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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Beet Tahini Dip

I found this recipe in the pages of the Aug./Sept. 2015 issue of Saveur--however, truth be told, I've found little else in the publication over the recent year. Pity. But anyway, surely, somewhere on this blog I've compared beets to Steinbeck's rich red earth, and here, this quick, ridiculously simple mixture makes the most of summer's bounty. I cut the recipe in half for just me, but below is the whole deal with my thoughts in italics. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

Beet Dip
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add 1 lb. beets, trimmed, and cook until tender, about 1 hour. I used a package of beets already peeled and cooked, as that's what I had on hand, sparing a hot stove top! And as I only had a 1/4 lb. at that, I added slivers of a crisp green apple to add body. Drain and peel the beets, then transfer to a blender along with 1/2 cup tahini, 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 2 garlic cloves, and 3 ice cubes. Season with salt and pepper and puree until smooth. Spoon into a bowl and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and 1 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts. I didn't use those as I don't much care for them.  Chill at least 20 minutes and serve with pita bread as suggested or snack crackers, such as Tam Tams. Do drizzle with a good olive oil, garnish with some chopped beets (try chopped walnuts too!) and a few stiff grinds of black pepper or a sprinkling perhaps of cumin.

Thanks to Saveur for the inspiration, despite its apparent, largely unsatisfying period of transition.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Ham Loaf for Everybody!

Okay, this dish was really just for Baby and me (with a simple side salad of greens and plenty of leftovers). Although the tasty little nugget might appear to be absolutely lurid and revolting, it was quite good and could certainly warrant being served at a cocktail party for a number of people as suggested by Arlene's Dahl's cookbook, No Time For Cooking! from 1961. We were assisted by a delicious pre-made potato salad with bacon from Fresh Direct. Couldn't have been easier as we stuffed the goods mixed with gelatin into our Le Creuset terrine to make it extra fancy and then let it chill in the refrigerator until firm and ready to be unmolded.

Also, as the cover indicates, "full-color photos, including Arlene at home." They are preternaturally colored and filled with explosively outrageous table settings.

I started to go hog-wild with the molds and also made what I called an Jell-O Aquarium World in a small copper mold replete with Berry-Blue Raspberry Jell-O, Swedish fish, mini-marshmallows for rocks, whipped cream for waves and crushed vanilla wafers for the surrounding sand. It was all quite hilarious, kids could help and would love it. We did.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Cindy Wilson's Corn Bread with Sweet Potato

Sure, we know Cindy Wilson from The B-52's can sing the heck out of any song, but did you know our beloved gal (a.k.a. the Queen of Las Vegas, who taught us a few things about hero worship and how to dance this mess around) can cook too? I recently stumbled across a yellowed fan club news letter with crinkly edges (c. 1982 when the 'Mesopotamia' album came out) featuring her corn bread dish. I can't help but imagine that this would be an ideal side for any summer barbecue next to a platter of grilled chicken and cole slaw or to warm you in the winter with collards, baked beans and a homey meatloaf. Or any time you have a mind too! The recipe is above but I also included it below, in the event you can't read the keys from the old typewriter used!

Do enjoy and thanks, Cindy!
Also, Fred Schneider, the band's front man, was kind enough to share his Italian style soba noodles recipe with me personally on so check that out too!

2 cups cornmeal
1 cup flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2/3 brown sugar
1 egg
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 medium size sweet potato (cooked and mashed)

1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. Sift dry ingredients together.
3. Beat egg, add wet ingredients, mix together.
4. Coat cast iron skillet with cooking oil. Put in oven to get hot. When hot, pour in batter.
5. Leave in oven about 20 minutes.
A regular baking pan can be used instead.

P.S.  To start with, I made mine with grits instead of cornmeal, as that's what we had on hand. I also made mine dairy free and it was absolutely delicious. I subbed almond milk (no dairy) with 2 TB lemon juice, for acidity, to total two cups of what was supposed to be the buttermilk, and used coconut oil instead of butter. Just great, and so moist on the inside! I also used a can of sweet potatoes and mashed them instead going through the whole cooking process. I even spread some of the left over mash as a spread for my bread, along with a drizzle of honey!

Soundtrack: Anything B-52's of course! Party Mix/Mesopotamia dual cd is a great start.

Thanks pinterest for the pic!