Friday, October 30, 2009

You can't beat beets!

Beets are a great root vegetable - they are high in folic acid, potassium, calcium, and antioxidants, low in calories, and high in fibre. They are also very cheap to buy fresh - we recently bought a ten-pound (4.5 kg) bag in our local super-mega-mart for $2.99, which is a lot of beets. We're keeping the excess in a paper bag in a cool place (the cave's basement).

I think fresh beets scare people though - how the heck are you supposed to cook them? Short answer - roast them. Here's what we do:

  1. Rinse 1-2 pounds of beets under cool water to knock the excess dirt off, if necessary. If they are fresh beets, trim off the stems/leaves (use in a salad, they're even healthier!) and the "tail" at the bottom.
  2. Place them in a roasting pan.
  3. Roast at 350 F for 1 to 2 hours depending on the size of the beets - when a fork goes in fairly easily, they're done.
  4. Let them cool.
  5. Peel them (this is the messy part).
  6. Slice them, and re-warm them in the microwave.
  7. Delicious with salt, pepper, and butter.
Just keep in mind, beets are very rich in a plant-based dye. Not only will your kitchen look like a murder scene after you're finished peeling them, but you may notice a biological effect over the next 24 hours. As in, certain bodily functions may be somewhat (or more than somewhat), shall we say, tinted.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A new recipe to try?

I'm breaking my rules here a bit, in that I haven't actually tried this recipe yet, but I plan to, very soon. It's based on a medieval recipe, from the book "To The King's Taste", subtitled "Richard II's book of feasts and recipes adapted for modern cooking by Lorna J. Sass" and published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art back in 1975. At first glance, it seems like a lot of garlic, but remember that cooked garlic is much more subtle than raw. Garlic has many benefits to the body, including being an immune booster and reportedly lowering blood pressure.

  • 1 c water
  • 6 bulbs/heads of garlic, broken into cloves and peeled
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/8 tsp saffron (this could get expensive!)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • a pinch of mace
  • 1 Tbsp fresh-minced parsley to garnish
  1. Bring the water to a boil, and add everything else except the parsley.
  2. Cover and cook over medium heat about 7 minutes, until the garlic is easily pierced with a fork.
  3. Drain, garnish, and serve.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A little late for Canadian Thanksgiving

But I present here the sausage-and-apple dressing I made for the family this year. I like it - it's savoury and hearty, and ideal for this time of year.

  • 10 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 pounds pork sausage meat, crumbled (no sausage skins)
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 medium ribs/stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried sage leaves, crumbled (or 1 tsp powdered sage)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves, crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 pound tart apples (such as granny smith), peeld, cored and cut into 1/2" pieces (3 cups or so)
  1. Cook bacon over medium heat until it just begins to brown.
  2. Add crumbled sausage meat to the pan and cook until done.
  3. Add onions and celery and cook until the onions are soft.
  4. Stir in sage, thyme, salt and pepper, then the apples.
  5. Cook until the apples are just soft.
I don't call this "stuffing" because I don't cram it into the bird - too much chance for food poisoning, what with raw turkey "juices" dripping onto it while it's in the oven. If you really must pull something out of the bird at the table, I suggest stuffing it with this after the bird is cooked.

The best laid plans of mice and men are rougly equal...

No sooner do I declare "I'm back", than my lungs revolt, catch a hideous case of bronchitis, and render me largely ineffective for the last several weeks. Fun.

Okay, enough self-pity. Moving ahead, I'm going to aim for a recipe a week. Can't keep the prodigious pace of the past indefinitely, can I?