Unlike professional chefs, we home cooks can make what we want when we want--even if the combinations seem surprising. I'm not trying to imply that I'm the most creative girl on the block. But I do sometimes get an idea about something and it's nice to have the freedom and solitude of your own kitchen to experiment.
The other night I wanted to do something with the beets and carrots sitting idly in the crisper. I'm not sure if I've mentioned it, but I'm nuts for carrots. And I like beets pretty well too. I began to envision a little...dare I say medley? of these two Crayola-colored vegetables, smothered in butter.
I boiled the beets first--undercooked beets are the worst--then cooled and peeled them. Once the butter foamed and faded in my frying pan, I added the carrots, cooking them over medium heat. After awhile I added the beets. Feeling froggy, I decided to add a little brown sugar, thinking my southern husband might enjoy a little added sweetness. But to balance it, I finished the dish with a splash of red wine vinegar. No need to be cloying.
Once done, they looked like bright little gems, and they tasted of butter and sugar, with a slight tanginess.
"But Hungry Dog," you're wondering, "surely you served more than just vegetables for dinner!"
Why of course, dear reader, don't be silly. I pan-fried two red snapper fillets and squeezed fresh lemon juice over them as they came off the heat. I never can get fish like snapper browned properly without dusting it first in flour, which I didn't feel like doing this time, so the fish ended up a little pale. It tasted good, though, and looked pretty with the sweet and sour beets and carrots.
So, it was a strange combination that wouldn't fly with Tom Colicchio, but he's not invited over anyway. It seems the whole point of cooking for yourself and your loved ones is to have a good time, and to try and learn something now and then. Which I did indeed.