Upon seeing this dish prepared, I learned about one of the great culinary mysteries, that being the relationship between beets and horseradish - when you combine them, they transform one another.
If you've ever been within a few feet of someone grating fresh horseradish, then you've felt the way it burns your eyes and nose. This shit is HOT - sinus clearing hot. It makes your eyes water and your nose run just to be near it, to say nothing of consuming it. So naturally, I expected this dish to be hot in the same way. But in fact, it was subtle as can be. Something about the sweetness of the beets just completely mellows the horseradish, and the horseradish somehow mellows the sweetness of the beets. It's a match made in heaven.
I learned this simple recipe while assisting my friend Phil Gelb at his underground restaurant concert series last weekend. It's been quite awhile since I've worked a food gig, and I must admit that it was nice to just show up and chop and slice and dice and serve, instead of being in charge of the whole affair. And the bonus, besides working with Phil and enjoying the delicious food, was being able to enjoy two sets of music by Amy X. Neuburg. This is a woman who has an amazing voice and uses it masterfully, and her compositions are sophisticated, entertaining, and moving. I found myself at different points during her set with goosebumps, and then tears in my eyes, and then laughing out loud. Amy is a uniquely talented composer, vocalist and entertainer, and it was a pleasure to enjoy her music two nights in a row.
On other fronts, it seems the cold winter temperatures have finally arrived. That means I'm laying low whenever possible, and baking lots of squash in an effort to keep warm. I'm sure I'll emerge from the cocoon at some point with a new recipe or two. Until then, be well and stay warm!