Linguini, Smoky Avocado Sauce, Black Beans, Lime

avocado pasta

Linguini, Grilled Avocado Sauce with Lime & Cilantro
Topped with Black Beans, Red Onion & Serrano

Been seeing the avocado puréed, and used as a sauce or dressing a lot lately? I sure have. With pasta, as a substitute for mayonnaise in tuna salad, as a substitute for hollandaise with fresh fish or vegetables. Great heart-healthy ideas all!

Here, I take flavors that pair well with avocado such as lime, green chile, red onion, cilantro, black beans…and re-mix them into a refreshing green pasta dish. And by adding one more layer of flavor – smoke – the silky sauce takes on another dimension. Lime juice keeps it bright, and serrano kicks up the heat. It’s a healthy pasta fiesta!

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Le BEET goes on…

beetscape, wilted beet greens

Wilted Beet Greens
Tossed with Garlic, Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar
Diced Thyme-Scented Roasted Red Beets, Whole-Grain Flaxseed Croutons, Roquefort

Beetroot Tails and Roasted Thyme Garnish

For a few days, my kitchen was overrun with beets – large and small organic red beets and all their greens, beet juice, beet syrup, baby candy stripe, and baby golden. Most went into the Golden Beet Salad and Candy Stripe Fettuccine, some were pickled. A few of the greens went into the charming beet & chervil centerpiece, and the remainder made this delightful wilted beet greens side dish. Not wanting to waste any part of the beet, I roasted the beetroot tails along with the beets and used them for a naturalistic garnish along with thyme sticks from the pan. These tails are edible too, they taste like beet jerky!

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Baby Candy Stripe Beet Fettuccine, Beet Syrup

Baby Candy Stripe Beet Fettuccine, Beet Syrup

Fresh Egg Fettuccine with Braised Red Cabbage, Red Onion, Roasted Red Beet
Red Wine Butter Sauce & Beet Syrup
Thyme-Scented Baby Candy Stripe Beet with Fresh Chervil

I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t toss those adorable blushing baby candy stripe beets into the pasta. Their charm would have been sadly lost. So the thyme-scented little chioggias were simply sliced in half and arranged around the pasta, with the most incredible concentrated beet syrup, and dainty little sprigs of fresh chervil.

We’re celebrating betacyanin, the pigment that gives beets their fantastic color, which also happens to be a powerful antioxidant. Candy Beet Fettuccine is the second course in a striking beet-centric vegetarian meal prepared for the 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group’s monthly challenge featuring the BEET. It joins first course, Baby Golden Beet Salad, in a color competition, posted yesterday here. Red, pink, or gold?

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Resplendent Baby Golden Beet Salad

golden baby beet salad
Roasted Baby Golden Beet, Gala Apple, Kumquat
Raw Sheep’s Milk French Roquefort, Pistachio
Dandelion, Butterhead, Roasted Poblano Vinaigrette
Tricolor Viola & Wild Mustard Flower Garnish

Roasted tarragon-scented sweet soft baby golden beets are paired with tart-crisp apple, bitter-spiky dandelion, creamy-smooth butter lettuce, zingy kumquat, tangy Roquefort, rich pistachios and a playfully-spicy poblano chile vinaigrette. It’s a very refreshing, harmonious, and somewhat surprising salad – which I submit to this month’s 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group Challenge featuring BEETS.

The 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group hosted by Natasha the 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! is an outstanding monthly event for sharing ideas and creating gourmet makeovers of selected classic dishes or flavor combinations. It continues to be a great source of inspiration and my absolute pleasure to be on the team. Please visit their blogs this coming Friday to enjoy the round-up of super-creative beets recipes from this talented cooking group.

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Mashed Potato. Chestnut. Nutmeg. Butter.

mashed potato and chestnut

Mashed Potato. Chestnut. Nutmeg. Butter.

Mashed potatoes with a heavenly creamy nuttiness where the chestnut lends a muted sweetness and the nutmeg, a warm spicy perfume. How in the world did such a sublime combination of everyday ingredients elude me for decades? Mashed Potato. Chestnut. Nutmeg. Butter. (Plus a bit of light cream for the mash, salt and pepper). It’s a glorious side dish.

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