Beets Redux + Creamed Potatoes

Good Eatin’ iv

This is the fourth in an occasional series of Good Eatin’, kind of a sidebar usually involving leftovers (LO), where I will describe an easily put together meal that we enjoyed very recently, maybe yesterday.

After praising the virtues of red beets, it’s time to give a little love to the golden variety. We took home a Golden Beet and Asparagus Salad from Cowgirl Creamery for dinner, after our Funky Foodie Getaway. At dinner I remarked, “I can do that!” So I got some golden beets and asparagus at the Market.


Carol called Friday to say she’s going to be late for dinner. “What’s for dinner?”

“I don’t know, I’ll think of something,” I said. This is the place where we would normally open a jar of tomato sauce and have it over pasta with a small salad on the side. Booorrring!

I love creamed potatoes and peas, but I’ve never made it. Carol withheld the recipe from me, as if once I have that recipe, I won’t need her anymore. But I figured out that its just boiled potatoes and frozen peas and a béchamel sauce.

I’ve got half-a-slice of ham, and the potatoes in the pantry are over a week old and sprouting. I could do that stuff with a cream sauce. There’s (almost) always some peas in the freezer. That will become Creamed Potatoes with Black Forest Ham and Peas. Sounds pretentious. I cubed and boiled the potatoes, cubed the ham and got on with it.

As for the béchamel sauce, I’ve used it to make Macorani Gratin (Mac ‘n’ Cheese) from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon cookbook, but that recipe is written long and complicated—its also really good, including wild mushrooms. So I checked out béchamel sauce in Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook. His recipes are often similar to Thomas Keller’s, but written short and sweet; but with his book, you have to know what you’re doing. I do. Make a roux with 3 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons flour. Whisk 2 cups of simmering milk slowly into the roux and stir until it thickens. Add the potatoes, ham and peas. Done.

A note on the milk: We don’t use a lot of milk, and what was in the quart carton came out in chunks; down the drain with that. I had a bit of half-and-half and a bit of heavy cream, that combined came to a little over 1 1/2 cups, so I added water to bring it to 2 cups. That’ll be good.


For the salad, I emptied our larder of beets, I had both red and golden, and put them in the toaster-oven to roast. I’ll use the red for something else once they’re roasted. (In France, you can buy beets at the market already roasted and skinned. What a concept!) I checked Chez Panisse Vegetables to see what kind of dressing Alice Waters uses for beets. The one that sticks out at me is a vinaigrette with horseradish. I’ve got some Ducktrap Traditional Horseradish Sauce. That makes it easy! Roast, peel, and slice.


I cut the asparagus into about 1-inch pieces and blanched for about 3 minutes to take the edge off. Cool, combine with beets in a bowl and toss with the dressing.

Now, that’s Good Eatin’

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