Gjelina: Roasted Beets with Herb Sauce

When my sister and I went to Venice Beach about a year ago, I really wanted to go eat at Gjelina.  It is a restaurant in Venice Beach on Abbot Kinney that I had read about as a must visit. The food is simply amazing.  When we went, we dined early to avoid a huge line and crowd, and ordered the best pizza I have ever had.  Luckily it wasn’t quite as popular even as it is now, because it looks like it books 4 weeks out, and reservations are required for dinner. My only regret was that we didn’t also have dessert. I am hoping to go back for a weekend in April and I will be for sure back there, as long as they have an opening.  And it looks like they even have a new restaurant on Sunset, Gjusta, that will be a must for trying!

For Christmas this year I asked my brother for the Gjelina cookbook written by the chef Travis Lett. The photographs are by a few of my favorite photographers Nikole Herriott & Michael Graydon. The book is super beautiful.  I made the roasted beet greens & herbed yogurt recipe from the book, and it turned out wonderfully. I couldn’t stop eating the herb yogurt too.  I would only say, that perhaps my oven is not hot enough, since the beets needed a lot longer to roast until they were not crunchy.  I have been trying to do more shoots on my own, and doing the cooking and styling to help learn more about the process. I am trained as a photographer, and simply have never been that brave or consistent as a cook. This exercise helps to get me out of my comfort zone, which I think is important in order to improve.

In other news, I am going to be heading to Boise next month, which should be really fun, for the music festival Treefort, and see one of my favorite bands Built to Spill (again). I am looking forward to seeing a lot of bands, as well as finding cool restaurants to eat at and photograph.  I also got word that my images will appear in a cookbook for the first time!  I am very excited about that! Also as mentioned, I am planning a trip to LA hopefully in April and possibly the South in May.  I am also working on a few other projects I am excited about.  More on that later.

Recipe below!


ote: this recipe is from the cookbook Gjelina.

Herbed Yogurt Ingredients
1/4 cup Greek-style yogurt
1 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh dill
1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 tsp chopped fresh chives
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Other Ingredients
1-1/2 lb baby beets with greens still attached, halved lengthwise
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup water, plus more as needed
1/4 cup beef stock
2 tsp sherry vinegar
One 1-inch piece fresh horseradish
Flaky sea salt
Best-quality olive oil for drizzling

To make the herbed yogurt:   In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt with the parsley, mint, dill, tarragon, chives, lime zest, lime juice, and olive oil. Season with kosher salt and pepper and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400.

In a large bowl, toss the beets with the olive oil and season with kosher salt and pepper. Transfer the beets to a  baking sheet, add the water, and roast until the beets feel tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 25 minutes. Add more water if the greens dry out or begin to burn. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Leave oven at the same temperature.

With a kitchen towel, gently pull the skins off the beets. Don’t worry if some still clings to the beets since a little skin left on is fine. There is often a bit of tough plant matter near the stem, which should slide off easily.

Return the beets to the oven and roast about 5 minutes longer. Remove from oven and immediately add the stock (if using) and vinegar.

Transfer to a serving platter along with the pan juices. Drizzle the herbed yogurt on top. With a Microplane, grate the horseradish over all. Season with sea salt and drizzle with best-quality olive oil. Serve warm or at room temperature.


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