it's been slightly warm lately, have you heard? okay so the sweltering east coast is all over the news. we are roasting, sweltering, and even melting over here. today i think it is about 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit, or roughly the surface temperature of the sun. i couldn't even think at the farmer's market this morning because my brain had gone all soft and melty. everyone seemed to be having trouble making change and counting bills. it was a universal affliction. i did make it home with a couple of things, back into the safety of central air conditioning.
the result of all this heat, is that now, and for a long while, all i've wanted to eat are cool foods. and cold foods. smoothies, vietnamese summer rolls, sushi, gazpacho and cool, mineral-y, summery borscht. so refreshing. pretty easy too. let me walk you through it.
1.5 lb organic beets, scrubbed, tops removed
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 leek, chopped
1 small cucumber, finely diced or grated
2 cups chicken stock
1TBSP olive oil
1 or 2 tsp sea salt, to taste
1 TBSP wine vinegar
sour cream for garnish
first you will need to have a big bunch of organic beets. it really does pay to buy organic when you are talking about root vegetables like potatoes, beets, carrots and the like. they sit in the soil and absorb a lot of minerals, including the nasty ones in pesticides and chemical fertilizers, if you buy nothing else organic, buy organic root vegetables whenever possible.
about a pound and a half of beets should do it. scrub them and cut off their tops. set in a medium size stockpot with cool water to cover and bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes until fork tender.
meanwhile, finely chop an onion and two carrots, and a leek. set aside.
when the beets are done, reserve the beet broth, at least 3 cups of it. then drain the beets and allow to cool for 5 minutes. when slightly cooled, rub off the beet skins with your hands and chop into a small dice (about 1/2 inch). your hands will now be an awesome color of purpley-fuchsia.( it washes off with soap and water, mostly).
saute the onions and carrots in 1 TBSP of olive oil until soft, 5 minutes. add in the leek and saute another 3 minutes. now add the chopped beets and 3 cups of reserved beet stock plus 2 cups of fat free chicken stock. add 1 or 2 tsp salt and 1 TBSP wine vinegar. simmer for 10 minutes so flavors will blend. meanwhile wash and peel 1 small cucumber. chop half of it into a fine dice. or grate it with a small grater. prepare an ice bath. when the soup flavors have blended and you've adjusted the seasoning, place soup in an ice bath to cool for 10 minutes or so. alternatively, refrigerate. to serve, ladle soup into small bowls, place a spoonful of diced or grated cucumber in the center of the bowl. add a dollop of sour cream on top of that and maybe a parsley leaf, or 1 small sprig of fresh dill. serve and enjoy the cool, refreshing, mineral-y taste. so good for you too.