2.09.2012

For him & for me

Most days, Alex comes home for lunch. There's nothing particularly special about what we eat or do—it's often leftovers, and he can usually only stop for twenty minutes. I try to have the plates on the table by the time he gets here, and I often do the clearing and the dishes. But I don't mind. There's something about that quick hello! between breakfast and dinner—something about sending him off full of something hot and nourishing—that makes it all worth it.


My friend Sarah wrote a whole cookbook about these moments.  It's called The Newlywed Cookbook—just out from Chronicle—and it's all about taking care of the person you love in the kitchen. Her husband András is Hungarian, and when they first met, food was a big part of how she and his family communicated. There were sour cherries, ripe figs, and above all, plenty of meals shared cooking to dishes. Last November, someone new arrived to share this love of food with—a sweet baby girl named Greta.

This month, Sarah is hosting a virtual Valentine's Day party to celebrate the release of her book. The party started February first when Sarah posted about cooking us all a bittersweet chocolate tart with smoked sea salt and it will go right up until Valentine's Day. The idea is to cook something from the book for someone you love, and there are 12 bloggers helping to host. Today it's my turn. 

Of course, today was the one day Alex couldn't come home for lunch, caught up in a meeting. But I put together my recipe—Sarah's roasted beets with pistachios, that plate up there—anyway. I made one for him and one for me. And whenever he walks through the door—whether it's in an hour or at dinnertime—he knows there'll be a homemade meal ready.


P.S. Sarah and Chronicle Books have been generous enough to send me a copy of The Newlywed Cookbook to give to one of you! What do you cook for the people you love? Share in the comments, and I'll pick someone at random to send the book to. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.

ROASTED BEETS WITH PISTACHIOS

From the Newlywed Cookbook
Reprinted with permission from Sarah Copeland and Chronicle Books

{jewels on a plate} Good looks and powerful nutrients? What more could you wish for from a vegetable? You won't be thinking of how good this dish is for you when you're eating it, just how smart you are for putting it all together.

Serves 4 to 6

2 large beets/beetroots or 1 bunch baby beets/beetroots {about 1 1/4lb/570 g}, tops trimmed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cara cara, navel, or blood oranges, peeled and cut into thick rounds
1/4 cup/35 g shelled Sicilian pistachios or regular pistachios {about 1 1/4 oz}
4 oz/115 g ricotta salata cheese
Small handful of fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F/230 degrees C/gas8. Trim the beet/beetroot tops to 1 in./2.5 cm and scrub the skins. Drizzle the beets generously with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and put them in a small roasting pan with 1/4 in/6 mm of water. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil.

Roast until the beets are just fork tender, 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size. Set aside until cool enough to handle; cut off the root and stem ends and scrape off the skins {they should slip off easily} with a knife.

Quarter large beets or halve smaller ones and toss with additional olive oil just to coat, and salt and pepper.

Arrange them on a plate with the oranges, pistachios, and thin shavings of ricotta salata cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with fresh mint.

E.H. notes: When I made this, I used clementines in place of the oranges and Tekenink Tomme cheese from Robinson Farm in Hardwick, Mass. in place of the ricotta salata. I also used some tiny beet greens for garnish in place of mint leaves, since we don't have mint in our garden this time of year. The salad was delicious!

21 comments :

SisterX_83 said...

I bake for my husband (married 6 months now!) and often. Bread, usually, but this Valentine's Day I'm making apricot cookies, which are buttery and fruity and rich. He makes me enchiladas sometimes, which not only take a long time to do right, but the dishes are his chore and cleaning all that cheese off is a pain in the butt! So I know he really loves me when he says, "How about enchiladas?"

Craftinomicon said...

I am the baker of the family (my husband does most of the actual cooking!) my favorites to make are his favorite dark chocolate cake, pretzel dinner rolls and fresh bread of any kind, really.

I am going to get this book for my sister and her fiance for their wedding in October, unless I win a copy first that is!

skb said...

I do a lot of ambitious baking, but my fiance loves the simplest things: snickerdoodles, yellow cake, bread. He really likes my pizza dough. My coworkers enjoy getting the fancy cakes and cookies :} I'm working through Carol Field's The Italian Baker.

strangerthanfiction said...

We are newlyweds of thirty years! I love to surprise my husband with things that remind him of his birthplace in Britain. English bacon, when I can find it, not streaky like ours, and anything with custard, though not bacon, of course. Trifle at special occasions is always a big hit, but I try to change it up with different substrates--lady fingers, pound cake, sponge cake...and different fruit combinations. My husband cooks two nights every week because I work the evening shift. When I come home at supper, the food is always just coming to the plates. Sometimes I see him waiting by the window as I pull in the driveway. I think that is the sweetest thing.

Dar said...

Well I love to make food for my husband. With my new job as a baker (come visit me at Nauset Farms in May!) I'm doing a lot of test baking and my husband is my taste tester.. it's good and bad for us hahah :) I also make lots of fresh bread and dinners, and as I'm half hungarian, lots of eastern european stuff, paprikas chicken and linzer! dar@c4.net

Mary said...

Hi Elspeth!
I agree that it seems men (at least mine) love the simplest things best. If I'm feeling especially loving, I'll make him mashed potatoes, or sweet potatoes...any potato will do in his book. Usually with simple sauteed fish. Or chocolate cake!

ALo said...

Wow, this cookbook looks gorgeous. I guess I could still consider myself a newlywed. It certainly makes my day to cook good food and watch my husband devour it.

Laurie said...

German Chocolate cake is my partner's favorite. Though he happily eats most everything. He's a saltaholic, so the Bittersweet Tart with Smoked Sea Salt may be next!

Morgan said...

In my house, I love to make my husband his favorite dishes to show I love him. We recently went vegetarian so i make a lentil shepherds pie that he loves. This cookbook sounds very exciting!

Elspeth said...

We seem to have a lot of bakers! I was definitely a baker before I was a cook, and I still lean in that direction. And strangerthanfiction, I like the idea of being newlyweds after 30 years. I think we'll aim for that.

Keep the comments coming...I'll let you all know who the book's going to when it arrives in the mail next week!

All the best,
Elspeth

Karen said...

For a special treat for my husband I like to make a slow cooked pot of bolognese sauce and serve it with fresh pasta. And my kids love it when I make fresh pizza dough that they get to play with like play dough before we let it rise and then everyone makes their own pizzas tailored to their own tastes.

Patty said...

I made my Mom's apple pie at my husband's request for dessert last night. Yes, with a homemade crust. It was delicious, but not quite as good as hers...

Amanda S. said...

I love to try a new surprise from my partner... a variation on a dish we've eaten while traveling, or an involved italian classic we've never made (vitello tonato great; gnocchi not so much), or any braised meats. Meat falling off the bone makes him happier than any sweet!

caroline l. said...

I often roast a whole turkey or chicken from local farms. My husband loves when I shred the meat and mix it with a smoky BBQ sauce and allspice for a spilling-out-the-sides, drip-down-your-hand sandwich. Washed down with a local amber ale, and he's a happy man. :o)

Thanks for your wonderful blog!

Anonymous said...

I'm making classic cheese fondue tonight as a nod to St. Valentine's day. Because my husband's work schedule and mine rarely allow for a meal together, this is extra, extra special! An extra bottle of good Chenin Blanc seals the deal!

Jean said...

I can't say I have a husband that I consistently cook/bake for but I do show my appreciation for co-workers and friends with my efforts in the kitchen, much of which is all still very new to me. So far, the thing that I've had the most positive reactions to were black sesame cookies.

Meg said...

I cook for my parents whenever I visit them, because my mother likes to try new things, but isn't very adventurous in the kitchen. When I'm around, I'll make something I think that she'll like, and she'll sit at the breakfast bar and watch me while we chat. Then, if she likes the food, I leave the recipe and she'll call or email me when she makes it. Although, lately she's been calling and emailing me about things that she's trying from cookbooks - so maybe that means she's graduated from my little cooking school... :)

breakbread said...

Nothing says love and care like a roast chicken. I feel my husband's hugs as his eyes watch the prep: the slicing of celery and carrots for a veggie roasting rack, a scattering of whole garlic gloves and then the strategic placement of onion quarters. Together we patiently listen for the succulent bubbling sound indicating doneness and the serving of love on a plate.

Elspeth said...

ok! commenting will officially close tonight at midnight, and i'll announce the winner tomorrow. fingers crossed for all of you!

xo
elspeth

Mel said...

I show my love by making meals and treats for my family and friends... so just about anything! But my go to's include: apple crisp, lemon cookies, dutch babies, homemade chicken noodle soup, wild rice, bread, pot pies, hand wrapped spring rolls.... I could go on and on. Very excited to see the new cookbook!

Elspeth said...

Thank you all so much for sharing your stories...it's nice to hear from so many of you! We should do these giveaway things more often.

Seriously, though, it's nice to know that there are so many thoughtful cooks around here.

And I am happy to announce that ALo, you are the randomly selected winner! (It was very scientific. I scrolled up and down the page with my eyes closed for about 3 minutes until my mom yelled STOP! from across the room. ALo, your comment was at the top when I stopped.) So to get your copy please email your mailing address to me at elspeth.hay@gmail.com and the book will come your way soon thanks to Chronicle!

And for those of you who didn't win, know that I ordered a copy so you'll probably be seeing some more recipes from the book around here soon. I can't wait to explore it.

Hope you all are having a lovely week.

xoxo
Elspeth

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