Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Roasted Baby Beets

Going to a catered party is supremely satisfying to me. I mean to show up and have beautiful Actor-Model-Waiter-Boys handing out scrumptious tidbits and fresh drinks while all that is asked of me is to look glamourous and maybe tell a witty story or two is the best. It ranks up there with working on a deep tan on the deck of a boat floating somewhere just east of Bora Bora or flying to Kansas City for dinner just because you want a really good steak (both of which I am qualified to say, are pretty damn fab).

That is why, for my fabulous Auntie Shesh's no-holds-barred birthday bash last weekend, out on the lawn of her perfect in every way home in (much too popular for my taste these days. Sigh) East Hampton, I was in heaven. Floating on air, head in the clouds, stars in my eyes, heaven.

I must back up though and say that Auntie Sheshie is the most elegant, dangerously hilarious, woman I know. She was also always referred to by my mother as "A gourmet" and from an early age, not even knowing what that meant, I knew she was someone to hold in esteem. Her appreciation for food inspires me, and her friendship, kindness and generosity means the world to a little waif like me.

The party itself was decadant, the guests ravishing and the overall atmosphere exceptional, but it was the food my friends, the food that made it a flawless evening. Not just any food though, mind you. The event was brought to us by two women who are absolute culinary masters. First up, Auntie Sheshie's oldest and dearest friend, the amazing and much beloved Judy (wife to John, who I had to mention because he too rocks) the woman behind DuFour Pastry Kitchen fame a woman who's frozen hors devours rank among the tastiest foods on the planet (that night we had the 5-Spice Quail, the utterly To-Die-For Mushroom and Black Truffle and a Polenta Asparagus puff. Her whole line is really delicious but for me, the original spinach phyllo triangles may be the foodstuff that more than anything brings me back to my childhood in the nicest possible way. Sigh). A perfect start to the evening indeed. Tiny bites of baked perfection.

This divine madness was followed up by the brilliant, beautiful and dedicated chef Abigail Hitchcock of CamaJe in NYC and her flawless dinner execution. As one of my cousin Va-Vooms oldest and dearest friends, she insisted on pulling out all the stops and making it an evening to remember. I so worship Ms. Abby, that I am usually tongue tied in her luminous presence and am only able to devour my food and stare in wonder. We feasted (and I mean that in the most Pasha in his silken tent sort of way) on Filet Mignon, Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Shrimp with Asian Dipping Sauce, Roasted Baby Beets, Roasted Baby Carrots, an Isreali Couscous salad and I cannot forget the topper, an enormous Mocha Cream Cake that made people fall out of their chairs. Outrageously good.

So you get the feeling it was a good evening, eh? Well, it was. And it will live on in my memory for ever.

To get your own slice of the action, either make a reservation at CamaJe next time you are in NYC, (Darling Abby also gives cooking lessons, so if that is of interest, make sure to check out their website) or buy some of DuFours insanely good appetizers. You will thank me, Im sure.

Simple roast beets

2 pounds baby beets (red or gold or candy striped)
olive oil
several sprigs of thyme

Toss the beets with enough olive oil to coat. Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and add the thyme sprigs. Roast, covered, at 375F until easily pierced with a knife (about 50 minutes, depending on size of beets) Remove from the oven and keep covered while they cool. When warm to the touch, slip off the skins and toss with another touch of salt. Serve warm or cold.


85 MacDougal St.
(bet. Bleecker & Houston Sts.)
Manhattan, NY 10012

Review from Zagats:
“Outstanding” French bistro fare “made with care” keeps cost-conscious fans returning to this “quiet” Village “oasis” where a “homey” setting helps distract from the “molasses”-speed service; P.S. the chef hosts “great cooking classes” three days a week.

yummy! I have to agree with you on the whole catered party thing. friends of mine host 4 such fabulous occasions a year and one is coming up in 2 weeks, yeah! highlghts from thir Christmas do included mini "blt's" in cheery tomatoes, and chocolate chili duck served on edible spoons, not to mention the hand dipped truffles.
Chocolate Chile Duck? What is Chocolate Chile Duck, and where can I get the recipe? OMG, my mind is REELING. Chocolate Chile Duck...mmmmm....
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