It’s official. I’ve lost my momentum when it comes to unpacking my apartment. Despite entering the whole experience with a pretty gloomy mood (as described in my previous post on the situation) I somehow managed to hit a bit of a stride. The weekend before last was fairly open so I had two solid days of unpacking. I was actually loving it and viewing the situation as an opportunity to be a more organized and clean me. That lasted for about two days, or until I got to the dregs of my stuff. In other words, the things that didn’t exactly have a proper home in my last place and probably didn’t justify making the move with me. It’s the kind of stuff that normal people relegate to a junk drawer or a closet, expect that in my last apartment I had an extra empty bedroom at my disposal. And it all ended up there. Too much of it. I know it’ll all find a home eventually, having downsized from a two bedroom to a one bedroom, it’s currently filling my dining room to the brim. The whole place is decidedly claustrophobic at the moment.
However, I’ve been determined to stay on the bright side of unpacking and wanted to mention one of the unexpected pleasant side effects of unpacking – discovering things you didn’t know you’ve misplaced. One such thing for me was a black moleskin notebook with pages of recipe ideas I had scrawled, but never made. It was perfect timing because the move was making me frazzled, the idea of cooking quite far away from my current state of mind.
One such idea was for a Roasted Beet and Ricotta Sandwich, perfect for a fall Meatless Monday lunch or dinner.
I simply two golden beets individually in foil and roasted them off in the oven. To pair with the beets I had originally thought of a ricotta lightly sweetened with honey, but instead a bottle of Organic Scrumpy Hard Cider was calling my name. The perfect balance of sweet and tart, not to mention very apple-y, I knew that when reduced down it would be a perfect honey alternative. I stirred it and some chopped thyme into some delicious hand-dipped ricotta from Whole Foods and slathered it liberally on some whole grain bread. (Yes, the cheese use is pretty liberal here – 1/2 cup per sandwich – you could certainly scale it back, but since it’s the main protein source for the sandwich I found the amount perfect.) Add the roasted beets, thinly sliced, and some baby arugula for a peppery bite and crisp crunch and you have a satisfying sandwich.
-2 medium beets, stems, leaves and root ends removed
-1 cup hard cider (you’ll want a variety that is more sweet than tart) like Organic Scrumpy, or if you don’t want to reduce the cider down use 1-2 tablespoons of honey, boiled cider, or agave nectar instead
-Leaves of 3 sprigs of time, coarsely chopped
-1 cup ricotta cheese (use the best quality and highest fat level you can find)
-Salt and pepper to taste
-2 6-inch long pieces of whole grain baguette, split lengthwise, some of the insides removed
-1 cup loosely packed baby arugula leaves
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Wrap each of your beats with foil, crumpling the foil completely so no juices escape. Place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until the beets are tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes before removing the foil, peeling the beets and thinly slicing them.
While the beets are cooking, make your hard apple cider reduction. Place the apple cider in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, reduce the heat so the cider comes to a cider. Continue to cook until the mixture has reduced to about 2 tablespoons. (About 20 minutes.) It will have thickened up some and be more syrupy in texture. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.
Add the hard cider reduction to a small bowl along with the thyme and ricotta cheese. Mix until well combined and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To make the sandwich, spread the ricotta mixture along the cut sides of the bread and top with the arugula and sliced beets.