Borscht: The Orange Scare

Sorry for keeping you waiting on this post, part of it was the shame of posting this picture….as you can see our Borscht didn’t quite turn out the way it was supposed to. (cough) Not that it was our fault in the least. I totally plan to blame the recipe. In fact, I was going to link to the recipe but the dark, beet red soup picture has ominously been taken down. Perhaps there were too many orange Borscht than dark red soups coming out? I think my case holds water. And for someone who’s studied the LSAT, I could say I have an “honorary” law degree, right? Right.

Now, that I have my Linus blanket latte, I can recall the tragic events that led our Borscht’s downfall…

This time, we decided to tackle the store together as a team. That means obviously, we couldn’t get the other one to go. Which is what couples do! And the only two ingredients we had at home were water and salt.

The store is still very confused and out of order, but having each other there to gawk at it and laugh made a world of difference. We tag teamed the ingredients and we were out of the store in a record time. We even found peeled and diced canned tomatoes to our surprise.

This time we had a plan. 1) Go to the store. 2) See Battle:Los Angeles and eat the chocolate chip muffins we just bought. 3) Go home and make the best Borscht ever. (we should really stop making goals).

The Chocolate Chip Muffins plan worked to tie us over while we saw a movie in a actual theatre. Now that ticket prices are skyrocketing, we tend to save our money for films we think really should be seen on a big screen. Why else should we hand over our savings bonds?

Sadly, we thought this movie was it. While the acting, script, and action shots were all fantastic. One thing was beyond frustrating. Whoever was responsible for the ridiculous camera gnome angles should give us our money back. Since when is being able to see the nose hairs of an actor because you want a close shot, ever good? Or maybe this person was busy doing something else, since the camera seemed to be simply strapped to someone’s shoulder. It was dizzying to watch. And I loved the through the stair railing shots or through some random window…it was like they paid that British guy who got sued over producing such as bad wedding video to film this movie. Thankfully, half way through the movie, it got better and it was enjoyable. Not sure if seeing that one on the big screen was a good idea though…

We left the theatre disucssing what we liked, grumbling about what we didn’t along with our empty stomachs. It was time to do this. 1 Russian Borscht Red Soup coming up.

We did see a few warning signs at the store when we were picking out the ingredients. This recipe calls for 3 potatoes quartered and 3/4 diced potatoes. 1/2 cup of canned peeled, diced tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups of canned diced tomatoes.

As we began to read the directions, it became very clear that they were unclear.

  1. Place water, salt, carrots, 1/2 of the bell pepper, celery, beet, tomatoes (which?? peeled or diced), and quartered potatoes in a large stock pot over high heat. Bring to a boil.
  2. Melt 1/3 cup butter in a separate skillet over medium heat. Saute onions in butter until tender, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes (which?? peeled or diced), reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove 1/2 cup of sauce from skillet, and set aside (Why?). Stir half of the cabbage into the skillet with remaining sauce, and continue simmering 5 minutes more, or until tender.
  3. Remove beet from boiling liquid and discard. (You discard the beet?!) Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon or tongs (Ok…sure), and place in a bowl with remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and the cream. Mash together until smooth. (Yummy).
  4. Return the 1/2 cup of reserved onion-tomato sauce to the stock pot (Ok…). Stir in diced potatoes, and simmer until just tender but still firm, approximately 5 minutes. Increase heat to a low boil, and stir in remaining cabbage, tomato sauce (?? We give up on which one), and mashed potatoes (Nooo! That’s the best part so far…). Reduce heat and simmer a few minutes more. Stir in remaining bell pepper, season with black pepper, and serve. (Dill? The spice I paid $4, where is that?)

We snapped at each other like turtles. Here’s how it went.

“Which tomatoes?”

“I don’t know.”

“Didn’t you just read it?”

Of course, I read it. We’ve both read it. It doesn’t make any difference…

Whoever wrote this recipe knew it well. Too well. They failed to discriminate between the ingredients they forced us to discriminate in the first place. It also seemed to unnecessarily segregate ingredients.

Move the potatoes to the left side of the counter. Then, remove 3/8ths, dice, and rotate so it is now facing north. Now add to potskillet.

And you discard the beet?! You just use it to bleed it dry? I would have never, ever thought the red water I used to boil beets in was good for anything. There are now 2 ways to use this Martian Vegetable. Check.

The best part of making this recipe was the side-stepped mashed potatoes with butter and cream. It was so good, we kept taking bites out of it and were really sorry to add it back to the beet pot.

The second we did, it went from a redish pink color to a shameful orange color. Both of our jaws dropped in shock.

Now we know the shame Harry Potter must have felt when he failed at potions.

After we combined all the segregated dishes, we began to clean up when we noticed the Dill spice was still sitting on the counter untouched. We sat head to head, peering down the directions. No Dill was ever mentined. We added it to the top. Maybe with a bit more force than necessary…

Finally, it was done and ready to eat. We filled our bowls and begrudgingly took a bite.

To add yet another surprise twist, it was incredibly good. Topped off with a little salt and we went back for another helping right away. We were shocked. Our little carrot top soup was scrumptious. The mashed potatoes melted away and made it creamy. The diced potatoes added a touch of texture. The peeled tomatoes held their flavor unlike their diced cousins who fell apart. If not for the lack of direction from the…er….directions, it’d be damn near perfect.

We immediatly went back online to the recipe, looking in the comment section to see if other people had had as much trouble as we have. To be perfectly honest, I was almost looking for a wtf comment. And we found plenty!

“I’ll rate it after I’ve eaten it. BUT..this is the most disjointed recipe I’ve ever seen and I’ve used lots of recipes and done plenty of quite complicated cooking. Next time please make it easier to follow. This is not meant as a criticism because it looks as if it is going to be delicious, but don’t want to put others off as I am.” I know, right?!

“Quite good, though the directions are frustratingly unclear, at times.” Hello, my new friend.

“I found this recipe confusing and at times odd (why wouldn’t you keep beets in Borscht soup?)” Good, it’s not just us.

We’re still puzzled as to why it turned orange instead of a unhealthy red color. Was our beet too small? It did call for a medium. Maybe we should have just added two? Or diced and pureed it like the commentators suggest? Did we add too many potatoes?

We may never know. Next time? I’m adding three beets. 1 whole, 1 diced, 1 pureed.

I will get you soup. I promise. This I vow.

You can find the recipe here: Borscht I

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4 Responses to Borscht: The Orange Scare

  1. Randi says:

    This was hilarious! I’ll skip the Borscht soup myself and trust it’s delicious. And I commend you for trying any soup that includes beets.

  2. Krista says:

    Even though though it was supposed to be red, it looks great as orange (in your pictures)!

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