Winter seems to be lingering a little longer than usual around here. I felt my heart sink a bit as we descended onto a snow covered ground on Saturday after a week in Utah, where the sun had already shaken its Winter gloom. Shades of brown and gray replaced the brilliant blue sky we had reluctantly left only hours before. "We're beginning our descent into New York City -- the skies are partly cloudy, and the temperature is 38 degrees Fahrenheit."
The doors of the airport opened to a burst of frigid air and I pulled my jacket tighter than I had in the past week, cringing against the sting of the cold and the persistent bitterness. My hopes of returning to warmer weather quietly slipped away. New York was just as we'd left it.
Every Winter around here seems to last a bit too long -- around the end of March, I've forgotten what it feels like to step outside without bracing myself and to leave the house without the burden of layers. This Winter in particular though has tried my patience more so than other years. As I reluctantly slid from the covers of our bed this morning, I thought to myself -- I can't take one more day of this. I'm not sure what makes this year seem worse than others, but I feel myself resenting the cold and lack of color more than I ever have. Rather than a gift, Spring feels like a necessity at this point.
I have a feeling I might not be the only one feeling this way, so, in the spirit of chasing this gray away, I thought I'd share a bit of color -- in the form of deep, robust pinks, bright yellows, and a touch of green. Here's to colorful and brighter days ahead.
beet + egg toast
Toast is my go-to breakfast. It's the perfect vehicle for so many different flavors. My usual is a smear of cream cheese with avocado, but this makes for a special alternative. Creamy neufchâtel cheese, earthy beets, and fruity olive oil make a great combination of flavors.
1 beet (any variety) - *see note
pinch of salt
2 pieces of whole grain bread, lightly toasted
1/2 of a lemon
drizzle of high quality extra virgin olive oil
ricotta cheese or farmer's cheese, for garnish
fresh dill, for garnish
flaked sea salt, for garnish
*note: while I only used the equivalent of 1 beet for this recipe [to serve 2], I boiled 6 in a large stockpot and used multiple varieties on the toast. I used the leftover boiled beets throughout the week - for more toast, salads, sandwiches, etc. I even reserved the water that the beets had cooked in and Henry used it for smoothies.
First prepare the beets: wash and remove greens. Place in a stockpot or saucepan [depending on how many beets you are making] and fill with water until beets are just covered. Throw in the 1/2 of lemon and a big pinch of salt.
Bring to a boil over high heat, and reduce to medium heat [water should be boiling, but not at a screaming boil]. Boil until beets are fork tender -- about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the beets. Drain, reserving a small bowlful of the water, and set beets aside until cool enough to handle. *you can reserve all of the water, if you wish. It makes for delicious smoothies.
Meanwhile, place 2 eggs in a small saucepan and fill with water until eggs are just covered. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, remove from heat and cover. Let eggs sit in the hot water, covered, for 8 minutes. Immediately plunge eggs into ice water. Once cool enough to handle, peel them and place in the reserved beet water [this step is completely optional -- it just adds a bit of color to the eggs and makes for a nice presentation].
Once beets are cooled, scrape off skins with a pairing knife or the back of a spoon. Slice 1 beet into 1/4-inch medallions [and, if you've made a batch of beets, refrigerate the rest for another use].
Remove eggs from beet water and slice into medallions. Spread a smear of neufchâtel cheese over both pieces of toast, top with slices of beets and eggs and crumbles of ricotta or farmer's cheese. Drizzle with high quality extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with flaked salt. Garnish with a sprig of fresh dill and serve.