Monday, January 26, 2009


Once again, I've never been to Russia, but I've wanted to try borscht. My, there sure are a lot of different recipes floating around! I had a hard time limiting myself to one style of soup, so here is my take on borscht.

4 beets, peeled and diced
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 onion, peeled and diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/4 head cabbage, shredded
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz can tomatoes
1 qt beef broth
water (I used 2 tomato cans worth)
salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a large stock pot, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 2-3 hours or until all the vegetables are soft. Remove from heat and puree with a stick blender. If you need to do this in a blender, do so in small batches and very carefully. Return to heat.

To serve, make sure it is piping hot and top with a dollap of sour cream. Serve with a good bread.

This was VERY good, in my opinion. My husband wasn't sure of the beet taste at first, but as long as the soup was hot, it grew on him. It was a very purple-red, smooth vegetable soup. I would have kept the soup with chunks in it except everything was the same color purple and it didn't look appetizing as it was.

I used frozen carrots because that was what I had, and the cabbage was a last minute inclusion as it was looking sad in the bottom of the crisper. I could probably include nearly any root vegetable.

This made, conservatively, 15 cups of soup. We ate, including the kids, plenty. I divided the rest into 2 containers and froze one. This recipe could easily be increased with more vegetables and liquid, but I only have an 8qt pot, so I couldn't do much more unless I used my canner.

I was concerned I didn't have a side salad or vegetable initially, until I thought about what we were eating! Silly mom!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Favorite Kitchen Appliance

I found this entry that I created in September but didn't post. It is still relevant, although my once dependable Braun one day decided it would no longer run water through the grounds. As a matter of fact, it wouldn't heat the burner either. I went nearly 2 weeks without replacing it, although my coffee drinking only decreased slightly. Press pots work rather well even with Folgers (or Maxwell House). The coffee pot was replaced, and all is right (for us) in the world.

I have a number of appliances and kitchen gadgets. I would have to say my favorite appliance though is my coffee pot. It isn't fancy - 10 cup programmable Braun that is probably 8-10 years old, but it is dependable. I've always said that coffee is proof that God loves me. That dark goodness, flavorful, and smooth going down. Something about starting the day with a warm mug of steaming necter of love that makes my day.

And lest you think I joke, I also have a 4-cup programmable coffee pot in my bathroom. Each weekday my DH and I waken to the sound of the coffee's "drip-drip" and that final "hiss" as the pot finishes its morning brew. Ahhhh....I can arise and face whatever the day brings. And sometimes, it is my husband bringing me coffee in bed. Heaven on Earth!

And then the kids barge in.

Ukrainian Black Bread

I have never been to the Ukraine, but I love bread. Based of a recipe here and various others.

1T yeast
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup strong coffee (I used what was left in my cup from this morning.)
1T molasses
1 3/4 cups rye flour
1 1/2 cups white flour
2t salt

Dissolve yeast in water in mixer bowl. Add warm coffee and molasses. Stir and let sit 5-10 minutes.

Add flours and salt and mix on low to combine, then let mixer knead for 10 minutes or until smooth.

Let rise in warm spot in covered bowl for 2 hours. Shape into loaves on sheet pan and allow to rise 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450'. Place bowl of water in oven and bake bread for 20 minutes. Lower to 375', remove bowl, and bake additional 30 minutes or until done.

So, it turned out, well, not as I had expected. The crust was nice and chewy, so I'll have to be sure to use the water trick again. It was much denser than I had expected. I think I'll add either more molasses or a bit of sugar since the whole thing didn't rise much. I'm not sure my water was warm enough, and I didn't think of warm water since it didn't say as much. Which is strange as I am not much of a precise recipe follower. I might also add a bit of gluten. Definately a try again though.