Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Symon Sundays: Take One

Ashlee, over on A Year in the Kitchen, started up a new cooking group called Symon Sundays. Everyone in the group picks out a set of recipes from Michael Symon's Live to Cook, then everyone in the group cooks it and blogs about their experience with the recipes.

Ashlee picked the first recipe set: keftedes (meatballs) and slow-roasted beets with buttermilk blue cheese, watercress and toasted walnuts (beet salad).

I have a confession before I start my take on the two recipes, I don't really know who Michael Symon is. Whew, ok that is out there. I hope everyone is still going stick with me! I mean, I am pretty sure I have seen him on Iron Chef a few times, right? But I don't watch Food Network that much nor do I visit their website that much. With all that being said, I was super excited about this opportunity! I love trying new things, but am sometimes scared to, so I viewed this as a chance to try out something I know nothing about!

Ok, now that that is out of the way, lets get onto my experience!

The first thing I did was read each ingredient list and recipe directions very carefully. I felt pretty comfortable with the keftedes. The beet salad was a wholenother story! I have never eaten beets, much less even heard of golden beets! See? New things already! So, I made my shopping list and headed off to the my local grocery store. Now, I live in a smallish Texas town, population around 50,000. Not tiny, but not big enough for a Central Market or Whole Foods! I figured I was going to run into a few issues with some of the ingredients, which left me with two options:

Option One
Drive 45 minutes to an hour to get to the nearest store that would have all the needed ingredients.

Option Two
Work with what I could get at my local HEB (grocery store).

What would you choose?

I chose Option Two and here were my results:

No ground coriander

Beet Salad:
No golden beets - just double the amount of red beets
No Roth Kase Buttermilk Blue or Maytag blue cheese - picked up a container of Salemville Amish Blue Cheese
No watercress - substituted arugula

Not too bad, right?

I ended up with two pretty good dishes still, so I say I did pretty good.

The keftedes I would totally make again.* Robert liked them too, although as soon as he tried one he said "these would be great with some ketchup!" The beet salad is an iffy one. I am a big texture eater and no matter how delicious something might look/smell/taste if it has a funky texture it can not be my friend. The beets were borderline not my friend. But I think a lot of that had to do with how big the beet chunks were in the salad, next time I will chop the beets much smaller. I really loved the sweet dressing of the salad especially against the peppery taste of the arugula and tangy blue cheese.

Ashlee should have the recipes posted over on her blog, so head on over there and check out her take on it!

*I totally spaced while at HEB and forgot to buy more onions! Who forgets to buy onions?! Apparently I do. Since it's at least a 30 minute drive from our house to HEB (did I mention I also live out in the country in my smallish town?) I figured I would just have to forgo the onion. But on a whim I drove the 5 minutes to our local Sac-n-Pac gas station to see if they happened to have onions, and what do you know, they did! They also have potatoes, tomatoes and garlic!


  1. my husband loved the meatballs too! i love beets, but i can totally understand the texture issue. looks great, i'm so glad you're in the group. and no worries, chef symon is new to TV, and a lot of people don't know who he is.... but he's my dreamboat :)

  2. Great job, you managed to overcome the ingredient issue wonderfully!
    Looks yummy!

  3. Beautiful dishes! I had some textural issues with the beet salad as well, but got over them because the flavor was so good. The meatballs were great!