Sunday, July 1, 2007

What's delicious and red all over?

Have you heard of the Japanese man who was convicted of eating his Caucasian dinner guest? Do you secretly admire Hannibal the Cannibal in Silence of the Lambs?

Wait, come back! Just kidding. The photo above is NOT human meat. It's not even meat. It's cut strips of beetroot. Rote Bete or Rande, German and Swiss-German for beetroot, is naturally very purplish red. It is sold shrink-wrapped in plastic in the cold veggie section of supermarkets here. I love it. You don't need to cook it or do anything with it -- but you can if you want -- it is naturally sweet and refreshing, but you need to slice off the skin or it might taste a tad earthy.

In a restaurant in Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, I once had a starter of cubed beetroot served in a wineglass with boiled shrimp and whipped cream. It was heavenly. No wonder it was used as an appetizer.

You can cut the beetroot into slices or strips or cubes, and dress it with lemon and sugar (or honey). Or savour it savoury with salt and a bit of raspberry vinegar or cider vinegar.

The first time I had boiled beetroot was many years ago in Montana, USA, in the food service hall of the University of Montana in Missoula. I was immediately taken by it.

The other red thing that I love so much is cherries. June/July is the season for cherries here. If you're pitting cherries with a little hand-held contraption, you need to be careful about white or pale clothing. It's alarming to get splashed with the concentrated red juice. But I love eating cherries au naturel (undressed cherries, that is, not me! Although eating cherries in the nude is not a bad idea, come to think of it, mmm; just take a shower after). Nothing like munching on a dozen of them after a savoury meal.

What are your favourite red things?


Lee Ping said...

Dear Argus,
What an introduction, you got there.

I love beets. I had beets on my salad at a French Restaurant, and it was delicious.

In the past, I had preferred fresh rainier cherries over red cherries. However, last Friday, I was at a friend's house and I tasted cherries from cherry tree. It was deliciously sweet.


You asked, "What are your favourite red things?"

My favorite thing in red, if it does not have to be fruit, it must be "Ang Pao" in Hokkein Dialect.

Argus Lou said...

Wow, Mrs HBT, you were quick on the draw. I had just posted it. :)

Yes, beets in salad is also lovely; next to maize and shredded carrot, the colours are startlingly contrasting. Come to think of it, the flavour of red beet is similar to the freshness & sweetness of corn off the cob.

There are so many kinds of cherries they make me dizzy. One supermarket packs it as "Swiss Kisses" - nice one!

Oh, ya. I love 'ang pao' too. But Hokkien ang pao usually contain much more money than Cantonese 'hoong pao' partly 'coz the Cantonese have the practice of giving a pair during the Chinese New Year. ^_^
Maybe Hokkiens are more generous, too.

WokandSpoon said...

I love beetroot as well! In Australia we eat loads of it in sandwiches and hamburgers!
My favourite red thing? Chillies!!!

I made roti canai again this weekend and used the condensed milk but unfortunately I didn't really notice a big difference between the dough with the condensed milk and with just normal milk :-(

Argus Lou said...

Wok&Spoon, chillies for you, of course! Isn't it funny how beetroot stains everything next to it?

Yes, I agree, condensed milk doesn't seem to make a big difference to the stretchiness of the dough. Guess sugar plus milk is the same thing as sweetened condensed milk, eh? So we 'pecah' a roti-making myth!
I think more important is the softness of the rested dough - it should be neither too soft nor hard. Will try with egg next, like Little Corner suggested.

Do you ever eat avocado with condensed milk? My other half thinks it's gross but I love it. ;-)

wonda said...

Never heard of the Japanese cannibal case. Where did you get the story?
Haha! The roti canai is still hot here!
I love cherries but they are expensive. I could get 4 or 5 apples for price of a small packet of cherries.

Argus Lou said...

Wonda, Bibliobibuli has a link to the Japanese true horror story. The man is free now and a celebrity to boot.
You'll hafta make a search in
or just Google 'Japan' & 'cannibal'.
But be warned: it's a terrible story.

Yes, roti canai is a challenge and a job to make.

In Switzerland, cherries are only two or three times the price of apples per kg. If you buy directly from an orchard owner, it's pretty affordable.

Argus Lou said...

Ah, sorry, Wonda. I meant "a joy to make" -- my fingers have a mind of their own. ^_^

wonda said...

No problem, job or joy, MCC membership is renewable automatically, just like my friend turns into food. Haha!
Beware of the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood! Red, right?

Davin said...

Argus-san ... I love 'em deep pinkish-red slices of fresh tuna sashimi - the type I can only afford if some rich IT company honcho is buying the In.Tech gang lunch and I tag along.

OK so it's not too red but ... yum.

Red capsicum too! Peppers - mmmm.

Argus Lou said...

Davin-san, yes, I too like red raw tuna (ya lah, too bad it's so Xpensive), but not red capsicum -- gives me the burps!

Lee Ping said...

Dear Argus (mythological Hera's many-eyed pet watchdog monster, Great Argus Pheasant),

I try to be responsive as fast as possible. However, sometimes it is hard when my Mommie or Wifey duty calls. This time, I was definitely "quick on the draw". I hope I will continue to respond in a timely manner for all my blogger friends, especially my dear friend, Wonda.

I got your note on alcohol allergy. So, you weren't kidding about accidentally poisoning yourself. Good that you clarify that.

You sure know your Cantonese Customs. My friend is Cantonese and she gave our 3 children two "Hoong Pao" each. She only has one child, so I reciprocated and gave her son one big Ang Pao.

Tunku Halim said...

Argus - I was getting all excited. It sounded like the opening of one of my ghastly tales!

In Australia, McDonalds serves what they call a McOz. A hamburger with beetroot! It's my fav!!

wonda said...

Got carried away with cannibals and carnivores. Ok, back to real food. Ah, this MCC thought the strips of beetroot were beef jerkies at first glance. Oops! I'm talking about meat again. ;-)

Argus Lou said...

Dear MrsHBT, no worries about responding quickly but it is appreciated - wifey and mommie duties come first naturally. :-)

Actually, I'm not THAT allergic to alcohol - I just get red skin and an instant headache if I drink more than a few sips quickly. If I continued drinking, the room will spin and I'll likely throw up. I was more worried about the unknown (to me) combination of grappa and sauce. :-P

Hey, single children get all the big ang paus! I'm one of 5 siblings so each of my 'hoong pau' was only RM1.10 or RM2. Not fair! ^_^

T Hal, welcome to my weird world where intros only serve to catch your attention.
What next? McTehTarik and McPorridge?! Oh, they already have them in M'sia, don't they? Or something like those?

Wonda, the picture was meant to mislead readers, ha ha. I'm glad it worked with you, honourable lifetime president of the MCC Club.
Nice to 'meat' you. ;-)

Lee Ping said...

Dear Argus,

I just read your reply to me as well as to Wonda.

Argus, not only you can write but you have great sense of humor. "Nice to meat you!" That made me smile.

I will reply to your comment on my Beef Rendang tomorrow. Wifey duty calls. ;)

Argus Lou said...

Thanks, MrsHBT. You're too kind - as usual. If ever I come out with a book, maybe you'll buy 5 copies? ^_^

WokandSpoon said...

You eat avocado and condensed milk? urghhg! Heheh - I think I have to side with your other half on this! Then again...I haven't tried it!

Argus Lou said...

Dear Wok&Spoon, you gotta try it - it's yummy delicious. Just hafta stop thinking of avocado as guacamole or in savoury terms; instead, think of it as a creamy, smooth dessert, yes! with sweetened condensed milk, no less. It's a great Lou family tradition, I kid u not.

wonda said...

Lee Ping's post on vegetarian food makes me turn "green". I love avocado with soy sauce and wasabi. Avocado just with soy sauce is heavenly and the wasabi is for the extra kick.

Argus Lou said...

Wonda, now I've gotta switch off the sweet side of my brain and try your avocado with soy sauce - not kidding me, right? (aiyo, with wasabe some more...) ;P

J.T. said...

Hello Argus

Thanks for dropping by my blog. :)

What's delicious and red all over? My fingers after eating a bowl of cherries. :) Despite that little mess, I still love them.

Thanks for the info on beetroot. Seen it at the stores but never tried it. So, all I need to do is boiled it down, slice off the skin, dress it with lemon and honey (or sugar) and eat it? Sounds easy. :)

melody said...

hey i remember that beetroot burger thing in australia... but i think i had a hungry jacks rather than a mcd's... sorry, was kinda "replying" to one of your fans' comment hehe.

my beets are soaking in brine or some kind of liquid. they're the waitrose ones. ok lah, i prefer them to be un-brined. :P

i like rambutan. and lychee. yes, they are red on the outside, where it counts. to me, at least.

melody said...

oh wait, i have to tell you KFC's latest menu. well not really LATEST but still quite new. They have rice now, so it's kinda like chicken rice, except the rice ain't that great and the chicken's, well, deep fried. but that's not what i REALLY wanted to tell you.
The ad for this KFC rice thing goes: "We MUST have rice".
The first time I saw the ad I was thinking, "yeah, JY would definitely disagree with that".


Very random, yes?

Argus Lou said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Argus Lou said...

j.t., welcome to Argus World, where not everything ends how it begins.

Ah, your fingers are delicious and red after a cherry feast. ;-)

Shrink-wrapped beetroot found in the cold veggie section is pre-boiled, so you don't even have to cook it. Just slice off the skin. Beetroot is also sold precooked/pickled in jars and tins.

Argus Lou said...

Melody, so did the beetroot burger in Hungry Jack's do it for you? Was the bun stained red?

Red skin of rambutan and lychee? Fair enuff. Today I ate 3 red things: dried cranberries, beetroot and cherries. Do you think my intestines will see red? OK, don't think farther than that.

Ha ha. You thought of me because you think I seldom eat rice, or what? FYI, I have nasi lemak now in my fridge, made with pandan essence (yeah, altogether now -- ee-yer!).

SteamyKitchen said...

my favorite red food is CHILLI!!

Argus Lou said...

Hi, glamorous SteamyKitchen. Welcome to Argus World, where discussions and expositions can turn into recipes any time.

Chilli? No wonder your kitchen's steamin'!

My old living-room

My old living-room
In Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

A cherished dream

A cherished dream
To live on a pale beach by a crystal clear sea. (This was taken on the east coast of Johor state, Malaysia.)