Sunday, August 30, 2009

Grandma's Borscht

As much as we would like to always eat vegan, we have stumbled into a few obstacles:

1) Sudden cravings for Wisconsin cheese
2) Passover

and the newest one,

3) Tamar's Grandma's recipes.

In respect for my Grandma Lydia's cooking - cherished in the Hellman family clan- I cannot get myself to start finding substitutes for the eggs and dairy in her recipes. So as I start to run through my grandma's 1,000+ recipes in the coming months, veganism will have to be temporarily pushed aside, hopefully not for more than a few hours at a time...

We picked up beets from our CSA last week, and knowing that my grandma's borscht is legendary, we decided to tackle her recipe. Like many of my grandma's recipe notecards, this one needed a little deciphering:

One thing was easy to understand: the heart in the corner meant this was a Hellman family classic.

We used Grandma's recipe as a guideline. We had fresh beets and no sour salt (I didn't even know such a thing existed until wikipedia explained it to me). To be honest, we didn't really measure anything as we went along - we relied on constant taste testing. So following is our recipe, based on the above, but it should also be used only as a guideline, depending on your own taste.


1 lb beets (about 3 beets), peeled and shredded - thank you, Cuisinart.
1.5-2 cups water
1/4 cup greek yogurt
2 tsp lemon juice
Garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper to taste

Bring beets, water and some salt to a boil on medium heat, add spices, and let simmer for a few more minutes so that beets are tender but still crisp. Take beets off the heat, and let cool for 10 minutes. Stir in yogurt, lemon juice and additional seasonings to taste.

Best to refrigerate for an hour before serving. Though in our case, I think we lasted for about 15 minutes before we gave in and ate. In keeping with our polish neighborhood cuisine, we ate the borscht alongside store-bought mushroom and sauerkraut pierogies.

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