Monday, February 15, 2010

Beets for Valentine's Day

Jason and I don't really celebrate Valentine's Day. No gifts, cards, or chocolates. Instead, we prefer to enjoy a really nice meal. Sometimes we splurge and eat out. But, since we had the Branson trip, we opted to eat in. I also vowed to stay off line, hence the delayed post. 

I had been wanting to try beets. Until this weekend at Ruby Tuesdays, I had never tried them. I thought they'd be perfect for a Valentine's dinner. I looked through lots of recipes and came up with my own version of Balsamic Beet Ravioli with Cannellini Puree. I served the "ravioli" over pureed cannellinni beans with balsamic reduction with smashed sweet potatoes and green beans sauteed with red onion, red bell pepper, portobellos, and garlic.

Balsamic Beet Ravioli with Cannellini Puree
Ingredients:
Beets sliced thinly 
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/8 - 1/4 cup rice milk
Sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, and grated nutmeg to taste
Balsamic vinegar (approximately 1/2 cup)

Directions:
Puree beans with milk and spices until creamy. Transfer to a sauce pan and heat through, adding more rice milk if necessary. 

In sauce pot, slowly simmer balsamic vinegar over low heat until sauce reduces. Be careful not to reduce too far as it will become too thick to drizzle.

To assemble, spread layer of bean puree on plate. Place beet slice down, top with nut cheeze and top with another beet. 
So, how was it you ask? It wasn't bad. But it definitely could have been improved had I practiced working with the beets. For starters, I don't have a mandolin so they weren't as thin as they needed to be. I think the next time that I make this dish (and I will), I will let the beets macerate in acidulated water to make them more pliable. I kept thinking that ravioli are served with a sauce or over a sauce of some sort. I struggled trying to come up with a suitable sauce for these ravioli. And I also got hung up trying to add in more protein. Though the ravioli filling is made with nuts... Anyway, the balsamic reduction worked great with the beets so I need to focus on that. I may try serving the ravioli over wilted spinach with the balsamic reduction the next time.

The bean puree, while very good, ended up having a consistency similar to mashed potatoes. In fact, I think that I may mix pureed white beans with my smashed sweet potatoes the next time I make them. All in all, it was really a great dish that I'll definitely revisit. I guess that's what cooking is really about, trying, testing, and tweaking.