Comfort Food

14 11 2010

When life hands you lemons you can react a couple of different ways. Leave your head on the pillow or get up and put one foot in front of the other. After leaving my head on the pillow for a few days, I got up, put one foot in front of the other until I was in the kitchen doing what makes me feel better, cooking. Unfortunately for Tony and I, the past few weeks have dealt us some blows, but we are surrounded by amazing family and friends. Thank-you to those that read this and have been by our side.

I have made Borshch with my mom many times (assuming ‘made’ means drinking wine and watching). Last year and at the start of this blog, I chronicled our Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner, which includes Borshch. My mom measured out the recipes as she cooked from memory. This way I could write them down and make it all on my own one day. I’m workin’ on it.

Well I grew great beets this year, although small, and they’ve been in the fridge since October. I paired them up with some organic beets from Planet Organic to make a big pot of Borshch. I followed the recipe, consulted mom and found solace in a quiet kitchen and the comforting smell of soup simmering on the stove like the generations before me. Here is our family Borshch recipe, I hope it brings you as much comfort as it did me last night.

  • 6 large Beets, I ended up using about 12 small beets
  • 1/2 c dried Brown Mushrooms, broken and chopped up (if not dried, then saute them in a bit of olive oil before using)
  • 2-3 Chicken Bouillon cubes (I use the veggie variety)
  • 4 Bay Leaves
  • 6 Pepper Corns
  • 1 1/2 c diced Celery
  • 1 1/2 c diced Carrots
  • 1 1/2 c diced Green Beans
  • 1 1/2 c Peas (frozen okay)
  • 1 medium White Onion, diced and sautéed until golden brown
  • 3-4 c of Beet Tops, chopped small, separate the stems from the leaves
  • 1 tsp Dill (dried okay)
  • 1/2 c Italian Parsley, chopped well
  • 2 tbsp Flour
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil (choose a natural oil, stay away from processed oils, aka Canola)

Clean off the beats, no need to peel, cut the roots and tough parts off. Grate the beets using a food processor, rough chop them first, the grating attachment makes this very easy and less messy. If you don’t have a food processor, grate whatever way works for you. Makes about 12 cups.

 

In a soup pot, place the beets, diced beet stems, mushrooms, bay leaves, pepper corns and bouillon cubes and cover with water. Bring to boil, cover, simmer covered for 15 min. Add celery, parsley, simmer covered for 15 min. Add beans, carrots, simmer covered for 15 min. Add peas, chopped beet greens, sautéed onions and 1/4 to 1/2 c of water if you think it needs it. Simmer covered for 15 min, the veggies will be al-dante.

Once the soup is done, in small sauce pot, cook the flour over medium-high heat, stirring continuously for 60-90 seconds. Take the flour off the heat and add the butter and oil, continue stirring, the butter should melt and maybe froth up a bit. You’ve just made a roux and probably didn’t ruin it over the heat, good job. Add three cups of the borsch to the roux, one cup at a time, mixing well, and then add it all back into the main soup pot. The cooked flour and roux brings the flavours together and makes the soup glisten. Look at it, isn’t it pretty.

Serve with a dollop of sour creme or plain yogurt and fresh cracked pepper. It’s like a hug in a bowl.

Eat well, Be Well,

Nat

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Seeds of Change: Part IV

29 08 2010

Today was a kitchen day, I like those days. I picked beets from the garden on Thursday and was very eager to roast them and steam the beet greens. I found a nice Halibut recipe to go with the beets. I ended up creating one with the peaches and fresh cherry tomatoes. Sunday dinner became Pan Roasted Halibut with a Roasted Peach and Tomato salsa served with the star of the show, beets done two ways.

Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese

3 Beets

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar

1 Sprig of Thyme, leaves removed

Salt and Pepper

Place whole beets on tin foil, drizzle with olive oil, vinegar, thyme and salt and pepper. Seal tightly, place foil package on a cookie sheet and roast in a 425 degree oven for 90 min. Remove from oven, open foil, let cool until you can lightly scrape the outside skin off the beets. Cut into 1 cm slices and drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Sauteed Beet Greens

Beet Greens, roughly chopped, larger stems cut off

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Clove of Garlic, halved

1-2 Tsp Chilli Flakes

Heat the garlic in the olive oil on medium heat in a saute pan. I just scented the olive oil with garlic, as I don’t like using too much garlic. You can use minced garlic if you’d like. I removed the garlic from the oil when it was browned. Add the chilli flakes, turn heat up to medium-high, add the beet greens. Saute, coating the leaves and then cover for 3-5 min, until bright green and wilted.

I served the two dishes ‘deconstructed’, with Dill and Onion Goats Cheese we bought at Carmelis Goat Cheese Farm in Kelowna, on the side. Mmmm Sunday Dinner. How was your Sunday dinner?

Eat Well, Be Well,

Nat

p.s. couple of blog changes, you can now share blog postings, click on the ‘share’ icon and choose your favourite way. Also, I have started to highlight links in another colour, hopefully that helps see them better.





Fast Food

21 03 2010

Friday night was our first night back and we were craving fast and comforting food. I love Mexican but unless you are buying and cutting up veggies like we did, plentiful veggies are hard to come by eating out. We were foggy headed on Friday – got home at 2AM, into bed by 3AM and gone by 9AM and dealing with daylight savings, that happens April 4 in Sayulita. I made it to Planet Organic for groceries and looked in the freezer and fridge to sort out dinner. Before Mexico I threw leftover cooked quinoa and brown rice in the freezer. Along with the veggies I picked up I made this healthful bowl for dinner, it was great and hit the spot.

2 cups cooked Quinoa and Brown Rice

3-4 Sun Dried Tomatos in oil, finely diced + tsp or so of the oil

3 Yellow Beets, cubed

3 small Sweet Potatoes, cubed

1/2 Red Onion, chopped

1 Red Pepper, chopped

1 Zucchini, chopped

3 Tbsp Olive Oil, salt & pepper and various spices like oregano, dried basil, thyme and rosemary

Crumbled Feta Cheese

Heat oven to 425F. Place beets, sweet potatoes and onion in a roasting dish, toss with olive oil and spices and roast for 45 to 60 min, stir occasionally. Roast until veggies start to soften, add the red pepper and zucchini, roast a bit longer, say 15-30 min, depends on the dish you use and how cooked the veggies are. Just aim to have them all about the same texture, soft not mushy. When they are ready, in a heated saute pan add the rice, quinoa and sun dried tomatoes with oil and stir-fry till hot. In a big bowl add the rice, spoon over the veggies and top with feta, as much as you like. Garnish with fresh cracked pepper. Dinner is served.

Eat well, Nat