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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. Kathy Goriposted July 19, 2010 at 3:53 am

    great idea. I love the stacking and filling.

    Reply

  2. Linda www.mykindofcooking.composted July 19, 2010 at 7:20 am

    I think you could win a food contest with this!

    Reply

  3. Sharlene (Wheels and Lollipops)posted July 19, 2010 at 8:17 am

    beautiful and a great presentation for beets.

    Reply

  4. Valposted July 19, 2010 at 12:00 pm

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

    Reply

  5. julieposted July 19, 2010 at 1:23 pm

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

    Reply

  6. Jason Phelpsposted July 19, 2010 at 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

  7. Pacheco Pattyposted July 19, 2010 at 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

  8. Mother Rimmyposted July 19, 2010 at 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

  9. Stellaposted July 19, 2010 at 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

  10. Lazaro Cooks!posted July 19, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Lovely stacked salads. Creatively presented.

    Reply

  11. Maryposted July 19, 2010 at 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

  12. Cherineposted July 19, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Wonderful presentation. Love it!

    Reply

  13. Jennifurlaposted July 19, 2010 at 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

  14. Jenniferposted July 19, 2010 at 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. momgatewayposted July 19, 2010 at 7:26 pm

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

    Reply

  16. The Manly Housewifeposted July 19, 2010 at 8:35 pm

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

    Reply

  17. Julianaposted July 19, 2010 at 10:14 pm

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

    Reply

  18. Magic of Spiceposted July 19, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    How creative is that…they also sound delicious:)

    Reply

  19. Chef Beeposted July 20, 2010 at 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

  20. Eposted July 20, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Congrats on making the top 9!

    Reply

  21. Mister Meatballposted July 20, 2010 at 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. Angie's Recipesposted July 20, 2010 at 1:59 pm

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

    Reply

  23. Samantha @ The Savvy Soybeanposted July 20, 2010 at 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. Cristinaposted July 20, 2010 at 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

  25. lauraposted July 20, 2010 at 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

  26. Kateposted July 20, 2010 at 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

  27. Tiffanyposted July 20, 2010 at 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

  28. Devakiposted July 20, 2010 at 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

  29. Chef Dennisposted July 20, 2010 at 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. Foodessaposted July 20, 2010 at 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

  31. Linn @ Swedish Home Cookingposted July 20, 2010 at 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

  32. Birenposted July 20, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Beautiful…congrats on Top9!

    Reply

  33. Rickposted July 20, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    Wowzers. Never saw a towering salad before.

    Reply

  34. Shirleyposted July 21, 2010 at 12:15 am

    The presentations are just too cute!

    Reply

  35. Claudiaposted July 21, 2010 at 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

  36. Claudiaposted July 21, 2010 at 1:24 am

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

    Reply

  37. Laxmi Hiremathposted July 21, 2010 at 5:43 am

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

    Reply

  38. queenbeeeatsforadayposted July 21, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    This is gorgeous!

    Reply

  39. sweetlifeposted July 21, 2010 at 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

  40. Pattyposted July 21, 2010 at 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

  41. baking.serendipityposted July 22, 2010 at 1:10 am

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

    Reply

  42. denise @ quickies on the dinner tableposted July 22, 2010 at 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

  43. Sookposted July 22, 2010 at 7:54 pm

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

    Reply

  44. foodies at homeposted July 23, 2010 at 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

  45. xscleanposted July 29, 2010 at 5:06 am

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

    Reply

  46. Christineposted August 15, 2010 at 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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