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Valentine’s Day Rose & Recipe by Nita Gill

Thailand is madly in love with Valentine’s Day (วันวาเลนไทน์). Valentine’s Day has been eagerly adopted by Thai people and has become an excuse for shopping, dining out and a special day to get married, perhaps unconventionally, with underwater weddings currently popular in Thailand’s tropical seas. According to a recent informal survey by CNN, Bangkok, has some of the most expensive Valentine’s roses in the world this year, with florists charging $45 for just one rose. However, in the flower markets of Northern Thailand a Valentines rose will set you back as little as one US dollar. In the USA, 3 roses at Flower.com will set you back $50 with delivery charges.

Valentine Roses for Sale at a Chiang Mai Flower Market

Valentine Roses for Sale at a Chiang Mai Flower Market (click to enlarge)

Update: you can see some Valentine’s day pictures at the flower market on our Facebook page.

If bouquets are out of your budget, might we suggest a carved vegetable rose which makes a perfect garnish for an intimate Valentines meal. In this article we have a special romantic recipe for you. Here at the Temple of Thai we eat a lot of Thai food, so for us it’s a special treat to eat a different cuisine and seeing as Valentine’s Day is a Western import we’ve elected to feature a recipe that we wouldn’t normally. So we’re pleased to bring you a wonderful Roasted Beet, Goat Cheese, and Candied Walnut Salad recipe which is really delicious and a lot healthier and less fattening than a Valentine box of chocolates.

The beautiful presentation of the salad complimented by the carved red beet rose will show your special someone how much you care, especially as the rose is of your own creation.  The video below demonstrates how to make this simple European-style salad. This recipe is a twist on a traditional salad, combining sweet roasted beets, tangy goat cheese, and crunchy sugar-coated walnuts. The deep red color of the beets is the perfect partner for your Valentine’s Day table. The directions for the rose garnish are provided in professional carver Nita Gill’s Hearts & Roses Vegetable & Fruit Carving DVD for sale in our online store.

Even without the carved beet rose, this beet and goat cheese salad is a great choice for Valentine’s Day. If you’re in a hurry, you can use canned beets instead of fresh. Use a small heart-shaped cookie cutter to stamp out tiny hearts from the beet slices, a quick way to dress up your salad. Another way to speed up this dish is to use plain walnuts instead of sugared walnuts. Try carving the roses early and steaming them, then cooling at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Your guest will be delighted by these beautiful, edible, flowers.

Learn how to carve the Beet Rose and many more projects with Nita’s Hearts & Roses Vegetable & Fruit Carving DVD available for purchase in our online store for fruit and vegetable garnishing.

Roasted Beet, Goat Cheese, and Candied Walnut Salad

  • 4 beets, cleaned, peeled, and halved
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 Tbl butter
  • 2 Tbl brown sugar
  • 15 oz package of mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz goat cheese

To cook the beets, put the beets on parchment paper and coat with salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Wrap them in foil and bake for 40 minutes at 450 degrees, until they are tender to a fork.  Cool and cut into cubes or julienne.

While you cook the beets, melt the butter and brown sugar together in a small pan over medium heat.  Add the walnuts and warm until they are toasted and covered in the butter and sugar.  Remove from the heat, spread on parchment paper and cool.

For the dressing, put the orange juice concentrate, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar in a jar and shake to combine.

Put the greens into a large bowl and toss with the amount of dressing you prefer.

Divide the greens between four plates, then top with equal amounts of candied walnuts, roasted beets, and dabs of goat cheese.

Serve this salad layered, or toss all of the ingredients carefully together for a “messier” look, with a light red tint from the beet juice.  A heart-shaped folded napkin completes the presentation.

For more step-by-step fruit carving help, check out these tutorials.  And all of the knives and books you will need to master fruit carving are available here.

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