The last week or so has been a sent-from-the-universe-and-thank-goodness reminder that everyone’s fighting a tough battle if you listen or look hard enough–or even if you just listen and look on a basic level of human awareness. I’ve been pulling back on the online life a bit as a call to action/but also possibly just as a natural reaction to it all. Ever try that? Just kind of having a passive involvement in the goings on of the internet, or not even offering recognition to an actual, separate “online life” as it were? Maybe you already have a hunch, but it’s been good. A mindful retreat to the physical world makes for a reinforced sense of warmth and closeness ’round here. A reader reminded me recently that gardeners, like serious whisperers-to-the-earth-level gardeners, are optimists by their very nature. I think she’s on to something there.
So I’ve been doing more in a general way, but also cooking more. Grain salads for healthy nibbling, seedy waffles with tons of berries, and greens all day every day. When life comes in with its highs and lows, taking control of your health is the easiest way to claw your way back to equilibrium I find–provided you’re lucky enough to have access to the basic tools. Setting aside time for the benefit of your own wellbeing is a worthy undertaking in self-love + the love of your peeps, whatever the circumstances. Things to make you think and go inward. Things to make you love it all out.
We’ve got a big thing of avocados and they’re all ripening at the same time. Obviously there’s tartines/toast and guacamole, but also? I’m kind of tired of both of those things. I know full well that nobody’s been dying for a plant-y version of tartare, but the concept seems so right with avocado. Punchy capers, dijon, red onion and a tiny splash of salty tamari all jumbled in with small dices of creamy-fatty avocado on a warm-spiced beet slice and a crunchy bread/cracker vehicle? COME. ON. It’s classy enough for guests, but easy enough for snacking on while you watch the finals in ridiculous anticipation. All in one bite there’s salt, tang, sweetness, roast-y qualities, and those light nudges of umami too. It’s definitely one of the better things I’ve made recently, and I’m gonna chalk that tiny victory up to a realignment with all the brilliance of the offline world :)
avocado tartare with roasted beets, basil + dukkah
serves: makes almost 2 cups-worth of tartare
notes: You want the avocado to be ripe, but not so ripe that it’s soft and mushy. A little firm-ness is key for this one to distinguish itself from guacamole ;)
3 medium beets, scrubbed
juice of 1 lime, divided
extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tsp dukkah spice (here’s a link to make your own!)
avocado tartare ingredients:
1 small red onion, small dice
2 tbsp capers, minced
3 sprigs of basil, chopped
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp sherry vinegar
small splash of tamari soy sauce
salt + pepper
1 medium, just-ripe avocado
flat parsley leaves for serving (optional)
extra diced red onion
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside. Wrap each of the beets in foil and place them on the sheet. Roast for about 40 minutes or until a knife can be inserted into the beets with minimal resistance. Remove the sheet from the oven, open up the foil on the beets a bit and allow them to cool. You can peel the beets at this point if you like.
Once the beets have cooled enough, slice them up and toss them with half the lime juice, some olive oil, salt, pepper and dukkah. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the diced red onion, capers, basil, mustard, sherry vinegar, tamari, salt, pepper and a big splash of extra virgin olive oil. Cut the avocado down the middle and remove the pit. Carefully peel the exterior, trying to preserve the integrity of the flesh. Dice it up somewhat small and toss it into the bowl with the capers, mustard, sherry vinegar etc. Squeeze in the rest of the lime juice. Toss everything to combine, check for seasoning, and adjust accordingly.
Serve the avocado tartare with the beets, crackers/crostini, parsley leaves, and diced onion.