Why is it that the batteries for smoke alarms only decided to die in the middle of the night? When my husband and I moved into our house 7 1/2 years ago, I remember the first night we lay down to go to sleep. We were so happy to be done – finally living in the house that we agonized about for months. We looked up at the cathedral ceiling in our bedroom, and saw the very high smoke detector. It was at that moment I told him that hopefully the builder didn’t put a battery in that thing. I remember learning that the smoke detectors were hard-wired, but they also hold a battery. How would we ever change the battery in that thing? We don’t even own a ladder, just a step stool? Well, hopefully it won’t happen in the middle of the night.
Things have been hectic at home lately, and at work. It seems that every day there is some end-of-year activity that we are attending, or preparing for – and work has been equally as crazy. This time of year things really heat up – just like last year, my team is preparing for changes. It is an exciting time, but that takes a lot of energy. So, every night I hit the pillow utterly exhausted. Except the other night, I woke up to the chirping sound of the smoke detector – the battery was dead and needed to be changed. There was nothing we could do about it. No sleeping for us.
So, what does this have to do with this delicious looking salad that I found in Bon Appetit? Well, pretty much nothing – but I was looking for a quick and delicious salad to go with BBQ, and this was the winner. It is so easy you can almost make it in your sleep – especially if you do what I did and buy the Trader Joes beets that are already cooked – what a beautiful thing. This salad was just delightful, almost as delightful as it was to borrow our neighbor’s ladder so we could actually get some sleep.
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound baby carrots with 1/2″ of tops attached, peeled
- 6 small (1 1/2″ diameter) red beets, scrubbed, trimmed leaving 2″ of stem attached
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta (about 4 oz.)
Stir cumin seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, 3–4 minutes. Let cool. Finely grind in a spice mill.
Whisk cumin, lemon juice, vinegar, and Dijon mustard in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in 1/4 cup oil, then mint. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
Cook carrots in a large pot of boiling salted water for 1 minute; using a slotted spoon, transfer carrots to a bowl. Add beets to same pot of boiling water and cook until just tender, 20–25 minutes. Drain. Let stand at room temperature to cool slightly, about 15 minutes. Peel and trim beets; halve lengthwise.
DO AHEAD: Vinaigrette and vegetables can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately; chill. Return vinaigrette to room temperature and whisk before using.
Preheat oven to 450°. Season carrots with salt and pepper. Toss with 1 1/2 tsp. oil. Arrange on half of a large rimmed baking sheet. Place beets in same bowl; season with salt and pepper and toss with remaining 1 1/2 tsp. oil. Arrange in single layer opposite carrots on same baking sheet. Roast vegetables, turning once, until slightly charred and just tender, about 15 minutes.
Place carrots, 1/2 cup parsley leaves, and feta in a medium bowl; drizzle 1/4 cup vinaigrette over and toss to coat. Arrange carrot mixture on a small platter. Place beets in another medium bowl. Add 2 Tbsp. vinaigrette; toss to coat. Tuck beets in among carrots. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup parsley leaves over. Drizzle with remaining dressing.
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