Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Russian Classic

The one time I've been to Seattle was eight years ago.  My friend M.S. took me to the famous Seattle pier that I had seen only on Real World Seattle.  We visited all the different cultural food stations and finally decided on the tiny Russian stand that had the best Borscht M.S. had ever tasted.  It was so good!  I instisted that we come back later for seconds, but we never did.

Ever since then I have wanted to recreate that simple ethnic soup, but never got around to it... until this weekend.  Finally!  It's been eight years and the dish was as good as I remember.  Five years ago I bought a cookbook called The Soup Bible and had bookmarked the recipe for Borscht.  Why has it taken me so long to finally make it?!

First I had to find some fresh beets.  My faithful health-food store Henry's had them in the organic section.  While there I picked up mushrooms, onions, celery and dried thyme leaves.

At home I mixed them all together with fresh some lemon juice and half an apple and stewed it for about 45 minutes.  The recipe said the soup is best the day after it is made, but of course I couldn't wait.  I steamed the beet stalks and stems and cooked some barley as a side dish.  I don't know if the barley fits in with the whole Russian theme, but it was a delicious extra with the steamed leaves on top of it.  I garnished the soup with parsley and green onions.

Every recipe has it's own variations, but the one from The Soup Bible that I used was really good, so I would suggest using that one.  I would be happy to try someone elses recipe too though!

I'm starting to get this idea of cooking around the world.  You know, trying different recipes that represent different countries.  This weekend was Russia, where shall I travel to next?  The Czech republic perhaps, the country of my ancestors.

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