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Monday, August 30, 2010

And the Beat Goes On....

Take Away - Commander's Palace Turtle Soup

As my 20's ran into my 30's, there are a variety of things that I have done and not done.  There are also a variety of things I still need and want to do.  I'm just glad that I decided to base out of New Orleans to do, not do, need to do and want to do . . .them all. 

Yesterday, a person living anywhere in the country could turn on any given channel to see recaps of what happened 5 years ago.  Everyone had a story about where they were, where they evacuated to, what sort of damage they had, etc.  I chose not to watch.  I no longer care to. . .  

Having the good fortune to return to the Crescent City, I can only say that I no longer want to focus on images of water, x-marks, sadness or drama.  I think that stories and recaps can be cathartic, but on this particular issue, they no longer are for me. 

I was taught that it is impolite to point or stare at a lady when she stumbles, albeit briefly.  One should simply reach out and help her back up if close enough to assist, and then act like nothing happened.  Thus, for me, there is no need to dwell on the cliché stories that brought me to the 5th year after my city took a stumble and began to collect herself anew.

Instead, yesterday, I looked at pictures of what I would have missed had I not returned to do my small part in assisting the lady to regain her footing.  I thank God for the opportunity to have these images of things that I was able to realize as a result of sticking with my lady after she got back on her feet.

Had I not stayed here, there are new people that I would have never been able to meet and friends that I would have missed out on...

There are Jazz Fests that would have been unheard and under-consumed....

There are Mardi Gras and St. Patrick's Day celebrations that would have been uncaught....

There are Superbowl Championship spawned French Quarter celebrations that would have been too impromptu to attend . . .

There is the love that would have been undiscovered. . .  

I would say that there are a great deal of opportunities, events, moments and images that would have been undocumented and unmemorable. . .


I'm just grateful that I was here to see, hear and touch them all.  I'm still proud to call it home. . .

Recipe side note:

Saturday night I went to dinner at Commander's Palace with my sister, dad and Mollie.  For an appetizer I ordered the trio of soups.  Saturday evening's trio included duck and sausage gumbo, soft shell crab bisque and Commander's famous turtle soup.  As I started on the turtle soup, it occurred to me that there is really nothing more traditional and delicious (recipe-wise) that I could have been eating in light of this 5th year anniversary. 

Turtle Soup

10 ounces (2-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 pound turtle meat, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup minced celery (4 stalks)
2 medium onions, minced (2 medium)
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 cups tomato purée
1 quart beef stock NOTE: If turtle bones are available, add them to the beef bones when making the stock for this dish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, as needed
1/2 cup lemon juice
5 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced parsley
6 teaspoons dry sherry

Melt 8 ounces (2 sticks) butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until the roux is light brown. Set aside.

In a 5-quart saucepan, melt the remaining butter and add turtle meat. Cook over high heat until the meat is brown. Add celery, onions, garlic and seasonings, and cook until the vegetables are transparent.
Add tomato purée, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the stock and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the roux and cook over low heat, stirring, until the soup is smooth and thickened. Correct seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Add lemon juice, eggs and parsley.
Remove from heat and serve. At the table, add 1 teaspoon sherry to each soup plate.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My spy boy told your flag boy, he gonna set yo flag on FIRE!

Take Away - Shrimp and Alligator Sausage Cheesecake

If there is one thing that can be said about Jacques-Imo's Cafe, it is that it inspires opinion.  It is one of the first true "restaurant memories" I have as an adult living in New Orleans. I am certain it was not the first restaurant I ate at after moving to New Orleans, but (much like the food) the memory of the place sticks with you.

Aside from the interesting name, Jacques-Imo's sticks with you because the humble look of the restaurant's outside yields to an unexpected experience of revelry combined with the opportunity to attend a food marriage ceremony that weds interesting and colorful with flavah!  

Jacques-Imo's before it opens daily
Highlights include:  Deep-Fried Grits with Tasso Shrimp Sauce; Blackened Tuna with Oyster Champagne Brie Sauce; Potato Crusted Gulf Fish with caper buerre blanc; Paneed Rabbit with Oyster Tasso Pasta; Paneed Duck with Sweet Potato Shrimp Sauce; Carpet-Bagger Steak with Bleu Cheese, Onion, Oysters, and Hollandaise; a Deep Fried Roast Beef Po-Boy (which is ridiculously delicious); some of the best Fried Chicken in New Orleans and this entry's featured recipe, Shrimp and Alligator Sausage Cheesecake.

The party atmosphere in the form of a lively bar filled with people waiting for a table is the first thing that greets the customer the minute the door opens.  The timely arriver will find that there are people already putting in names for tables.  However, since the bar area must first be crossed before arriving at the hostess station, a person will immediately realize that the thing to do is buy a drink while waiting 20 minutes(ish) for a table. 

Jacques-Imo's after the doors open and the food starts crankin.
The late arriver will have a more colorful wait because the hungry crew has been hydrating longer while waiting for their nourishment.  The table wait is QUITE a bit longer for the late arriver, but the street has its own show going.  In fact, the best part of ordering a drink at the later hour is the opportunity to have time to enjoy it with friends out on Oak Street in front of the Restaurant.  Live music is often flowing from the Maple Leaf Bar next door, and many of the folks on the street are pre-partying before eating and eventually landing at Maple Leaf.  There are also sometimes a few brave (or intoxicated) souls that are eating in the bed of the green Jacques-Imo's truck parked out in front of the restaurant.  Though I would personally pass on this option, a few of my friends have partaken of "truck-bed dining" on the street and enjoyed the party going on around them. 

Truck-Bed Dining
Once a hostess informs you that a table has been secured, you get the opportunity to walk up a few stairs and through the small kitchen.  Let me be clear, this IS the SHOW.  The fact that this kitchen is so small, cranks out such a volume of quality food, and has a staff that is in as good of spirits as those being served at the bar is amazing.  Here, you will likely see the creator and owner, Jacques Leonardi, walking around in a chef smock and either jams or a bathing suit (I can never tell).  If he is not greeting you kitchenside, he will likely be making rounds and giving out drink rounds and/or free appetizers later.  Nothing less should be expected from the Master of Ceremonies of this culinary circus.

Last week, before heading over to see the Saints perform exceptionally well in their first home pre-season game, Mollie and I joined some of our friends to partake of some Jacques-Imo's action.  Our friends Michael and Lisa Perniciaro were spending a weekend in New Orleans away from the kids.  I honestly have to say that, as the president of the fat man club, it absolutely angers me that Michael can put away so much food and not be a member.  He took out an appetizer, had some of Lisa's appetizer, cleared a double stuffed pork chop with a few sides and then eyed some additional fried chicken on the table.  His skinny man smile says it all....

Michael Perniciaro after eating more than humanly possible.
At some point the table got onto the topic of where Jacque-Imo's came up with its name.  Most speculated that it was a spin on the word "Jock-A-Mo," which can be found in the lyrics of the song "Iko Iko."  However, nobody knew what the word or the song meant.  Well, I looked it up for my friends at the table, we go...

"Iko Iko" is a much-covered New Orleans song that actually is describing a parade collision between two tribes of Mardi Gras Indians. The song, under the original title "Jock-A-Mo", was written in 1953 by James "Sugar Boy" Crawford in New Orleans. The story tells of a "spy boy" or "spy dog" (a lookout for one band of Indians) encountering the "flag boy" or guidon carrier for another band. He threatens to set the flag on fire.

Crawford combined phrases chanted by Mardi Gras Indians and sets them to music for the song.  Per Crawford, “Iko Iko” was a victory chant that the Indians would shout and “Jock-A-Mo” was a chant that was called when the Indians went into battle.

"Jock-a-mo" was the original version of the song "Iko Iko" recorded by The Dixie Cups in 1965. Their version came about by accident. They were in a New York City studio for a recording session when they began an impromptu version of "Iko Iko", accompanied only by drumsticks on studio ashtrays.  Dixie Cup member Barbara Hawkins recalls, "We were just clowning around with it during a session using drumsticks on ashtrays. We didn't realize that Jerry and Mike had the tapes running". The recording session producers added bass and drums to the "clowning around" and released it to much fan.

Jay and Flor Ochs
Well, now that we have covered our history lesson for the day, permit me to indulge one more opinion.  Jacques-Imo's is good.  Experience it.  Do not let nay sayers misguide you that the place is "cliche" or that "there are other places" or that "the wait is too long."  In fact, when you are told that, ask the person how many times they have tried it.  I guarantee you that they have been there between 2 and a dozen times.  Thus, you know something is going right for it to take that many visits to form an opinion! 

Until you meet Jacque and his crew, here is a recipe that I collected from the hodge podge of online attempts to recreate his Shrimp and Alligator Sausage Cheesecake.

Shrimp and Alligator Sausage Cheesecake

1 1/3 cup bread crumbs
2/3 cups parmesan cheese
4 ounces butter melted
28 oz cream cheese - softened
4 eggs
2/3 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup smoked gouda grated
2 2/3 cup onions - small to medium dice
2 2/3 cup mixed red, green and yellow bell peppers (finely chopped)
2 ounces butter
10 ounces alligator sausage (if you cannot find it, andouille or smoked sausage is a great substitute)
2 2/3 cup or 1 lb of shrimp - diced
1 pinch salt
1/2 tbl Fajita Majic (Paul Prudhomme)
1/2 tbl chipotle powder
chives, parmagiano & creole seasoning for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Thoroughly mix bread crumbs, parmesan and butter.  Press mixture into 10-inch spring form pan.  Bake approximately 10 minutes to set crust (lightly browned edges).  Set aside.

Using mixer with paddle mix cream cheese until smooth.  Add eggs, mix.  Add heavy whipping cream and Gouda. Mix until smooth (consistency should be like pancake batter).

Saute all vegetables until soft.  Add seasoning and shrimp and cook until just done.  Add sausage and fold into cream cheese mixture.

Wrap foil around pans to prevent leakage and fill pan evenly with mix.  Bake in water bath on the bottom rack in a 350 degree oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Remove when an inserted knife is clean and the filling is set. 

Cool for at least 45 minutes before cutting. Remove from spring form pan and cut into 12 pieces.

To present (optional).  Place a pool of about 1/4 cup coulis (recipe below) on each plate.  Place a slice of cheesecake on the coulis.  Sprinkle freshly chopped chives over and around the cake. Top the cheesecake with about a tablespoon of coarsely grated Parmisan Reggiano cheese. Sprinkle Creole seasoning around the rim of the plate.

Creole Mustard-Tomato Coulis
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tbl garlic, minced
1 tbl shallots, minced
8 Roma tomatoes peeled seeded & diced (or 2 cans of diced tomatoes)
1/2 tsp. Creole seasoning
3 tbl Creole mustard (Zatarains)

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil and saute the garlic and shallot until tender, about 3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the Creole seasoning and Creole mustard, stir.  Puree in a food processor or blender. Let cool to room temperature.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bonnie was weak, but Dinner was STRONG

Take Away - Easy Artichoke Dip

Since my very first post, I have received a recurring comment from a select few readers. The comment sounds something like, "The recipes seem kinda difficult! Give us something easy."  Well...message received.   

A  few weeks ago, the wannabe hurricane Bonnie gave me the opportunity to take part in a delicious hurricane/tropical storm/tropical depression (whatever) dinner that included an easy artichoke dip recipe.

Our friend, Jon Guidroz, decided to have a few friends over for good drinks and even better food while the rains from Bonnie "pummeled" New Orleans.  

Mollie and I were absolutely looking forward to this, especially because Jon's place is not far from us in case the rain was really bad.  I think Jon was pretty excited about having folks over.

Jon Guidroz (in the air)
Meghan Brown, the recently returned Italian traveler and our chef for the evening, had some Italian spectaculars planned for the gastronomic experience.  We enjoyed the best vegetarian lasagna that I have ever tasted (to be honest, I have never tasted a vegetarian lasagna that I liked before this), and we got to sample some delicious olive oils that Meghan brought back from Italy.  Thus, while Bonnie ended up being a total failure as a tropical storm, dinner was success on a plate.

One of the other highlights of the evening was a delicious artichoke dip.  When I asked for Meghan for the recipe, I was fairly surprised how simple it was to make.

In keeping with simplicity, I will keep this entry short.  Enjoy this recipe and your weekend.

Easy Artichoke Dip

2 cans of quartered artichoke hearts (drained)
1/2 cup of mayo
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
2-4 cloves of minced garlic (your discretion)
Pre-heat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients in a baking dish and mash the hearts (Meghan uses the back of a fork, but whatever utensil you have that will do the job). Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until bubbling on the sides.

Serve with toasted pita chips, crackers or Fritos.

Monday, August 16, 2010

From Red Dress to Red Beans

Take Away - Red Beans and Rice

The New Orleans Red Dress Run, now in its 16th year, is organized by the local branch of the Hash House Harriers (an international group that encourages non-competitive running, social and drinking clubs). Last year, the Red Dress Run raised $92,000 for a variety of charities.

The annual run is an extremely popular event that combines daytime drinking, costuming, charity and general ridiculousness during a time of year that is, otherwise, unbearably hot.  For a $60 entry fee, which is spread among various charities, participants are given a fairly unlimited supply of beer throughout the day coupled with a fairly simple set of rules: (1) You must wear a red dress and a number, (2) pace yourself. . . and (3) additional props are are optional (but super).

The second rule is extremely important because the word "run" may fool you into thinking that you should be actually trying to get somewhere or that the beverages are for hydration purposes only....not the case.  In fact, it does not actually matter if you run, walk or are transported by other methods....

Mollie and I made our way to brunch with a few red dressers, and then we hit the quarter to get a few shots of our friends in rouge.

Though it was crowded, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.  In fact, despite the chaos, there was nothing that merited the involvement of police. So, even our friends in blue got to relax and interact with our friends in red.

I remind the reader that with over 6,000 participants, it can get fairly crowded at the run.  Be sure that you are prepared to move somewhat slowly and to be cool with being hot.

It is also fine if you would rather discard my advice and take your own approach to pacing yourself at the run.  However, if you choose to treat it like a sprint, please make it home. You would not want to end up like the gentleman that Mollie and I found in our lobby upon our return home...

Since today is Monday and that I have been preaching about pacing yourself, here is a pretty good recipe for a traditional New Orleans Monday dish that requires a little pacing... It is also good if you are still in recovery...

Red Beans and Rice

1 pound red beans (picked over and rinsed)
1/2 pound bacon (chopped)
1 large onion (finely chopped)
3/4 cup celery
1 bell pepper (finely chopped)
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon (or more to taste) of creole seasoning
3 bay leaves
1 pound slice smoked sausage (preferably Savoy's or Richard's brand)
1 pound chopped ham
3 tablespoon minced garlic
5 cups chicken broth
5 cups water
chopped green onions (green part only)
cooked white rice

Place the beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Let soak for 5 to 8 hours or overnight. Drain and set aside.
In a large pot, cook the bacon onions, celery and bell pepper (over medium heat) in the butter.  Add creole seasoning and cook until the vegetables are soft (about 10 minutes). Note that the bacon is not supposed to be crispy like its typical preparation. 

Add the bay leaves, sausage and ham, and cook (while constantly stirring) for about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the beans, chicken stock and water, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and starting to thicken, about 2 hours. (Should the beans become too thick and dry, add more water and/or stock, about 1/4 cup at a time.)

Remove from the heat and with the back of a heavy spoon, mash about 1/4 of the beans against the side of the pot. Continue to cook until the beans are tender and creamy, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves.

Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Queue the Shrimp...

Take Away - BBQ Shrimp?

The history and evolution of BBQ is debatable and obscure.  Many believe that the word "barbeque" or "barbecue" derives from the word "barabicu" found in the language of the Taíno people of the Caribbean.  I personally think it dates back much earlier...

The word eventually (and allegedly) entered European languages as "barbacoa," which translates to "sacred fire pit."  I write all this because it is interesting to me that our dish today involves neither fire nor pit...However, "barbeque shrimp" is no less sacred.

You may be asking where barbeque shrimp came from and why is it named such?  A May, 2009 article from the Times-Picayune reported that a visitor from Chicago named Jimmy Sutro was the creator of the now-classic dish.  Sutro came to New Orleans in the 1950s to play the horses and eat at Pascal's Manale Restaurant.  He was good friends with proprietor, Pascal Radosta Sr., who allowed Sutro to use the kitchen. It was in that very kitchen that Sutro created barbeque shrimp and then taught the dish to the cooks.

Though I still do not know why it is called barbeque, I can say with authority that the recipe now has thousands of variations in homes and restaurants all over New Orleans, the state of Louisiana and the country (and I have yet to run across one that I do not like). 

In fact, a few weeks ago, I ran across a new spin on the dish at the home of our friends, John and Liz Roussel.

Liz and John Roussel
Every now and then, Mollie and I get a mid-week (or weekend) treat in the form of an invite to join our friends John and Liz for dinner.  There are several reasons reason the invite is a treat: (1) we are never expected to bring anything....John always tells you he has "this and that" lying around the house to throw together and instructs that we just show up; (2) dinner is always a gradual production process, which makes for great visiting time and (3) the food is never something that I would think of throwing together, but is always DELICIOUS. 

Red Snapper Ceviche
Our last visit included red snapper ceviche and what John termed as "some shrimp in the oven."  The first thing I thought of was BBQ shrimp, but they were not prepared in the typical BBQ shrimp manner.  John did not remember exactly what he threw into the recipe, but knew it included white worcestershire sauce, regular worcestershire sauce, italian dressing, minced garlic, butter, etc....

I can say this...he may not have called it barbeque shrimp, but it was sacred....

Until I can get John on the phone to recall his recipe, here is a stand in barbeque shrimp that gets extremely high ratings....

Barbeque Shrimp

1 pound of (21-25 count) shrimp, heads removed
5 teaspoons Manale Spice (recipe follows)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
French bread for serving

Wash shrimp and pat dry. Put shrimp in a large skillet over high heat and add Manale Spice, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce, stirring constantly. Pour olive oil over shrimp, then add white wine. Stir to blend all ingredients thoroughly.

Continue cooking over high heat for 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add butter, and cook an additional 2 minutes until butter is thoroughly melted and blended in. Be careful not to overcook shrimp or they will become tough. Serve with French bread for dipping in sauce.

Manale Spice (combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in a dry, airtight container):
4 tablespoons black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil

Sunday, August 8, 2010

White Linen Night....It's whats for dinner.

Take Away - Grilled Beet Salad with Goat's Cheese and Walnuts

Despite what we knew would be overwhelming heat, Mollie and I decided to rove around Julia Street last night for the 2010 White Linen Night.  When we left our condo and headed to Julia around 6 pm, we noticed that the White Linen goers had already taken to the streets in droves.  The galleries, food stands and outdoor makeshift bars were being bombarded.  But what would we have for dinner??

First stop, a party being thrown by our friends, Lizzie and Craig Webb.  The newly-wedded Webbs live in a condo situated on the corner of Julia and Magazine streets.  When we arrived, everyone was on the roof watching what it must look like when you kick over a white linen ant pile.  As much fun as this was, it was HOT!!  So, we made our way down from the roof and inside where food, wine and MUCH COOLER temperatures welcomed us. 

Lizzie and Craig, being true New Orleanians, did not let an unexpected broken refrigerator get in the way of their party plans...there was a cooler like I have never seen in a residential home with plenty of ice and drinks.  Also, there was a ton of wine chilling in the various places around the party.   And even though the party food was delicious, I kept thinking...what will we have later for dinner??

Upstairs at Martine Chaisson Gallery

After visiting and grazing for awhile, we promised to return and made our way to the street to look into the various galleries.  Eventually, we got to Martine Chaisson's Gallery.  The place was fully pumping and was extremely packed on the first floor (more than I had seen in most galleries), so we made our way upstairs to the ballroom.  Apparently, we were not the first to arrive.  The white linen wave had already descended on the food like "locuste bianco."  Our friends, Eric and Julie Lafleur were still there with their children, who (after a day of swimming) were 100% over White Linen Night.  We had a good visit with them and our friend Nyka Scott, but I continued to think.....what will we have for dinner? 
Senator and Mrs. Eric Lafleur
With a cold traveler in hand, we bid the Lafleurs and the Chaissons goodbye and made our way to the anti-White Linen Night at the Transportation Revolution.  As we got closer to the Transportation Revolution building, I remarked to Mollie that the crowd was getting larger and some form of music was getting louder.  Then we walked in....

It was as though we stepped through a portal that took us from the New Orleans art scene to some sort of movie filmed in L.A....the place was the polar opposite vibe of White Linen talk of art here, no polite "How do you do's?"   

Zach Materne and a Ducati Motorcycle

Here, there was the art of European Motorbikes, a DJ cranking out music for a club-like feel and a line for drinks (Red Bull and Vodka) that went from one side of the bike showroom to the other.  I was waiting for The Most Interesting Man in the World to walk up and offer me a Dos Equis.

Aidan Gill and Steve Materne
There were folks from Uptown, Downtown, Mid City, Old Metairie, Not-So-Old Metaire, Lakeview, Kennah Bra, etc.  All were hanging out, beating the heat, checking out the motorcycles and visiting with the brothers (and parents) Materne...

I made my way upstairs to the new massage salon (I have no idea how this fits in with motorcyles, but am not a man to question good things) where I was told there was wine.  I fetched a glass for Mollie and myself.  However, somewhere in the middle of all the chaos, I started thinking...what will we have for dinner?

Mollie and Cat Morrell

Senator JP Morrell with Gayle and Zach Materne
Max Materne  and his entourage
Robert and Danielle Leblanc
Lee and Jessica Reid
Brendon Sumich and Zach Materne
After making plans to eventually meet our friends Brendon and Jenna for dinner, we stepped out of the Transportation Revolution portal and back to the streets of White Linen Night.  At our revisit of the Webb party, we were greeted by additional snacks that had made a late appearance.  After sampling a bit to make sure that nothing was poisoned, I realized something....I was full.

Earlier in the day, before we ever thought about embarking upon the White Linen Night outing, Mollie and I had attacked an unsuspecting lunch at Lillette with friends.  This late lunch, coupled with my food and wine grazing at every stop during the night, made me realize that dinner was not going to happen.

However, it was of no moment.  All the walking, sweating, visiting and sampling had not only satisfied me, but wore me out.  After we got home, I let Brendon know that we would have to take a raincheck on dinner because we were too full and in need of the bed.  His response was, "Sounds painful, but awesome."

I agree....

I have included the recipe for the beet salad that began our earlier schmorgesborg at Lilette.  If you have the opportunity to try this restaurant, I highly recommend it.  However, I speak from experience when I would suggest you pace yourself if you have later dinner plans....

Lilette's Grilled Beets With Goat Cheese And Walnuts

6 Large Whole Beets
1/2 lb Goats Cheese (soft)
1&1/4 cup Walnuts
1/4 cup Chives (cut into match sticks)
1/2 Stick of Butter

Ingredients For Vinaigrette
1.5 oz Red Wine Vinegar
2 oz Pomace Olive Oil
1 oz Walnut Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Ingredients For Marinade
1/4 t Salt
1/4 t Dry Thyme Leaves
1/4 t Paprika
1/4 t Dry Basil Leaves
1/2 t Dry Oregano
1/8 t Dry Oregano
1/8 t Onion Powder
1/8 t Garlic Powder
3/4 C Vegetable Oil
Pinch Cayenne Pepper

Cover beets by 3 inches with cold water in a large saucepot. Bring water to a boil and simmer until paring knife slides out of beet when pricked.  Strain and let cool. While running under water, rub beets with towel to remove skin. Slice beets into 1/2 inch rounds.

Prepare marinade by combing all dry ingredients in large bowl. Mix well and add vegetable oil. Toss sliced beets and hold.

To prepare the walnuts, melt butter in a 10 inch skillet and add walnuts. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes and season well with salt and pepper. Reserve left over butter.

For the vinaigrette, combine all ingredients (above) in a bowl with the walnut butter.  Whisk well.

To finish, grill beets on both sides for 3 minutes and toss in vinaigrette. Place 4-6 slices of beets on each plate and drizzle with vinaigrette. Add 5 dollups of goats cheese (1 to 2 oz) per perving, sprinkled with walnuts and chives.

Serves 4-6