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Beet-Avocado-Pear ‘Carpaccio’
Great vegging out

Makes 4-5 servings A few handfuls of very fresh arugula or spinach leaves 1 pound beets, cooked until tender, then peeled and thinly sliced 1 to 2 tablespoons roasted walnut oil or extra-virgin olive oil 1 medium firm-but-ripe avocado 1 tablespoon cider vinegar Salt, to taste (optional) 2 medium-sized perfectly ripe pears, in thin slices (peeling optional) 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1/4 cup crumbled Roquefort or Gorgonzola cheese 1/2 cup minced walnuts, lightly toasted Optional garnishes: Pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries (or minced fresh cranberries), squeezable lemon wedges, freshly ground black pepper to taste

Thin slices of beautifully contrasting ingredients are arranged in shallow layers on a plate and sprinkled with touches of extra flavor, texture and color. Serve this as an elegant first course for dinner or as a main dish for lunch. You can cook the beets any way you prefer – by steaming, boiling or roasting. Cut the pear and avocado just before using, so they won’t turn brown. Scatter the arugula or spinach onto a medium-large serving platter, or on 4 or 5 individual plates. Place the beet slices over the arugula. Drizzle the beets with oil. Halve the avocado, then pit, peel and cut it into long, thin slices. Arrange these around the beets and immediately drizzle the avocado surfaces with vinegar to keep them from discoloring. Sprinkle very lightly with salt, if you desire. Lay the pear slices on or around the avocado, then sprinkle everything with lemon juice. Toss the crumbled cheese over the top and garnish with walnuts, pomegranate seeds or cranberries, and a wedge of lemon. Serve immediately, passing around the pepper mill.