my grandma dee was a bit of a wild child even in old age. i remember sitting in her kitchen next to the metal fan (the only cool place in the house), looking up from my book to watch her in her garden through the lace-veiled window. she carried a giant basket through the rows, gathering goodness nurtured and warmed by the california sun. i would blush a bit when she would squat down and eat right out of the ground, worried that someone would see her (although the nearest neighbors were blocks away). she would swing her long black and grey apache braid out of the way and just pop a bean in her mouth or a bit of greens, sometimes even flowers and grass. i would definitely cringe when she would pull a giant bloodred beet from the soil and take a bite. i despised beets and could not imagine why someone would want to eat them, especially uncooked and covered in dirt.
turns out, i'm beginning to live much like dee and appreciate the things she loved. you could say that i am embracing my genetic quirkiness. i even like beets now. i love them juiced, roasted and once even took a bite of raw.
this salad pays homage to dee: roasted beets, greens and flowers.
crimson and clover salad
- two beets, roasted and cut into small cubes
- red leaf lettuce
- goat cheese, crumbled
- walnuts, chopped
- clover flowers*
- garnish with mint, bee balm petals*, finely diced beet stalk and finely diced dried cranberries
- beet and balsamic vinaigrette
build a salad with the lettuce, arugula and radicchio. lift the beets to strain (reserving the balsamic vinegar and beet juice, now mingled into the most magic of liquids) and top the greens. crumble goat cheese, walnuts and clover flowers. dress with the vinaigrette and garnish.
*clover and bee balm are edible; just make sure you pick them from an organic garden.
to make the vinaigrette: mix together equal parts extra virgin olive oil and beet juice and balsamic vinegar magic liquid with salt and pepper to taste.
grandma dee is smiling.
and also would like it very much if you ate this outside in the sunshine. preferably in the same spot where you picked the flowers. with dogs. and dirt.