Roasted Beet Salad

I’m always a little unsure of beets. I’ve had them before, and know they have a very earthy flavor. The problem is, I can never decide if I like that earthy quality or not.

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However, since I had some beets on hand, I decided to try them again. This time, I decided to eat them cold, rather than mixed into a hot risotto or steamy stew.

I wanted to use the ricotta called for in the original recipe, but I’ve forbidden myself from buying any more ricotta until I use up the huge box of cheddar from Cabot. The cheddar worked pretty well, though!

As it turns out, I actually liked this beet salad! The beets really tasted more like carrots. Kind of sweet, with an underlying earthiness.

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FYI: I made the mistake of not looking closely at the pictures before we finished off the salad, and the pictures are not so great. Oops!

Roasted Beet Salad

Inspired by Food & Wine’s Roasted Beets with Ricotta, Dill and Mint

5 medium beets

1 1/2 c water

2 T olive oil

2 T red wine vinegar

2 tsp chopped dried rosemary

2 tsp chopped dried oregano

2 c spinach

3/4 c shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 400*F. Peel the beets and remove their ends. Place the beets and water in a small baking dish, and cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes, at which point the beets should be tender. Allow to cool, then dice the beets.

In a large bowl, toss the beets with the remaining ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

How do you feel about beets: love ’em or hate ’em?

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This post is part of a series featuring recipes from the FOOD & WINE archive. As a FOOD & WINE Blogger Correspondent, I was chosen to do four recipes a week from FOOD & WINE. I received a subscription to FOOD & WINE for my participation.

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Like a Camel

One of the major challenges affecting my riding at the beginning of the summer was HYDRATION. I didn’t feel fully comfortable reaching for my water bottle as I biked up hills, and would end each ride with a parched throat. Not a good thing for performance or recovery! Luckily, getting a Camelbak saved the day. Now, my rides are much more pleasant and I can get a drink of water whenever I need it.

Problem: My Camelbak didn’t come with any instructions. Luckily, Dan used to have one, so he knew what to do!

Your Camelbak:

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Set-Up:

Put the empty bladder into the backpack, and slide the straw through the feed and through the closest loop.

Savvy Tip: It is much easier to fill your Camelbak if the bladder is already in the backpack!

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Move the switch on the bite valve to the ‘lock’ position.

Unscrew the cap, and hold the bladder as shown:

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Fill with ice, water, or your drink of choice until it comes just below the cap.

Savvy Tip: Leave a little room for the cap to screw on, or water will come leaking out the sides!

Close up the pack, put on the backpack, and tighten the chest strap. Thread the straw back up through the loop on the opposite side, and unlock the bite valve.

This is the key step: blow into the bite valve until you don’t hear any bubbling. Once you do this, you should be able to easily get a drink by simply biting down on the valve!

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Clean-Up:

To keep anything from growing in your Camelbak, drain the pack as soon as possible after your workout.

With the cap still on, blow into the straw to drive all the water out of it. Then, unscrew the cap and dump out whatever is left in your Camelbak. Blow through the straw again to make sure you got everything out, and hang it up to dry.

Savvy Tip: I suggest only keeping water and ice in your Camelbak because as long as you keep it dry when not in use, you won’t have to worry as much about bacteria growing! I still drink sports drinks, but I keep them in a water bottle in the cage on my bike frame instead.

If you use a sports drink or anything other than water (or you see something starting to grow!), you will need to use a cleaner on occasion in order to keep bacteria away. I haven’t needed to do this yet, but I know Kath recently posted about cleaning her Camelbak! Camelbak also sells special cleaners!