Imperfect, Easy, Delicious
I just made borscht for lunch. I did not exactly follow the recipe. Cooking requires a lot of tools! Large soup pots, graters, sharp knives…. While I was cooking, I had an (unoriginal) idea of forming a community kitchen. People would bring their own ingredients and rent out a fully stocked kitchen for a certain amount of time, cleaning it when they were done. I think it’s a great idea! Does it already exist? Kind of.
Anyway, I made borscht!
I kind of followed this recipe. Here’s an even fancier (and more time-consuming) recipe. Too much for a hungry girl on a sleepy Saturday morning. I halved the first recipe to fit my largest soup pot. The recipe called for 16 cups of water and I could fit 7 in mine. I forgot that I halved the recipe when seasoning the soup, but luckily I also forgot to measure anything out. My soup is well-seasoned and I think the vegetables are cooked perfectly. The potatoes were especially soft and cuddly.
The recipe first instructed me to prep my ingredients before beginning to cook, which I really appreciated. I did cheat a little and start the water boiling while I was still chopping veggies, and that water boiled for a looooong time before I was done.
I chopped two medium-sized red potatoes into bite-sized pieces (unpeeled), peeled and chopped one large red beet and one small golden beet into the dull unwieldy knife version of “matchsticks,” and chopped the rest of the baby carrots and green onions left in my fridge. The recipe really called for a regular onion. C’est la vie. I also chopped a quarter of a purple cabbage much more coarsely than the original author’s beautiful and delicate picture instructed.
Contrary to Ben and all the other perfect choppers of the world, veggies actually taste good in every shape.
I dropped the potatoes into that still-boiling water (and burned myself with every drop! ouch! I must Google how to drop veggies into hot water without getting burnt on the splash back). At the same time, I sauteed the beets, carrots, and scallions in olive oil. Being so tiny, the scallions got kind of burnt in the oil. They taste fine to me in the soup, but next time I would use a regular onion or cook the scallions in the water with the potatoes.
After 15 minutes, I added the cabbage to the water and added to the sauteing veggies two to-go containers of ketchup from a drive-through burger restaurant Ben and I went to earlier in the week. I let everything cook for a few more minutes, then added the beets, carrots, and scallions to the pot.
Pardon me, I’m going to get another bowl of soup. Maybe I’ll eat it all! Ben never seems too excited when I tell him my plans to boil cabbage and beets…. Whatever, I’m a happy Eastern European girl. Table for one, please!
As the veggies boiled and cooked and melded together, I added one leftover oriental-flavored ramen packet (my bouillon), all the lemon juice and half the lime juice in my fridge, a very generous amount of lemon pepper, a very generous amount of dill (from a shaker, not fresh), and a tiny pinch of salt. And voila! I feel like I’m back in Prague.