Every week, your challenge is to create an eye-opening dish within our capricious themes and parameters. Blog your submission on Open Salon by Monday 10 a.m. EST -- with photos and your story behind the dish -- and we'll republish the winners on Salon on Tuesday. (It takes only 30 seconds to start a blog.) Please note that by participating, you're giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it's chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. And yes, mashed potato sculpture counts as a dish. Emphatically.
This week, we asked for your best beet dishes.
THIS WEEK'S WINNER:
Garlic-beet yogurt dip (Beet Tzatziki) by Linda Shiue: Whether you ascribe, as Linda lays out here, to the notion throughout antiquity that beets are aphrodisiacs, there is a lot to be said for this simple but utterly classic marriage of tender roasted beets, sharp garlic and tangy, creamy yogurt.
THIS WEEK'S CATEGORY WINNER:
Beef and beet curry (Chukandar Gosht) by Aamna: In a delightful memory of growing up in Oman and Pakistan, Aamna recalls the sights and smells of these places, and most strongly of the dishes at her family's table. Taking pride of place in her mind was this unusual earthy, slightly sweet and spicy curry of beef or lamb and beets.
PLUS, ALSO, TOO: THE EXCELLENT HONORABLE MENTIONS
Beet cupcakes by Fusun Atalay: Two entries this week quoted from Tom Robbins' "Jitterbug Perfume," telling us that "The beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot." And, perhaps with that in mind, Fusun takes a riff off of carrot cake to give us beet cupcakes, complete with cream cheese frosting and specks in the finished treat that remind her of rubies. And considering that beets, not sugar cane, are actually where most of our sugar comes from these days, why not?
Greek salad with pickled beets, shrimp and potatoes by Lucy Mercer: Penning an appreciation of the beet so serious it references geophagy in a good way, Lucy shares with us this week a salad that brings together an all-star cast of tasty Greek things.
Shrimp beet dumpling soup by Theresa Rice: Theresa says hello after an afternoon of cooking to present us with a soup for the ambitious beet lover. Most people are pretty much done after roasting the beets, but Theresa's soup is just getting started: You fashion dumplings of beet purée and whole shrimp; you make a broth from chicken stock, aromatics and shrimp shells; you sauté the beet greens; you poach more shrimp and scallops ... and at this point in the description, you're either really excited to make this dish, or you're reaching for the folder of takeout menus.
Three courses of beets, by Another Mom Trying to Write: And for the dear souls who look at Theresa's soup and think, "Easy. Tuesday night dinner!" take a gander at Another Mom's full-on beet down (Sorry, no one is immune to the pun): three courses of vegetarian beet madness, from a salad to start, to a hearty beetloaf, and finally to beet-almond cakes for dessert.
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AND NOW FOR THIS WEEK'S CHALLENGE:
Last week, we were introduced to some of the extraordinary people of Bristol Bay, Alaska, men and women whose lives depend on the tremendous salmon run there. And then, over the weekend, we discussed the different kinds of salmon available in markets and how to shop for and prepare them.
But, as one of America's favorite foods, salmon dishes are mainstays in our kitchens, even for many who aren't otherwise lovers of fish. This week, we're interested in your favorite ways to serve the piscine prince and, incidentally, we're curious if you happen to have a good story of how you remember being introduced to it in the first place.
Be sure to tag your posts: SKC Salmon (Please note that by participating, you're giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it's chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. Adaptations of existing recipes are fine, but please let us know where the original comes from. And if you'd like to participate but not have your post considered for republication on Salon, please note it in the post itself. Thanks!)
Scoring and winning
Scores will be very scientific, given for appealing photos, interesting stories behind your submissions, creativity, execution and a lack of fishiness.