On the Road – Bumper Stickers & Roasted Beet Tatin with Goat Cheese & Walnuts

bumper_sticker_honor_studentSo we’ve made it through the primaries which can only mean there will be fewer names but more signs in front lawns … and on car bumpers. While proclaiming your political preferences may (or may not) help your candidate, it doesn’t do a whole lot to entertain or educate your fellow travelers.

For that, we turn to the bumper stickers of proud parents. Well, maybe not; we’re all getting a little tired of the moms and pops who brag about their honor students. Especially, if we know for a fact that their sixteen-year-old kid still can’t ride a two-wheeler or eats paste when the art teacher’s back is turned.

While it was funny the first or second time, the defiant parent rant is not much better. They’re the ones that proclaim: My kid skateboards better than your honor student or My kid can hack into your honor student’s computer.

Then again, all these parents may be on to something. Especially if you believe the bumper sticker that urges you to Be nice to your kids. They’ll choose your nursing home. I’ve still got one question. Which is it – the honor roll kids or the skate boarders and hackers – who follow the BS (that’s bumper sticker) wisdom: To err is human, to blame it on somebody else shows management potential.

There was a time when many thought that riding in the car was calming. The invention of the bumper sticker killed that illusion. I’m not a fan of some of those disconcerting, even threatening signs on the back ends of cars and trucks. They start with the silly – I am not infantile, you stinky poopy head.Then, move on to the (hopefully) tongue in cheek with The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list. The worst have escalated to pure road rage with the likes of This vehicle insured by Smith and Wesson.

Cynical witticisms remind travelers that life is filled to overflowing with strains and tensions. For example, Stress is when you wake up screaming and you realize you weren’t asleep. Or If you are feeling good, don’t worry. You’ll get over it. Then the sad truth hits, forcing you to admit, I used to have a handle on life, but it broke. Perhaps you will feel better if you repeat three times – Without ME, it’s just AWESO.

Look around during a traffic jam and you may see a deep philosophical question, possibly two. Get caught at the tollbooth on 93 in Hooksett on a holiday weekend and you too may ask, What if the hokey pokey is really what it’s all about? Or you could definitely start to wonder, What would Scooby do? Some drivers choose their BS (again that’s bumper sticker) to share their skepticism. Their rear bumper offers up warnings like, Don’t believe everything you think. Hours or minutes, whatever the delay, the cars will eventually start to move. So please stay positive and Take it easy. Life is short.

At journeys end, it’s nice to bring at least one lesson home. How about – Wag more. Bark less. Oh, and maybe just one more, something like … Make dinner not war.

Bon appétit!

Roasted Beet Tatin with Goat Cheese & Walnuts beets
Usually a sweet dessert made with apples, a French tatin is an upside down tart. These mini tatins with roasted beets and goat cheese are a delicious start to any dinner party. Enjoy!
Serves 6

3-4 beets, peeled and cut into wedges
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, cut in half lengthwise and into thin wedges
6 tablespoons dry white wine
About 1 pound frozen puff pastry, thawed *
About 4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
About 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
About 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place the beets on a baking sheet, drizzle with just enough equal parts olive oil and vinegar to lightly coat, sprinkle with thyme, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Spread the beets in a single layer and, turning once or twice, roast at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

Add the onion to the beets with a little more olive oil and vinegar, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Continue roasting until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit.

Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Lightly butter 6 (4-ounce) ramekins. When cool enough to handle, arrange the beets and onion in the ramekins, packing tightly. Drizzle each ramekin with 1 tablespoon white wine.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the puff pastry about 1/8 inch thick. Use a large biscuit or cookie cutter to cut circles of pastry about an inch larger than the tops of the ramekins. Lay the pastry rounds on top of the ramekins. Place the ramekins on a sheet pan and bake until the pastry is nicely browned, about 20 minutes. Let the tarts cool for about 5 minutes.

To serve: one at a time, invert a plate on top of each ramekin and, using a pot holder to hold the ramekin and plate together, invert the tart onto plate. Replace any beets or onions that stick to ramekin. Sprinkle the vegetables with goat cheese, chopped walnuts and parsley and serve immediately.

* If you prefer, use my Savory Flaky Pastry instead of the puff pastry.

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One Year Ago – Fettuccine with Fresh Corn & Tomatoes
Two Years Ago – Chicken Parmagiana with Spaghetti Marinara
Three Years Ago – Lemon Roasted Salmon with Beurre Blanc
Four Years Ago – Wild Mushroom Soup
Five Years Ago – Rustic Apple Tart
Six Years Ago – Oktoberfest Sausages & Sauerkraut

Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

What’s your favorite bumper sticker? Feel free to share – let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. In addition, I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. © Susan W. Nye, 2014


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