BORSCHT – Pretty In Pink!

borscht2 textWith the weather heating up and bulky clothes coming off, I’m always looking for ways to appease my hunger but shred the pounds. Soups are generally my go-to diet food since they fill you up without a lot of calories. But hot soup in hot weather doesn’t really appeal to me, so I look to chilled soups.

For some reason I’ve always been leery of beets. It’s not that I didn’t like them – I’d never even eaten one. When they came in a salad, I let these deep red strips remain untouched…until my husband inevitably asked if he could have them.

I’ve been hearing about how nutritious beets are so I finally decided it was time to face my fear and actually try them. Since my husband mentioned recently that he loved borscht (beet soup),  I figured I’d start there. Not only was the soup super easy, but superb (I’m in an alliterative mood).

Note: Beets stain, so take care handling them. I got a drop on some fabric, but used OxyClean immediately and it came right out.

BORSCHT – makes 5 cups

  • 1½ lbs beets with 1″ of stem remaining
  • 4 2/3 cups water
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 T + 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 T + 1 tsp distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp dried dill or 2 T fresh

Scrub beets clean and leave unpeeled. Into a saucepan place the whole beets, 4 2/3 cups water, onion, sugar, vinegar, and salt. Bring to boil, cover, lower flame, and let simmer until beets are easily pierced with a skewer (about 45 minutes). Remove beets to a cutting board to cool enough to handle.

Line a strainer with a paper towel and place over a bowl. Remove and discard onion from saucepan, then carefully (so you don’t splatter) pour liquid into strainer (DON’T FORGET THE BOWL UNDERNEATH TO CATCH THE LIQUID!). Set bowl aside.

Using the wet paper towel, rub the beets to remove skin. Remove and discard the top and bottom of beet. Take half the beets and shred them (a food processor makes quick and clean work of this). Place in a small bowl and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Take the remainder of the beets and cut into 1/2″ chunks (exact size doesn’t matter). Place in a blender and top with some of the saved beet liquid so that they’re submerged about 1″. Blend until pureed – at least 1 minute. Add in remainder of the liquid and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Into a serving bowl place the shredded beets, pureed beets, lemon juice, and dill. Combine the sour cream and heavy cream. Whisk into the soup. Season as needed. (I added a little more lemon juice.)

 

GOLDEN GAZPACHO – Soup With The Midas Touch!

Refreshing GOLDEN GAZPACHO

Refreshing GOLDEN GAZPACHO

In my part of the world, summers are brutal. It’s not unusual for temperatures to rise above 100º F (for you celsius folks, that’s over 38º)! So, what am I making for dinner? Soup!

No, the heat hasn’t addled my brain – I’m talking chilled soup, specifically GOLDEN GAZPACHO. The key is to make it early in the day. This serves two functions: 1) the kitchen hasn’t heated up yet so I can comfortably do my chopping, and 2) for Golden Gazpacho to be at its peak of flavor, it needs to be ice cold.

There’s a lot of wiggle room in this recipe. You can adapt it to suit you preferences. In fact, I once mistakenly bought a papaya instead of the called-for mango. (As I sliced through it, I kept waiting for the giant seed – it never came.) Papaya was wonderful, and a lot easier to cut up.

NOTE: Cilantro is one of the ingredients. A lot of people (including myself) think it tastes like soap. So before adding it to your whole batch, do a taste test with a small portion. I have to divide the soup and add cilantro to half since my husband prefers it, and I hate it. But – I love my husband.

GOLDEN GAZPACHO – makes about 5 cups

  • 3 tomatoes (any color), chopped – you can leave the skin on
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock (purchased or homemade – VEGETABLE STOCK)
  • 1 T chili pepper (any kind), seeded & chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 mango, chopped
  • 1 cup melon (cantaloupe, honeydew), chopped
  • 1 small yellow pepper (or orange or red), chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, skinned, seeded, & chopped
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup scallions, sliced
  • optional: 1/2 T cilantro

In a blender or food processor, purée 1 tomato, vegetable stock, chili, lime juice, turmeric, salt, orange juice, 1/3 cup mango, and 1/3 cup cantaloupe. Pour into large serving bowl and add remaining ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired. Refrigerate at least 4 hours – the longer, the better.