Intro

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Growing up Gabe was tagged as “the picky eater,” often refusing to try new things. If it even resembled a tomato he wouldn’t go near it – unless it was salsa. For some reason salsa tomatoes are acceptable.

Our first fight as a young, dating couple revolved around his eating habits. I approached him feeling self-righteous and feisty. I looked down at him from my high horse and told him I thought his eating habits were “gross”.

As you can imagine my sermon wasn’t very well received. We ate separately that night.

I learned two valuable lessons from that fight. 1. There is a right and a wrong way to discuss a point of contention and 2. Gabe is the bigger person. He was the one that sought me out to apologize. I felt horribly for hurting him and I’ve since learned to appreciate our different eating habits and our differences in general- most days.

He didn’t change his ways of eating that night. Not surprisingly. Overtime his appetite has broadened and he will never shy away from trying something new. I no longer call him picky, I think quirky is a better word for it. His list of “dislikes” is still rather long but he never complains, just subtly slides the unmentionables to the side of his plate.

Gabe blames his “quirks” on his heightened taste buds. It’s not his fault he has hyper-active tasters that cause him to grimace at the presence of too much vinegar or wince in sheer agony if his sandwich has come in contact with mayonnaise. He felt vindicated with this theory after I showed him a recent article about “super tasters” – people who have more sensitive taste buds.

He might be right. Gabe can out taste me any day. I try to test his skills by sneaking in a few subtle spices into my loaf cakes. He notices. He’ll give me a curious look upon tasting the soft dusting of nutmeg over our sauteed greens. His morning cup of coffee is subject to the scrutiny of his “heightened taste buds”.

“Ash, tell me what you taste?” He asks as he shoves a cup of coffee under my nose. By his tone I can tell he assumes I’ll know the answer.

“Um. Cherry?” I ask, sheepishly.

“Strawberry jam!” He exclaims with complete certainty.

I taste again. Sure enough. Strawberry jam. He’s right again. Damn him and his taste buds.

Oh how I love his quirks. I do not, however, cater to them. Which is why I did not hesitate to make this intriguing pasta with beets knowing that, according to Gabe, beets “taste like dirt”.

I guess I figure the more he tastes something the more likely it is that he’ll eventually love it. He still pulls the tomatoes out of his burgers even after all the late August Heirloom varieties I’ve nearly shoved down his throat.

The recipes for pasta with beets and Chocolate and Pear cake were sent to me by a dear reader. Tristan and his mom, Janice are my, self-proclaimed, “biggest fans in Ohio”.

Tristan and his friends love to cook. He’ll often use recipes from Not Without Salt to share with his friends. I’m flattered. Truly.

Janice sent me an email with these recipes that Tristan thought I might enjoy. He was right. Thank you Tristan and Janice. While Gabe continues to not appreciate the wondrous beet he did manage to eat a respectable amount while still saving plenty of room for Chocolate and Pear cake.

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The recipes appear exactly how they were sent to me.

Pasta with Beets, Walnuts and Goat Cheese

1 pound of whole wheat spaghetti.  We like bow ties.

2 T olive oil

1 large red onion, sliced

2 cloves of garlic

2 lbs of beets, peeled and grated

12 oz goats cheese, crumbled

3 T fresh lemon or lime juice

Sea salt… we use Himalayan Salt, which is course brown… very healthy.

Freshly ground black pepper.

3/4  cup of toasted walnuts.

Cook pasta and put in to a large bowl save 1 c. of the pasta water.
In large pan cook garlic and onion until soft, about 5 min.  Add beets and cook 10 minutes.
Add cooking liquid, and goat cheese; cook stirring until cheese softens into sauce.
Add lemon juice, then salt and pepper to taste.
Add to pasta and toss and serve.  Top each serving with toasted walnuts.  This is wonderful served with a salad and home made garlic toast with goat cheese on top.

Chocolate Pear Cake

5 small pears
3 cups water
1 cinnamon stick, crushed.
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup thickened cream
1 cup sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 cup self-raising flour
(8 oz) semi sweet, dark chocolate, chopped
1 Grease 8 or 9 inch pan (we use a spring pan for easy removal.)
2 Peel pears. Using a small knife, remove seeds and core from pear base.
3 Place sugar, water, vanilla and cinnamon in a large saucepan. Stir over a low heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil. Add whole pears. Simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes, or until pears are tender. Remove pears. Refrigerate until cold. Discard syrup. Using paper towels, dry pears thoroughly.
4 Beat butter and sugar in small bowl of an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in buttermilk and combined sifted flour and cocoa in two batches. Spoon into prepared pan. Smooth over top. Press cold pears into cake mixture.
5 Cook in a moderate oven (350 degrees) for about 1 hour, or until cooked when tested. Stand cake in pan for 10 minutes. Carefully remove from pan and cool.
6 To make chocolate sauce, stir chocolate and cream in a small saucepan over a low heat until smooth.  ( For added zip 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of orange flavored liquor)
7 Serve cake cut into wedges with warm chocolate sauce.

*I served this cake with caramel sauce as I happened to have some lying around.

*We made these recipes during one of our weekly date nights. Read the first in the series of posts that explains what “Dating My Husband” is all about.

 

Pasta with Beets, Walnuts and Goat Cheese // Chocolate Pear Cake

Pasta with Beets, Walnuts and Goat Cheese

1 pound of whole wheat spaghetti.  We like bow ties.

2 T olive oil

1 large red onion, sliced

2 cloves of garlic

2 lbs of beets, peeled and grated

12 oz goats cheese, crumbled

3 T fresh lemon or lime juice

Sea salt… we use Himalayan Salt, which is course brown… very healthy.

Freshly ground black pepper.

3/4  cup of toasted walnuts.

Cook pasta and put in to a large bowl save 1 c. of the pasta water.
In large pan cook garlic and onion until soft, about 5 min.  Add beets and cook 10 minutes.
Add cooking liquid, and goat cheese; cook stirring until cheese softens into sauce.
Add lemon juice, then salt and pepper to taste.
Add to pasta and toss and serve.  Top each serving with toasted walnuts.  This is wonderful served with a salad and home made garlic toast with goat cheese on top.

Chocolate Pear Cake

5 small pears
3 cups water
1 cinnamon stick, crushed.
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup thickened cream
1 cup sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 cup self-raising flour
(8 oz) semi sweet, dark chocolate, chopped
1 Grease 8 or 9 inch pan (we use a spring pan for easy removal.)
2 Peel pears. Using a small knife, remove seeds and core from pear base.
3 Place sugar, water, vanilla and cinnamon in a large saucepan. Stir over a low heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil. Add whole pears. Simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes, or until pears are tender. Remove pears. Refrigerate until cold. Discard syrup. Using paper towels, dry pears thoroughly.
4 Beat butter and sugar in small bowl of an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in buttermilk and combined sifted flour and cocoa in two batches. Spoon into prepared pan. Smooth over top. Press cold pears into cake mixture.
5 Cook in a moderate oven (350 degrees) for about 1 hour, or until cooked when tested. Stand cake in pan for 10 minutes. Carefully remove from pan and cool.
6 To make chocolate sauce, stir chocolate and cream in a small saucepan over a low heat until smooth.  ( For added zip 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of orange flavored liquor)
7 Serve cake cut into wedges with warm chocolate sauce.

*I served this cake with caramel sauce as I happened to have some lying around.

*We made these recipes during one of our weekly date nights. Read the first in the series of posts that explains what “Dating My Husband” is all about.

27 Responses to “Dating My Husband”

  1. jas

    Ashley & Gabe – I too am a bit of a picky eater and have never liked fresh tomatoes or tomato sauce, yet will eat spaghetti bolognese, lasagna and a tomato based tomato sauce but get me near fresh ones and yeck – out they go! Same went for peanuts – satay? EWW! I could also taste it when Mum used just a 1/4 cup in her muesli bars…. But mine also goes to texture so whilst I could eat rice for days, I can’t go anywhere near a pear – something about them makes me shudder!

    This has made being diagnosed Coeliac interesting as not only can I not eat certain foods, but then there’s the ones I am picky about!

    I’m am proud to announce that whilst I also hated beetroots, I’d only had the super salty ones out of a can, whereas my best friend got me onto the delicious, almost caramelised flavour of roasted beets – so worthwhile a taste gabe – add some mixed greens, almonds and some soft feta and it’s a divine salad!

    Good luck on your food adventures :)

    Reply
  2. msue

    So glad to see this post because I have had the same fight with my husband! (More than once…) It is very frustrating because it makes cooking less enjoyable for me. But he is slowwwwwly opening up to new food. I have often wondered about his taste buds, as well…I will have to look into this heightened taste bud idea.

    Reply
  3. hugh

    I don’t even know why God made tomatoes. I guess it was more efficient than making salsa/ketchup/marinara/pizza sauce/etc-plants… but still.

    Dig the post, Ashley :) Please give Gabe a high five for me.

    Reply
  4. Stephanie S

    A friend of mine says she’s a super taster and also claims beets taste like dirt. I wonder if that’s common!?!? And I agree with salsa being completely wonderful, while fresh tomatoes can stay far, far away from my house! It’s mainly textural for me though, well, mostly…they make me gag a bit and I can’t fully figure if it’s an unpleasant flavor or the weird mealy, grainy, squishy flesh with unyielding skin. Ugh. Yet salsa, pasta sauce (jarred or scratch), ketchup, sun-dried or any other fully cooked tomato product is fine. Everyone has quirks about food! And the beet pasta looks fabulous to me :)

    Reply
  5. Shawn

    I enjoyed your post today because my ex-husband was a picky eater which turned my daughter into a picky eater. For many years I cooked three separate dinners each night to please everyone’s palate.
    I am proud of you for being able to continue to cook without adjusting to the quirky.

    Reply
  6. MG Atwood

    This post makes me smile. I have had beets that taste like dirt, yes indeed. I usually enjoy beets, but not the ones that taste like dirt. :-) Mark won’t touch beets, cucumbers, or pears, so unforutunalely these recipes won’t be breaking out at my house. And if I must add, walnuts are the last nut I will try. My mother OD’d me on them as a child and I don’t fancy them now…Loving the clips and pics I see from Gabe!

    Reply
  7. Dana

    I think we should have a beet party. Randy doesn’t like them either and I LOVE them. I give him a lot of credit though, his “don’t like” list has gotten significantly shorter in the years we have been together. Both recipes look divine!

    Reply
  8. Jennifer (Delicieux)

    The chocolate pear cake looks divine! I am so going to have to try this.

    I’m lucky that my boyfriend has a broad palette and is willing to try anything. It’s really great when I want to try out new recipes on him. The only no go zone for him is asparagus…which I can live with.

    Reply
  9. Susan

    Oh, I grinned while reading this post! I married a man with highly sensitive tastebuds and am still trying, after 17 years, to avoid feeling frustrated. I want to experience all varieties of foods, while he prefers to eat the same, safe dishes. It must be so disconcerting for him to live with someone like me. Poor dear.
    These recipes look and sound delicious. I think the color of the beet sauce would frighten him right out of his socks, though.

    Reply
  10. Joel Flory

    More for me! I used to hate beets because my only interaction with them was the canned variety or poorly roasted ones. After eating them at some great restaurants and in season I love them now and they are one of my fav’s! Tell Gabe we will take him out the next time he in the Bay Area for some great Beets and Tomatoes (if they are in season).

    Reply
  11. tracy

    “wince in sheer agony if his sandwich has come in contact with mayonnaise.” I think I just died. Thank god I’m not alone.

    I love how candid your posts are! It’s funny how you have to compromise on food when you’re married! My husband doesn’t like mushrooms…and it’s the saddest thing ever. So whenever I go out to eat without him, I BINGE on mushrooms. His deal is steak tartare!

    Reply
  12. courtneymunson

    This sounds exactly like my husband and me! I’ve always been an adventurous eater. The hubby? Not so much. Does that deter me from cooking creative, exotic, awesome things that I feel like cooking, and serving it to him for dinner? Nope. He’s such a trouper, despite the questionable looks and “icky” veggies pushed to the side of his plate. Love that guy!

    Reply
  13. Stephanie Matlock Allen

    The beet pasta is sooo good – and so delicious. It has earned a spot in my “best recipes” notebook. Yum! :)

    Reply
  14. Janice and Tristan

    Oh Ashley, THANK YOU for posting Tristan’s recipes! We both are smiling and we will try the cake with caramel sauce! Yum! The chicken chili looks wonderful too. Have you tried the chili with a little beer cooked in it, topped off with a mountain of melting cheese and sour cream? In the winter we need lots of emotional foods here to off-set the cold, snowy days!

    Tristan is working on a new recipe he read about. It is venison roast with garlic and lavender stuffed in slits and dry roasted in the oven. Since we have lavender that doesn’t die out in the winter, he wanted to cook with it. We’ll let you know how that works!

    Thank you and Gabe for sharing so much of your family with our family.

    Wishing you a warm and happy winter!
    Your Biggest Fans in Ohio!
    Tristan and Janice

    Reply
  15. Manja

    I am a recent fan and have been reading every entry with amazement. And now I am about to make the Chocolate & Pear cake but I am not too sure how much a stick of butter is? Are you able to let me know what this would be in g? Thank you

    Reply

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