Thursday, November 17, 2011

Some recipes you'll want to make -- and some you won't


1. When I finally and inevitably cancel our CSA delivery, it will be on account of the beets. Every week, beets. What am I gong to do with all these damned beets? One night last week I cooked Nigel Slater's beet-lamb meatballs which you serve with a minty yogurt sauce. They tasted fine, but just look at them. As the saying goes, we eat first with our eyes and while I can't speak for anyone else, my eyes were distressed.


2. Another night I made borscht using the Joy of Cooking recipe. It was tasty -- a big bowl of cabbage and root vegetables with a little beef -- but nothing I'd go rushing to make again.  And even after that mighty pot of borscht, I still have beets to use up. According to the CSA web site, even more will be landing on Tuesday. Maybe farmers should stop growing so many beets? Just a thought.

3. Nigel Slater's apple and courgette cake is really good.
I don't think loaf pans do a cake justice.
Much better than it sounds and much better than it looks and it uses up approximately 2 small zucchini and one apple. It's flat and pale, full of raisins, very sweet. You can find the recipe here if you scroll down to the bottom of the article. Recommend, though you will have to make metric conversions using a calculator like this one or buy a scale that measures both grams and ounces. (I vote for the scale. I bought such a scale a few years ago and use it every day.)

4. Slater's pork with leeks and green peppercorns: UNBELIEVABLE. The recipe is here and you should absolutely make this. Serve it with soft polenta or bread or mashed potatoes as you need something to soak up all the delectable sauce. Also, use the best mushrooms you can afford. I used half wild mushrooms and half cheap white mushrooms and I can tell you we all picked around for the wild ones. This is my number one favorite recipe of the last week. (If you decide to make this and don't want to make the metric conversions, see my footnote supplying the conversions from the American edition of Tender.)

5. That same night I made the amazing pork, I baked the chewy sugar cookies from the Food52 cookbook and we were a happy family. They're soft and have a slightly crispy toffee-like crust and a strong vanilla flavor. Very easy. I will make these again and soon. My only complaint with the recipe is that I think it should be doubled.
My brandy alexander
6. Finally, I highly recommend Slater's pear-pecan tart which is actually more of a cake but whatever you call it, delicious. You make a sweet, thick batter, scrape it into a pan, and drop chunks of fruit and nut on top. Bake. Serve with whipped cream.
All his cakes are flat and homely; only some of them are actually wonderful.
Recipe here. It's very slightly different from how it appears in the book. For instance, in the book Slater uses only 2 pears and slightly less flour and butter. I would actually go with three pears as I felt the fruit was scant. Again, you'll need to make metric conversions.

On another subject, Natalie is back from her breeding. At the farm where the buck resides, they raise both Nubians and Nigerian Dwarves and while I do love a stolid little Nigerian tottering around on stubby legs, Nubians are incredibly lovely and winning. In another life, I want a Nubian.
Nigerian stands in the left foreground. Nubians have the ears.
And, since Deane asked, Peppermint (our Nigerian Dwarf) is fine. She is "overconditioned," which is a goat word for "fat," but fine. According to her breeder, Nigerians are so hearty and disease resistant, they put on weight more easily than other, more delicate breeds. Is this also true of people? I like to think so. We will have to sell some of our goats one of these days -- three is too many -- but I guarantee it won't be Peppermint.
Sweet Peppermint
*Here are some translations: 650 g leeks = 1 1/4 pounds. 40 g butter = 3 TBS. 500 g pork and 500 g mushrooms = 1 lb of each. 500 ml. stock = 2 1/2 cups, 140 ml cream = 2/3 cup. Heat the oven to 300 degrees F. Make this recipe!

18 comments:

  1. Maybe the goats will eat the beets. I am not a fan of beets either.

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  2. Perhaps I should join your CSA, because I haven't been able to get enough beet lately. I fermenated a batch of soured beets last week, and this morning, I made a sour beet soup with potatoes, carrots, and pancetta (made using the recipe from your book).

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  3. Lived in Russia for a few years, had a lot of beets. One thing I liked was a beet salad. Peel and boil the beets till soft, grate and mix about 2 grated cups with a few TB of sour cream (or greek yogurt) & yellow raisins.

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  4. The November issue of Cooking Light has a recipe for Beet Wellington...

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  5. My mom makes really good Acar Biet: pickled beets, Indonesian-style. I'll look up the recipe if anyone's interested.

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  6. I switched CSAs over too many radishes. I would do the same with beets.

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  7. I'm in with WildPotato--no such thing as "too many beets" from a CSA here. Too many greens at a time, yes. Three kinds of radishes in one week is too much. Too many esoteric hot peppers, no doubt. But too many beets is hard to fathom. We need to trade CSAs.
    You make me wish I didn't make pork tonight with some other inferior recipe. Phooey. That looks great.

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  8. I love pickled beets! Super easy to make and can -- no pressure cooker required. And, you can have them year-round.

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  9. I associate beets with morning sickness, which means two years later I still don't like beets.

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  10. Tipsy, what cut of pork did you use for this?

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  11. Elizabeth -- shoulder. Slater isn't specific in his recipe, but shoulder worked great.

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  12. Keller's book Bouchon has a to die for roasted beet salad recipe...

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  13. I LOOOOVE beets. Beet and potato latkes, picked beets, Beetific Chocolate cake (uses ground beets instead of flour), borscht, meat loaf with some shredded beets thrown in, Spanish rice with some shredded beets added...I'd join a CSA for the beets!

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  14. Thanks for sharing the excellent recipes.

    For the pork, all I have are dried (not brined) green peppercorns. Would those work? Or would capers be a better substitute?

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  15. You are lucky that beets is the vegetable you are getting inundated with. In my CSA it is frisee, which my husband swears is a weed they confused with a green, and we get it a huge head every week.

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  16. Steven -- I would say capers. In fact, I would probably make it with capers next time anyway.

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  17. I don't see any LaManchas in the picture. ND's due to their size has a lower dietary need than your Swiss breeds or even the Anglo Nubians, which have pendulous ears.

    Great ideas for recipes, no CSA here, just our own 3 acre garden and high production Saanens. I'm not much for cooking but if the DH sees this blog, I know where I will be!!!

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  18. Would love to have "too many" beets from our CSA. Roasted beet salad with goat cheese - toasted nut of choice - light vinagarette... we could live on this every day of the week.

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