Sunday Dinner – Summer Borscht and Peach Melba

Greetings, my Fellow Springdellians!  

A big part of my enjoyment of cooking comes from exploring new ways to see my family eat (and even enjoy) the multitude of veggies that grace our share boxes.  Some are a harder sell than others (as I’m sure many of you can relate to) but I am convinced that there is an “aha” moment out there somewhere for every veggie and the person that dislikes said veggie.  My personal goal is to keep cooking those unloved veggies many different ways for my family until I can find those “aha” moments for each one.  If I have yet to find a veggie’s “aha” recipe, I at least try to find a “huh” recipe.  (The “huh” recipe is simply one in which the veggie is present but incognito in a dish.)

Enter the beet – a veggie that most people seem to either love or despise.  The beet has always been a toughie in my household.  My boys have yet to knowingly try one.  My husband is not a fan, and I am completely enamored by them.  (Glen and I once had a full-blown argument about the merits of beets.  It ended in laughter because- well, because we were arguing about beets.)  The search for the “aha” recipe continues for my beet haters.  The “huh” recipe for our beets is to put them into some form of chocolate cake.  (If you’ve followed the blog, you’ve seen us talk about Orange Beet Cupcakes and Chocolate Velvet Beet Cupcakes in the past.)  Though we have some solid “huh” beet recipes in our arsenal, sometimes you just have to let those beets shine, love them, and rejoice in your leftovers the following day at lunchtime.  Such was the way it went today.  

One of my personal favorite go-to recipes for beets is Ina Garten’s Summer Borscht.  I’ve made this for several cookouts and find this soup is either avoided completely, or people are begging for recipe.  This is a great time to make it as it involves so many fresh seasonal items, including cucumbers, scallions, fresh dill, and of course, beets!  I’ll refer you to the Barefoot Contessa herself for this one, but I have had some successful small adaptations of this recipe.  I’ve used vanilla yogurt in place of the plain yogurt and then reduced the sugar in the recipe.  I also rarely boil the beets as the recipe suggests, preferring to roast them in foil.  I then use the peels to infuse the beet flavor into the stock as the stock defrosts on the stove.  However you make it, I for one recommend it for the beet lover.  Thank you to the Barefoot Contessa!imageFortunately Alex and Sarah both like beets and enjoy this soup!  The rest of the boys will have to wait for their own “aha” beet dish, or next round of “huh” beet cupcakes.  🙂imageToday we also enjoyed some hearty burgers with homemade pickles, some carrot and cabbage peanut slaw, corn, and cukes.  imageOn the side we had a red lettuce salad with cranberries, goat cheese, and balsamic glaze.imageFor dessert I made Fresh Peach Melba.  I love this dessert because I feel like it really allows the natural flavors of the peaches and raspberries to shine.  I chose to forego the traditional vanilla ice cream and instead use freshly whipped cream (2 cups heavy cream, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla) that I then partially froze.  imageFor a simple raspberry sauce I puréed the raspberries before adding sugar to taste and stirring at a low bubble until things began to thicken a bit (somewhere between 5-10 minutes).  imageI then opted to remove the seeds using my strainer and a wooden spoon to push things through.  imageIt can at it be a little labor intensive but so worth it if you keep at it until only the seeds remain in the strainer.imageBlanching peaches to remove their skins is usually a hit or miss for me.  If the peaches aren’t perfectly ripe, I usually forego the blanching and just do a paring knife peel by hand, trying to move as little skin as possible.  It can also be tough to get that perfectly round peach look if the fruit isn’t totally ripe and ready to let go of the pit.  If you are having trouble, feel free to just cut into large chunks and forego the perfect presentation, as the flavor will make up for it. I poached the peeled peach halves (and some peach pieces) in a pan with 2 cups water and about 1 cup of dissolved sugar for just a few minutes to infuse a little more sweetness.  

To assemble, simply put a dollop or two of the whipped cream into your dish,  followed by 1 (small) poached peach worth of peach, and then drizzle on the raspberry sauce.  YUM!

imageThe end result was scrumptious!imageToday, as I was cooking, my two year-old reluctantly tasted his very first peach.  He had his “aha” moment and devoured the whole thing.  I couldn’t be happier!

About Jess

Jess Anderson is the creator of CSA|365 and is passionate about the local food movement. A long time member of Springdell and a busy mother of two, Jess loves keeping her family fed by honest local food.

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