Beet and goat cheese bruschetta
One hot morning, you could find Clio and me on our daily scamper along the tow path. A spandex-clad woman whizzed by us on her bike, and as she passed she said, “You okay?” My first thought, of course, was “Honey, I’m more than alright, I’m out of sight! I am fine. Fiiiiiine.” But my second, more considered thought was, “Why? Don’t I look alright? IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME? What is it? What’s wrong? Are you talking to my dog? IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG WITH MY DOG?” It was a very hot day…maybe we looked as though we were about to swoon. Maybe she wasn’t talking to us at all. Who knows? The whole incident got me thinking about a superpower I would like to possess. I’d like to be able to ride around the world on a bicycle, and when I’d ride past people I’d yell, “YOU’RE OKAY!!” And they’d believe me. I think this would be a remarkably useful skill. Many of the people I meet don’t know they’re okay. And throughout my life I’ve observed that the people I find the most kind and interesting and thoughtful are often the people with the least concept of their okayness, they don’t know how important they are to the world around them and they’re not as happy as they might be if they did. One symptom of this insecurity, is that it feeds on itself, and it becomes hard to persuade somebody that they’re doing alright, because it becomes hard to believe that you’ll ever
be okay when you’re feeling down about yourself. And, of course, all of this works into my ongoing rant that, as a society, we value the wrong things. We think someone’s okay if they’re pretty or rich. And maybe they are, I hope they are, but if so it will be because they’re also bright and compassionate and interested. In my superhero persona, I’ll have a sort of spider sense that tells me when somebody is feeling down, and I’ll be able to fly by on my bike and yell, “You’re okay!” And suddenly they’ll see themselves from the outside, beamingly, not with arrogance, but with generosity and appreciation for all they have to offer, and thus they’ll walk forth into the world. YOU’RE OKAY!!
Beet and goat cheese bruschetta
Well, it has been hot lately. Too hot to bake. Too hot to cook. Too hot to boil water or turn on the oven at all. This is when we turn to toaster oven cookery. This whole thing was made in the toaster oven, but if you don’t have such a thing you can use a regular oven. My boys like beets and they like goat cheese, so they liked these a lot. I added a little chipotle purée, some lime juice, and some smoked paprika. Atop this cheesy combination, we piled some juicy olives and tomatoes. You could just fresh chopped tomatoes, or even salsa. This could be an appetizer, but we ate it as a meal with a big salad.
Here’s Out of Sight by James Brown.
2 small beets, peeled and grated
1 T olive oil
1 t sage
1/3 cup goat’s cheese
juice of half a lime
1/2 t chipotle puree
1/4 t smoked paprika
lots of freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
Baguette, sliced on an angle in thin slices and toasted lightly
Castelvetrano olives, pitted and chopped, cherry or grape tomatoes, pitted and chopped, pine nuts, drizzle of olive oil.
Combine the beets with the olive oil and sage and spread in a thin layer on a small baking sheet. Roast in the oven (at 425) or toast in the toaster oven for 15 or so minutes, until the beets start to brown and smell like burnt sugar. Stir frequently so they brown evenly. Let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, combine the goat cheese, lime juice, chipotle puree, paprika and pepper, and stir till smooth. Stir in the mozzarella. Mix in the toasted beets.
Top each piece of toast with a spoonful of beet mixture, and spread it in an even layer. Toast until the cheese is golden and bubbly. If you don’t have a toaster oven, put these under the broiler for a few minutes.
Serve with the olives and tomatoes to place on top.