"Someday's gonna be a busy day..."

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.


Susan said...

I love grapefruit, too! Can't say that I had this kind of craving with either of my pregnancies, though... Enjoy!

Jaime said...

Double yum! My mom makes a mean borscht, I keep meaning to ask her for the recipe but now I'll have to try this one too and compare.

OH and I don't think you have mentioned here on your blog that you're preggers, of course I read it elsewhere but one can never over-congratulate can they? CONGRATULATIONS!! How exciting! I can't wait to meet the little nut.

Sweet Somethings by Lois said...

Hi Kim.
I am playing catch up in my blog reading today. I do make mean borscht as Jaime says. Mine is a Ukraine recipe from dear hubby John's Baba. It uses a pork-based stock.
Pork, beets, carrots, fresh yellow beans, pork n'beans, fresh dill, vinegar, and sour cream.
Yummy.... Jaime, DH and I eat this with fresh French loaf with lots of butter.
I know exactly what your thinking, I can hear them hardening up too! LOL!

tanzi said...

Hey! Good to see you're on the borscht wagon. Mine is pretty good...hope yours measures up! I've, of course, had heaps of it here. I don't do the meat thing in mine, though. I must have been preggers all my life b/c I'm always craving citrus--especially grapefruit!

justin said...

Congratulations from me too, Kimber, about the pregnancy.
All this talk of food is making me hungry too.

Mrs Successful said...

I'm loving your blog Kimber and I'm a fan of grapefruit too. Another recipe for me to try - thank you. Now we have the birth of your baby to look forward to - can't wait for it's arrival! Congratulations.xx

Mrs Successful said...

Hi Kimber - Re the Borscht - how much weight is in one of your 'packages' of stewing beef? xx

Kimber said...

Oooh...good question Mrs. S. I think it's a pound or two? On our package it lists the weight in kilograms, and I think the one I used was 0.650kg. Does that help? If not, I'd say use three good handfuls!