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Mixed Greens Salad with Beets and Walnuts
    Serves 6
4 medium beets (red, golden, or a combination)
1/2 to 3/4 pound salad greens, preferably a mixture of baby spring greens and arugula
1/3 cup walnut pieces, preferably from fresh shelled walnuts
1 ounce goat cheese, crumbled (about 1/3 cup)
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, tarragon, parsley (optional)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed (optional)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, to taste
3 tablespoons walnut oil
4 tablespoons olive oil or plain nonfat yogurt *
* - if using yogurt, water for thinning out the dressing

1. Roast the beets. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cut away the leaves by slicing across the top end, about 1/2 inch above where the stems and root meet (save the leaves for another purpose). Scrub the beets under warm water with a vegetable brush. Place in a baking dish, and add about 1/4 inch of water. Cover and bake 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the beets. Medium-size beets take about 45 minutes, small ones 30, and large ones take an hour. Test for doneness by sticking a knife into a beet. It should slide in easily. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. When the beets are cool, it will be easy to slip their skins off. Skin and cut in half lengthwise, then slice the beets very thin, or cut in small wedges.

2. If the nuts are not very fresh and just shelled, roast them for 15 minutes in a 350-degree oven, until just toasty. Transfer immediately to a plate or bowl.

3. Toss the beets with the salad greens, walnut pieces, goat cheese and fresh herbs.

4. Mix together the vinegars, salt, pepper, and mustard. Whisk in the oils or the walnut oil and yogurt. Taste; if you want the dressing to be a bit more acidic, add another teaspoon of vinegar. Toss with the salad and serve.

Advance preparation: The cooked beets will keep for several days in the refrigerator. the dressing can be made and the greens washed and dried several hours ahead of serving.

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