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Orchestration Of Beets, Fish And Peach

Chef John Greeley heads the kitchen at New York's historic 21 Club, and he brought his skills to The Saturday Early Show as the Chef on a Shoestring, preparing a meal for four people on a budget of $40.

Greeley's culinary interest started in his teens, when he spent his summers working at restaurants on Nantucket. He received a fine arts degree from the Savannah (Ga.) College of Art and Design. During his college years, he was sous-chef at the acclaimed 45 South restaurant in Savannah's historic district, where dishes were prepared with an emphasis on local ingredients.

Upon graduation, Greeley returned to New York City and began working at the 21 Club under then-Chef Michael Lomonaco. He was quickly promoted to sous-chef. In 2002, he became opening sous-chef of the Upstairs at 21, and was then promoted to chef de cuisine. Last year, he was awarded the restaurant's top post.

The 21 Club was founded as a speakeasy in 1930. The shelves of liquor bottles behind the bar could be made to vanish rapidly thanks to a system of pulleys, while a secret basement wine cellar hid 2,000 bottles of wine. From the beginning, stars and political figures flocked there, and many films have been shot there as well. Today there are two different restaurants at 21. The Bar Room is more casual, while Upstairs at 21 offers an intimate, more formal dining experience.

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Here is the menu for Saturday:
Roasted Beet Salad
Sauteed Hake on a Bed of Braised Greens and Beans with Carrot-Ginger Sauce
Caramelized Peaches with Cinnamon Twists and Vanilla Ice Cream.


Beets: This root vegetable has leafy green tops which are also edible and highly nutritious. Beets are available year-round; choose firm beets with smooth skins. Smaller beets tend to be more tender than larger beets. If beet greens are attached, they should be crisp and bright.

Cranberry Beans: This bean has a large, knobby beige pod splotched with red. The beans inside are cream-colored with red streaks, but the streaks go away when the beans are cooked. The beans must be shelled before cooking. They are available fresh and dried.

Flat Beans: These look like string beans but are larger and, well, flatter. Green string beans are a good substitute.

Hake: This saltwater fish is low in fat and has white, delicately-flavored meat. It's related to cod, and can be prepared in any way that's suitable for cod.



Part 1: Roasting Beets

1 bunch golden beets (with greens)
1 bunch red beets (with greens)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, place a sheet pan in oven for the beets. Cut the greens off the tops and wash in cold water; reserve.
  2. Wash and dry the beets. Rub a little oil on them, then season with salt and pepper.
  3. Wrap beets in aluminum foil to form a loose pouch, and oven roast for 1 hour or until tender.
  4. Check the beets with a small knife by inserting in the middle to see if it slides in easily (large beets will take longer, small beets are faster).
  5. When beets are done, cool to room temperature before peeling.
Note: Beets may be prepared ahead of time. Keep them refrigerated and unpeeled until ready to use.

To peel, use a paper towel to rub off the skin. Skin should come off easily but wear gloves to prevent staining your hands.

Finish by cutting the beets: some in slices, some in wedges and save a little to mince for the dressing.

Part 2 Beet Dressing

4 Tbs. olive oil (or canola oil)
2 Tbs. sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
salt and black pepper to taste.
2 Tbs. red and gold beets (diced as small as possible)


  1. Mix beets, vinegar, salt and pepper in a non-reactive bowl.
  2. Whisk in oil and set aside until ready to use.
Part 3: Plating Beet Salad

2 cups red beets (cut in wedges and slices)
2 cups golden beets (cut in wedges and slices)
2 oz. goat cheese (room temperature)
1 bagel (cut in half following the center hole, then slice as thin as possible, eight slices at least then toast in oven until light brown, you should have an extra half bagel in case you burn the first batch)
2 Tbs. walnuts (shelled, chopped and toasted)
1 Tbs. parsley (washed, dried and chopped)
2 cup arugula (washed well, dried, stems trimmed)
1 Tbs. olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste


  1. On four room temperature plates, arrange arugula in the center of the plate to form a bed to place the beets.
  2. In a stainless steel bowl, toss the beet slices with oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Next, arrange beets over arugula, showcasing the different shapes and colors of the beets.
  4. Drizzle some of the beet dressing over the beets and around the plate.
  5. Finally, take two pieces of the oven dried bagel "crisp" and gently spread a little room temperature goat cheese on them. Finish by sprinkling the toasted walnuts on top. Place crisps on top of salad and serve.

Cooking the hake

1.5 pounds hake filet (cut into 4 portions)
Wondra flour (dust the fish with this to prevent sticking to pan)
Salt (to taste)
cayenne pepper (to taste)
2 Tbs. canola oil
1 Tbs. butter (unsalted)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, season hake filets, and sprinkle a little Wondra flour on the fish to prevent sticking.
  2. In a non-stick fry pan on medium heat, add oil and butter to pan. When butter gets foamy, add the fish and sauté until golden brown. Flip fish over gently and cook in the oven for 4 - 5 minutes until fish is just cooked through. Hake is delicate and becomes opaque white and flaky when done.
Beet Greens and Cranberry Beans

1/2 cup onion (diced small)
2 pieces bacon (cut into small half inch pieces)
beet greens (stems removed, washed and cut in half, par cooked in salted boiling water until just wilted and shocked in ice)
1/2 lb flat beans, cut into one-inch pieces (cooked in salted boiling water, until tender and shocked in ice water)
1/2 lb cranberry beans (picked from pods, and cooked in salted boiling water until tender, then shocked in ice water)
1 tsp. butter
1 Tbs. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a fry pan on medium heat, melt butter in oil and add the bacon, render out the fat, then add the onion; cook until translucent.
  2. Add the beans and beet greens; cook until heated through, check seasoning and serve.
Carrot-Ginger Sauce

1 cup carrot juice (use juicer or buy; reduce by half on stove in small pot)
1/2 lemon (juice only)
2 Tbs. butter (unsalted)
1 tsp. ginger (grated fine on a microplane)
1 Tbs. parsley (minced)


  1. In a small fry pan, add butter and cook on medium heat, stirring frequently until butter begins to foam and turns light brown.
  2. Turn off heat and add lemon juice, carrot juice reduction and ginger. Season with salt and finish with parsley, serve warm immediately.
Plating the dish
Place cooked hake on hot plates with the braised beet greens and beans. Drizzle carrot-ginger sauce around plate. And serve.


Ingredients for the Caramelized Peaches
2 large ripe peaches (cut into wedges, 12 wedges per peach)
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of cinnamon

Method for the Caramelized Peaches

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. On a sheet pan, lay out peaches and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
  3. Cook in oven until sugar on peaches begins to caramelize; around 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Remove and serve hot, or let cool to room temperature. Arrange around ice cream and garnish with cinnamon crisps.
Ingredients for Cinnamon Twists
1 sheet puff pastry
1/4 cup sugar
1.5 tsp cinnamon

Method for Cinnamon Twists

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cinnamon and sugar, and sprinkle the mix on cutting board.
  2. Place unrolled puff pastry on top, and then sprinkle mix on top, so both sides are covered.
  3. Roll pastry with a rolling pin so the pastry gains an inch in diameter, length, and width. (This will press the cinnamon sugar into the pastry.)
  4. Cut into 12, one-inch-wide strips and twist strips like you would a candy cane stripe, then roll with your hands to form a cylinder. Lie strips on a sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Serve with peaches and vanilla ice cream.

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