“Cooking food and presenting it beautifully is an act of servitude. It is a way of expressing affection through a gift… That we should aspire to produce perfectly finished and presented food is a symbol of a willing and enjoyable participation in servicing others. Food pornography exactly sustains these meanings relating to the preparation of food. The kinds of picture used always repress the process of production of a meal. They are always beautifully lit, often touched up.” Rosalind Coward
I struggle sometimes to capture that food moment when I take a few shots and take more and still are not satisfied with any of them. And then, there are those times when only a few shots are taken and I feel I have a winner with at least three. The photo of the beet terrine encapsulated that moment. Perhaps it was my mood or that I was so excited to try what ‘looked’ so amazing…luscious layers of crimson and pink with bits of white peeking through. I plated the food, presented it to John…he requested seconds, need I say more?
Serves 4 to 6
inspired by Frances Janisch
12 or more beets, assorted colors (if possible)
8 oz. (227g) goat cheese
extra-virgin olive oi
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add beets and reduce heat to a simmer and cook until soft and easy to slice with a knife (about 40 min. depending on how big the beets are). Remove from pot and rinse under cold water. Once cooled enough to handle, remove the skin and allow to cool completely. In the meantime, line a bread tin with plastic wrap allowing the wrap to hang over the sides. Once beets are cooled, thinly slice.
To assemble: start with a layer of yellow or orange beets, season with salt and pepper and a very light drizzle of olive oil. Next, add goat cheese chunks. Don’t try to spread the cheese – you’ll end up with a mess. Repeat another layer until the yellow or orange beet slices have been used. Do the same procedure using the red beet slices and end with red beet slices. Fold over the plastic wrap and add a brick or other heavy weight. Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, use the plastic to remove beets from the tin and place on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to slice. Decorate with sea salt flakes, basil leaves and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Oh my stars! The basil and sea salt flakes add just the right flavor to this eye-appealing appetizer. Pressing the beets helps to release any air pockets and makes it easier to slice without falling apart. Choose beets that are similar in size. I had to buy yellow beets as the orange ones were too small. Don’t worry if the beets don’t fill the bread tin. Enjoy!