Roast Beets

Adapted from James Peterson’s Cooking

This delicious and beautiful dish is easy to make, and I dare you not to like it.  Just remember – beet juice stains, so take off the white cashmere sweater before you start cooking.

  • 6 medium beets
  • 1/4 cup wine vinegar
  • 4 T butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 T finely chopped parsley

Cut off any greens at the root.  (Save them for a terrific stir fry – they taste great and turn tofu pink!)  Scrub the beets, then place on a baking pan in the oven. Set oven to 400 degrees F.  You don’t need to preheat.  Cook for about an hour (bigger beets take longer) or until a probe slides in easily.

While the beets are cooking, boil the vinegar down to about half, then whisk in the butter until melted and well mixed with the vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Hold the hot beets in an old kitchen towel and peel with a paring knife and your fingers.  Slice the beets into rounds about 1/4″ thick and place in a bowl.  Toss beets with the vinegar butter mixture.  Sprinkle the parsley over the top and serve warm.

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The Search for Cornichons

September 4 – Cooking Class #1

We purchased a big elegant cookbook that promised to teach us everything we need to know- Cooking, by James Peterson.  We decided to make crab cakes with tartar sauce, roast beets, and peas.  We discovered that

a) this cookbook is only useful if you are already pretty experienced in the kitchen

b) Peterson assumes that your kitchen is extremely

David finding a recipe that did not require ramekins.

well equipped.  Our lack of ramekins, tart molds, popover molds, drum sieves, smokers, and food mills knocked a lot of the recipes out of the running.

c) This guy loves butter,  After following his recipes we too love butter.

d) It’s hard to follow a recipe if you have no idea what some of the ingredients are.  .

Twenty dollars of crab meat in 5 little cans.

Crab cakes – Grade:  B They were good, but too salty and fell apart a bit.

Janet’s comments:  Peterson wanted us to use fresh lump crab meat.  We couldn’t find any, and had to choose between canned and fake.  We went with canned and 5 cans cost us $20.    They came out too salty.

David’s comments:  The canned meat was really wet, and we had to squish out the liquid with our hands.  That may be why they didn’t form good cakes.  They kept falling apart as I fried them.

Crab cakes cooking

Tartar Sauce Grade: A  Sweet and tangy, and the shallots gave it an interesting flavor.

Janet – This was fun to make, as long as you aren’t worried about salmonella from the raw eggs.  But it called for minced cornichons.  WHAT is a cornichon?

David-According to the internet, cornichons are dill gherkins.  But we could only find sweet gherkins at the store, so we wound up buying a jar of dill relish, which worked fine and didn’t require any mincing.

The hunt for cornichons ended here.

Peas Grade: A  We liked Peterson’s simple instructions for cooking frozen peas, and they were delicious with lots of butter and some minced scallions and parsley.

Janet:  Mmmm.  Butter

David:  I didn’t know scallions and green onions were the same thing.  It was kind of confusing

Peas with butter and herbs. Mmmm, butter...

Roast Beets with butter and vinegar Grade A+  These were amazingly good and they looked spectacular.

Janet:  I would buy this cookbook again just because it taught me how to make these.  They were the star of the meal.  Just watch out for the juice, or you will soon own a beet colored shirt.

David:  They had a nice texture, much better than boiled beets.

Roast beets with butter and vinegar. Delicious.