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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Lil' Sis Cooks Insalata Caprese. I Cook Roasted Golden Beets, Sauteed Beet Greens, and Baked Chicken with Citrus Marinade

Sometimes my inspiration for dinner comes from just one item. I bought this bunch of golden beets from the farmers' market in Alhambra for $1 and was trying to decide what to do with them. Yesterday, my cousin comes knocking on my door with a 4-lb chicken. It was only $2.33, so I guess there was a sale. I decided to make my salt, pepper, lemon baked chicken and use up my potatoes with the beets, and roast everything together in the same pan. The golden beets look lovely don't they? I simply peeled and cubed them. I was down to only 1 lemon and 2 small sweet limes, so I remembered an LA Times' article on conchinita pibil and a mixed citrus marinade. I modified my recipe a little to include blood oranges and it came out wonderfully. Baked Chicken with Citrus Marinade You'll need: 1 lemon, juiced 2 small sweet limes, or 1 regular lime, juiced 2 small blood oranges, juiced, plus 2 more blood oranges pricked with fork for stuffing 1/2 grapefruit, juiced 1 chicken 1 tsp salt per lb of chicken freshly ground black pepper Wash chicken thoroughly. Measure 1 tsp of salt per lb of chicken. Rub the salt all over the outside and inside of the chicken. Leave to rest at room temperature for about an hour. Meanwhile, juice all the citrus fruits. When ready to bake, pour juice over outside and inside of chicken. Add freshly ground black pepper. Insert two small fork-pricked blood oranges into the cavity of the chicken. Place in pan with cubed beets and potatoes. Bake in oven at 425 degrees, breast side down for 1 hour. Flip carefully, turn temperature down to 325 degrees and bake for another half hour. When the chicken is ready, take it out of the oven and let it rest for at least 15 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. The chicken will be slightly tangy, slightly sweet, crispy on the outside, and so moist and tender on the inside that it will literally fall off the bone. The beets will be slightly sweet, the potatoes have absorbed all the tangy juices. Lil' sis also told me recently she wants to learn how to cook. So I decided to start her off easy with one of our favorite salads - insalata caprese (Italian Capri tomato, basil, and mozzarella salad). She was very careful about slicing everything just so. And arranging it just so. And then mincing everything finely just so. So please compliment her and tell her all her hard work came out wonderfully. :) Incidentally, my original recipe called for balsamic vinegar, but I happened to find a bottle of white balsamic vinegar at Trader Joe's for only $1.49. So we used that instead to get the same flavor but without the dark balsamic vinegar discoloring the mozzarella. I also juiced the blood oranges with some grapefruits my youngest aunt had given me. I've made this blood orange grapefruit juice before and still think it's gorgeous. Quick and easy dinner. But looks so fancy no? (Well, it'd look fancier but I haven't moved my dining table yet. ;) ) I carved half the chicken and some of the potatoes and beets and brought it down to my youngest uncle's house since he did give me the chicken and all. And then after I got home, realized I forgot to serve my sauteed beet greens. Sauteed Beet Greens You'll need: Beet tops, cut into 1-inch strips or so, washed Olive oil Garlic, minced Cut beet tops into 1-inch strips or so and wash thoroughly. In a wok or saute pan on high heat, drizzle some olive oil. Toss in the garlic and saute quickly. Then add beet tops and saute until wilted. Enjoy! My other baked and roast chicken recipes you might like: Baked Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic, Lemon, and Rosemary Baked Chicken with Salt, Pepper, and Lemon Cuban Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken Fessenjan (Persian Walnut Pomegranate Cornish Game Hen) with Dill Rice Ga Ro Ti (Vietnamese Roasted Chicken) Peruvian Roast Chicken


  1. Very healthy!
    The golden beet is so pretty - even can see the concentric circles at the cross-sections. Like how you tell the age of a tree. :D

  2. I bought dark balsamic vinegar before, but ended up giving it away as I didn't really know how to make vinaigrettes out of it.

  3. Love them golden beets! They take rather a long time to grow (esp since I can't always find them in markets near me). I love that there's no staining as with the regular red beets. Your chicken looks delish!

  4. LIl Sis is a fast learner. That salad looks delicious!

    I have never seen golden beets. Do they taste like the red ones?

  5. Your lil sis did a great job with the salad, it's very beautiful! I've actually never had beets before and it's my first time seeing golden beets. They look very intriguing, I'll need to go out and buy some one day. The farmers' markets down in SoCal sound amazing, so much variety!

  6. Smerky,
    Thanks! :)

    So do rings on beets represent how many months old they are? ;)

    Vinaigrette is just vinegar and olive oil. I've got my basic vinaigrette recipe if you want to try that. I love balsamic vinegar.

    None of the farmers' markets near you have them? You can come out to Alhambra, we can meet up for lunch and you can buy beets too. :)

    Golden beets taste just like the red ones but I don't have to deal with all that staining juice.

    I would think Pike Place would have tons of different vegetables, no? But California does provide much of America's produce I think...

  7. WOW!! be sure to let your lil sis know she did a TERRIFIC job with the salad and that i'll be expecting her to make me some next time i see her!

  8. your litte sister's insalata caprese is quite lovely! :D she too is a budding cook.

  9. Tania,
    Hehe, maybe all these compliments will get her to cook more often. ;)

    Yes, she is. And she'll be so happy to see all these compliments.

  10. Lil' Sis is extremely happy to receive so many compliments! Thank you everybody and dont worry, you'll be seeing more of my cooking soon =)


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