Chopped Fennel
  • 1 tbs Chopped Dill
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil

1)  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Slice the top off the garlic bulb, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil & place on a baking sheet.  Scrub beets, slice top and bottom, and wrap each of them in foil.  Place on the baking sheet with the garlic.  Cook for 40 minutes in the oven.

2)  Instead of mayonnaise, I used Sheep Milk Yogurt, since it's detox-diet-friendly:

3)  Sheep Milk Yogurt has a bit of a sour taste, but don't let that get to you.  It's actually more tolerable on your stomach than Cow Milk Yogurt.  To flavor the yogurt, I chopped up a 1/2" slice of fennel bulb with fronds and some dill:
4)  And then when the roasted garlic was finished cooking in the oven.....:
5)  ....I added the mushy roasted cloves to the herb-infused yogurt, mashing them with a fork and mixing them into the yogurt.  Cover it & stick it in the fridge:
6)  When the beets are finished roasting in the oven, run them under cold water (with foil still left on).  Then remove the foil, run under cool water again, set beets on a cutting board to let them cool.  Chop the 1/2 cup of walnuts.....I used my Slap-Chop for that:
7)  When beets have cooled (15 - 20 minutes), use a course grater to grate them into a large mixing bowl:
8)  Add in the chopped walnuts, and then take the yogurt mixture from the fridge and mix in with the beets and walnuts.  Cover & refrigerate for up to 30 minutes to an hour:

And voila!  There you have some 'Eastern Bloc Rockin' Beets!'

I dressed my beets into a healthy salad: a layer of brown rice on the bottom, a bed of arugula, some vinegar-soaked carrot ribbons, and then topped with some vinegar-soaked Northern beans.  It was deeeeeee-lish!  All those flavors, textures, and colors colliding together in perfect veggie harmony!  Mmmmmmmm-yumm!

This salad is so tasty, it will keep you comin' "Back for another one of those Block Rockin' Beats!"