A Meal in Three-Part Harmony

This dinner didn’t really go together, but each part worked and was delicious, so we’ll do this a little differently tonight!

Part 1 – Summer Borscht

I love borscht. Which, I suppose, shouldn’t be too surprising based on my undying love for beets. When I was puppysitting for my in-laws last week, I got to watch some TV (my husband and I don’t have one) and tuned in to the Food Network, one of my favorites. Ina Garten was making a summer borscht and I couldn’t wait to try it once I got more beets.

This made an amazing meal and was even better the next day for lunch. Plus, it just kept getting more and more pink, which is always fun!

Cold Summer Borscht (adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe)

Serves 4

4 medium beets, cleaned with the tops cut off

1 cup chicken broth

3/4 cup beet cooking liquid

8 ounces low-fat sour cream

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons sugar

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar

1 cup English cucumber

2 green onions, chopped

1 tablespoon dried dill

Salt and pepper

First, cook the beets in a medium pot of salted water and boil, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. Place beets in a bowl of cold water to cool and set aside 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid to cool.

While the beets are cooking, whisk together the chicken stock, sour cream, yogurt, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, pepper (about 1 teaspoon), and the dill in a large bowl. Put the bowl in the fridge to allow the flavors to meld.

Seed and chop the cucumber (about 1/2 an English cucumber).

Peel and chop the beets into small cubes. Add the beets, green onions, and cucumbers to the soup and put back into the fridge for at least 2 hours, the more the better.

This is what the soup looked like at first…just a hint of pink.

Part 2 – A New Take On Zucchini Bread

Zucchini is the bumper crop right now and I’ve been doing everything I can to use it up. I love zucchini bread, but wanted to try something a bit more savory. I found this great recipe for a whole-wheat zucchini bread-maker bread. It came out delicious and ended up being a perfect compliment to the borscht.

Whole Wheat Zucchini Herb Bread

adapted from a recipe by Barb Gertz

(Makes a 2 lb loaf)

2 cups bread flour

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

1 cup shredded zucchini

1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

3/4 cup water

2 teaspoons dry active yeast

Add these ingredients in the order recommended by your breadmaker and bake it on the Whole Wheat setting. Make sure you do NOT drain the zucchini like you might for other baking situations…it’s important to have the moisture.

This was particularly good toasted with a bit of butter

Part 3 – Deep Dish Peach Pie

Now, deep dish peach pie is one of my family’s favorites and this was my first attempt at this super easy and delicious summer dessert. This recipe is one I’ve wanted to share for the while, but the photos, well, they’re to show you that I am not ashamed of my kitchen foibles. Okay, well maybe I’m a little ashamed, but I’ll share them anyway.

I burnt this! My husband affectionally referred to this as the “Pie of Mordor”. It was bubbling and looking very sinister when it first came out of the oven…like molten lava! Oops!

Deep Dish Peach Pie

(My mother’s recipe)

1 cup flour

1 cup milk

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 large can of peaches in heavy syrup


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix first four ingredients in a deep casserole dish. Pour the can of peaches over the mixture with the syrup included and do NOT stir. Sprinkle cinnamon on top and bake for about 1 hour (or maybe less if my Pie of Mordor is any indication). Delicious served with vanilla ice cream!

Yes, we ate it anyway. What? It’s dessert!


Pretty Veggies to Beat the Heat

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Ok, so they don’t actually help me beat the heat. But at least they’re nice to look at this week! I traded my Romaine lettuce for more beets, because I’m all salad-ed out for the moment. This week’s supply has some exciting new contenders as well. Without further ado… Quite a selection this week. Onion, … Continue reading

You Made a What With What??

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I made a very strange thing with one of my favorite vegetables. Say hello to my newest incarnation of beets:

That, that my friends, is beet pie. Dessert pie. Not savory, sweet. Made from beets. WEIRD! And also delicious.

As I was perusing the Web looking for new ideas to try with beets, I stumbled across this recipe from Edible/Usable. I was instantly intrigued; it had never occurred to me to use my darling beets in a dessert, probably because I’m not much of a pastry chef!

The pie turned out delicious…similar in some ways to a pecan pie with a bit of a custard-y texture. Delightful with some vanilla ice cream!

This did not last very long!

This was a fun experiment and I highly recommend it! It would be a particularly delightful fall pie.


Tonight’s Recipes

Butter Pie Dough

Adapted from Land o’ Lakes


1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup salted butter, cold

2-3 tablespoons water, cold

Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the flour until it becomes small crumbles. Next, add water one tablespoon at a time until the dough is just moist.

Form the dough into a ball and roll it into a 12″ circle on a floured surface.

Fold the crust into quarters, place it into a 9″ pie plate and unfold. Press the edges into the top of the pie plate.

{Since it was so warm in my house, I stuck the pie crust into the fridge while I worked on the rest of the pie so that it didn’t just melt into oblivion.}

I decided on this recipe since I didn’t have vegetable shortening in the house, but it wasn’t the tastiest crust ever. If you have a recipe for crusts that you like or want to use a pre-made shell, I would recommend it!








Beet Pie

Adapted from Edible/Usable’s recipe, linked above


3 beets

2 tablespoons butter

Dry Ingredients:

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon (I forgot about this one, oops!)

1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients:

3 eggs

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon white vinegar

Start by chopping the tops and bottoms off the beets and boiling them for 30-45 minutes (until they are soft). Cool and peel the beets by placing in a bowl of cold water. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. {If you can’t beat the heat, you might as well pretend it’s not 90 degrees in your kitchen and go ahead and bake, right?}

Meanwhile, mix together the wet ingredients and dry ingredients in two separate bowls:

Then, cream the butter into the sugar mixture and mix the wet ingredients into the large mixing bowl.

Grate the beets using a box grater, mix them into the rest of the filling and pour into the pie crust.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for another 30-35 minutes until the filling has set. Allow to cool, slice, serve with vanilla ice cream, and enjoy!

Have fun with this interesting new beet vehicle.


Hooray for Variety!

As you saw in my sneak preview, we got quite the variety today in our CSA share. It’s great to get farther into the summer and the growing season. When I went to pick up the share yesterday, the first thing I noticed was garlic scapes (!) in the swap box (!!!!) and I knew they would be mine! The only question was what I would give up to have them. I decided on Romaine lettuce since I have the hardest time taking down salad greens.

So, we got two bunches of scapes (!!) and a large bunch of fresh green onions.

That is one BIG fennel bulb and fronds!

Summer squash season has begun! We got zucchini, kousa squash, and pickling cucumbers.

We got another lovely bunch of beets!

That is some seriously rainbow rainbow chard!

Final tally: 2 bunches of garlic scapes, one giant fennel bulb w/ fronds, one bunch of rainbow chard, 4 beets w/ greens, one zucchini, 2 pickling cucumbers, 3 kousa squash, one bunch of fresh green onions, a bag of peas, and a partridge in a pear tree. (Okay, we didn’t get that last one…)

Looking forward to it cooling off a bit so I can do some more fun cooking!