Cook the Books May! Tender Things Like Beets and Celery Root(?)!

24 May

Oh hi, friends.  Yes, Cook the Books is still happening here.  It’s just that May has been a very nice month here in Seattle.  Usually, it isn’t.  Since it is this year, I’ve been out enjoying it.  Sitting on my deck, sipping drinks, going on hikes, oystering and clamming, working in my garden.   Pretty sweet, considering usually we’re still wearing coats and huddling under blankets cuz the weather sucks.  Ok, I’ve still been doing that.  Mainly doing a fun little re-watch of Arrested Development to prepare for this weekend.  My favorite food gag from AD was always the Cornballer.

Oh and watching the St. Louis Cardinals have the best record in baseball.  Go Cards!

Ok, so this is all i got when I googled  "St. Louis Cardinals cooking."  Seriously though...Double S?  I need this toaster!

Ok, so this is all I got when I googled “St. Louis Cardinals food.” Seriously though…Double S? I need this toaster!

But I won’t abandon the Cook the Bookers out there!  Anyone there?  Is this thing on?  Since you prolly forgot, this month, Meg and I are cooking from the book Tender, by Nigel Slater.


Not a lot of (good, or at least ones I’m not tired of) veggies are in season yet here in the Pacific Northwest, but I have made a few things, with a few more things on the agenda for this weekend, including a big dinner party!

Here’s what I’ve made so far!  And for some reason I barely took any photos.  Maybe cuz when I made the following I’d been sitting in my yard sipping drinks all of the effing livelong day.

Chickpea fritters, beet tzatziki, page 46:

I, like my pal Meg, love the chickpeas.  So choosing this recipe was a no-brainer.  We liked the fritters.  They’re packed with tasty herbs like mint and parsley and coriander, which were good additions here.  The beet tzatziki?  Not so much.  We actually tossed this at the end of the meal, with nary a bite taken from it.  Come on, Nigel.  Don’t call this tzatziki.  Generations of Greek cooks and Greek food enthusiasts would spin in their graves if they were promised tzatziki and this pink substance made from raw beets was put on their tables.  Pepto Bismal y’all!


I’m aware that this is not a good photo. Dammit, I never remember to break out my fancy white square plates for blog food shots! But, shit. Doesn’t that tzatziki look great…if this was opposite day?

I’m all for kitchen creativity, but you need some salt and some acid and some flavor for the tzatziki when you’re eating these fritters, which are basically falafel.  I have a good tzatziki recipe I like: full fat greek yogurt, lotsa fresh dill, lotsa garlic, lemon, salt, cukes and olive oil.   Make that, not this.

Beet cake, or as that saucy Englishman Nigel calls it, “An extremely moist chocolate-beet cake with creme fraiche and poppy seeds.”  Page 54.  Jolly good then!

This cake was…interesting.  I didn’t have superfine sugar.  I’m not much of a baker, so I wasn’t gonna drop the $6 bucks it cost for a small box at my local grocer.  I did use high quality chocolate and I found a carton of creme fraiche .  I’m definitely not someone who identifies as having a sweet tooth.  Sure, I like ice cream and chocolate from, time to time but I’m the one who chooses super intense dark chocolate and desserts that mix salty and sweet.  This cake didn’t do it for me. It was hella moist, that’s for sure.  It doesn’t taste like beets, in case you were wondering.  Although, from time to time whilst eating the cake, you could tell there were tiny minced veggies in there.  Didn’t bother me.  The cake may have been better with something sweet on top, like the whipped cream Meg used.  I stuck with the recipe and couldn’t shake the feeling that it just needed slightly more sugar or a different lightly sweetened topping to make it actually a dessert.  In closing, this wouldn’t be a recipe I’d make again, when there are so many other good chocolate cake recipes out there.  Also, I eat plenty of veggies so I don’t necessarily need them in my cake.

A remoulade of celery root and smoked bacon, page 168.

This one was a winner!


I used my trusty food processor for grating the celery root, and then used some quality bacon I’d recently scored and this tasted delicious.  Highly recommended.  In fact, we went oystering and clamming a few days after I made this, and I ended up using the remoulade leftovers on oyster po’ boys.  Bonus!


Oystering at Dosewallips State Park.


Oyster po’ boys with celery root bacon remoulade.

This remoulade would be a great, unique side dish for a barbeque.  Like maybe you’re having this weekend?  Awesome!  Enjoy the long weekend, ya’ll!


2 Responses to “Cook the Books May! Tender Things Like Beets and Celery Root(?)!”

  1. Aimee G May 27, 2013 at 8:05 PM #

    OK, wow, I want that oyster po’ boy sandwich right now please! That remoulade just made it higher up my list…

    • ohbriggsy May 28, 2013 at 12:54 PM #

      Hey Aimee! Thanks! Yeah, the remoulade is awesome. Highly recommended. Tender really grew on me. At first I was underwhelmed, but I liked a lot of the things I made. Can’t wait to see what others have done!

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