Monthly Archives: July 2020
I’m a huge fan of beets, especially when they are roasted. On the other hand, I am not a huge fan of quinoa. That means that I had mixed feelings about this week’s recipe for Cook the Book Fridays, from Everyday Dorie.
Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for Ginger Beet Salad Bowls offers a composed salad with greens, quinoa, beet wedges and a honey-ginger dressing. I tried hard, but I just couldn’t get excited. In the end, I opted to dice roasted beets, add some sliced spring onions, and toss them with the dressing in the recipe. The dressing was a lively combination of sweet and sour with ingredients like fresh ginger, honey, and harissa paste. My result was less elegant than a composed salad but gave me a taste of the flavors she envisioned.
I make a variety of beet salads all year long. Surprisingly, Howard liked this one more than I did. While it wasn’t bad, this version is unlikely to take a spot in my repertoire.
(Apparently, I was so ambivalent about this salad that I forgot to take a picture of it. Instead, I offer a glimpse of the flower garden outside my front wall. I used to plant a variety of cosmos seeds each June. Now, they self-seed, and the garden is self-perpetuating. The varieties have crossed so many times that many of my flowers have unique color combinations and petal shapes. When I am out there, passersby often compliment the riotous colors and tell me this garden makes them smile!)
Over the past four (!!!) months, my physical world has gotten quite small. I’ve only been in a store twice. Howard and I take a daily walk around the neighborhood, varying the route, but we seldom run into anyone. I do go to the farm to pick up my weekly CSA share and have been invited to do a few sessions of socially-distant outdoor volunteering there, but otherwise, my life is home-based.
Fortunately, the wider world, courtesy of the internet, has remained accessible. I exercise from home with my boot camp friends on our usual mornings. I continue to practice with my favorite teachers at the yoga studio. My book group still “gathers”. I still participate in programs “at” the library. I’ve had virtual happy hours and other visits with family and friends. Life is certainly not lonely.
Over the past decade, I’ve experienced the wonder of what the connections forged over the internet can be. When I joined the on-line cooking group French Fridays with Dorie, I had no expectations, mostly just relying on the weekly recipe as a prompt for my blog. What developed was a group of friends comprised of enthusiastic home cooks from around the world.
One of my new friends was Nana. Nana (aka Ro) and her daughter Tricia blogged about the weekly recipe, sometimes cooking separately, sometimes together, and shared their insights on their blog. Through these weekly reviews, I was drawn into their closeness, their enthusiasm, and their love of cooking. When French Fridays ended, Nana created her own blog and continued with the subset of us that moved on to cooking through a different cookbook.
Over time, I had the good fortune to meet Nana and Tricia in person several times. In person, I became even fonder of Nana. She was such a wonderful role model for aging gracefully, maintaining her joy in new experiences, sharing her wisdom, and keeping her sense of humor. I feel lucky to have known her as our paths would never have crossed without this cyber-experience. I will miss her posts, her stories, and her warm comments. I hope our group brought her the same pleasure that we feel about her being an integral part of it.
As a tribute to Nana, our little cadre of cooks in Cook the Book Fridays is making a recipe from Everyday Dorie that she often nominated for our schedule but the group hadn’t yet been chosen. So, this week I made a Lower East Side Brunch Tart. Nana, thank you for your friendship! This one’s for you…
It should come as no surprise that I LOVE TARTS. I make one almost every week, sometimes savory, sometimes sweet. A pastry crust is my favorite base for any set of flavors. The Lower East Side Brunch Tart is the cover photo on Everyday Dorie, so it’s bee on my radar for a while now. When I sat down to look at the recipe, I was intrigued with the combination of ingredients. Cream cheese, smoked salmon, capers, red onion, dill, tomatoes. An intentional combination of the makings of a “dress-your-own bagel” buffet. The crust stood in for the bagel, and the flavors were locked in place with a simple custard.
Wow! This is my favorite recipe so far from Everyday Dorie. The lox was particularly smoky so there was an undertone of bacon. The little pieces of cream cheese gave bursts of richness. We ate it over three days for lunch or dinner. When it’s safe to have company again, this is the perfect centerpiece for a brunch gathering as the name implies. You can find the recipe here.
I hope that Nana had a chance to make this tart on her own schedule because it is so delicious! Certainly whenever I make this again, I will think of it as “Nana’s Bagels-and-Lox Tart”.
Reviews from other members of Cook the Book Fridays about the Lower East Side Brunch Tart can be found here.
My heartfelt sympathies go out to Tricia and the rest of Nana’s family for the loss of a special woman. xo