Thursday, November 5, 2009
Beets the Heck Outta Moi
Alrighty then! After giving oodles of serious think, thank, thunk to this latest culinary throw down, I have finally arrived at a winner of the Great Eat to the Beet Challenge of 2009.
It wasn't easy. A full eight participants rolled up their sleeves, preheated their ovens, and dug into the challenge with all their might. And, in some cases, humor.
So without further beeting around the bush, here's the rundown:
Karl, winner of last month’s Throw Down, flexed his culinary muscles once again with a juicy looking beet burger that any one of Moi’s vegetamarian friends would be delighted to eat while I wantonly fling buffalo burgers on the grill for myself.
Chef Troll came out swinging with not one, not two, but three dishes, plus a beautifully colored beet-tini aperitif (I’m choosing to call it an aperitif, since the Scandinavians and Russians often serve a shot of ice cold vodka before dinner).
Kym likewise made a lovely beet salad and endeared herself to the judge with the inclusion of a grilled elk steak the size of Texas. Game meat is always my first protein of choice (the animals are truly free ranging and as free of hormones and other yew-ey injectables as you’re gonna get, so make friends with a hunter in your neighborhood or better yet, throw the finger to the Fascist Piggies disguised as “pacifists” in Washington and go buy yourself a hunting rifle) and if ever two flavors most likely complimented each other, it’s elk and beets.
First time player Miss Allison admitted she was like an 8-year-old when it came to beets but game gal that she is, jumped right in by preparing a roasted beet with arugula salad completely from scratch. Muy brave, given the tenacity of beet juice to stain everything within a tri-county radius. And arugula, mmmmm. Fun to pronounce, too.
Senor Buzz made his dish a couple weeks ago as part of Shamu’s Dim Sum Sunday and while he admits the flavor lacked a certain something-something, I do so loves me pureed soups. Not only did he give us a recipe with which we can fiddle, his presentation both pre and post endeavor was simply gawjus.
That fab foodie La Diva Cucina was once again too busy making the world a safer place for cooking in stilettos to properly participate, but she posted a link to a past post she’d done featuring a white beet salad and pasta with beet greens. I will be making this soon, you can bet on that.
Fishy, oh, now she was clever! She went right for Moi’s sweet tooth with a luscious chocolate beet cake that is also on my list to make this month. Only, I won’t be leaving mine nekkid like that with only a dusting of powdered sugar to protect all that moist goodness from the cold cruel world.
Finally, Most Honorable Mentions simply must go to the two gals who, while not crafting beet dishes per se, most definitely presented the theme in an equally “gut busting” manner.
Boxer started off our day with a video cooking show send-up that mixes one part Mr. Bill, one part Mr. Potato Head, and, I’m certain, one part entire bottle of vodka, all filtered through her own delightfully skewed world view into a distillation of pure, unadulterated, laugh-until-you-pee-your-pants hilarity.
You’d think that K9, whose alter ego has “boutique farmer” written all over her future, would have jumped into the challenge with apron waving, but, no. Instead, she strode into the kitchen to affirm with distinctive Mad Maxian élan that “beets suck,” and chose instead to make out of them a lovely centerpiece that would have looked tres chic at any one of our tables.
So as you can see, my decision was not an easy one. But I have made it and I am sticking to it.
The winner of the Great Eat to the Beet Challenge 2009 is . . .
CHEF TROLL. Here’s why: Three dishes. One using beets themselves, the other, their greens. And a beautifully colored aperitif. Alkeehol always gets my attention, as does bacon and the use of greens. Which, I feel I should add, was also done brilliantly by La Diva, who almost won but didn’t out of fairness to the folks who crafted a dish specifically for this challenge. Finally, Troll got Major Moi Points for not only posting all his recipes but also for taking all his own photos, which regardless of quality (quality goes to K9 hands down), were nonetheless not only sufficiently illustrative but also original.
So, Chef Troll, that puts you in charge of hosting and picking the topic for the next Culinary Throw Down, and also perhaps judging it, if we can’t find a non-participating judge to handle that part. Which I think would be fun, because it would allow your dish to be in the running.
P.S. Actually, I don't mind doing it again. I am fine with keeping myself out of the running. You decide.
Smooches to all!