Sunday, December 11, 2011

A study in scarlet or is beet photogenic?

Beet ravioli: gluten-free

Less than a year ago all I knew about photography was how to click the little silver button and have the subject more or less in the middle of the frame. Each time a term such as "closing aperture" or "shutter speed" was used in my vicinity my eyes would glaze. Thanks to my best friend the talented Sarah Melamed (Foodbridge) I now see the world as one big photo op.  My latest craze is food photography and so I drive the whole household insane because they're not allowed to eat before I take a picture. I'm now studying diligently Helene Dujardin's "plate to pixel" and practice food styling and lighting.
 I was thrilled when my DH decided to buy beets for cooking. Beets have such a gorgeous color therefore must be very photogenic. I needed to find something to do with them and to form something eatable I can photograph. Again it was the DH that came up with the idea: beet ravioli. We had that dish a long time ago when we had only two kids, in a very luxurious restaurant. We didn't have the recipe of course but we recruited our memory and creativity.
Not a new nebula but an almost transparent slice of beet 

We used very few ingredients: beet, hard goat cheese such as a tomme de chevre, walnuts, olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and of course salt and pepper. The trickiest part is cutting the beet in thin slices that will form the ravioli. We used a mandolin slicer that does a beautiful job and is safe to use. Safety is an important issue when using this device, there're models out there that the term guillotine slicer describes them better. I must confess that all the pretty slicing was done by the DH while I simply chopped the cheese and walnuts. We marinated the beet slices in lemon juice and olive oil for half an hour and then proceeded to form the ravioli. Between two slices of beet we've put a chunk of cheese and chopped walnuts, trying to make it look like a closed pocket.
DH hand modeling how to close the ravioli

On top of the raviolis we sprinkled a bit of kosher salt and balsamic vinegar. The fun part was styling the whole thing, it was rather amusing since not me nor is the DH professional, so improvisation was the key to the photo session. When I finished taking the pictures we just ate the lot. They turned out great.
The rest of the beet was cut julienne style and tossed into a salad with the cheese leftovers, walnuts, chopped parsley, dill, olive oil and lemon juice. We served the salad to my parents at the Shabbath dinner, and they admitted it was the first time they had ever ate raw beet. My mom liked it but my dad diplomatically said he preferred to eat it as borscht.
crocuses blooming in the Judean Hills. 

Though winter is stalling and the days are still mostly sunny and clear, some flowers start to bloom after the long dry summer. We found not very far from where we live, in an archeological site dating to the days of King David, these carpets of crocuses. Sheer beauty. 



  1. Love it.Great photography too. Must eat beet now

  2. haha, great post, love your Dad's comment. Wish I could eat my computer screen. I once had turnip ravioli at a restaurant using the same method, this variety looks a hundred times better. Beautiful.