I've cooked my way through all 264 recipes
in The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook!

March 2, 2010

Beets with Yogurt and Tahini (p. 296) and Pasta with Pancetta and Beans (p. 209)

Like cabbage, I've never really made beets before, but I do like them. My dad hates beets, so I always thought that I did, too. We avoided them together. Since then, I've realized that I love them, especially with goat cheese atop a mixed green salad. Still, I've never made a beet, and probably wouldn't have recognized it at the farmer's market if it weren't signed (they're ugly little things, aren't they?) However, the color inside is my new favorite.

Beets with Yogurt and Tahini is the only beet recipe in The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook, and it takes a bit longer then you'd think to make because you have to prepare the Labneh (p. 278) first. This is Lebanese Strained Yogurt, which is also apparently called yogurt cheese, which to me sounds a little disgusting. Anyway, it's just normal yogurt that has been strained for about 24 hours in a colander and/or cheese cloth. It's incredibly thick after this time period -- basically like making your own Fage (Greek yogurt).

To make the rest of the recipe, you just cook the beets (I boiled mine for about 25 minutes, which ended up to being a little too short), chop them into hunks, and then pour on a combination of Labneh and some garlic, tahini (sesame paste), and lemon juice.

For the main course, I made Pasta with Pancetta and Beans, which I'd recommend you make only if you have a large group of people -- not just the two that I made it for.  The sauce for the recipe starts with olive oil and red onion, and then you slowly add garlic, pancetta (YUM), tomatoes, and white beans. Once this thickens to a real sauce (which takes a half an hour or so), you mix it with pasta (I used farfalle) and top with some fresh parmigiana reggiano.

Both of these recipes were great. Next time I'd definitely cook the beets for more time, as they weren't quite as soft as I would have liked. Even so, the tahini sauce was awesome on them, and I think the dish would be a really good pair with a fish recipe. And anytime my husband is reaching across the table for more veggies is a good thing. Even though I don't love beans, the pasta recipe won me over with pancetta, and we both really enjoyed it. And will continue enjoying it for the rest of the week, considering the amount of leftovers we have.

And for dessert we had Krispy Kreme donuts, because we live in North Carolina, and because they just debuted two new banana flavors, and because bananas are my favorite fruit to be turned into a dessert.

beets -- $2.00
lemon -- $.89
tahini -- $7.49 (with plenty left over for other recipes)

Cost of Beets with Yogurt and Tahini: $ 10.38

canned tomatoes -- $1.29
pasta -- $2.50
red onion -- $1.47
pancetta -- $4.50
beans -- $1.79

Cost of Pasta with Pancetta and Beans: $11.55

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Thanks for dropping by! Love, Katrina.