Paneer-Stuffed Mini Peppers with Green Pea Chutney

Paneer Stir-Fry
4 oz. paneer cheese, crumbled or cubed small
1 tablespoon oil
1 small shallot, minced
1 inch ginger piece, peeled and grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Indian green chills (can sub in Serranos or jalapeño)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/3 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
salt to taste

Green Pea Chutney
1/3 cup blanched green peas or thawed out frozen peas
3 tablespoons yogurt
3 tablespoons cilantro leaves
squeeze of lemon
salt to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a cookie sheet pan.

In a pan under medium-high heat, place 1 tablespoon of oil. When hot add in cumin seeds. When seeds start to brown after a few seconds, add in shallot. Turn the heat to medium and cook until translucent, a few minutes. Then add the garlic, green chili and ginger. Fry for 30 seconds, mixing about until fragrant. Add in the coriander powder, turmeric, garam masala and mix well. Fry for a few seconds. If pan is getting dry, can add in a few drops of water. Add in the paneer cheese and mix well. Sauté paneer for few minutes. Add salt to taste and turn off heat.

Layer the halved sweet mini peppers on a greased cookie sheet pan. With a teaspoon, fill the pepper halves with paneer stir-fry. Place in the oven to bake for 15 minutes, until peppers are soft and drying out a little on top.

Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, add in the peas, cilantro and yogurt. Puree and transfer to a bowl. Add squeeze of lemon and salt to taste.

Line a plate with the baked peppers and drizzle the green peas chutney on top. Serve immediately.

Rainbow Chard and Lentils

1 cup red lentils (masoor dal)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
4-5 cups water
2 tablespoons mustard oil
1-2 green scallions, chopped
1 bunch rainbow or swiss chard, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji)
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika (deggi mirch), or to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon

Rinse dal thoroughly using a fine-meshed sieve. Place in a saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Skim foam off the top until it no longer appears. Add turmeric powder and mix well. Simmer dal on medium-low, partly covered for 35-40 minutes or until dal is falling apart. Add additional water for desired consistency. Add salt to taste. If you like a smoother consistency, blend dal with an immersion blender.

In a frying pan over medium heat, add in mustard oil. When oil starts to shimmer, add in cumin seeds and nigella seeds. When the cumin seeds start to brown, add in the coriander powder and paprika. Stir the spices around well in the oil until they are aromatic, a few seconds. Quickly add in the cut scallions (reserving a few green pieces for garnish) and sautee until softened, 1 minute. Next add in the cut rainbow chard and salt to taste. Sautee until chard leaves start to wilt. Turn off stove and pour the sauteed leaves and onions onto the dal. Mix in lemon juice. Taste for sourness and add more lemon juice accordingly. Garnish with remaining cut scallions.

Serve over rice with yogurt and Brooklyn Delhi achaar.

Beet Rasam

1/2 cup red lentils
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
pinch of asafetida (hing)
1/2 red onion, sliced in half circles
1 beet, peeled & diced
2 teaspoons rasam powder
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
parsley or cilantro leaves, chopped
salt to taste

Wash lentils thoroughly, using a fine-meshed colander.

Add lentils to a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Stay by the stove monitoring the foaming as your pot could quickly boil over if you are not watching. Skim off foam. Mix in turmeric powder. Turn the flame to medium-low, partially cover and simmer for about 25 minutes or until cooked through.

Mix in salt to taste and optionally mash down cooked lentils with a spoon.

While lentils are cooking, heat sunflower oil in a saucepan on medium heat. When oil is hot, add in cumin seeds and asafetida. When the cumin seeds turn a darker shade of brown, add in cut onions. Stir fry until translucent. Add in diced beets and salt. Stir-fry the beets for 30 seconds. Next, add enough water to cover the beets by about 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil and then simmer beets until cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Add the cooked lentils to the cooked beets. Add 1-2 cups of water and rasam powder. The consistency should be a thin soup with the lentils on the bottom. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 5-6 minutes. Turn off heat and add lemon juice to taste. Add more salt to taste and mix in parsley or cilantro leaves.

Serve plain or over rice with yogurt and hot pickle.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Tamarind Dressing

2 large heirloom tomatoes
2 cups cherry tomatoes
4 thai chili peppers, red and yellow color
2 tablespoons whole cilantro leaves, fresh
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder, freshly ground + extra if needed
2 teaspoons tamarind concentrate
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
3 teaspoons dark brown sugar or jaggery crushed
1/4 teaspoon toasted coriander powder, freshly ground (see notes above)
100mL cup water
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Maldon sea salt flakes

Thinly slice the heirloom tomatoes and arrange them on a serving platter. Add the cherry tomatoes over them.
Slice the chili peppers lengthwise in half and arrange them over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the cilantro leaves over the tomatoes.

Take a 500mL mason jar or glass jar with a lid. Add all the ingredients from the tamarind to the olive oil. Close the jar tight with its lid and then shake vigorously until it forms an emulsion. Taste the dressing and adjust seasoning if necessary with salt and pepper.
Drizzle enough dressing over the salad and sprinkle with the Maldon sea salt flakes and/or pepper if needed. Serve immediately.

Green Pea Socca

1 cup green pea flour
1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
6 tablespoons olive oil + a little extra to brush
1 cup water, at room temperature
1/2 cup shallots, thinly sliced into rings
1 tablespoon fresh lemon thyme leaves + a little extra for garnish
1 teaspoon lunu miris or harissa
2 tablespoons asiago cheese, shredded

In a medium sized mixing bowl, add all the ingredients from the green pea flour to the black pepper. Dry whisk to combine. Then add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the water. Whisk to combine to form a smooth slurry. There should be no visible lumps in the batter. Taste the batter and adjust the salt if necessary. Wrap the bowl with cling film or a lid and leave in the refrigerator overnight (maximum up to 48hours). (See notes above)

The next day, place a wire rack on the upper-second level of the oven. Preheat to 450F.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12 inch cast iron pan or oven-safe skillet on medium-high heat. When the oil just starts to smoke, add the shallots and sauté until they brown. This will take around 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Fold the harissa, the lemon thyme leaves, and the browned shallots into the refrigerated pea flour batter using a silicone spatula. Coat the same cast-iron skillet with the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil. Pour the batter on the pan and place it in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown and the bread begins to release from the sides of the pan.

At this point, carefully remove the pan from the oven and brush the surface very lightly with extra olive oil. Sprinkle the asiago cheese over the surface of the socca. Return the pan to the oven and broil for 2 to 3 minutes or until the cheese is starts to melt and just golden brown on the edges.

Remove the pan from the oven and using a silicone spatula remove the socca by sliding the spatula underneath the sides of the bread. Score and cut the socca into wedges (any size you desire) or strips. Garnish with a little extra lemon thyme if desired and serve warm.

Pumpkin Raita

2 cups grated pumpkin
1 thai green chili pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 red onion, minced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
3 cups plain non-fat greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2-3 curry leaves, dried or fresh

Place the grated pumpkin in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with a lid and microwave for 3-4 minutes until the pumpkin is completely tender. Keep aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl add the pumpkin, chili pepper, onion, cilantro, mint, yogurt, salt, and pepper. Whisk the ingredients with a fork and taste to make sure the amount of salt and pepper is enough. Transfer the mixture to a clean serving dish. Cover and refrigerate the raita for 1-2 hours until chilled.

Before serving, heat the oil in a saucepan on a medium high flame till it gets slightly smoky. Immediately reduce the flame to low and carefully add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. The seeds will begin to spurt and the leaves will brown in the hot oil. Cook till the seeds stop spurting and pour the entire contents while hot on top of the chilled raita. Serve immediately.

Cherry Almond Dutch Baby

3 large egg
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (more or less to taste)
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups pitted sweet cherries
1/2 cup sliced almonds, well-toasted
Powdered sugar
Lemon wedges

Heat oven to 425°F.

Whisk egg, sugar, flour, milk, extract and salt together until the batter is blended but lumpy; you can also do this in a blender.

In a 12-inch ovenproof frying pan, melt butter.

Add cherries and cook until warmed, about 2 minutes.

Pour in batter and transfer to heated oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and rumpled-looking. (Err on the side of more cooking time with these pancakes, because the longer, within a range, they cook, the more rumpled and golden they get.)

Remove pancake from oven and quickly scatter with toasted almonds, dust with powdered sugar and squeeze lemon juice over. Serve in wedges, piping hot.

Stir-Fried Long Beans

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 inch ginger (minced) (30g)
2 red chilies (seeded and cut into pieces)
2 tbsp fermented soy beans (drained and minced)
1 tsp sugar
1 lb long beans (cut into 2 inch lengths) (450g)
1/4=cup water (60mL)

Heat a wok or large fry pan. Add vegetable oil and swirl it around to coat the wok or fry pan.

Add garlic and ginger. Sauté for 20 seconds. Then add red chilies and sauté for another 20 seconds.

Add fermented soy beans and sugar. Continue to stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant.

Add prepared long beans and water. Stir fry for another 5 minutes or until long beans are tender and sauce has thicken.

Turn off stove and transfer vegetables to a serving dish.

Blueberry Ice Cream

Ingredients

2 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp water
2 cups cream

Put berries and sugar and water in a pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sugar is dissolved and blueberries soft and mushy. Take off heat and let cool to room temperature. Use hand mixer to blend until smooth.

Add in cream and stir.

Cover and chill til very cold and pour mixture into your ice cream machine and follow machine instructions.

Chinese Banged Cucumber Salad

4 cucumbers (japanese or english type)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 clove garlic, smashed (optional)
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp sesame oil

Wash your cucumber thoroughly. Cut off the tips on each side. Holding one end, carefully bang on cucumber with the flat of your cleaver until the cucumber splits and flattens out. It will be a little mushed up which is what you want. Once the whole cucumber is flattened, chop into bit sized piece. (We like to chop at a diagonal.) Do the same to each cucumber.

Add 1/2 tsp salt, mix and place into colander. Let cucumber drip juices out for 15-20 mins in the fridge. Squeeze cucumber lightly to remove most of the juice.

Mix together the chopped cucumber, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil. Taste. It should be equal parts salty, sour and sweet. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Let marinate in refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour, stirring once or twice, before serving. The longer the marination, the tastier.

Steamed Chinese Eggplant

3 chinese eggplants
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 small red chilis, chopped (optional)
3 tbsp of oil
2 tbsp spring onions

Marinade

1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp of sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp rice vinegar

Wash and cut the eggplants to 2 1/2 inch lengths, discarding the stems. Place eggplants into steamer and steam for 25-30 minutes until really soft. Cut or tear each piece into bite sized shreds (I use a tong to grab the hot egglants and a knife to slice thru). Pile attractively into serving dish.

Mix soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and rice vinegar in a bowl. Heat oil in wok and fry the garlic and chilis (if using) over medium heat until garlic is a golden brown. Carefully pour the garlic/chili/hot oil into the marinade. Stir until well mixed. Pour sauce over the eggplants, sprinkle with spring onion and serve.

Cauliflower Stir Fry

1 small head Cauliflower, or 1/2 large head
2-3 Tbsp peanut oil
2 slices of ginger
1/4 Tsp sea salt
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup of spring onion, cut to rounds
1 Tbsp of sesame oil

You can see from the ingredient list that it is quite specific. This very simple dish has few factors, therefore the taste quality of each factor becomes important.

Wash and cut cauliflower into florets. Shake as much water as you can from the cauliflower.

Heat wok at medium high until it starts smoking, add oil and swirl to coat wok. Right away add ginger slices and stir briefly to infuse ginger essence into oil.

Add cauliflower (Careful here!: There will be a loud hissing and spitting of oil as any water left on the cauliflower hits the hot oil. Just tip the bowl containing cauliflower into the wok facing away from you and watch out for that spitting oil) and stir to coat all the cauliflower florets with oil.

Add salt. Keep stirring until the florets start to show some brown spots (about 2 minutes), turn down the heat to medium low, add the chicken stock and cover, stirring occassionally.

Let simmer for 2-3 minutes or until only a 1/4 cup of stock is left in wok (this will be the sauce). The cauliflower should be soft, not crisp.

Add spring onions, give everything a toss and turn off the heat. Add sesame oil, mix and serve.

Stir-Fried Beef and Asparagus

8 oz beef cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons oil
1 clove garlic minced
6 oz asparagus cut into long strips
One small red bell pepper cut into long strips

Marinade:
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 heavy dashes ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fish sauce or oyster sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Sauce:
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon black/dark soy sauce for coloring purpose
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
Pinch of salt

Marinate the beef with all ingredients in the Marinade, for 15 minutes.

Combine all the ingredients in the Sauce, stir and mix well, set aside.

Heat up a wok and add 1 tablespoon oil. When the oil is fully heated, add the beef and do a few quick stirs, until the surface turns opaque and slightly charred. Transfer out and set aside.

Clean the wok and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. When the oil is fully heated, add the garlic and stir-fry until aromatic. Add the asparagus stir a few times before adding the beef back into the wok.

Add the Sauce and stir to combine well. Stir in the bell pepper and dish out to serve

Shrimp (or Scallop) and Asparagus Sambal

12 oz. asparagus
4 oz. scallops or medium-size shrimps
1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons sambal paste if you like spicy, use 2 tablespoons
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon fish sauce or to taste
1 teaspoon belacan breaks into small bits
2 tablespoons oil

Sambal (Chili Paste) Recipe:
20 dried chilies seeded and soaked to soften
10 fresh red chilies seeded and sliced
8 shallots peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
6 tablespoons cooking oil

Rinse the asparagus with water. Chop off 1 inch to 1.5 inches off the stems (depending on the toughness of the stems) and slice the stems into half. Cut the rest of the asparagus into 2-inch lengths. Set aside.

Heat up the wok with oil. Add the sambal (recipe below) and belacan. Stir well until you start smelling the pungent aroma of belacan. Add in scallops/shrimps and do a quick stir and then follow by the asparagus. Add fish sauce, sugar, and continue to stir fry until asparagus is cooked through (don’t overcook it). Dish out and serve hot.

Sambal (Chili Paste) Recipe:
Use a mortar and pestle to pound the sambal ingredients or use a mini food processor to blend well. Heat up a wok with oil. As soon as the oil is heated, transfer the sambal paste into the wok and stir-fry continuously for a few minutes or until you smell the heat from the sambal or the oil separates from the sambal. Dish out and set aside. Refrigerated for future use.

Recipe Notes
Traditionally, sambal is prepared fresh–or bought ready made from the wet market in Malaysia. It’s then used immediately to cook the dish. In the US, I always make my sambal into a chili paste so I can keep it in the refrigerator and use it on the go. I also use more dried chilies to make the sambal paste lasts longer in the refrigerator. The fresh chilies give a nice red color as dried red chilies look duller in color. I will show you the traditional way of making sambal from scratch and the proper method of making it soon!

Stir-Fried Chicken and Asparagus

8 oz chicken breast cut into cubes
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoons oil
2 cloves garlic minced
1 lb asparagus bottom stems trimmed
Sauce:
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
4 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon Thai sweet chili sauce

Mix the chicken with cornstarch. Mix all the ingredients for the Sauce in a small bowl, stir to combine well. Set both aside.

Heat up a skillet with the oil. Saute the garlic until aromatic. Add the chicken and stir-fry back and forth until the surface turns opaque. Add the asparagus and continue to stir-fry, for about 1 minute. Add the Sauce into the skillet. As soon as it thickens, dish out and serve immediately.

Chipotle Lime Grilled Chicken

2 – 2.5 lbs skin on chicken thighs deboned

1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves roughly chopped
1 jalapeño chopped finely
2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder or more to taste
5 garlic cloves minced
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons salt or to taste
Lime wedges for serving

Leave the skin on the chicken thighs but remove the bones by cutting two slits along the sides of the bone. Rinse the chicken with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.

In a big bowl, whisk all the Marinade ingredients until well combined. Save some of the Marinade for basting. Add chicken to the Marinade, make sure to stir and coat the chicken evenly. Marinate for at least 2 hours.

Fire up the grill, brush a little bit of the Marinade plus the garlic, cilantro and jalapeno on top of the chicken and grill them until they turn golden brown and charred on both sides. Serve immediately with some fresh lime wedges.

Recipe Notes
You may cook the chicken in an oven at 400F for about 20 minutes or until they turn golden brown and charred. You may also cook the chicken on stovetop using a regular skillet or cast-iron grilled pan.

Perkedel Jagung (Bakwan Jadung – Indonesian Corn Fritters)

500 gr sweet corn kernels
6 oz shrimps cleaned, deveined and finely minced
80 gr rice flour
1 large egg beaten
1 tsp salt
1 Thai chili
Oil for deep-frying

AROMATICS:
2 shallots peeled
2 garlic peeled
3 Tbsp chopped Chinese celery leaves

Place 1/2 of the corn in a food processor along with the shrimp, shallots and garlic and pulse few times until finely chopped.

Mix the chopped corn mixtures along with the other half of the corn kernels, eggs, chili, celery leaves, flour, salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir to mix everything.

Heat about 1/2 inch of oil for frying. Lower the heat to medium and then drop one or two spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. You may want to fry one first and then taste to see if you need to add more salt (as you can’t taste the “raw” mixture) and adjust by adding more salt if needed before frying more.

You can try to use egg rings if you have some to help hold the round shape, but you really don’t have to. If you use them, fill the ring with the corn mixture and then use the back of the spoon to kinda smooth it out to make sure there’s no “hole” so your bakwan jagung won’t fall apart later. Once the fritter is golden brown at the bottom, you can remove the ring and flip to the other side and cook until golden brown.

Continue with the rest of the mixture. You can serve with any of your favorite sweet chili sauce or just eat them as is.

Green Beans and Bean Threads

1 lb green beans trimmed both ends and remove tough fibers, cut into 2-inch sections
2 oz minced lean pork or any meat you like I used left over sausages
2 bundles of bean thread noodles/vermicelli noodles soak in cold water to let it soften and then cut into shorter pieces
1 Tbsp chopped spring onion
3 Tbsp of canola oil

MARINADE:
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
Salt to season
1 cup water
Dash of sesame oil

Blanch the green beans in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes and quickly submerge into ice water bath. Drain and set aside.

Heat 3 Tbsp of canola oil and stir fry the minced pork and use the spatula to break up the meat, toss in chopped spring onion, add dark soy sauce, salt and water. Lastly add the green beans and cook for about 3 minutes.

Add the vermicelli and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Turn up the heat to reduce the gravy if you prefer. Lastly drizzle with some sesame oil.

Note on soaking vermicelli: If you want the vermicelli to further soak up the flavors and sauce of the dish you are cooking it in, soak it in cold water. If you are not cooking it in a sauce, soak it in warm water instead to allow it to swell more before cooking.

Pressure Cooker Sambal Terong Belado (Eggplants with Sambal)

INGREDIENTS:
500 gr long purple eggplants or you can use dark purple kind

SAMBAL BALADO:
100 gr cayenne pepper see notes
8 shallots peeled
3 garlic peeled
1 large tomato quartered
1/3 cup cooking oil

AROMATICS:
3 daun salam leaves
2 kaffir lime leaves tear edges to release flavor

SEASONINGS:
1 tsp salt or more to taste
1 Tbsp sugar
1 lime

PREPARE EGGPLANTS:
Prepare a large pot of water with 1 tsp of salt in it.

Rinse the skin of the eggplants clean with water. Pat dry. Trim off the stem. Halve and then cut into about 3-inch pieces. Make sure you cut them into roughly equal in size so they cook evenly.

Place the cut eggplants into the pot of water to prevent them from turning black while you are cutting the rest of tge ingredients.

PRESSURE COOKING THE EGGPLANTS:
Pour 1 cup of water inside the inner pot of the instant pot. Arrange the eggplant in a collapsible veggie steamer that you can fit inside the inner pot. Cover the lid and turn the steam release valve to seal. Press pressure cooker, high pressure, and set timer to 15 minutes.

When the timer is up, wait 5 minutes and then release pressure completely.

PREPARE SAMBAL BALADO WHILE THE EGGPLANTS ARE COOKING:
Place all the sambal balado ingredients in a food processor. You can either roughly chop them for that rustic look or process them into finer texture. The oil will help to move things inside the food processor.

Preheat a large skillet and pour in the sambal mixture along with the aromatics. Stir fry for about 5 minutes and then add the seasonings. Keep stirring to prevent sambal from scorching. Have a taste. It should be savory, lightly sweet, with a hint of tang. Add more salt and/or sugar if needed.

PUT EVERYTHING TOGETHER:
When the eggplants are done cooking, add the eggplants pieces onto the skillet and stir to mix everything. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately, with lots of rice.

RECIPE NOTES:
If you can’t find fresh cayenne pepper (cabe keriting), you can substitute with dried Chile de Arbol or Guajillo. Just soak them in water until soft and then proceed with recipe.

Spinach Salad with Beets and Balsamic Vinaigrette

For the Salad
Optional: pecan halves (or walnuts, toasted)
2 to 3 slices bacon (diced, or about 3 ounces of diced pancetta)
1 pound beets (trimmed, cooked, peeled, and diced)
4 cups spinach
1/4 cup red onion (thinly sliced)
Optional: shredded cheese (or crumbled goat cheese or feta)
For the Dressing
1 clove garlic (crushed and minced)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (or a similar gourmet mustard)
4 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil

Arrange the pecans or walnuts in a dry skillet and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly until the nuts are lightly browned and aromatic.

In a skillet over medium heat, fry the diced bacon until crisp or fry the pancetta until browned.

Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Dice the bacon and set aside.

Arrange spinach leaves on 4 salad plates. Top with diced beets, diced bacon or pancetta, red onion, and pecans or walnuts. If desired, top with cheese.

In a skillet over medium heat, fry the diced bacon until crisp or fry the pancetta until browned.

Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Dice the bacon and set aside.

Arrange spinach leaves on 4 salad plates. Top with diced beets, diced bacon or pancetta, red onion, and pecans or walnuts. If desired, top with cheese.

In a bowl or blender, combine the garlic, salt, pepper, mustard, honey, and balsamic vinegar. Whisk or blend in the olive oil in a steady stream.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad or serve on the side.

Tips
Boiled Beets: To boil beets, first start by washing and trimming the beets, leaving about 2 inches of the stem and root ends. Place the beets in a large saucepan and cover with salted water (about 1 teaspoon of salt per quart). Add a few teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice to the water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook for about 40 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the beets.

Roasted Beets: To roast beets, first wash the beets and trim, leaving an inch or two on the stem and root ends. Rub the beets with a little vegetable oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper; wrap in foil and bake at 375 F for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until tender. The time varies depending on the size of the beets. You can also roast the beets in the slow cooker.