For the majority of my adult life, I thought that I hated beets. I can’t even remember when I tried them the first, and last time, but I have always had it in my head that I very much disliked them. Until last month. We have some wonderful clients that live in Sweden and have a vacation home here in Orlando. We have done quite a bit of renovating on their home for them over the last year or so, and have come to really enjoy their company. Last month, they had their family and friends in town on holiday, and invited us over for dinner. The appetizer was this amazing “cracker-ish/flat-bread stuff” that was topped with sliced beets and creamy goat cheese that had something drizzled on the top, and then served on a bed of dandelion greens. My husband is very picky and I was sure that he wasn’t going to like it, and I had always convinced myself that I didn’t like beets, so I was a little nervous. However, I would never want to not try something, especially when goat cheese is involved, and the presentation was so beautiful. You could tell that they had put a lot of effort into this meal for all of us.
So, at about the same time, we both took a bite, and then looked at each other. It was absolutely delicious! I mean, really, really amazing. I thought it was probably one of the best appetizers I had ever eaten. I was so pleasantly surprised at the taste, and even more so, that my husband liked it, too! We were very impressed, and I knew from that moment on, that I was going to have to figure out how to re-create it at home.
I didn’t get the recipe from her for the cracker-bread (at least that is what I was calling it), or what it was that they drizzled on the goat cheese, so I had to improvise. I looked all over Publix to see if I could find something that looked similar to what she had made. I came across this Wasa, Crisp’n Light product that looked almost exactly like what she had served us. When I was looking this up online, to show you the link for what it was, I found out that this product is actually made in Sweden from a company that was started in 1919. How cool is that? I found this product in the grocery in the aisle where the peanut butter/jelly and specialty crackers were. I would imagine it is probably pretty easy to find in most grocery stores. It is very good and is so versatile that you could top it with any number of items to make a great appetizer.
I couldn’t remember exactly what the flavor was that she mixed into the goat cheese, but I was thinking that lemon and chives would pair well with the beets. Unfortunately, I didn’t have either of those items fresh, so I started digging through my spices. If you follow me on Facebook, you probably saw the post I put up last week about Penzeys Spices. A good friend of mine turned me on to Penzeys and I am just completely in love with their products. We have a local store here in Winter Park, Florida, but there are many other locations throughout the US, and you can order any of the products online. If you love to cook or bake, you must pay a visit to them. The best cinnamon I have EVER had is their Vietnamese Extra Fancy Cinnamon. You just haven’t tasted cinnamon until you have had this one. Request a catalog if there is no store near you, and give them a try. They have great sample boxes that you can purchase that will allow you to try a few of your favorite spices at once to see if you like their brand. You will not be disappointed. Anyway, back to the recipe.
I ended up going with my Penzeys dried lemon peel and freeze-dried chives, along with a little ground pepper and pink salt. The combination was perfect and made for the most wonderful taste. This could be a very easy and simple, make-ahead appetizer for a party. If you’re making it up a little ahead of time, just dry off the beets with a paper towel, so that there is not an excess of liquid, that would soften the cracker-bread too much. (See UPDATE at the bottom of recipe for the original recipe)
If you already know you love beets, then you probably already have your favorite flavors that blend with them. Feel free to alter up the ingredients and make it your own. I would love to hear about your favorite pairings for beets…now that I know I love them! I didn’t have any greens on hand, but this is certainly delicious atop a bed of dandelion or other greens.
**This recipe is Gluten Free as long as you use a GF cracker/bread, or just eliminate that all together and use the beets, goat cheese and spices.
**This recipe is vegetarian.
Beets and Goat Cheese on Cracker-Bread
- sliced, pickled beets
- goat cheese
- dried lemon peel or fresh lemon zest
- freeze-dried or fresh chives
- fresh ground pepper and pink salt
- Wasa, Crisp’n Light cracker-bread
- optional, dandelion or other fresh greens
There is no measurement to the recipe, you can add as little or as much of each item, according to your taste. On top of the cracker-bread place the sliced beets, top with the crumbled goat cheese and sprinkle on the lemon peel, chives and salt and pepper.
Voila! Instant, easy and delicious appetizer, or, if you’re like me this past week, it’s for lunch!
UPDATE: Since I started the draft on this post, I received an email from our client and she told me that she used a thin sourdough bread, which she toasted lightly. Then added the sliced beets and goat cheese and put in the oven just long enough to melt the cheese and then put a drizzle of maple syrup on the top. Give both of these options a try, they are equally amazing!