One of the earliest known benefits of red beet is its use as an aphrodisiac during the Roman times. And it wasn’t all folklore as it has been found to contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones. <>















Chef’s Garden Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Citrus Vinaigrette

Serves 4


4 to 5 baby yellow beets, roasted and peeled (recipe follows)

4 to 5 baby red beets, roasted and peeled

4 to 5 baby Chioggia (candy-striped) beets, roasted and peeled

1/2 cup Citrus Vinaigrette, divided (see earlier post for recipe)

6 ounces (about 1 cup lightly packed) fresh goat cheese

3/4 cup toasted walnuts

4 cups loosely packed baby arugula

2 cups trimmed frisée lettuce

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Pinch freshly ground black pepper


Cut the beets into halves (or quarters, depending on their size.) Place the beets in a small bowl and add 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette. Toss the beets in the vinaigrette until well coated.

Divide the goat cheese into 12 equal portions and arrange 3 portions on each of 4 salad plates. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the walnuts evenly over each plate. Arrange about 6 beet halves on each plate.

Combine the arugula and frisée in a large bowl and season the lettuce lightly with the salt and pepper. Drizzle the remaining 7 tablespoons of vinaigrette into the bowl and toss until the greens are well dressed. Evenly divide the lettuce into 4 portions and arrange each portion in the center of each plate. Serve immediately.


Roasted Red Baby, Yellow Baby and Baby Chioggia Beets


Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Trim the tops off 1 pound (about 12 small beets), leaving 1/2-inch of the stems intact and place in a small baking dish. Add 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup water, 6 fresh thyme sprigs, and a pinch of salt to the beets and cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil. Roast the beets covered at 400ºF for about 30 minutes (about 20 for yellow baby) or until tender. Set the beets aside to cool before peeling.

Grouper with Tomato, Avocado, and Grilled Vidalia Onions with Basil-Lime Vinaigrette

This dish is all about the vinaigrette. Extra limey and rich from the avocado, it makes a simple dish that will impress any guest. Good olive oil and a lot of freshly picked basil are important, so don’t skimp on these items.


























Serves 6

2 large Vidalia onions, each sliced into 1-inch thick slices (about 5 or 6 slices each)

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided

21/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided

4 large, ripe Heirloom tomatoes, each cored and sliced into 1-inch thick slices

4 ripe Haas avocados, halved, peeled, seeded and sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices

2/3 cup chiffonade of fresh basil leaves

1 cup fresh lime juice

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

6 (6-ounce) grouper fillets

3 cups fresh arugula


Preheat the grill to high heat (400˚F to 450˚ F).


Arrange the onion slices on a baking sheet and brush lightly with the olive oil. Season the onions lightly with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Grill the onion slices for 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until tender, sweet, and slightly charred. Transfer the grilled slices to a mixing bowl and separate the rings. Add the tomato and avocado slices to the onion rings and set aside.


In a separate bowl whisk together the lime juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and chopped basil. Toss the vinaigrette with the grilled onion mixture and season the salad with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Allow the salad to marinate at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes, tossing occasionally. (This allows the avocados to break down a little and slightly thicken the vinaigrette.)


Season the fish fillets on both sides with the remaining 11/2 teaspoons of salt and 11/2 teaspoons of pepper. Place the fillets on the hot grill and cook for 6 to 7 minutes or until the fillets begin to pull away and loosen from the grill rack. Turn and cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes or until the fillets are golden brown and cooked through. Remove the fillets from the heat and keep warm until ready to serve.


Arrange 1 marinated tomato slice in the center of each of 6 dinner plates. Using a slotted spoon, place onion and avocado slices on top of the tomatoes. Top each salad with a second marinated tomato slice. Spoon several tablespoons of the vinaigrette over and around each salad. Arrange the grilled grouper fillets on top of each salad. Toss the arugula in the mixing bowl with the remaining vinaigrette. Top each fish fillet with a small mound of the arugula. Serve immediately.

Who hasn’t ever reached for a light vinaigrette to compliment fresh greens or veggies???

This is a great, basic, citrus vinaigrette. We prepare a number of recipes with this dressing such as Chef’s Garden Beet Salad which will follow this post. Fresh grapefruit juice, honey tangerine juice or Satsuma juice can all be substituted for the orange juice in this recipe. For best results, stay away from store bought citrus juices as they lend a slightly metallic flavor to the vinaigrette.


Hot and Hot Citrus Vinaigrette

Makes about 1/2 cup


1 cup fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon finely diced shallots

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pinch freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


Place the orange juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the orange juice has reduced to about 1/4 cup. Add the orange zest to the reduced juice and continue simmering until the mixture has reduced to about 3 tablespoons. Remove the pan from the heat and cool the juice mixture completely.


Whisk together the cooled orange mixture, lemon juice, lime juice, shallots, thyme and parsley. Season the juice mixture with the salt and pepper. Slowly pour the olive oil and extra-virgin olive oil into the juice mixture in a slow, steady stream, while whisking constantly. Continue whisking until the vinaigrette is slightly thickened. Use the vinaigrette immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. The vinaigrette will keep refrigerated for up to two days.

With cocktails or as an appetizer, this is a crowd pleaser.


When sourcing oysters for this dish, work with your local fishmonger to make certain you are getting oysters that have been out of the water no longer than 3 to 4 days and select only those that are tightly closed. Tap on the shell and if it sounds hollow, they are no good. The oysters should feel heavy in the hand. If fresh oysters in the shells are unavailable, you can substitute a pint of shucked oysters instead.



Oyster Shooters

Serves 12

2 medium (3/4-pound) ripe red tomatoes, cut into quarters

3 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup roasted, peeled, seeded and diced poblano peppers

1/4 cup peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes

2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

24 freshly shucked oysters and their liquor

11/2 cups tequila, well chilled


Place twelve 2-ounce shot glasses in the freezer for at least 30 minutes or until well chilled.

Place the tomato quarters into a food mill set over a clean bowl. Process until all the liquid is extracted from the tomatoes and discard the solids. Strain the tomato liquid through a fine-mesh sieve. You should have about 3/4-cup fresh tomato juice.

Combine the tomato juice and the next 8 ingredients (horseradish through pepper). Chill the mixture for at least 30 minutes before serving. Arrange 1 tablespoon of the mixture in each prepared shot glass and top each with one oyster and 1 tablespoon of the tequila. Repeat the layers one more time. Serve immediately.

When possible, buy ‘gigged’ flounder. Flounder giggers catch bottom-hugging flounder by stabbing them with a pronged fork, typically at night and with the aid of illumination from the boat.

Since the boats are out on the water for only a few hours each night, the flounder are unloaded at the fish house and delivered to restaurants within hours of being gigged. A way to check for freshness, particularly with flounder, is to hold the flounder by its head straight out in front of you. It should not droop, but remain straight, firm, and flat. If it goes limp, it has been out of the water too long.

This ‘light’ recipe brought to you in honor of the Cooking Light event being hosted at the restaurant next Monday. Get your tickets online to this exclusive event to taste other Hot and Hot recipes done light by Chef Chris Hastings


Pan Seared Flounder with Shaved Fennel Salad, Olives and Valencia Oranges

Serves 6


4 Valencia oranges, peeled and segmented

6 cups cored and thinly sliced fennel bulb, about 2 large

2/3 cup pitted green or black olives, such as picholine, kalamata, or niçoise

3/4 cup Valencia Orange Vinaigrette, divided, recipe follows

1/4 cup peanut oil, divided

6 (8-ounce) skin-on flounder fillets

11/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Combine the orange segments, fennel, and olives in a large mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Set salad aside to marinate while the flounder is prepared.


Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Season the fillets on both sides with the salt and pepper. Add half of the fillets, skin-side down to the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes or until the skin is crispy. Turn the fillets, add 1 more tablespoon of peanut oil to the skillet, reduce the heat to medium, and continue cooking the fillets for 4 to 41/2 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily when tested with a fork. Transfer to a platter to keep warm until ready to serve. Wipe the skillet clean and repeat with the remaining oil and flounder fillets.


Spoon about 1 cup of the fennel salad onto each of six dinner plates. Arrange 1 fillet on top of each salad. Drizzle 2 teaspoons of the remaining vinaigrette over each fillet and serve immediately.



Valencia Orange Vinaigrette


Makes 3/4 cup


2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, about 1 small lemon

1/4 cup fresh Valencia orange juice, about 1 orange

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1 tablespoon chopped fresh fennel fronds

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Whisk together all of the ingredients in a large bowl. The vinaigrette can be used immediately or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Be sure to bring the chilled vinaigrette to room temperature and whisk well before serving.