Not exactly Polish…

I’ve mentioned my quest for gluten-free Polish recipes, and although this isn’t Polish, it’s Ukrainian, so it celebrates vegetables from the same region, very broadly speaking. My neighborhood did not lose power during Hurricane Sandy, so last night for dinner (and again today for lunch), my family enjoyed hearty bowls of borscht.

This part takes forever: scrub and peel about two pounds of beets. Then shred the beets. I think you can use a food processor for this, but I did it with one of those fancy Swiss peelers. It took forever, and the fingertips of my left hand are still stained red/brown, but I felt that it made my borscht more authentic.

Peel, then shred, two large onions. I didn’t have fresh onions, so I used one large head of fennel, and then added dried minced onions to the pot.

Put the shredded beets and onions (or fennel) into a large Dutch oven or stock pot and cover them with approximately four cups of water (or chicken or vegetable stock, if you have it). (Since I didn’t have stock, I added a bit of butter and all-purpose seasoning when I added the water.) Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat, put the lid on, and simmer the mixture for half an hour.

After 30 minutes of simmering, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and some salt and pepper (to taste); stir it all together and let it simmer another 10 minutes. Serve in bowls, topped with a dollop of sour cream (or whole-milk yogurt, which is what I used) and a dash of dried dill weed. Enjoy!

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Butterhead Lettuce Makes a Lovely Fall Salad

I get my butterhead lettuce (via Pure Sprouts) from Butter Valley Harvest, which grows its greens hydroponically. They’re crisp and delightful, and they make a great salad. For fall, I like to take a head of butterhead lettuce, tear it apart, and add dried cranberries and white Stilton cheese with dried cranberries embedded in it. Then I toss it with a simple dressing of balsamic vinegar and sesame oil.

Kids Love Broccoli!

That is, when it’s prepared with a bit of cheese 🙂 If your family eats dairy products, this is a great way to “fancy up” (as Nancy would say) your greens.

Steam the broccoli: Pour an inch of spring water into a pot. Put a steamer basket (I use the top part of my rice cooker) on top. Cut florets from 1/2 pound of cleaned broccoli into the steamer basket. Put the whole thing on the stovetop and boil the water until the broccoli turns bright green (which won’t take very long).

While the broccoli is steaming, melt 4 tablespoons of butter (I like Natural by Nature and Kerrygold) in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in 3 tablespoons of corn flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill organic), 1/2 teaspoon of salt (I like Himalasalt), and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper (Simply Organic black pepper is great). Allow the mixture to come to a boil, while stirring to thicken it. Add 2 cups of cut-up or shredded cheese (I like Calkins Creamery Highlander and Kerrygold Vintage Dubliner) and stir until the mixture is smooth.

Put the steamed broccoli in a buttered Pyrex dish, cover it with the cheese sauce, stir it all together, cover it with foil, and heat it in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or so. Tasty!