Monday, January 10, 2011

Borscht Soup and Salad Nicoise

Yummy food can be simple food.  I've been wanting borscht ever since I opened my Christmas presents to discover I had an immersion blender.  Every time we eat at one of our favorite local restaurants, Chef's American Bistro, and I see his heavy duty immersion blender in his kitchen, I always look at my husband and say "I want one of those".  LOL

So I started off with Red Borscht, knowing I had all the ingredients on hand.  And then after spending a few hours watching the Cooking Channel on tv, I decided I had to make a salad with green beans...don't ask me why, it was just I'm easily influenced and everybody who is a celebrity chef was making a salad with beans!

Here's the recipes in case you want to follow along at home:

Red Borscht:
  • 1 package of pork sausage

  • 1 container of jarred beets (I had some I had canned)

  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped

  • 3 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cubed

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 1 small head red cabbage, cored and shredded

  • 1 (8 ounce) can diced tomatoes

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 teaspoon white sugar, or to taste

  • 1/2 cup sour cream, for topping

  • Directions:
    Crumble the sausage into a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir until no longer pink. Remove from the heat and set aside.
    Fill a large pot halfway with water(about 2 quarts), and bring to a boil. Add the sausage (drained of grease), and return to a boil. Add the beets, and cook until they have lost their color. Add the carrots and potatoes, and cook until tender. Add the cabbage, and the can of diced tomatoes.
    In the grease from the pork sausage, cook the onion and garlic until tender, then add to the pot.  Cover and cook until all vegetables are tender.  Turn off the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Taste, and season with salt, pepper and sugar.
    This is where the immersion blender comes in.  Call your husband into the kitchen to manhandle the heavy pot around and begin blending.  Drop spoonfuls of the tomato paste into the soup and make sure it's well blended and the texture is creamy and smooth. 
    Ladle into bowls and garnish with sour cream.  
    This borscht can be served cold or warm.  I also froze half the batch to serve another day. 

    Salad Nicoise

    • Romaine lettuce (use what you have on hand, I just like romaine and it tends to be in my fridge)
    • 6 hard boiled eggs, halved
    • 2 cans tuna fish, drained
    • 1 tomato, chopped
    • 1/2 pound of green beans, steamed or blanched (I used the steam bag in the microwave and then rinsed them with cold water)
    • 2-3 potatoes cubed and boiled (cook these the same time and in the same pot as your eggs, be sure to rinse to cool them off) 
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Dijon mustard
    • Olive Oil
    • Lemon juice
    • Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
    In a bowl, mix the dijon mustard, juice from half a lemon, salt and pepper together, slowly blend in the olive oil using a whisk to make a dressing.  Add the chopped olives and sit aside.
    Layer your salad, starting with the lettuce.  Top with the dressing.

    All in all a yummy dish and my husband didn't complain about eating a salad!  He says it was a manly salad with all the potatoes and green beans and tuna fish.  :o)

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