When did life get so curated? So perfect, polished, glossy? When I began EyeSwoon five years ago, my sole goal was to share the simple, beautiful recipes I made with regularity, at home for my family. I had no idea what an influencer or tastemaker was. I’d never picked up a DLSR before and I loved learning something new. Were the images I shared on EyeSwoon 1.0 blurry? Absolutely. Did I overly saturate the photos? Without a doubt. But I was so enraptured by this creative journey that I placed no judgment on myself, I simply shared. Prior to EyeSwoon, I would ask just about everyone I met, “What’s the one meal you make for your family weekly, with your eyes closed? What’s that single recipe you keep in your back pocket?” I was just so curious and I wanted to be inspired by the people I surrounded myself with. I wasn’t asking them for their show-stopping dish for entertaining or for the holidays — I just wanted ideas for weeknight dinners.
I want to get back to that mentality. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE LOVE to entertain and create beautiful, swoon-worthy meals and collaborate with talented photographers and stylists. But I also need to feed my family home-cooked, healthy food. And sadly, it’s been falling by the wayside. With the growth of EyeSwoon and my business and all of these perfectly curated, photo-worthy plates and partnerships, I have lost sight of cooking for my family. With prepping at the stove all day to capture a recipe on a photo shoot in natural light, often the last thing I want to do is get back in the kitchen again, so Shake Shack (eeeek!) and meals on Caviar have been ordered far too much as of late for this “swooner”. Besides cooking more for my family, I also want to go back to sharing simple dishes that are attainable in a pinch when you are stumped on what to make for din. I also yearn to have quiet and creative moments with myself in the kitchen. Just me, my ingredients, and my camera. Swooning solo.
Okay, so it is 6 p.m., you’ve had a non-stop crazy day full of meetings and you’ve just got off the train from picking your son up from basketball practice. Everyone is ravenous and you have nothing prepared for dinner, nor anything in the fridge. This was me last Tuesday and here was my solution — I walked to Foragers on my corner and picked up a bunch of organic beets, a pound of orecchiette pasta, and some goat cheese. THAT’S IT! I had garlic, shallots and Parmesan at home in the larder and dinner, in my mind, was done. Six ingredients in total, three from the store, three I already had at home. And the best part about it? I used each and every bit of my ingredients! The beets were popped in a scorching oven and roasted for 40 minutes. Beet greens got roughly chopped. Garlic and shallots were sautéed in some olive oil. Beet greens got thrown into the alliums and salt was added to the mixture to help them soften. Water was boiled. The beets were peeled and chopped into a small cube. The goat cheese went into a bowl with some water and was mixed with a fork until it was loose and creamy. And by 7 p.m. we were sitting at the dinner table, shaving some fresh Parm over pasta, eating a super-healthy and crazy-flavorful pasta. Oh, and I might add that this also happens to be a beautiful plate of food — without doubt the perfect vibrant pink Valentine’s Day dinner!
Orecchiette with Roasted Beets and Greens
- 1 bunch red beets with greens (about 3-4 medium beets)
- 1/3 cup Extra Virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 shallots, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
- 3 large cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
- 1 lb. orecchiette pasta
- 1 4 oz. package of goat cheese
- parmesan cheese for grating
- salt and pepper
- preheat oven to 425°
- Generously wash the beets with their greens attached. Remove the greens at the beet bulb. Place each beet individually on foil, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, and seal the foil. Place the 3-4 beets on a sheet pan and roast for 40 minutes.
- While the beets roast, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta to al dente. Chop the leafy portion of the beet greens into ½” strips and set aside. Heat a 10-12” skillet over medium to high heat. Add 1/3 cup of olive oil. Sauté the garlic and shallots until softened and lightly golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the beet greens and sauté 2 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl add the goat cheese and ¼ cup of water. Using a fork mix the water into the cheese until all lumps are removed and you are left with a creamy consistency. Add additional water 1 tablespoon at a time. The consistence should be as loose as sour cream.
- Allow the beets to cool once you remove them from the oven. Using your fingers pinch the exterior of the beets to remove the skin. Halve the beets and cut them into ½ inch cubes.
- When you drain the pasta reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water. Immediately add the pasta to the sautéed greens in the skillet. Add the cubed beets and toss to combine. If the mixture needs loosening, add about ¼ cup of the cooking water at a time to create a loose sauce.
- Plate the pasta individually with a dollop of the goat cheese, fresh shaved parmesan, and fresh cracked pepper.