I don’t often get personal here on the blog, at least when it comes to talking about my private life, but something has happened that I simply can’t avoid mentioning.

My wonderful, thrill-seeking husband had a bad hang gliding accident and broke not one, but both of his arms. Walking into the hospital a week and a half ago and seeing him in casts from wrists to shoulders was a bit of a shock, and then learning of the extremely lengthy rehabilitation process that I will be such a huge part of, was intimidating. The man is literally a baby again. He can’t feed himself or drink on his own, he can’t put on his clothes or tie his shoes, he can’t pick up the phone, write an email, take a shower, or brush his teeth.

Between shifts at the restaurant, I’ve been living at the hospital, feeding, bathing, and dressing him. Despite the emotionally trying week it’s been for him, and myself, we’re just so grateful that he is okay. Nothing is permanent. He will be back to his old motorcycle racing, hang gliding self in a few months’ time (I’m trying to convince him to at least stay out of the air for a while, anyway). We are laughing through the challenges and experiencing our partnership expanding into new territory – nothing like a good sponge bath to bring you closer to your loved one! I am overwhelmed with tenderness and devotion to this man, which is why this week I was compelled to create something just for him. Call it an early valentine, a declaration of love, a just-because-you-mean-the-world-to-me edible gift. My heart beats with so much passion for him, so of course, Heart Beet Rawvioli it is.

Raw beetroot ravioli is not my original idea, and I’m sure many of you have seen it done before. But it’s been on my to-make and to-eat list for months now and I felt that this was my window of opportunity. Lucky you, now it’s yours too.

Beet it!
Beetroots have been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. They have a cleansing effect on the liver and can be used to treat liver maladies, kidney stones, and disorders of the gallbladder, stomach, and intestines. Beets aid digestion and the lymphatic system. They combat anemia, tone the blood and help build red blood cells. [1]

Beets also contain special types of pigments, called betalins. These pigments have been shown to support the body’s detoxification process (specifically, in Phase 2) by stimulating specific enzymes to “hook-up” with unwanted toxic substances to be neutralized and excreted. If you are exposed to toxins in your daily life (pesticides from non-organic food, pollution, body care products etc.), or simply looking for extra detox support, add a couple servings of beets to your diet every week. [2]
I know that with all the pain killers, antiemetics, sleep aids, and general anesthetics my husband is being pumped full of, (let’s not even mention the hospital food) he certainly needs all the detox help he can get!

As gimmicky as it may seem, this dish totally won me over. I’ve never tried any version of raw “pasta” and “cheese” before, as I can be slightly cynical when it comes to taking a really delicious food and giving it a raw makeover. But, somehow this just worked for me; I found brilliance in the balance. The earthiness of the beet contrasts extremely well against the sweet pine nut filling. Their respective textures are also complimentary, as the rich, creaminess of the “cheese” absolutely needs to be cut with something light and crispy. The beets manage to do just that. With the drizzle of Pesto Oil to finish things off, the meal as a whole, lacks for nothing.

Since Copenhagen is drowning in beautiful beets at the moment, I chose the candy-striped beet route – who can resist a face like that? If you’ve never sliced into one of these varieties before, be prepared for an epic, aesthetic mind trip. They are the true psychedelics of the vegetable kingdom.
If you cannot find candy-striped beets, use the good ol’ red variety – they work just as well.

Heart Beet Rawvioli

Serves 4

3 – 4 large beetroots (red, golden, or candy stripe beets)
juice of ½ lemon
1 ½ Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
Pine Nut “Cheese”
Pesto Oil
extra virgin olive oil, smoked sea salt, and chives for garnish

1. Begin by cutting the ends of the beets, then peel them. Using a mandolin slicer or a very sharp knife, slice the beets as thinly as possible (this can be fiddly, so take your time.) When you have a bunch of slices, use a cookie cutter to make heart shapes. Alternatively, stack the beet slices and cut the rounded edges off to turn them into squares.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the juice of half a lemon, one and a half tablespoons of olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt. Add the prepared beet slices and toss to coat. Marinate for 1-2 hours.
3. Place about a teaspoon of Pine Nut “Cheese” on one beet slice, then top with another. Repeat until you have the amount of Rawviolis you desire.
4. Drizzle some Green Pesto Oil and extra virgin olive oil over top. Garnish with chives and smoked sea salt.  Serve immediately.

Pine Nut “Cheese”

Makes about 1 cup

1 cup pine nuts, soaked
1 Tbsp. minced shallot
2 Tbsp. minced chives
2 tsp.  nutritional yeast
zest of one lemon
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
a couple pinches of smoked salt, to taste (regular sea salt is fine)

1. Soak pine nuts in water for at least 1 hour. Drain and rinse well.
2. In a food processor, place all ingredients and blend on high to mix. The consistency should be somewhat grainy and thick – like a heavy paste similar to goat cheese. 

Pesto Oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. minced chives
1/3 cup packed basil leaves
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. water
½ tsp. agave or raw liquid honey
pinch of sea salt

1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend on high to mix. The pesto oil should be quite fluid and runny.

When I brought these to the hospital the other day, even through the morphine-induced brain fog, my darling man coherently praised the Rawviolis. Yes, he thought they were made out of cabbage, but we’ll forgive him for that and blame the drugs.
If you have someone special in your life that needs a fresh, delicious, nourishing meal, put your heart on a plate and serve these up. After all, food is love.

Sources: [1] Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for Dietary Wellness. New York, NY: Penguin, 2003.
               [2] whfoods.com

Copyright 2012 My New Roots at mynewroots.blogspot.com

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