I know this comes a bit late, but lets talk about Mother’s Day. Was it nice? Did you spend quality time with your children? What about your mother?
My Mother’s Day was especially special. It was the first year that my husband gave our daughter money and turned her loose in a store to choose a gift without any guidance from him (she chose thoughtfully: two books and a set of unique measuring cups) and we went out for dinner.
Even though many folks choose to go out for dinner or brunch on Mother’s Day, we usually order in just for that reason. We aren’t crowd people. We like to take it quiet and easy (most of the time). Ordering in-either sushi or good Italian from the pasta kitchen up the street-just makes sense to us on holidays where restaurants are bustling.
Until this year.
Because we are busy (as are most families) we often don’t get to have a sit-down dinner. Meetings run late. School activities interfere. The few times a week we do get to break bread together are often rushed. That is the crux of why I enjoy eating out as a family: I’m not rushing around to get everything on the table and they are…well, they are a captive audience. No excusing themselves from the table as soon as they are finished to get back to whatever they need or want to do.
I made a reservation at one of our new favorite places to eat in north Baltimore, the Shoo-Fly Diner. Shoo-Fly is the retro diner creation of James Beard nominee Spike Gjede, owner of the much-acclaimed (and arguably best restaurant in Baltimore) Woodberry Kitchen, as well as Artifact Coffee. Of course, I waited until about two weeks before Mother’s Day to make the reservation, so I had to settle for a 4 pm time slot. It worked to our advantage, before the dinner rush and leaving enough time in the early evening to enjoy the sunset back home on the patio.
Everything on the menu looked amazing and we had a hard time deciding. We finally settled on several appetizers and the beet side-dish, which was highly recommended by the waitstaff.
People have very extreme opinions about them. I often see them in the trade box at the CSA pick-up and I am the only one in my family who likes them. So I ordered them. And they were amazing. Like…stole-the-show amazing. The “secret”, the waitress said, was the chimichurri sauce. I took the rest home and ate them for breakfast the next day out of the carton with a fork standing at the refrigerator.
I mean, isn’t that the highest compliment you can pay to food?
Chimicurri sauce, which is sometimes made with parsley, sometimes cilantro, or both, is quiet versatile. It can be eaten with all kinds of meat, seafood, or vegetables. You can even top eggs with it. It can be used right away, but turns into a real beauty when made a day ahead allowing the flavors to build.
- 1/3 cup good olive oil
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
- 2 cloves garlic, mashed
- 1 Tablespoon fresh minced oregano (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- salt and pepper
- 4-5 medium-sized beets (a mixture of golden and red, if you prefer)
- 2-3 radishes, finely chopped
Roast the beets:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Wash beets and cut off roots and stems
Wrap beets in aluminum foil and roast in preheated oven 50-60 minutes or until you can easily slide a thin knife into them.
Let beets cool slightly and carefully slide the skins off. Cut into 1-1/2" chunks.
Make the chimichurri sauce:
Warm the olive oil in a small skillet on low heat. As soon as it starts to simmer, remove skillet and add the garlic and the herbs. Allow to cool slightly.
Place the cilantro and parsley in a food processor and pulse a couple of times, just enough to mince them. You don't want to pulverize them.
Place the mixture in a bowl and add the olive oil with herbs. Stir until combined. Salt and pepper to taste.
Top roasted beets with chimichurri sauce (you may not use it all).
Add chopped radishes.