Thursday, June 11, 2009

First post... missing oh so many elements

I used to spend a lot of time cooking. I mean a LOT of time. It was my escape, it was my respite, it was my love. These days I have a new love that takes up my time, my one year old, Monkey, or M, we'll use both here (I believe Blogger ettiquette says not to use names). Now this in not our first child, but it is our first child in many years. My daughter, K, now seventeen, just graduated from high school, and, while still one of the loves of my life, no longer requires watching around hot stoves, or help putting shapes through cut outs in a box. We also have a cat, Liaden (I think she is safe using her real name), that's her. She takes up a lot of time as well. She is standing in for a picture of the food as I did not take photos, as will be addressed later, I did not expect to start a food blog, so I didn't know I would need the photo at all. Will work on that, food blogs should probably contain photos of food now and again.

I once dreamt of a fancy food blog, with gorgeous pictures, and a lovely little following, but then thought... like I have time or the talent for that kind of thing. I am a hack photographer at best with my point and shoot, I spend my days thinking up menus that might tempt a toddler rather than a small cult following, or the eight course dinner parties I used to throw a few years ago, but I still love food and cooking and know how quickly time can pass. In the blink of the eye he will go from toddler to teenager, and when that time comes I will probably be sad that I am once again baking cakes rather than playing pat-a-cake.

My one nod to the elegant site I wish I had time to produce is the Blog's name. Not that I have a particular fondness for Coulis or Compote, or that they are inherently elegant, I just like the sound of it, and it does sound a little more snazzy than say...frazzled crazy woman trying to cook for cranky child. Maybe a better name for the blog would be something like... Misadventures in Cooking, Cooking for Baby, or something along those lines, but for now I'll just stick with what makes me smile.

So let's jump right to something simple. I had this salad once in NYC at the Hudson Hotel restaurant where it was made with little peppermint beets, which could possibly be a made up name as I have never found nor heard of them since, but they did look like little peppermint candies all red and white and lovely. The second time was at Smokejacks, on Church Street in Vermont. I could be completely wrong on my recollections of the salad's but this is how I remember them. I also came up with this recipe as a combination of a two or three recipes on-line that I did not note because I did not know I would need to until now. I will do better with this in the future. So if you have a recipe on line that resembles this, it is quite possible I read it and used it for my very own.

Roasted Beet, Blue Cheese, and Candied Pecan Salad


Candied Pecans
¼ cup white sugar
½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon white sugar
A good shot of honey
1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon salt
Lot o’ground pepper

1 beet per two people
½ cup celery
Baby arugula or baby romaine
Stilton blue cheese (to preference), I used gorgonzola the first time and I know that plain old blue will work much better. AND stilton is my favorite for blue so there we have it.


Candied Pecans
Prepare the pecans first, to allow them to cool. In a skillet over medium heat, stir ¼ cup of sugar together with the pecans (watch carefully, as these will burn eaily- you want it hot enough to melt the sugar but not so hot that it scorches it. Continue stirring constantly until the sugar has melted completely and the pecans are beginning to turn a beautiful caramel color. Carefully transfer nuts to a cutting board and separate them from each other using a fork or spatula so you don’t burn yourself on the molten melted sugar. Allow to cool. Once cooled, eat one to ensure they are fantastic… only one, or five… not all of them.

Roasted Beets
Wrap the beets individually in foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until tender, about 1.5 hours. Cool for 20 minutes, then peel the beets by holding the under cold running water and rubbing off the skins. Cut into small cubes and place desired amount on top of salad, I recommend more than the cheese.

Blend vinegar with all ingredients except oil. I do this by cheating really. I place them all in a small disposable plastic ware and shake until it is all combined. Mix well, allow sugar to dissolve. Add oil and whisk together. Mix well before dressing greens and any veggies you may add like the celery.

Put it all together....

Dress greens, pile on plate, top with cheese, beets, and pecans, serve.

Keep all parts separate if you want to eat leftovers. Only dress the greens you will eat.


  1. Sounds like a really good summertime dish; will definitely try this one out.

    Welcome to the blogosphere!

  2. Definitely going to try this one....I love beets in a salad! I used to know someone who went to the Culinary Institute of America, and she once made a salad with beets, green beans and chevre (among other things), and it was amazing.....

  3. The recipe sounds good. Do you think I can use canned beets otherwise my entire kitchen ends up looking like a blood bath? In the "about me" part you talk about POI? Wikipedia says Poi is a performance art employing a ball or balls suspended from a length of flexible material held in the hand and swung in circular patterns. or
    Poi is a Hawaiian word for the primary Polynesian staple food made from the corm of the kalo plant (known widely as taro). Poi is produced by mashing the cooked corm (baked or steamed) to a highly viscous fluid. Water is added during mashing and again just before eating, to achieve a desired consistency, which can range from liquid to dough-like (poi can be known as two-finger or three-finger, alluding to how many fingers you would have to use to eat it, depending on its consistency).
    So, the first I picture you swinging at Gregg and the second looks like something Michael threw up!! Please confirm.

  4. Poi as a hobby would have to be the balls suspended from a length of string, although I suppose eating Hawaiin Poi could be a hobby. It is also known as fire dancing when you set the balls on fire. Being that you know me you can assume that we are not yet at the fire, or I would probably be bald. Flaming objects next to the little curly haired girl would probably be a recipe for disaster.

  5. Since they beets are wrapped in aluminum foil, and roasted before being peeled in the sink they made surprisingly little mess, not like the Beet pesto incident that had the police checking my counters for DNA.