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Let’s Cook: Hats Off to Baked Beets

Submitted Photo

Have you ever noticed how some of your best ideas popped into your head while you have been watching an old black and white movie, going for a ride in the car, or sitting on the porch and watching the sun go down? Down under the conscious mind is the subconscious mind. It is the treasure chest that stores many of our impressions. In case you are wondering where I learned this, it was from Dr. Sheldon at Minot State. He explained that it is a mental treasure chest where ideas develop when we are relaxing. I took note. It made sense to why I was remembering colors, patterns and designs.

Recently I was watching a favorite old movie, “Double Wedding,” starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. The story line has Powell playing an artist who is in love with Loy. She does not realize this at first, and through his wild escapades to find the proper background to paint her portrait, they fall in love. The movie has wonderful 1940s fashions and lovely hats.

While sitting there, out of my treasure chest came several impressions of ladies who loved to wear hats with a flare. You perhaps will recognize them too.

Peggy Kline wore a hat to Sunday service at First Lutheran Church here in Minot — her Easter hats were the best. Margaret Braaten, who was involved in the arts in Minot, wore a very grand red hat tipped slightly to one side so as to see the twinkle in her eyes. Her sister, Maxine Strand, of Rugby, once stood at the train station looking like a model in a large black hat. She could have walked down Fifth Avenue and felt right at home. Who should appear at the altar on her wedding day in a lovely hat with netting? None other than the fashion devotee, Rebecca Hennessy Jungemann.

I loved seeing these women in glamorous hats. I cannot believe it has taken me this long to write a column on allure of hats. You know the process with Let’s Cook, the featured items need to connect to a food topic. Last week while baking beets, it clicked in my mind. Beets that are baked in the oven with a foil pouch are the best! They are not dry roasted, although those are good too. If you want full color with great moisture, then foil roasting is the way to go. In fact, I said “Hats off to foil-roasted beets!”

I do not have a great collection of cars, coins, or guns. If you want to see hats, I could show you a few. The featured hat here came from a garage sale. Its floral arrangement with straw texture is unique and amusing. Inside there is a very attractive designer label “Leslie-James.” Upon doing some research I discovered that Leslie-James, Inc. was a high-end millinery manufacturer based in Los Angeles, Calif. The company name was created by using the founders’ first names: James J. Druce, president and CEO and Leslie G. Master, head designer. The business ran from 1939 until 1983. Druce was the president of the California Millinery Society from 1936-1953. Master, as the creative designer, would often make appearances at department stores and assist ladies with selecting hats. How wonderful! It makes me a bit jealous that in my obituary I will not be able to list that I was a member of the California Millinery Society.

Checking labels inside of hats can be entertaining and educational. Maxine Strand gave many interesting programs in her lifetime. She would spend time at the library looking up such things like this and then put together a fine program. So, hats off to Maxine for teaching about hat designers.

Let us get on to foil roasting beets in the oven. Place the beets on an aluminum sheet that has been laid on a baking sheet allow for plenty of room around the beets. Salt beets slightly and drizzle three or more tablespoons of water on them. Next place another sheet of foil over the top and seal all the edges. It is best if the foil is loose and not tight. Roast in a 375-degree oven for 1 ½ hour or until you can pierce the beet easily through the foil. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before slipping the skins off. Beets can be used or stored in the refrigerator.

Roasted Beet and Citrus Salad

6-7 small to medium roasted beets that have be sliced into quarters

3 to 4 hardboiled eggs, quartered

1 small can of mandarin oranges, well drained

½ cup chopped green onion

¾ to 1 cup Four Cheeses Blend: Asiago, Fontina, Parmesan and Provolone

Bed of spinach greens or lettuce

Make a bed of greens. In a medium bowl place beets and drizzle with dressing to desire. Arrange beets on greens, sprinkle with green onions. Next arrange quarter eggs and mandarin oranges as desired. Dust eggs with paprika and sprinkle cheeses on top. Serve with additional dressing.

Variations include adding 2 tablespoons of horseradish cream to the celery seed dressing. Nuts such as pine nuts, pomegranate seeds or others can also be added to the salad.

Celery Seed Dressing

This dressing recipes comes from my mother. It was her go-to dressing and the tradition continues in our home. This dressing works well on cabbage and also very nice on fruit salads. I prefer not to add the celery seeds until using it. This dressing keeps beautifully in the refrigerator and makes preparing tasty salads a breeze.

1 ¼ cup sugar

2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. dry mustard

½ medium white onion (grated)

1 cup plus 3 T. vinegar

1 pt. salad oil

1/8 cup celery seeds

Combine sugar, salt, mustard, onion and half the vinegar. Gradually add oil and continue beating. Beat in remaining vinegar in small amounts. Add celery seeds and beat with electric mixer until mixture is thick. Store in refrigerator. Yield: 1 quart.

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