There was a palpable energy on Friday night as we headed into the city for dinner. I suspect it's because most people, like Eric and I, have been stuck inside for the last month. It was cold... brutallycold. So cold that it was dangerous to be outside for more than ten minutes. But that didn't stop folks from going out. Boston businesses have been suffering, so seeing packed bars and restaurants was a nice sight.
This was a very social weekend for the two of us. There was dinner and drinks on Friday. On Saturday, we were invited over to our neighbors for "'ninis and 'tinis" (that's panini and martinis). I got inspired to make some potato chips for the occasion, along with a bowl of cucumber salad. Six hours later and more than a few martinis in and we were all feeling pretty good.
Sunday was equally enjoyable (and, thankfully, warmer than it's been recently). We prepared brunch for some friends and then had more over to watch the Academy Awards. I put together a spread of baked brie, beet dip, and a large pot of wild rice and mushroom soup. We sat and ate and drank and laughed and said snarky things during the show. Is there anything better?
Going back to this beet dip. It's an Ottolenghi creation and, therefore, it's perfect. I first had it at a holiday party a few years back and have been anxious to make it ever since. And, so, now I have. Twice. In two days. It was that good. Minor adjustments have been made because, well, I'm not sure how many folks have za'atar in their spice cabinet. Of course, you can play around with this recipe as much as you'd like. The pepper certainly gives it some nice kick, but a little more couldn't hurt. I also can't get enough of the color. It's striking and really brightens up a table. Just be aware that it'll stain anything it touches, so keep it away from carpets and couches... and small children who might be likely to get it all over the place.
Beet Dip with Hazelnuts + Goat Cheese
Source Slightly adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi's recipe via Food and Wine
Ingredients 6 medium beets (1 1/2 pounds), trimmed 2 small garlic cloves, minced 1 small red chile, seeded and minced 1 cup plain Greek yogurt 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 1/2 tablespoons honey 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika Salt 1/4 cup roasted skinned hazelnuts, chopped 2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley, for garnish Warm bread, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Put the beets in a small roasting pan and add 1/4 cup of water. Cover with foil and bake for about 1 hour, until tender. Let cool slightly.
2. Peel the beets, cut into wedges and transfer to a food processor. Add the garlic, chile and yogurt and pulse until blended. Add the olive oil, honey, cumin, ground ginger and smoked paprika and puree. Season with salt. Scrape into a wide, shallow bowl. Scatter the hazelnuts, goat cheese and chopped parsley on top and serve with bread.