Friday, September 07, 2007

Mmmm, root vegetables...

"Mustang 2: Bald- Faced Beauty" ACEO can be bid on here.
Copyright Rita Woodburne

It’s Friday and that means it’s time for another gardening post. This week I’ll again throw out the reminder that for those of you living in warmer climes than us folks here in zone 5b you still have time to plant another crop of peas if you haven’t done so already. Another veggie that you can plant is parsnips. Parsnips will over-winter in the ground extremely well and if you live in a more tempered climate you can enjoy parsnip-y goodness year round.

For those that do live in this zone and closely surrounding zones you may have noticed that the leaves have already started turning colour. As my Grandmother predicted, Autumn will come early. Always listen to elder people when it comes to gardening and the weather, they know what they’re talking about...especially if they refer to home as “the Old Country”.
The early arrival of Fall means that some crops will most likely ripen early and, depending on whether or not you had decent rain and/ or watered diligently, the veggies themselves may be smaller than average. For pumpkins you’ll also need to start turning them to make sure they ripen evenly and don’t take on a lop-sided appearance...very important for Halloween purposes! An easy way to protect the pumpkins from ground rot and ensure even ripening is to simply place a board under the pumpkin (a piece of chipboard or plywood will work fine) and every 3-4 days go out and turn the pumpkin about 1/4 turn, taking care not to snap it from the vine. This will give you nice even colouring and round shape.
It’s also worth mentioning that tidying up the garden should be high on the list of gardening priorities. This means removing any dead plants and weeding as well as adding compost to the soil for next year. If you want to keep nutrients in the soil, or maybe need to amend the nutrients in your soil, you might also want to consider planting a cover crop for your garden.

So my veggie recipe for this week (sans chocolate) is for Russian Cabbage Borscht because if you’re like me and have an Eastern European background you probably also have an insatiable love of root beets and potatoes! Borscht uses plenty of both and in my version I add a bit more beets than required because I like them and also have a habit of growing too many. Soup anyone?

Russian Cabbage Borscht

2 tbsp. Butter (margarine is fine too)
1 ½ cups chopped onion
1 ½ cups potato, cubed
2 cups beets, cubed (the original recipe only calls for one cup so feel free to amend it to your tastes)
1 large carrot, sliced
1-2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cups chopped cabbage
4 cups water (I also add about 2 pkts of chicken Bovril)
1 tbsp sugar or honey
salt and pepper to taste

- Place potatoes, beets and water in pot and cook until everything is tender. Remove beets and potatoes from water and save the water.

- In large soup pot cook onions with melted butter until onions are translucent. Then add celery, carrots and cabbage and then add the water from the beets. Cook covered until all the vegetables are tender, approx 15- 20 minutes. Add potatoes, beets and seasonings.

- Cover and simmer over low heat for at least 30 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.

You’re done!

This soup freezes extremely well so I usually double the recipe. The original recipe also calls for the addition of ½ tsp of caraway seeds but I’m not a big caraway fan so I leave them out. If you like a richer flavour you can also add 1 cup of tomato puree when you add in the carrots, etc.
This soup is awesome with a big blob of sour cream on top and served with a slice of Italian bread and as the weather gets colder this is one of those soups that is very filling and comforting.

So that’s it for this week as far as art, gardening, and cooking goes. Next week I’ll be doing a WIP of an ACEO and I will be returning to a normal posting schedule so be sure to check back on Monday. Until then have an awesome week-end!


Jennifer Rose said...

My husband made Borscht with all the beats he grew. The house smelt like old gym socks for 2 days. But his grandparents loved it. :) (I'm not a beat fan so that is probably why I didn't like the smell ;) )

There are still beats in the ground that need to come out, they took over a corner of the garden lol.

Rita said...

I had a good chuckle over the whole "old gym socks" comment! You should try just boiling some cabbage...there's s stink you're not likely to forget! :p

If you like carrots I'll have another soup recipe either next week or the week after that you'll just die for!