I feel like I have some explaining to do. Everything I’ve brought to you since the beginning of the year has been savory and somewhat healthy. I don’t know what’s gotten into me. I think my sweet tooth might be broken. Temporarily broken.
Everything I’ve wanted to eat lately has either been green, soupy, or French-fried.
In this, the latest installation of ‘Joy the Baker Has Lost Her Mind and Gone Savory’, I’d like to offer you an all-green salad. The gemstone about this salad is the pink-stained goat cheese hearts. You might consider this a healthful Valentine’s Day celebration tool. Yea… I said the V-word.
Speaking of Valentine’s Day (I’m sorry…)… yes it is a real thing, and yes you can totally ignore the holiday should you not be the pink and red and heart-shaped cheese sort. I made a Be My Valentine Pinterest Board just in case you need some clever pink and red holiday inspiration.
I’m going to go watch How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Cupcake Wars until I crave chocolate pudding. Thanks for your understanding. Ps. Fever ramblings? Maybe a little.
We’ll need a fork and a pinch of salt and fresh cracked black pepper along with our fresh goat cheese and raw shredded beets.
Welcome to the world of the smashbang. We mix and stir the crumbled cheese and beets until the cheese is stained pink. It’s crumbly yet satisfying.
We’ll dump this pink cheese mixture out in between two pieces of parchment paper and press it together into a flat, 1/2-inch disk. Allow it to rest in the freezer for 30 minutes, then the cold cheese will be easier to cut into little hearts with a heart-shaped cookie cutter.
A little bowl of hot water will help to clean the cookie cutter as the hearts are shaped and help to tame any oddly shaped hearts.
I’m not sure if I want to pat myself on the back or kick myself in the shin for making heart-shaped cheese.
Let’s talk about salad!
I know that you’re grown enough not to need a detailed recipe for green salad. You can pretty much just empty your produce drawer into a large bowl and call it a salad.
With this particular salad I chose a bright, light and leafy green called escarole.
This salad is an exploration in green with thinly sliced cucumbers, chopped pistachios, and chopped green olives.
Lemon and olive oil are the two ingredients that make up my favorite salad dressing. Keep things simple.
Salad. Getting all geared up.
Maybe you’re looking for some Valentine’s Day inspiration that isn’t leafy green, goat-cheesed, and annoyingly healthy. Last year I made these Pink Raised Doughnuts with Toasted Coconut inspired by my very favorite pale pink frosted doughnut house doughnuts.
Cream puffs are surprisingly easy to make. If you can wrap your mind around cooking a pastry dough, then cream puffs are in your future. Real talk: the dough cooking step was sort of a brain-bender for me, but once I got over that hump, Strawberry Cream Puffs with Milk Chocolate Sauce were my sweet reward.
So maybe Valentine’s Day is just an excuse to make doughnuts for the one you love. Is that so wrong? No… Chocolate Cream Filled Vanilla Sugar Doughnuts.
This salad is a simple meeting of greens. This salad is an elaborate excuse to make pink-stained goat cheese hearts. You’ll probably find some other awesome ways to use goat cheese hearts. I hope you do… and I hope there’s chocolate involved.
Green Salad with Pink Goat Cheese Hearts
For the Pink Hearts:
11 ounces fresh goat cheese
1/2 cup raw shredded beets
pinch of salt and coarsely ground black pepper
coarse ground sea salt for sprinkling
For the Salad:
Four big handfuls of greens (I used sweet escarole)
Thinly spiced cucumber
Sliced green olives
Shelled pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
lemon and olive oil for dressing
salt and pepper to taste
To make the Pink Hearts:
In a medium bowl mix together goat cheese and raw shredded beets. Add salt and pepper. Mix with a fork until the mixture is pink and beet-studded throughout. The mixture will be a bit crumbly, and that’s ok. Transfer pink goat cheese mixture to a piece of parchment paper and use another piece of parchment paper to press and flatten the goat cheese into a 1/2 inch disk. The goat cheese disk will be sandwiches between two slices of parchment paper. Place in the freezer to chill and harden for 30 minutes. This will make the hearts easier to cut.
While the goat cheese hardens, assemble the salad. In a large bowl, toss together greens, sliced cucumber, olives, chopped pistachios, lemon juice and olive oil, salt and pepper. Taste to make sure the mixture is seasoned to your taste.
Remove the goat cheese from the freezer. Peel off one piece of parchment paper. Use a 1-inch heart cookie cutter to cut heart shapes out of goat cheese. Have a small bowl of warm water on hand to rinse off the cookie cutter between hearts. Use a bit of water on your fingers to reshape the hearts should they need a bit of love. Sprinkle shaped hearts with coarse ground sea salt
Place goat cheese hearts on top of salad and serve. Hearts can be stored on a flat surface, covered with parchment paper, and refrigerated until ready to serve.