Wednesday, 14 January 2009
The Grumbling Tummy: Part II
Before I share a Baba-inspired recipe with you, can I just say that I am currently craving all things grapefruit? They say pregnant women who crave citrus are bound to have a girl, but I'm convinced that Bumbo is definitely a boy - esp if the scary Chewbacca hair growth on my legs is any indication. (Oh, did I mention I'm 5 months preggers?)
I've eaten half a grapefruit for breakfast every morning this week, sucked back gallons of Ruby Red and am so addicted to President's Choice Sparkling Grapefruit tonic it's becoming an issue. I try to curb the problem by forcing myself to sip it out of a wine glass, but after a few dainty attempts, I generally gulp the whole thing like it's a tequila shot. What can I say? Whatever Bumbo wants, Bumbo gets.
Anyway, I stumbled across this bizarre sounding recipe today. Grapefruit cupcakes? YES!! Since I am having a grapefruit obsession, I will likely try baking these this weekend. Something tells me it's going to end in disaster but what the heck; I'll give it a go. D has a hockey tourney so I can always feed the cupcakes to the hockey boys - they'll eat anything after a game.
So yesterday I shared a recipe inspired by my mother; today I will share one inspired by my lovely Russian Babushka. I think the mark of a natural born cook is the ability to make stuff without using recipes, and that was Baba all over. I never learned to make anything from her because I was a) really, really dumb, b)content to let her make stuff for me and c)freaked out by the thought of cooking anything without explicit written instructions. (Just try to get a 90 year old Russian woman with limited English skills to write something down for you.)
Although she never used beets in her borscht that I can recall, this recipe comes from my favourite Russian cookbook and still reminds me of Baba's. You can make this vegetarian by leaving out (you guessed it) the beef. Enjoy the pretty reddish tinge on your fingers from cutting the beets!
1 package stewing beef, cut into small pieces, fat removed
4 tbsp butter (very important! Don't substitute with oil, no matter how your arteries scream)
1 small onion, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped into small pieces or shredded
3 medium beets, diced
2 cups cabbage, shredded
2 small potatoes, peeled & diced (I omit these because I hate potatoes)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup wine or balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tsp salt (seriously, you do need this much)
pepper to taste
6 cups vegetable or beef broth
1. In a large heavy stock pot, heat butter over medium heat and saute onion, carrots, and beef until beef is browned. Be sure to scrape up all bits off the bottom.
2. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, vingegar, sugar and 1 cup of broth; cook for 1 minute.
3. Add remaining broth, cabbage, potatoes if using, salt and pepper.
4. Simmer, covered, until veggies are tender. I suggest 40 minutes.
5. Serve with a generous dollop of sour cream on top and sprinkle with fresh dill.