Sunday, October 31, 2010
Lonely September, Lovely Food
I really can't complain too much about J's trips for work, considering he usually is only gone for 6 weeks at the max, and everyone else's husbands are deployed for a year at a time, but it still sucks. Especially when I know he could be in danger :( Such is Military Life.
Since it was the first few weeks of the pregnancy I slept A LOT. I pretty much slept, read, went to yoga, and hung out on the internet for September.
Luckily, my awesome upstairs neighbor is here to keep me company and we've both been eating better because of it. Cooking for yourself sucks, so if I'm cooking for both of us I'll make real food instead of subsisting on canned baked beans and cottage cheese.
Growing up my best friend was Ukrainian, and her mom made awesome Borscht. I'd been craving beets, which were oddly hard to find here, but I did get some at the farmer's market. I was trying to find one online that matched my memory, but there are as many kinds of borscht as there are kinds of chili, so I thought I'd just go straight to the source and I emailed her mom and got the recipe, which I will now share with you!
This makes A LOT of soup. It filled my 7-quart Dutch Oven, so be prepared to freeze half or feed an army.
1 bunch beets (I used 1 kilo I think, but in the US they come bundled, right?)
1 lg onion
1/2 head of cabbage
1 15oz can of red beans (optional)
1 6oz can of tomato paste
1 15oz can tomato sauce
3 bay leaves
2-4 cloves garlic, pressed
6 TBSP vinegar, more to taste
2 tsp sugar
S&P to taste *I used beef bullion granules instead of salt for extra depth of flavor.
fresh dill and sour cream to serve THIS IS IMPORTANT
Shred the carrots and beets in a food processor (like for coleslaw). Set aside and shred the cabbage. Saute the chopped onion in some olive oil in a separate saute pan until soft, then add the carrots, garlic, and beets. Saute 10 minutes until soft.
Bring 5 quarts (about) of water to a boil in your soup pot, then add the cubed potatoes, cabbage, and bay leaves. Boil 10 minutes.
To the saute pan, add the tomato paste and sauce, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Cook 10 minutes.
Add the contents of the saute pan to the soup pot. Simmer 10 minutes and adjust flavors if necessary. Turn off heat, add the beans (rinsed), and serve with sour cream and fresh herbs.
Another great meal we shared is a local Frankfurt-Area specially known as Gruen Sosse, "Green Sauce". This summery meatless meal was apparently Goethe's favorite.
I had it at a German friend's house and fell in love! This is another dish with a lot of variations, so you can suit it to your own taste without feeling unfaithful to the tradition of it :P
Unfortunately, you do need a large selection of fresh herbs, some of which are mostly grown only in this part of Germany or collected wild. They sell packets of the herbs in special kits just for the sauce. Packets usually contain a mix of Chervil, Parsley, Sorrel, Burnet(?), Chives, Borage, Cress, Tarragon, and Dill; depending on the season. My particular mix had no dill, but I don't know what they substituted.
Traditionally this sauce is eaten cold over hot boiled fingerling potatoes and hardboiled eggs.
Clean the herbs and remove the stems. Chop by hand or coarsely in a food processor. Mash the yolk of one of the hardboiled eggs with a few TBSP of olive oil, and add S&P, 1 TBSP mustard or creamy horseradish and the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Some people add some fresh diced onion and mayo at this point too. Combine with the herbs. Add 1-2 cups of sour cream or yogurt (or a mix) to achieve the desired consistency, and allow to chill while you boil the potatoes.
serve like this: (Not my picture)
My neighbor and I also got to have a lovely walk through the field into town and had a picnic in the KurPark on a gorgeous Indian Summer day and got some nice pictures:
The view from the field near the base