Beets, Cara Cara Orange and Goat Cheese Salad

Beet and cars cara orange salad with goat cheese

Beet cara cara goat cheese salad

Making a summer salad is easy.  Ingredients are sometimes right out your back door in your garden or at a close-by farmer’s market.

Winter salads?   Well, that can be more of a challenge.

One of my favorite winter salads uses roasted beets (a mixture of various colors if you are lucky), shaved fennel, mixed greens and oranges.  My favorite winter orange?   Well that’s the Cara Cara orange.   

The Cara Cara orange, available December through April, is a newer addition to the American citrus market.  Sometimes referred to as a red navel, the Cara Cara is a cross between the Washington navel and the Brazilian Bahia navel.  Originating at the Hacienda Cara Cara in Venezuela, the fruit was brought to the United States in the late 80’s.   Because they’re seedless, these ruby-fleshed gems make the perfect fruit to perk up a winter salad.

Tossed in a homemade vinaigrette and garnished with a few pieces of goat cheese and you have a terrific winter salad.

Beet, Orange and Goat Cheese Salad
Look for seedless and colorful oranges like Cara Cara or blood oranges.
Serves 6

  • 2 large beets, red or yellow
  • 1 small fennel bulb, fronds (top) removed
  • 2 Cara Cara or blood oranges, peeled and cut into segments
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts or walnut pieces
  • 4 cups red leaf or green leaf lettuce
  • 4 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper


To prepare the beets -  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.    Place raw, cleaned beets on a large piece of foil and drizzle with one tablespoon olive oil.    Cover tightly with foil and place on a baking pan.   Roast in the preheated oven until tender – about 45 minutes to one hour depending on the size of the beets.  A paring knife should easily go through the beets when they are done.

 When the beets are cool enough to work with, place them under cold water and remove the skins.  A paring knife may be needed to remove all of the beet skin.    Cut into thin slices or wedges. 

Halve the fennel bulb.   Use a paring knife to remove the inner fennel core.   Using a sharp knife or a mandoline slicer, slice the fennel bulb into thin slices.

Make the dressing by combining the honey, white wine vinegar, walnut oil, salt and pepper in a bowl.   Whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil.

Place the lettuce, nuts, sliced fennel bulb, chopped mint and oranges in a bowl.   Toss with dressing.  Place on a large serving platter or on 6 individual plates.   Place the cooked beets around the salad along with the goat cheese.








Posted in Appetizers, Holiday & Entertaining, sides | Tagged , , , ,

Start the New Year with a lobster soufflé!

lobster kristofers

So you think your holiday cooking is over?  Wrong……

Just when you’ve cleaned up your kitchen and waived at that last relative’s car pulling out of the driveway, New Year’s Eve creeps up on you.   

Make something special this New Year’s Eve.   Try my stuffed lobster tail recipe.   You can use a smaller, less expensive lobster tail for this recipe.   Plus, it can be used as a terrific first coarse (just one half needed per person) or as an entree (alone or with a small filet for a surf and turf.)   You can make the stuffing ahead but not stuff the tails until about one hour before cooking.

I have had a terrific 2014 and hope you have too!  See you in 2015……..

Serves 6 entrée portions or 12 appetizer portions to serve with a surf and turf

  • Six 4 to 5-ounce lobster tails
  • 2 large egg whites
  • Approximately 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 3 tablespoons softened melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning, divided

To prepare the lobster soufflé- Cut the lobster tails in half.  Carefully remove the meat.  Set the shells aside. shell side down, on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet.

Place the lobster meat into the processor.  Pulse about 15 seconds.  Add the egg whites.  Slowly add 1/2 cup of the cream and pulse until smooth.  Do not over pulse.  Add 1/2 cup of the Panko along with the salt, white pepper and 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning.  Pulse just to combine  The mixture should be soft, but stiff enough to make a “peak” when lifted with a spoon.  If needed, add a little more cream or a little more Panko to get a mixture that peaks when you put a spoon in it and lift up.   Because the size of the lobster tails differs, it is hard to provide an exact measurement.

Place in bowl and season the chopped chives.

 Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush the lobster shells (inside) lightly with the softened butter.

Fill each shell evenly. Place on the prepared baking pan.  Sprinkle with remaining Old Bay seasoning.

Bake until lightly browned on top and cooked through ….. about 12 – 14 minutes depending on size of the tails. 






Posted in Entrees, Favorite Things, Holiday & Entertaining | Tagged ,

Hard Cider Dried Fruit on Vanilla Ice Cream



Door County (my home area!) is full of wonderful locally-made products.   One of my favorites is the hard cider made at Island Orchard Cider located in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin.

Made in the French-style, the ciders use apples, pears and our locally-grown Montmorency cherries as a base.   The cider’s low alcohol level make them perfect for cooking….and they are all gluten free.

Here is a delicious recipe that incorporates Island Orchard Cider into a topping for vanilla ice cream.  Make it ahead and store in the refrigerator.  It will be keep for several weeks refrigerated.  If you are feeling ambitious, make some homemade crepes, fill them with whipped cream and finish with the delicious cider-infused fruit.

Door County Island Orchard Marinated Fruit
I like to use their Apple Cherry hard cider, but the Pear cider works nicely as well!
Make approximately 2 cups

  • 2 firm cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons hard cider (cherry apple or pear cider work well)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • one teaspoon pure vanilla extract, or the scraping of the inside of one vanilla bean
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped dried figs
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries
  •  optional - 1 to 2 teaspoons of cornstarch dissolved in 1 to 2 tablespoons of water (use as needed)
  1. Place the butter in a large saute pan.   When hot, add the apples and toss to lightly coat in butter.   Let sauté until lightly brown.   Add more butter only if the apples are sticking.  Too much butter will not allow the apples to caramelize.
  2. Deglaze the pan with the two tablespoons of hard cider.
  3. Add the additional cider, brown sugar, vanilla or scraped vanilla bean and spices.    Add the dried fruit.   Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, allowing the mixture to reduce and thicken.  The dried fruit will absorb some of the liquid and should create a syrup-like sauce.  If the sauce appears to thin, simply dissolve the optional cornstarch with some water.  While on a simmer, drizzle enough of the mixture into the hot fruit sauce to thicken.
  4.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  If not using immediately, let mixture cool then store in the refrigerator.
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