I recently became a volunteer assistant for PCC Cooks. PCC Natural Markets is an amazing co-op here in Seattle and they have their own cooking classes. Assistants volunteer their time doing prep work for the chefs and cleaning and in return they get the information from the class for free. It's a pretty good deal if you ask me.
A couple of weeks ago I got the pleasure of working with Devra Gartenstein, author of The Accidental Vegan and Local Bounty (one of my favorite cookbooks!). She also owns Patty Pan Grill which is Seattle's oldest farmers' market concession. Their vegetable quesadillas are amazing and I never seem to leave the market without 'em.
Devra's class inspired me to start using leeks in more dishes and get back to the basics with my vegetables. This recipe originally comes from Local Bounty and has been a favorite of mine for quite some time. It's quick and easy to prepare and always looks beautiful (especially if you use different types of beets).
This salad may be served hot or cold, although I prefer it cold after chilling in the refrigerator for several hours to let the flavors meld together (this also resulted in my gold beets picking up a little color). For myself, after my long and hectic day, it was exactly what I needed to add some beauty to my dinner and my evening.
Beet Salad with Leeks and Parsley
Adapted from Local Bounty by Devra Gartenstein
1 pound beets (I used a mix of gold and red)
2 Tbs olive oil
1 medium leek, cut in half lengthwise, cleaned well, and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste
Place the beets in a medium saucepan, add enough water to cover, and bring to a boil. Cook on medium heat for 45 - 60 minutes, or until the skins can be rubbed off with your fingers. (To test one, fish it out of the pot with a pair of tongs and run it under cold water until it's cool enough to handle.)
While the beets are cooking, heat the oil in a small saucepan. Add the leek, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, or until the leek is soft. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Peel the beets using your fingers and cut them into bite-size pieces. Add the beets to the leek mixture and toss well until combined.