Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Confession Wednesday-the Beet Soup

Drop me off in the cookbook section of say Peppercorn in Boulder and I could probably spend days without needing food or water. I love them. I love seeing them all stacked together, organized in sections, shining from the shelves, easy on the eyes, inspiring, exciting, appealing. Some so appealing that they nearly scream to come home with me.

My strategy in the cookbook section is restraint. Browse, flip pages, think of recipes, remove yourself from the situation. It works- most times. This is not a quantity-type fetish. I don't care to collect them. Actually, it is a bit the other way: I want fewer books that will provide me with more inspiration. I have one shelf dedicated to cookbooks in my loft and plan on trying to keep it at that for a while.

There are 22 cookbooks I kept over the years, plus a Romanian cookbook, a couple baby-food ones and a small binder of clipped recipes. The books I kept (to the exclusion of many that were exiled to better homes), I connect with on some existential level, I believe in their philosophy, in the approach, the attitude. The only reason Bobby Flay stayed on the shelf is because I wrote a nice note when I gifted it to my husband years ago. Batali's book is not stellar either but sometimes it is a nice source of inspiration for simple grilled summer treats. The rest I just love and cannot part with.


And that is where the confession comes in- or perhaps a better name is a resolution or a NEW RULE: no new cookbooks can be admitted on the premises until we have made at least 5 recipes out of each of the cookbooks that already live here. This is a small goal- I started thinking 10 but then got cold feet thinking it will be way too long till that happens. At least half of the cookbooks have not made it to 5; some haven't made it to 3; two are still at zero. But that has just changed with this recipe.

Beetroot Soup, a Moro recipe

Ingredients: 3 tablespoons olive oil; 1/3 large yellow onion thinly sliced; 2 small garlic cloves, thinly sliced; 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin; 1 pound golden beets, peeled and diced; 1 medium russet potato, peeled and diced; 3 1/2 cups cold water; 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar; a few branches of flat leaf parsley; 1/2 cup greek yogurt; salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste.

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion. Sweat the onion for a couple of minutes and sprinkle a pinch of salt over it. Cook the onion for another 8-9 minutes, until it begins to color but not brown. Add the garlic and the cumin and cook for 2 more minutes. To the onion/garlic mixture, add the beetroot and potato. Coat with the oil and mix all the veggies briefly then add the water.

Bring to a gentle boil on higher heat then reduce to a simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the potatoes and the beets are cooked. Check for softness with a fork.

Put everything into a blender and whizz up your golden beet smoothie. If your blender is not large enough, do this in batches. Always remember to take the little plastic top cap off your blender and cover with a clean cloth when you blend a hot liquid. Save yourself the burn.


Return to the pan, add the vinegar, as well as salt and pepper to taste. Plate it in your desired bowls and portion-sizes.


Serve with Greek yogurt, a grind of pepper, and a sprinkle of pepper flakes.

Photography by Jennifer Olson.

18 comments:

  1. Great picture and fabulous rule. So true about cookbooks too. There are those that you go back to again and again for inspiration and then those that just kind of freeload shelving space.

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  3. So I guess I know what not to get you for your birthday :) Great rule on cookbooks and one I should also adopt. Fun and inspiring post as usual. That drizzle of yoghurt looks like art work!

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  4. What a delightful soup...too funny about your cookbooks, but sounds like a good plan :)

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  5. What a great idea! I need to enact the same rule with fiction books. No new books until I've read 5 books already on my shelves. This soup looks delicious, and the presentation...just stunning!

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  6. Plum- exactly! I try to oust the ones that just take up space, but some are too dear to me.

    Bethany- :-)

    Magic of Spice - thanks for visiting!

    Monet- I actually recently implemented a similar rule for novels. My cue for reading was getting out of hand.

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  7. Lovely! Doesn't it make you wonder why you waited so long to try out that recipe?

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  8. The cookbook section is my favorite section of bookstores too! Your goal is super smart. I need to implement a similar one. I tend to go nuts with cookbooks at Costco!

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  9. what a great idea for a delicious soup!

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  10. Look at that gorgeous soup! I'm a huge fan of borscht, but this variation is truly magnificent. And the pictures are stunning!

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  11. The soup looks fabulous! So funny about the cookbooks, I think we all think the same thing - I have so many, most just wasting space.

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  12. I love that last picture, just gorgeous. I am a huge fan of golden beets but find them hard to find around here. I grew some in my garden just for that reason but for some reason they all remained about the size of a cherry. *Sigh* Next year.

    As for cookbooks, I have never been one to use cookbooks but I thought I would suggest THE BEST "cookbook" of all time, the LAST one you will ever buy. The Flavour Bible. Not a cookbook really, but a list of ingredients by name and what flavours are complementary, plus meal suggestions and flavour pairing suggestions by famous chefs in each column.
    Gorgeous book and very inspiring if you are one who does not find recipes to be the be all end all. Just thought I'd make a suggestion, not that I want you to buy more...LOL!

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  13. That's a good strategy about new cookbooks and I should follow it but honestly I have so many already that I don't use frequently that it may take the rest of my life to be able to get a new one hehe. Lovely soup and great photo.

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  14. I LOVE the cookbook rule...you may have just giving me an idea for my next cooking "list". Great post!

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  15. great rule...especially since i have well over 100 of them...yikes! i LOVE the moro cookbook...it has been about 10 years since i purchased mine--after sharing a most memorable meal with my mom and sister at the restaurant...and have made many more than 5 things from it...i might have covered the entire book, more that once!

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  16. What a beautiful soup! Like that you top it with Greek yogurt and pepper flakes.

    I like your rule about cookbooks, no new ones until you've tried 5 recipes in the ones you have. You put me to shame...cookbooks can be addicting, and sadly many of mine are unused :(

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  17. I really like the way the food is presented. I love various beetroot soups (beetroot is my favorite vegetable), but yours just looks so inviting.

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  18. I am always tempted to buy new cookbooks, but I try to get most of them off the Internet. I am looking forward to your cookbook recipes.

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