I bought some beets intending to make beet chips, which Emily – God love her – brought into my life. Then I didn’t feel like going through all that effort, and I needed a fun dinner idea, so I settled on this pasta with a sauce of roasted beets and Greek yogurt. I’ll make beet chips another time. Or ply Em with flowers and chocolates and beg her to make me some next time I see her.
This is an . . . interesting dish. The flavor is very, very beet-y, which I love. However, I harbored hope that this would be a good way to “hide the vegetables” and get pickier eaters to eat more veggies. Alas, if you don’t like the flavor of beets, this dish will not fool you, and you will not like it.
The original recipe called for 2 TBSP of lemon zest, which I thought was a bit excessive. I might try it next time, though, because I tasted the lemon I did use but thought more would be fine.
You could also use any type of pasta you want, but I felt like making the dish extra healthy by using the whole wheat pasta I had on hand – I really wanted to take my post-Thanksgiving detox seriously. Next time, I might try being really adventurous and using some spinach pasta.
I wanted to use the beet greens, in the spirit of our mantra, “Waste not, want not.” I planned to cut the leaves off the stems and throw them in with the pasta for the last few minutes of the pasta cooking. When I pulled the beets out of the fridge, the greens looked a little wilted, so I didn’t use them this time. I’ll try that next time and report back!
For most purposes, I think of myself as a Texan even though we moved to Ohio right before I started third grade. All of my family is from there, many of them still live there, and I just love Texas. So now that I’ve spent seven and a half years out of Ohio (college, law school, now being an adult, allegedly), it always surprises me when I crave things that are Ohio-y. For example, this year, I just really, really wanted to go apple picking.
Admittedly, when it comes to fall, Ohio beats Texas any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Mainly because Ohio actually has fall.
But once you get all nostalgic for autumn in Ohio and go apple picking, what do you do with a bushel of apples? Well, I did lots and lots of things, but one of the reasons I got far more apples than you’d need for some apple pies is that the beloved carnivore loves applesauce.
During the course of our having-lots-of-apples, I made several batches of applesauce. I made three different types: regular applesauce (for me), super-sweet applesauce (for him), and this blueberry applesauce.
This was one of those random things I sometimes come up with in the kitchen. We had some blueberry wine, and I thought, “I wonder how it would taste to use blueberry wine instead of water to make applesauce?” Then I did it, and both the beloved carnivore and I thought, “yum.”
In the words of Sophia Petrillo, a hurricane’s a-comin’. Please stock up on batteries, water, non-perishable foods, and then batten down the hatches and stay safe.
We have finished battening down our hatches, moving our herbs inside, filling pitchers with water just in case, etc. Since we’re the hurricane couple, we completed our preparation by sitting down and drinking a couple of hurricanes.
Forgive the iPhone photo
I developed this recipe for our anniversary (we decided that we’d make drinking hurricanes an anniversary tradition, since they made one heck of a signature cocktail for our hurricane wedding). I just haven’t had time to share it, because this fall has been all kinds of busy.
The beloved carnivore is a huge fan of the classic Dark and Stormy drink. And he’s eager to introduce others to this drink. I dare you to come visit us and get away with not drinking one. Unless you have religious or other personal objections to drinking alcohol, you likely will not succeed.
All of which is somewhat hilarious to me because my roommate from the first year of law school is from Bermuda and taught me all about this drink. But I’ll at least give Chris credit for me drinking it more than once a year.
Somewhat randomly, I decided to put some cherry simple syrup in a dark and stormy. It was delicious, in my opinion. I actually liked just the cherry syrup and ginger beer mixed together even better than the cherry-infused dark and stormy, but I forgot to take a photo of that bright pink concoction before dumping in the dark rum. You should try that, too, especially if you’re looking for a fun and tasty non-alcoholic drink.
These glasses are one of my favorite wedding presents that we received. They were a gift from my uncle’s mother (who is not my grandmother; my uncle was brave enough to marry into our family). She is such a sweetheart and told me that someone gave her and her husband these glasses a long time ago and she wanted to make sure they stayed in the family. It’s one of the sweetest things anyone’s ever said to me – I am always so touched when someone adopts a broad view of what constitutes “family” and includes me in that definition even though they don’t have to.
My apologies for the radio silence. It’s been a busy couple of weeks, and I, for one, am still recovering from what will go down in history as the most epic of all Smitten Kitchen days, the one during which Emily and I learned our cooking limits by far surpassing them and cooking into the not-so-wee hours of the morning. Had I not fallen asleep precisely when I did, the sun would’ve risen before I got to sleep. It was a little ridiculous, and I think we’ll both exercise a little more menu-restraint next time, but we can hardly be blamed for our eager addition of dishes to the menu. We had not cooked together since August, and I think we’re still not used to this whole “twice a year” version of our cooking extravaganzas.
Now that I’ve recovered a bit, I’m going to tell you about one of my favorite dishes we cooked, which I’ve already duplicated in my own kitchen. It’s a roasted cherry and whipped cream tart with a chocolate crust. We knew we were exhausted because when we ate our “dinner” at approximately 4:30 in the morning, we didn’t want to bother with cutting and serving it. That’s okay, because it made a phenomenal breakfast. Light, airy, but indulgent and heavenly all the same–the roasted cherries taste like grown-up maraschino cherries. Next time I’m visiting my mom, stepdad, brother, and sister, I want to make this for my stepdad–it tastes a lot like one of his favorite ice cream flavors (cherry with chocolate chips, I can’t remember the formal title).
The best part is that you could use this method of roasting cherries for almost any purpose. I can’t wait to try to use these cherries to make other kinds of tarts, or scones, or even cookies. I guess I’d better hurry, as cherry season is tragically coming to a close. I can’t think about that, I’ll think about it tomorrow, Scarlett O’Hara style. Today, I’m thinking only about this tart and how much I need to tell you how to make it so you can go out, buy cherries while you still can, and treat yourself to this deliciousness.
Oh, and the second best part? Roasting the cherries releases a decent amount of cherry juice that you won’t want to dump in your tart, or it will get soggy. Instead of making a soggy tart, you can make a simple syrup with the juice (instructions included below), and use some of it to decorate the tart. You can keep the leftovers in your fridge and flavor drinks–both alcoholic and non–with it. It’d be a great way to spice up a Sprite or 7-Up, and later this week, I’ll share an adult beverage recipe that takes advantage of this yummy syrup.
Cherry pie is one of those foods for me. When I was in high school, I spent two weeks at my grandfather’s house while I was going to debate camp (yes, I did high school debate and became a lawyer. I am a walking cliché). Every night when I got home, he’d serve me a slice of cherry pie with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream in one of those bowls that have been around since before I was born and call forth scores of Christmas memories every time I see them.
My grandfather has made me many a cherry pie since then and over the years, I’ve picked up some of his tricks. I’m told he learned some of them from my grandmother, but I don’t know that I ever had a slice of her cherry pie – as a child, I used to be so devoted to pecan pie that anything but was simply not going in my mouth. But I’m always happy to have one more reason to feel connected to her while I’m performing everyday tasks, even if I don’t have my own memories of her doing whatever it is I’m doing.
The main, overarching lesson I’ve learned is that a great cherry pie does not need to be made from scratch, even though such pies are yummy. There are lots of little things you can do to make a cherry pie delicious without going all out. And with the heatwave we’re having, being in the kitchen for a shorter period of time is certainly appealing to me – and was probably appealing to my grandmother back in the days of non-air-conditioning (in Texas, no less).
For example, instead of using two cans of cherry pie filling, use one can of cherry pie filling and one can of tart cherries. It’s amazing how much that one little change will take your pie from tasting like any old cherry pie to tasting a tad more complex and, more importantly for my purposes, less cloyingly sweet. I used tart cherries canned in water, but if you wanted something sweeter, you could also use tart cherries canned in their own syrup; I think it would still make for a more interesting pie.
If you’re making a deep dish pie or using a larger pie pan, you could also blend one can of cherries with two cans of filling, or even two cans of cherries with two cans of filling. Any leftover cherries would make a tasty ice cream topping, so it’s not like a surplus of filling would be a problem.
Some of these tricks are from other sources, like an episode of Giada that I watched a couple of weeks ago. She suggested using ground up tapioca pearls to thicken the pie. I’ve read that trick before but never got around to trying it. It works like a charm, and the best part is you don’t actually need to go buy tapioca flour; you can just grind up Minute Tapioca pearls, which I always have on hand because my roommate senior year of college made tapioca pudding on a regular basis. And topped it with fresh strawberries. Mmm. Good times.
The tapioca trick works like a charm – I’ve never been able to cut a pie so easily or had a cherry pie not be at least a little runny. I do want to point out that if you’re using ground up tapioca pearls, you should probably make a standard, double-crusted pie rather than a lattice pie or something like it. I found that the ground-up pearls at the very top made a strange, tough film, which did not happen in the other parts of the pie filling. I don’t think that would happen (or matter if it did) with a pure double-crusted pie. However, if you’ve landed on this blog because you’ve had the same problem, here’s what I did to mostly solve the problem. While the pie was still relatively warm from the oven, I used a fork and poked it down in the holes in the lattice, and this pushed most of the strange skin into the rest of the filling, which kind of melted it a bit (I assume, since I never noticed it while eating slices of the pie) and also ensured that the top of the pie had a more attractive appearance.