Monday, September 12, 2011

UnRecipe: The Bay Harbor Beet Butcher

Don't be alarmed. There wasn't much suffering involved. Nary a scream, nor a pitiful whimper for help. Only silence...

Call Dexter, he knows spatter patterns like a mofo - Crime Scene Photo by Wasabi Prime

Scary, isn't it? This is the biggest reason why I don't prepare beets very often. They literally look like bloody effing murder on every prep surface in your kitchen, including your hands (Out, damned spot!). Even when you scrub everything, it just turns the stains Barbie-pink and it winds up looking like you slaughtered Hello Kitty. That's not much of an improvement. I probably should have saved this post for Halloween, it would have been so ghoulishly appropriate. But then it wouldn't have been as seasonally fitting, as this meal was brought to you by the Magical Mystery CSA Tour, and the latest deliveries have been Beet City, USA.

Beet-cheese/cheese-beet; obscure fast food reference attack! - Photo by Wasabi Prime

But really -- look at how a root vegetable murder scene can turn into pure deliciousness? I think it's more about how puffed pastry pretty much makes everything better. It's got that universal "mo' bettah" mojo that bacon has. Bacon fat, butter fat -- put your hands together for a sandwich of awesomeness. Or truly greasy fingers. In this case, the Herbed Cheese and Roasted Beet Tart remained meat-free, and therefore bacon-less, but it was still pretty enjoyable. Who says you have to go without on a Meatless Monday? If it were a Calorie/Fat-less Monday, you'd be doomed, but no one's suggested that dreadful food theme day yet.

So how, exactly did this crazy concoction come about? The CSA delivery box was the spark, I always keep a package of puff pastry in the freezer, and I had fresh herbs and cream cheese at the ready. Shouldn't we all? Mr. Wasabi is not a fan of beets, although he oddly admits to enjoying borscht, which is the soup that takes beets to Eleven. But beets in a non-borscht form usually inspires his scrunched-up five-year-old-face of FAIL. To be honest, I wasn't always a fan of beets either. It's one of those vegetables where you probably had them for the first time in one of their worst possible prep scenarios, like from a can, sitting around way too long on a salad bar line. It's no wonder they get such a bad rep. But I've been thankful to have beets prepared in truly beautiful ways by local chefs -- roasted and paired with creamy goat cheese in salads, pickled and served simply with fresh bread and butter; the farther from fuss, the better. I like how the natural sweetness of beets further intensify when you roast them, plus it makes it easier to remove the tough outer skin. Even if it means your hands will look like you've been fingerpainting using only magenta ink all day.

Dexter is darkly dreaming of beets right now - Photos  of food by Wasabi Prime

The combination of the sweet, butter-soft roasted beets on a layer of melty herbed cream cheese and crispy, flaky puff pastry was pretty heavenly. And likely ruined whatever health benefits beets are supposed to have, but hey, baby steps for this newbie-beet-appreciator. The Dexter reference was just too irresistable, given his character's expertise as a blood spatter specialist. I haven't even seen every episode and we're still stuck on a DVD from season four that has yet to be returned to the Netflix queue, so no spoilers! He may not even be the Bay Harbor Butcher anymore for all I know, but I do have to commend the series for creating one of the most clever opening sequences, with the making of breakfast looking totally terrifying. If you've seen this, you know what food/murder double entendre I speak of! I think that would be a wonderful way to spend a macabre evening -- bloody murder cheesy beet tart while watching Dexter episodes.


  1. Genius! Roasted beet - cheesy sandwiches are going on my lunch menu this week. Thank you Denise!

  2. I'm a beet addict and this looks sensational. I usually just eat them plain or with goat cheese. This changes everything!

  3. I love that you referenced Dexter. That + a delicious recipe = a new subscriber :-)

  4. Swoon, I love beets (I'm a new reader), and how appropriate, Dexter peeking out below, LOVE it!

  5. I love the way beet is featured it. It's really enticing and it's giving me a wild cravings for it now.


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