Posted by: Catherine | June 8, 2009

Carrot and Beet Salad (*RR)



(*Reader Recipe)

51VzzW7zqkL._SL160_AA115_What a night we had! I got together with my friends Claire and Kim of bookstorepeople, and we invited our book-loving/foodie friends to a feast culled from family recipes from our friend Nancy Mehagian’s foodoir, Siren’s Feast (she also has a blog of the same name). Nancy, a first generation Armenian-American, is quite a character—growing up, she was not exactly the good suburban girl/cheerleader her parents, who narrowly escaped genocide, might have expected. And, what saints her parents were! As Nancy chronicles her unforgettable adventures as a young woman in the 60s and 70s you have to wonder how any parent could have lived through it. In Nancy’s case, this was no minor phase; it lasted for about a decade and included several continents, months of being incommunicado, lots of sex, drugs and cooking, a stint as a cabaraet dancer in Syria, and a relationship with a Bedouin gypsy. That’s the very short version, and throughout it all her parents maintained cool, understanding, even helpfulness. Imagine your daughter with a newborn baby newly moved into—yes!—a London prison for 16 months.

What I wanted to know: When Nancy was on the Spanish island of Ibiza, sleeping with seemingly everyone while trying to get a vegetarian restaurant off the gound, did she have sex with my boyfriend who spent six months there before starting medical school?

No, she did not. But I kind of wish she had. It would have made for some interesting conversation.

Not that we needed it. The food was enough to get us going: We had platters of Armenian dishes that most of us had never eaten before—all the recipes, which are in the book, are the real deal. As we were eating we had a book-group discussion of Siren’s Feast. There were about 20 of us, and everyone was so interested in the book, and Nancy, it went on, and on. It was after 11 on a “school night” that the last guest left, which is like 3 am in many cities that are not LA. It was so much fun…we’re trying to decide on another foodoir (love that, don’t you?) so we can stage another like party. Stay tuned. Plus, look for lots more (six, to be exact) Armenian delicacies from this party. The posts are just beginning.

Serves 4 to 6

3 medium carrots, peeled and diced

3 medium beets, peeled and diced

Small bunch cilantro, washed and finely chopped

1 T lemon juice

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 t. ground cumin

Salt and course-grind black pepper

Steam carrots and beets until tender, about 10 minutes. (I cannot tell a lie: I bought my beets from TJs already peeled and steamed.) Allow to cool, then place in bowl. Add cilantro.

Make dressing by combining the remaining ingredients, then pour into bowl and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.

Other Recipes from Nancy

dsc_0109 Cheese Beorag

dsc_0044 Orange Salad

eggplant Armenian Eggplant Salad

dessertdetao1 Kataif–Honey Shredded-Dough Pastry

taboulehdetail Tabbouli

walnutdipMuhammara–Lebanese Walnut Dip




  1. I want to come!

  2. Sounds like a memorable dinner in terms of conversation and food! This salad looks lovely, I’m all about beets lately, even grilled some up yasterday!

  3. that look so good:)!

  4. Now that sounds like a wonderful summer read! I’ll have to go pick up her book right away. What a fun party idea.

  5. Such a nice salad for the Summer…and I can see myself making it for a outdoor concert…love the strong colors.

  6. This is one pretty meal. And I have a family of beet-lovers so shall save them. But the conversation – this is a life well-lived.

  7. This is an absolutely beautiful salad and the dressing ingredients sound wonderful. The colors just jump out at you. Beautiful!!

  8. This is a prefect salad for a sunday brunch.Beautiful colors. I love the ingredients it is perfect choice.

    ~Thanks for sharing your recipe:)

  9. try roasting the carrots and the beets (seperately) – it’s so easy and they taste so much better, I think. I love the added cilantro! Nice kick of flavor.

  10. well, as a virginia tech hokie, i’m completely in love with this dish–those are our colors! then, as a food lover, i’m even more infatuated–it’s healthy and completely appetizing. kudos to you for an awesome salad. 🙂

  11. All the flavors I love. Gee I wonder if she slept with my boyfriend… Getting together with the girls is always interesting and exciting in my neighborhood- we are all so different but then again the same. Nothing like having “sisters” is there?

  12. Your lifestyles for nurses magazine sounds intersting. I was a nurse in my “BC” life- before children. Had my first son on my last day of work as a nurse. Handled many patients with contractions 2 minutes apart. It was a great day! Although I left the field all those years ago, my nursing degree has brought me so many wonderful opportunities and some scary ones too- like knowing a little too much when a loved one is injured or sick- I call it the nurse curse. Tell me more about your magazine if you can. RS

  13. Such gorgeous colors in this salad and I love the serving bowl too!

  14. oh I also combine beet with corn. Carrot and beet complement each other so well. Beautiful picture and I love your crystal bowl!

  15. What fun!! I love beets and carrots seperately – never thought to put them together. How delicious!

  16. Great salad. I’ve just come around to beets.

  17. What a lovely & colourful healthy salad!! Now, I want to eat the lot!!

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