Beet Salad w/ Red Beet Reduction, Walnut Chutney, Arugula, and Horseradish (Daniel Boulud recipe); Limed Red Beet Greens saute w/ Asparagus & Seitan
My friend, Linda Long, is a vegan food photographer and writer; I first met her when she wrote a feature magazine article on our famous Thanksgiving, the biggest vegetarian (all vegan) such event in the country for a few years now. I was honored that she asked me to test a recipe for a book that is expected to be published in the autumn of 2008 by Gibbs Smith, Publisher, Great Chefs Cook Vegan. She is asking top chefs around the country to each submit a gourmet vegan recipe; as she told me, each "was asked to give an entire 3-4 course meal, a full vegan menu that could be served in their high-end restaurants if a vegan came in with their non-vegan friends. There are 25 chefs in the book and over 100 recipes and photographs."
I was given Chef Daniel Boulud's recipe for Beet Salad with Red Beet Reduction, Walnut Chutney, Arugula, and Horseradish, served with chive oil. Chef Daniel has won many awards including being named New York City's top Chef, been on many TV and radio programs, written numerous cookbooks, and is well known for his restaurants.
This was perhaps the most challenging dish I've made and took me about four hours! It sure was impressive when it was done - other than my goof at not having the beet reduction be thicker (it wasn't to have run but was to make a nice rectangle; compounding the issue, I forgot one step of the recipe, that of chilling the plates), most everything from the croutons to the chive oil and beets were very tasty and beautiful. I hope to post more details on how I made this soon.
We had a friend of my wife's and her husband visiting us for dinner tonight. In addition to the appetizer (which was rich and filling - oh, that walnut chutney was great!), I made a much simpler, and relatively small, main course, using the red beet tops. I didn't use onions because my wife's friend is pregnant and having problems eating them.
What I did was saute approximately 3/4" chunks of seitan in olive oil for 4 or 5 minutes over medium-high heat. When the seitan started browning, I added the beet stems (I had hand-torn the leaves off, then roughly hand-cut the leaves each into three or four pieces), cut into 1" lengths. I let that cook, stirring occasionally, for another 3 or 4 minutes, then added a half dozen Brussels sprouts, cut into small eights, small pieces of a quarter red bell pepper, about ten asparagus spears, cut into approximately 1" lengths, and, a minute later, the beet leaves. As the beet leaves cooked down a little, I added organic Baja Lime marinade and salt, then served with heirloom tomatoes (including our newly discovered lemon tomato), baby carrot, and mixed brown rices. We all enjoyed dinner!
Yesterday I was going to prepare a quick meal; I had errands to do and my wife had another friend visiting, also, coincidentally, from Charlotte. I had left my cell phone in the car and she became hungry, so left me a message that they were eating out. I got the message in time to meet them; we had another nice meal at Sage Vegetarian Restaurant, including sharing their great Persian lentil soup, osh, as well as eggplant and our favorite, pomegranate reduction with tempeh. I felt bad about missing signals as I would have preferred making a nice meal at home, but, of course, the Sage dishes were a treat!