|You can guess the mystery ingredient.|
"I don't like beets," I announced.
"Have you ever tried beets?" she asked, giving me the cold blue eye.
"No," I said nervously.
"That's very silly."
I promptly tried a beet. It was crunchy, slightly sweet, clean-tasting. It was good enough. Not great, but good enough and certainly not repulsive. She was right; I had been silly. I have eaten beets ever since. Score one point for stern authority.
Clearly, I do not exercise such stern authority over my own beet-fearing family.
The other day I said to my husband, "Haven't I been doing well using up our CSA produce?"
My husband appreciates self-congratulation almost as little as he appreciates beets. He said: "I admire your efforts, but I think a beet challenge is like an episode of Fear Factor. What can we ruin next? Grilled cheese -- with beets! Peanut butter and jelly -- with beets!"
He didn't mention, "chocolate cake -- with beets!" But Nigel Slater has a recipe for just that cake in Tender -- chocolate, eggs, grated beets -- and I baked it. I didn't tell anyone what was in it and they loved this cake. I let my husband ramble on about how it tasted like it was full of "puddin' packs."
Then I announced that it contained beets.
"Interesting," he said glumly. "I wish you hadn't told me."
And I wished I hadn't too. It's not much fun tricking people once you're past the age of 11.
Enough about beets.
It looks like it's going to be a Food52 Thanksgiving. We're hosting 18 people. Here's the menu.
seasonal cocktail (brought by my sister)
gougeres (from Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table)
sardines rillettes (Dorie again)
creamy sausage-stuffed mushrooms (Food52)
salted almonds (Food52)
pear soup with pancetta and blue cheese (Food52)
ciabatta stuffing with chorizo, mushrooms and sweet potato (Food52)
apple and cranberry relish with brandy and walnuts (adapted from Food52, which calls for pears, but I used apples. It's great, but benefits from a big pinch of salt)
spinach-jalapeno casserole (brought by my aunt, made from Laurie Colwin recipe)
kale salad (brought by my sister, made from Martha Stewart recipe)
peas (brought by my maternal grandmother; they will undoubtedly appear, topped with a limp piece of lettuce, in an old CorningWare dish with a little blue flower on it.)
Many pies, flavors tbd, but definitely chess pie and pecan pie. I've already started the mocha buttercrunch pie referred to in this fun story. I was a little upset to realize the it contains raw eggs, but by that time I'd already mixed the crust so I'll forge ahead. Don't mind eating raw eggs myself, but I'm less keen to serve them at a party.
What are you cooking? And are you as exhausted on Thanksgiving Eve as I am?