beet

Easter/ Spring Pierogi

Easter/Spring Pierogi

I already enjoy making pasta with veggie- based dough. The colors are so pretty, and I love the way they taste. So, since it is almost Easter, I went a step further and used my veggie-based dough to make pierogi.

They remind me a little of Easter eggs. They came out so nice, I will be making them on Easter.

I used a potato and cheese filling, so that part is pretty traditional. The pierogi are also a nice choice for a meat-free dinner.

I served them with sauteed onions and sour cream.  Here is the recipe for all.

 

Easter/ Spring Pierogi

 All of the vegetable doughs were mixed using a food processor. If you want to mix them by hand- puree the veggies first.  Once the doughs are made allow them to rest at least 30 minutes. Since veggie pasta dough tends to be a little softer than traditional pasta- I actually prefer to make them a day ahead and chill. Chilling the dough, even for an hour, will help. The traditional pierogi dough was mixed in a stand mixer.

To make the pierogi a little sturdier, you can also make regular pierogi dough and mix a little of that dough in with the veggie-based doughs.

When ready to roll out your dough, grab a hunk of each dough and press them together. If the the dough is a little sticky that will help. Then on a floured surface roll out to the desired thickness. Folding and rolling a couple of times helps to mix up the color pasta better. I use a template to make my pierogi- but you can cut them out with any round cutter or even a glass or jar. Spoon filling of your choice on center of dough circle. Fold dough in half over filling and press edge with fork to seal. Wetting the edge of the dough will help the dough to stick. Don’t overfill or pierogi will split. Test a couple first to get the hang of it. Place a few at a time into salted boiling water and cook until they float. You can eat them as is, or brown cooked pierogi in butter in a skillet. Serve with grilled onions and/or sour cream. We would often make a larger batch and then freeze them, uncooked, on wax paper-lined baking sheets. When frozen they would be transferred to a freezer bag or container. Place right from the freezer into boiling water when ready to use.

 

Carrot Pasta

1 c. flour

1/2 t. dried dill

1/3 c. carrot puree

1-2 T. water, if needed

   Beet Pasta

1 c. flour

1/2 t. dill

1/3 c. beet puree

1-2 T. water, if needed

Spinach Pasta

2 c. flour

1 10 oz. package frozen spinach, cooked, drained, reserving some of the liquid

Mix this dough as for other pastas, but don’t be too quick to add reserved liquid. While kneading you’ll get water out of the spinach. May require more kneading and rolling than other pasta doughs. Be patient, it’s worth the work.

Classic Pierogi Dough

2 c. flour
1 t. salt
½ c. water (you can also use half milk and half water)
1 egg
Mix all ingredients together and knead on floured surface until smooth. Cover and let rest at least 15 minutes. Roll out thin and cut into circles. Re-roll scraps. You should get between 20-30.

 Pierogi Filling

1 lb. Potatoes, peeled and boiled
4 oz. cream cheese – normally I would use farmer’s cheese or cottage cheese, but cream cheese was what I had
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese, optional
salt and pepper to taste
Mash potatoes with other ingredients and season to taste.

I usually add some chopped sweet onion to my filling, but one of my guests isn’t crazy about onions, so I am leaving them out. Feel free to add some, if you like.

Beet Dumplings

Beet Dumplings

These dumplings were inspired by gnocchi. Gnocchi are wonderful little dumplings made with potatoes in the dough. I love them and make them often.

Since I had a lot of beets, I wanted to use some, to shake things up a little. I made a version with cooked beets. The color came out so vibrant.

The flavor of the beet is somewhat muted in this little dumpling. For serving, I combined the beet version with traditional gnocchi and some made from sweet potatoes. These would be a nice side dish for all sorts of dishes. I will make more and serve them with a roast chicken this weekend.

I do a very rustic version- just slice dough off into 1/2 -inch thick pieces and boil them up. These could be made ahead and frozen, too.

 

 

Beet Dumplings

2 small russet potatoes, 11-12 oz. total, peeled, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium/small beets, roasted, skin on, cooled
1 egg
1/4 c. whipping cream
1 1/4 t. salt
¼ t. dill weed
1 1/2 c. (about) flour
Steam potatoes over boiling water until tender, about 12 minutes. Place in bowl and mash or put potatoes through a ricer. Place in bowl and cool about 10 minutes. Remove skins from cooled beets and dice. Place beets in a food processor or blender. Add the cream and process until smooth. Combine with potatoes, egg, salt and dill and mix well. Stir in flour and combine until slightly sticky dough forms. Add more flour a tablespoon at a time if the mixture is too moist. Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface and divide into 6 equal portions. Roll out 1 piece into a rope about 20-inches long by 3/4 inch. Cut dough into 3/4 -inch pieces and arrange finished dumplings in a single layer on a floured baking sheet and repeat the process with the remaining dough. Boil the dumplings in well-salted boiling water, about 1/3 at a time. Boil for 4-5 minutes. They will come to the surface and be tender. Check after 4 minutes. Serve with butter and Parmesan cheese or with your favorite sauce. Serves 6.

A Trio of Gnocchi

A Trio of “Gnocchi”

Busha’s Beet Soup

Busha’s Beet Soup

This colorful, tasty soup, was first made for me by my Busha, my Polish grandmother. Beets are a big ingredient in Eastern European culture. My Mom cooked with them, too.

I have fond memories of spending time with my Busha. I stayed with her on weekends a few times. One of those weekends, she taught me how to make a wonderful coffee cake. I still have the index card where I wrote down the recipe as she went along making it. Busha didn’t write her recipes down much.

Another time, she made beet soup. I loved it. I think the color is what pulled me in. I was a big fan of pink back then. I still am, especially when it comes to this soup.

I prefer to use fresh, raw beets.  You can use cooked beets, or even canned, if you like.

I made homemade spaetzle, but other pasta or cooked, diced potatoes are good, too.

So here is the recipe for the soup and the spaetzle. I always think of Busha when I make it.

 

 

Busha’s Beet Soup

1 large onion, sliced thin

oil

5-6 medium beets, about 2 pounds

5-6 cups beef, chicken or vegetable stock

1 c. dairy sour cream

1 t. dill weed

cooked spaetzle, recipe follows

 

In soup pot, sauté onion in oil until starting to brown. Meanwhile, peel and dice the beets. You should end up with 5-6 cups of cubed beets. Add beets and stock to pot and bring to boil. Cover and turn down to a simmer. Cook until beets are tender, about 20- 25 minutes.  Place sour cream in small bowl and ladle in a little of the hot soup, whisking until smooth. Add another ladle of soup and whisk again. Pour this mixture into pot of soup along with the dill weed. Serve with the spaetzle.  Serves 4-5.

 

Note: You can also pre-cook the beets or use canned beets. Trim off leaves of beets, leaving 2 inches of stem. Leave roots intact. Boil beets in water until tender, which can take as little as 20 minutes for tiny beets or 45 minutes for the large ones. Cool in bowl of ice water and then slip off the skins. Dice and add to soup as if the beets were canned. You don’t need the long cook of fresh beets. Just bring soup up to a simmer.

If you prefer, serve the soup with diced boiled potatoes or kluski, rather than the spaetzle.

 

You can serve the sour cream on the side, rather than incorporating it into the soup, then allow people to add a dollop of sour cream to individual bowls. Polish beet soup usually adds the sour cream and Russian style is to dollop on the top. Both versions taste good.

 

Spaetzle

3 eggs

1/2 c. half and half or evaporated milk

1/2 t. salt

1 1/2 c. flour

 

Combine all ingredients and let rest 30 minutes. Drop by small spoonfuls into boiling water. Cook until they float and puff up, about 5 minutes. Drain and serve with soups, stews, sauces or buttered.

 

 

 

Roasted Beet Salad

Roasted Beet Salad

I got a great number of beets a couple of days ago.  I will be canning many over the weekend, but I also want to enjoy them fresh. Decided to roast some beets and then go from there. To roast beets: just wash them and trim off the greens- leaving about an inch of the stems to reduce bleeding.

My beets don’t have their greens, but trim off, if they do. The beet greens could be added to the salad.

Place beets in a roasting pan and drizzle with a little oil. I used avocado oil. Cover pan and place in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Smaller beets will be cooked in less time- about 35 minutes. Really large beets could take up to an hour. I always check by poking one of the beets with a fork. Let the beets cool a little and then remove the peels. I use a knife to do this. They come off quite easily.

I used three small beets to make this salad for lunch. I shared it with a neighbor.

Roasted Beet Salad

1 small head Bibb lettuce, washed and sliced into thin slices

2 c. spinach, torn into bite sized pieces

1/4 c. olive oil

3 T. red wine vinegar

2 t. sugar, optional

3 small roasted beets, peeled

1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese

1/4 c. hulled pumpkin seeds, toasted

1/4 c. dried cherries

coarse sea salt- I used pink salt

Place lettuce in a mixing bowl. Combine olive oil with vinegar and sugar, if using. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss over the greens. Slice beets. Divide greens on 2 salad plates. Arrange half of the beets on each salad and top with the rest of the ingredients. Sprinkle with a few grains of the sea salt and serve. Makes 2 luncheon salads.

Spicy Golden Beet Soup – Vegan

Spicy Golden Beet Soup

I had picked up some beautiful golden beets at a local farm market. I wanted to do something fun with them. I am also spending a few days with some friends, who are vegan.

Since it is going to be chilly, I opted to make a soup. I added other veggies to add more flavor- and a generous amount of hot sauce. The soup has a nice kick of heat- perfect for a chilly evening. This soup can also be served chilled- so it works no matter the weather.

I used my immersion blender to puree the soup. That way I didn’t have to remove the hot soup from the pot to puree it. Using a blender is fine, but be careful when pureeing a hot liquid. It will splash up in the blender. To prevent a mess and possible burns, remove the center piece of the blender lid. Place lid on the blender. Place a folded kitchen towel over the hole when blending. That way, when the liquid splashes up, the towel will prevent it from going everywhere. Also, don’t try to mix too much at a time. Several smaller loads are easier.

The 2 quarts of stock should be plenty, but depending on how much your soup cooks down, you might need a little more. How thick you like your soup is a personal preference. If you like a thicker soup, use less stock, or allow it to cook down more. Once the soup is pureed, you will know.

 

 

Spicy Golden Beet Soup

 

4 T. oil

2 onions, chopped

5 carrots, peeled and sliced

3-4 golden beets, peeled and cubed – about 2 lbs.

1 medium cauliflower, chopped

8 c. vegetable stock – you might need a little more- if finished soup is too thick

1 c. tomato sauce

2 T. Tuscan seasoning* recipe follows

¼-⅓ c. Sriracha sauce- or to taste

handful of fresh parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

 

 

In large pot, heat oil and cook onions until tender. Add carrots and cook a few minutes longer. Add remaining vegetables, stock, and seasonings (except the parsley) and simmer, covered for an hour or longer. Add the parsley, then puree soup in a blender in batches until smooth. You can also use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Return to pot and add more stock, if needed. Adjust seasonings and serve. Makes a lot of soup – but freezes well.

 

*Tuscan Seasoning

½ c. dried basil

½ c. dried oregano

½ c. dried marjoram

3 T. dried minced onion

2 T. dried minced garlic

2 T. dried rosemary

2 T. dried parsley

1 t. crushed red pepper

 

Combine all ingredients and store in an air tight container. Use this blend in tomato sauce or other Italian dishes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chilled Beet and Watermelon Soup

Chilled Beet and Watermelon Soup

Rather than start dinner with a salad- why not try a cold soup instead? It’s been very hot around here lately, and a cold soup sounded good to me. This is a great first course for a hot day. Or, a perfect lunch.

I got this recipe from a friend of a friend. I tweaked it a little from the original, but it is pretty much the same. It is  simple to make and full of flavor.

The sweetness of the watermelon, pairs nicely with the earthy flavor of the beets. The mint also adds a nice little pop of flavor. The color is pretty cool, too. I shared this recipe with a friend and she said she just drinks it like a smoothie. You can easily make bigger or smaller batches. Just start with equal amounts of watermelon and beets. Thin it down with a little stock, until it gets to the consistency you like. The soup will keep in the fridge for several days and freezes well.

You don’t have to serve it just at dinner or even just for lunch.  I actually have eaten it for breakfast, too.

 

Chilled Beet and Watermelon Soup

2 cups diced beet (cooked)

2 cups diced seedless watermelon

a few sprigs of mint

Put in blender

Add Chicken or Vegetable stock to taste/consistency

Add salt if desired

Dollop with Creme Fraiche or Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt, if desired.

Garnish with fresh mint.

With any cold soup- chill well after you make it. You might even want to chill the bowls and spoons.

Beet and Tomato Soup

Beet and Tomato Soup

Beet and Tomato Soup

I had a bunch of fresh beets in my fridge and since it’s a little cool today I thought I’d make soup with them. I took inspiration from what I had on hand including onions, potatoes and tomatoes. Adding the tomatoes was a last minute decision and it worked out really well. The tomatoes added just the right amount of tartness/sweetness.  I didn’t add the dollop of sour cream I would normally add. It would make a nice topper for the soup, though. Here is the recipe. It was a small bunch of beets so I just made a small batch of soup, but it could easily be doubled.

 

Beet and Tomato Soup

1 bunch beets, about 1 lb.

oil

1 onion, chopped

3-4 c. stock- I used chicken

1 potato, cubed

2-3 medium tomatoes, peeled and cubed

1 t. dill

salt and pepper to taste

Wash beets and trim leaving about 1 inch of the stem attached. Reserve greens.  Place beets in a saucepan of boiling water and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove beets and cool in cold water until you can handle them. While beets are cooling, cook onion in oil until tender. Peel and cube the beets. Add to the onions along with the stock, potatoes and tomatoes and cook until veggies are tender, about 15 minutes. Rinse and chop up about 1 cup of the beet greens and add them to the soup along with the dill. Cook until greens are tender, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings and serve. Serves 3-4.

 

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