Remember the Chekhov play The Three Sisters, in which one of the sisters longs to go to Moscow? It’s a theme! Well, here at The Ordinary, for the past few days, our Moscow has been the secret path that leads to the secret path on the other other side of the towpath. If you think I’ve mentioned it before, it’s because I have, and that’s because IT’S ALL I’VE HEARD ABOUT FOR DAYS NOW!! When will we go? Why can’t we go? Why shouldn’t we go just because a storm is raging around our house? On the very first day of summer vacation, way back in the glowing, hopeful, anticipatory month of June, Malcolm and I happened upon a small winding path that branched away from the towpath. He was ecstatic! We ran through it, leaping fallen logs, stooping under trees, racing through light and shadow. He’s wanted to return ever since, but with one thing and another, we’ve never made it back. Lately his yearning has reached a fever pitch, so today we braved spiders, ticks, stinging nettles, poison ivy, mosquitos and impending thunderstorms, and set out on our journey. (Who is an anxious mom? Who is?) It’s quite a long journey, as the Isaac walks, but it was worth it to see how happy the boys were. After a night of rain the ground was muddy, the leaves sodden and fragrant, the creeks fast-flowing. In June all the green things were small and pale and bright, but today they’re lush and dark and overtaking all the paths.
Funnily enough, we’d eaten this beet carpaccio the night before, and I’d remarked that prepared this way, beets didn’t taste like dirt. Huh? Asked Isaac (he’s a small boy, dirt is his medium). I’d replied that beets grow in dirt, so they taste like dirt, but in a pleasant way. In this carpaccio, however, they were juicy and sweet. This couldn’t be easier to make, and it’s very delicious. The boys loved it!! I love goat cheese with beets – sweet and juicy meets a bit of creamy tartness. The pecans added crunch, and the sage added depth.
And here’s Modest Mouse with So Much Beauty in Dirt.
1 medium-sized beet, peeled
2 cups baby arugula
3 rounds of goat cheese, about 1/3 inch thick (or as many as you feel like making)
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped into tiny pieces
4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
salt & freshly ground black pepper
Using your vegetable peeler, peel the beet into thin slices. This gets harder as the beet gets thinner, but you can hold it down on a cutting board and pull the slicer across.
On a pretty plate arrange a layer of arugula leaves. Spread the beet slices on top, leaving some arugula to show through. Drizzle olive oil over all of the beets, a few drops on each. Drizzle balsamic over everything as well. Sprinkle with salt and grate plenty of black pepper on top.
Combine the pecans and sage leaves, and put them on a small plate. Press the rounds of goat cheese into the nuts to coat on all sides (it doesn’t need to be neat or even). If you have a toaster oven, place the rounds on a toaster tray, and toast them till they’re soft and the pecans start to brown. If you don’t have a toaster oven, preheat your oven to 425, and pop these in for about 15 minutes, till the goat cheese is a bit soft and the pecans start to brown. Carefully lift the goat cheese from the tray and arrange them on top of the beets. Serve!