Tomato Stack and Beet Stack Salad

Philosophical Salads~Tomato Stack and Beet Stack Salad

Sometimes the best, most flavorful things are the simplest.

This philosophy seems to cover, well, life in general. Legendary artist Hans Hofmann once said, The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. I know many of us have been hanging onto the life-raft in this wild economic time. But through this, a bouquet of  lovely realizations have blossomed.

How much does one really need to be happy? Is happiness dependent on your house, cars, wardrobe…vacations? (I’m secretly tempted to scream YES to the last one–although I know it’s not true!) The truth is, happiness is a state of mind. I’ve traveled abroad enough to see first-hand that billions of individuals world-wide, live an entire lifetime with much less than we…and are completely satisfied. I’ve met families that lived in utterly wretched conditions, but found true joy in faith and family. Happiness is a choice we make everyday. I’d like to believe I had full-grasp of this before the economic crisis, but we all need a good sifting every now and again!

I  make a point to give thanks on a daily basis for the things I have that truly matter. My sweet husband that supports me in whatever hair-brained project I take on. My precious children who, even on their worst days, are absolute gifts from above. My parents, wise and steadfast. Friends who know my heart beyond words…and miles. These represent my new understanding of prosperity.

As always, state of mind steers the actions. I have been on a rampage to ‘simplify’ my life. Less, but more gratifying projects, less meaningless activities, less waste…simpler meals. This is not the first, and surely won’t be the last time I’ll ramble on about this. But I find it makes the things you DO hold on to, so much more precious!

Here is an elegant little stack salad with a bare-bones mentality. No elaborate dressing or ostentatious ingredients. Just five simple items that do very well on their own, thank you! I started out with the tomato stack last summer when my heirlooms came in. I felt that the only way to improve their natural perfection, might be the addition of goat cheese–possibly my favorite little indulgence. A drizzle of high-quality balsamic vinegar was the cherry on top! Sadly, my heirlooms have not graced us with their presence this year, but as you can see any ripe tomato is quite satisfactory!

The beet stack was this summer’s evolution. After staring at an enormous pile of beets I bought at the farmers market; I calculated it would take 4-5 dishes to use them up! (I over did!) And what takes EVERYTHING to a whole new level of edible bliss??? Ah yes, goat cheese! So here we go again!

Both are perfectly lovely. The tomato stack can be prepared in just moments, while the beets take a little time to roast. Make sure to purchase soft and silky chevre goat cheese and thick aged balsamic vinegar. I find it’s hard to get really good balsamic at our regular grocery stores. I went to a specialty store to find what I was looking for–a syrupy vinegar, aged 25 years. You can swirl the bottle and watch it coat the glass! This vinegar is sweet on it’s own, and so smooth I could literally drink it out of the bottle! Not at all harsh like some you find at the grocery. GOOD balsamic can act as a stand-alone dressing without the need of oil and seasoning.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction. ~E.F. Schumacher

To prepare:

Mix the fresh herbs into the goat cheese.

Slice the tomatoes into 4 thick rounds. Sprinkle each tomato round with salt. Gently slather the layers of each tomato with the goat cheese.

Stack the rounds to reassemble the tomato. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar!

Beet Stack Salad

4 medium beets
8-10 oz. soft goat cheese, room temperature
2 Tb. fresh chopped herbs (thyme, chive, rosemary…)
Good balsamic vinegar for drizzling
Salt

Preheat the oven to 400* F. Trim the beets and place them in a baking dish. Drizzle the beets with 1 tablespoon of oil. Cover and roast for 30-35 minutes—until fork tender. Mix the fresh herbs into the goat cheese. Once the beets have cooled, gently peel off the skin. Slice the beets into 4-5 rounds and sprinkle with salt. Gently slather the layers of each beet with the goat cheese. Stack the rounds to reassemble the beets. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar!

 

Tomato Stack Salad

4 ripe medium-sized tomatoes
8-10 oz. soft goat cheese, room temperature
2 Tb. fresh chopped herbs (thyme, chive, rosemary…)
Good balsamic vinegar for drizzling
Salt

Mix the fresh herbs into the goat cheese.

Slice the tomatoes into 4 thick rounds. Sprinkle each tomato round with salt. Gently slather the layers of each tomato with the goat cheese.

Stack the rounds to reassemble the tomato. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar!

Beet Stack Salad

4 medium beets
8-10 oz. soft goat cheese, room temperature
2 Tb. fresh chopped herbs (thyme, chive, rosemary…)
Good balsamic vinegar for drizzling
Salt

Preheat the oven to 400* F. Trim the beets and place them in a baking dish. Drizzle the beets with 1 tablespoon of oil. Cover and roast for 30-35 minutes—until fork tender. Mix the fresh herbs into the goat cheese. Once the beets have cooled, gently peel off the skin. Slice the beets into 4-5 rounds and sprinkle with salt. Gently slather the layers of each beet with the goat cheese. Stack the rounds to reassemble the beets. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar!

Serve either salad with a steak knife and fork!

either salad with a steak knife and fork!

Tomato Stack Salad on Foodista

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46 Responses to “Tomato Stack and Beet Stack Salad”

  1. #
    1
    Kathy Gori — July 19, 2010 @ 3:53 am

    great idea. I love the stacking and filling.

    Reply

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    Linda www.mykindofcooking.com — July 19, 2010 @ 7:20 am

    I think you could win a food contest with this!

    Reply

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    Sharlene (Wheels and Lollipops) — July 19, 2010 @ 8:17 am

    beautiful and a great presentation for beets.

    Reply

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    Val — July 19, 2010 @ 12:00 pm

    Those are so pretty they almost look like desserts! Love it :-)

    Reply

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    julie — July 19, 2010 @ 1:23 pm

    Wow! I love that! Simple, beautiful and delicious. These are the best kind of recipes in my opinion.

    Reply

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    Jason Phelps — July 19, 2010 @ 1:28 pm

    Very cool idea. We haven't gotten beets in our CSA share, but I was wondering what new stuff I might do with them. This will work well.

    Jason

    Reply

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    Pacheco Patty — July 19, 2010 @ 1:32 pm

    These tomato stack salads look fun to eat and of course delicious! I would also like to try the beets this way, yum!

    Reply

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    Mother Rimmy — July 19, 2010 @ 1:51 pm

    What great ideas! Who does't love goat cheese? I really like the use of beets. The presentation is so impressive!

    Reply

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    Stella — July 19, 2010 @ 3:46 pm

    Hey Sommer, this is simple, and I love all of the ingredients. Now I just need to be able to find some decent tomatoes or beets (smile)…

    Reply

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    Lazaro Cooks! — July 19, 2010 @ 5:02 pm

    Lovely stacked salads. Creatively presented.

    Reply

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    Mary — July 19, 2010 @ 5:17 pm

    What a wonderful way to serve tomatoes or beets. The presentation is wonderful. I'll wager the execution is delicious. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

    Reply

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    Cherine — July 19, 2010 @ 5:56 pm

    Wonderful presentation. Love it!

    Reply

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    Jennifurla — July 19, 2010 @ 6:41 pm

    THis is me bowing down to you, I am not worthy. I am so making both of these, thanks so much for the idea.

    Reply

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    Jennifer — July 19, 2010 @ 7:25 pm

    Hello! I just picked beets from my garden a few days ago and have been trying to figure out what to do with them – and then I read your email! Talk about timely! I am going to make the Beet Stack tonight! Love the quotes in this post.

    Reply

  15. #
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    momgateway — July 19, 2010 @ 7:26 pm

    very creative with the beets–I love it's earthiness and pretty color

    Reply

  16. #
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    The Manly Housewife — July 19, 2010 @ 8:35 pm

    These look really great!I think I might just try these out for dinner.

    Reply

  17. #
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    Juliana — July 19, 2010 @ 10:14 pm

    Wow, love the idea of stacking, it sure makes the presentation very nice.

    Reply

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    Magic of Spice — July 19, 2010 @ 11:55 pm

    How creative is that…they also sound delicious:)

    Reply

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    Chef Bee — July 20, 2010 @ 3:28 am

    Looks great. My kids are super eaters and will taste anything but don't care for tomatos. This may change their mind.

    Plan B

    Reply

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    E — July 20, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

    Congrats on making the top 9!

    Reply

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    Mister Meatball — July 20, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

    Good God, woman, those are two mighty awesome stacks of goodness –bravo!!!

    Thanks for stopping by, appreciate it.

    Oh, and happiness is measured in how many truly extraordinary fresh tomatoes one consumes in a life. You know this, I am sure.

    Reply

  22. #
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    Angie's Recipes — July 20, 2010 @ 1:59 pm

    This is an awesome idea! Gotta give it a try next time to surprise my parents-in-law!

    Reply

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    Samantha @ The Savvy Soybean — July 20, 2010 @ 2:12 pm

    Ohh that looks delicious!! I just made eggplant stacks last night. Yours look so fresh and tasty =) Glad I came across your site!!

    Reply

  24. #
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    Cristina — July 20, 2010 @ 2:35 pm

    I think this is my first time to your site…it's lovely! Enjoyed your quotes and heartfelt expression about happiness. Both tomato and beet stacks are works of art and luv the use of goat cheese. Beautifully done.

    Reply

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    laura — July 20, 2010 @ 4:34 pm

    These are gorgeous, Sommer! I wish I loved goat cheese as much as you – I should give it another try with a good brand. We did just get some very lovely syrupy balsamic, though, which will be perfect on a version of this I am making for dinner tonight (with mozz, though ( : ). I would not have thought of stacking the beets like this, very creative and sounds delicious!

    Reply

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    Kate — July 20, 2010 @ 4:50 pm

    Gorgeous! And, a fabulous salad. Looks like our heirlooms reseeded themselves – fortunately. I'm hoping to have some Black Brandywines soon… Congrats on the top 9 too :-)

    Reply

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    Tiffany — July 20, 2010 @ 5:25 pm

    You are absolutely correct, it's the simple things in life that make me happiest, and this recipe makes me very happy! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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    Devaki — July 20, 2010 @ 5:59 pm

    Dear Sommer – Less is more and you've hit the nail on the head. Especially in the West where we tend to hoard to worldly possessions like our life depends on it – when it doesn't. I am right there with you!

    The stacked veggies are a perfect example of less is more. Love your para on the balsamic vinegar. I have never gone and purchased a thick 25 year old aged one before but now I will.

    Excellent post – you've put into words what most of us think about but don't often voice ;)

    Hugs, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

    Reply

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    Chef Dennis — July 20, 2010 @ 8:58 pm

    hi Sommer
    those stacks are a stoke of genius! they are gorgeous! what a perfect summertime treat, with all that lovely goat cheese !
    thanks so much for sharing
    Dennus

    Reply

  30. #
    30
    Foodessa — July 20, 2010 @ 9:32 pm

    Sommer…I for one, not only agree but can also appreciate the message you are so creatively trying to pass along.
    Everything looks so incredibly appetizing ;o)

    Ciao for now and flavourful wishes,
    Claudia

    Reply

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    Linn @ Swedish Home Cooking — July 20, 2010 @ 9:55 pm

    I just got an idea! It could be nice to make it of small cherry tomatoes also. To serve at a brunch for example. Great post!

    Reply

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    Biren — July 20, 2010 @ 10:31 pm

    Beautiful…congrats on Top9!

    Reply

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    Rick — July 20, 2010 @ 11:11 pm

    Wowzers. Never saw a towering salad before.

    Reply

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    Shirley — July 21, 2010 @ 12:15 am

    The presentations are just too cute!

    Reply

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    Claudia — July 21, 2010 @ 1:22 am

    I do adore beets with goat cheese – the stacking them is brilliant. I am totally doing that. This post really spoke to me. Over the years, I crave simplicity more and more and more. More things go out the door. Fewer things come in. Recipes are scaled down… life is appreciated. Gratitude is practiced.

    Reply

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    Claudia — July 21, 2010 @ 1:24 am

    I would love to feature these in the Examiner and link back to you – with your permission.

    Reply

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    Laxmi Hiremath — July 21, 2010 @ 5:43 am

    Love those roasted beets! Very artistic and colorful. Simplicity rules!

    Reply

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    queenbeeeatsforaday — July 21, 2010 @ 4:55 pm

    This is gorgeous!

    Reply

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    sweetlife — July 21, 2010 @ 5:21 pm

    great stack, I loe the last pic of the beet color running into the goat cheese… I agree really do we need all the material things, yes they are nice- but I don't need the debt lingering over my head…

    sweetlife

    Reply

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    Patty — July 21, 2010 @ 10:26 pm

    Wow, wow, WOW! Super cool stacks! I've never made a stack of food, but this looks like something I could very easily get down with! I am a little afraid of beets, but with the goat cheese thrown in there?? I am pretty sure I will woof it down! Also, I hear you on the simplicity front….I have also tried to make my life as 'simple' as possible. Makes for less complications and an ability to focus on the wonderful things!

    Reply

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    baking.serendipity — July 22, 2010 @ 1:10 am

    This salad may be simple, but it presents so well! And I love your attitude on life, simplicity and happiness :)

    Reply

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    denise @ quickies on the dinner table — July 22, 2010 @ 4:40 am

    Hmmm….I don't think it would surprise you now, if I said I love bleeders in food – stuff that "bleed" their gorgeous colours into stuff around them …. blueberries, plums, beets, saffron. Get the picture?

    These are no less beautiful for all their simplicity – of course, I love the beet stack, just a bit more ;)

    Reply

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    Sook — July 22, 2010 @ 7:54 pm

    What a fun post! I love the look of this salad. So beautiful!

    Reply

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    foodies at home — July 23, 2010 @ 3:49 pm

    I love tomatoes and goat cheese! Such a beautiful presentation too! I love that you kept the stems in tack, almost too cute to eat!

    Reply

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    xsclean — July 29, 2010 @ 5:06 am

    Definetely I am trying this!
    I love beets and this dish is a work of art!!

    Reply

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    Christine — August 15, 2010 @ 5:23 am

    Hello!!! I saw your tomato at Foodista. I really like it. I also saw your other blogs and they sound great. Looking forward to more of your food blogs links in
    Foodista.

    Reply

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