Saturday, August 23, 2008 soup

DD and I made borscht today. Basically, we made vegetable soup with the additions of beets and a LOT of dill. Beets and their greens, a whole bunch of fernleaf dill, carrots, potato, green beans, lentils and romano beans mixed with veggie broth and simmered until it was all magenta and tender and tastey. I always add lemon juice and a strip of peel to mine as well. At the very end, I stir in some balsamic vinegar. While eating, we like to add a dollop of sour cream to the bowl and stir it all together into a steaming bowl of heavenly pinkness. This time my beets did not come with tops so I used spinach instead. And while I generally use canned or dried beans, the market had shelling beans so we used those. They were speckled with red so I thought they would look nice, but they lost the marks as they cooked. Everything takes on a pink hue from the beets anyway LOL. Wowee, those beans are good! Very firm without being hard, and creamy with a smokey flavour. I think I will go back tomorrow morning and get a whole hamper full to cook and freeze. Finally, my beets were not as sweet as they usually are, so I added some leftover corn cut from the cob for more sweetness. Traditionally this would be made by simmering a meaty beef or pork bone. But several years ago I made a version without because I had found getting the right "parts" too hard, and wanted to try a lower fat version. And I LOVED it. There was no hardened lard floating around in the cold soup (perfect if you like a cold beet borcht although we normally eat it heated). No bone chips, or gristly meat pieces. And the broth ends up with a cleaner, brighter flavour. This soup looks beautiful, freezes well, reheats like a dream, and has the most interesting blend of flavours. Sweet from the beets, salty from the broth, sour from the vinegar (plus tang from the sour cream), and bitter from the greens or spinach. It sounds so in-your-face and brash, but that is the magic. It isn't brash at all. If anything, it has a subtleness to it that just amazes me. Anyway, who can say no to a bowl of pink soup?

Apparently DD can. She helped me make it, and to her credit she did try the broth (with and without the addition of sour cream). She was polite about it, but clearly did not like it. I was thrilled she even tried it - after all, there ARE veggies in there you know ;).

This is before the sour cream is stirred in. I think it is pretty when it's in there, but it photographs rather like vomit after having too much strawberry milk and a big salad for lunch then deciding to go on the tilt-a-whirl. The before picture is MUCH better LOL.

I also made meatless breakfast sausages. It involved making a dough of wheat gluten and spices and some mashed beans, forming them into little logs and rolling them into foil squares like tootsie rolls, then steaming. They LOOK exactly like brown and serve type sausage links. They smell a bit like pepperoni. Only problem? Too soft. I was hoping for something chewy like a well-cooked sausage link and these are very squishy. Not horrendous browned on all sides and covered in ketchup (how I would eat real sausage anyhow) but I might try baking some for a bit to see if they firm up. The flavour is good, so I am hopeful. As a last resort I will smash them flat before browning to get more dried out surface to squishy innards.

In non-food related news, Ruby went for a grooming today. Her groomer has moved to a new salon, in the basement of a house. The price was the same, and the results were good so I will follow her there. She pinned a pretty purple ribbon to the Doodle's pink harness, so maybe the theme of today is magenta after all!

Tomorrow I have a yoga class in the morning (just trying it out. Wish me luck and cross your fingers that I don't cause damage to anybody including myself. I have this fear I will try something and lose my balance, then take out a whole row of left-nostril-breathing-yogis like so many enlightened dominos). Then I have a session with a personal trainer in the afternoon. Wish me luck there too. The weight training is going fine. It's the 10 minute warmup on the bike and 15 minute cardio at the end on the cross trainer that are more likely to kill me. I am sure it is humerous to watch as I try to remember to put one foot in front of the other while moving my arms AND breathing at the same time.

The last time I managed to somehow hit the button that increases the incline and it got intolerably high before I even noticed it. But you see, in order to make the controls work you have to keep walking to power them. It was too high for me to be able to keep walking more than maybe three steps at a time before stopping. So I would sort of sprint them, desperately mashing the "down" button in a frenzied hope it would work. Not so much. My trainer (Hi Bonnie!) thank goodness checked on me and was probably most surprised to find a one-man-keystone-cops tribute going on. She rescued me and fixed it and now she is my bestest friend. Maybe I will bring her some pink soup tomorrow.


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Anonymous said...

Hi Dances! Old Joyful mentioned missing you on the Kitchen Table, so I looked up your blog today. I usually check it every few days. If you get time, would you please post your recipe for Dances' Pink Soup? My DS and I LOVE borscht after being introduced to it a few years ago, and DH tolerates it. Love your writing style.