I never learn when it comes to beets. I always buy them, come home, stare at them, and have no idea what to do with them. I don’t love beets in juice and never really eat more than a couple of bites of roasted beet salad. Don’t ask me why: they are gorgeously sweet and earthy and have a lovely, firm texture but beets just aren’t my thing. So, last week when I went to the store and bought a bag of beets, I came home not knowing what to do with them, again. That is, until I remembered borscht. I love borscht and it has been on my list of things to make for this blog for a very long time. I have no idea why I haven’t gotten around to making it, but I’m so glad that I finally did. I realize that for someone who said they don’t particularly like beets, borscht is a strange thing to like. But I’m ok with being a little bit strange. And I can proudly say that this soup is great and I won’t mind eating bowl after bowl of it in the coming days (this recipe makes a lot of soup!).
I used to make ‘purple soup’ all of the time. Basically, it was a super simple soup made of blended kidney beans, onions, garlic and a few spices. I usually kept it pretty thick, so on top of it being a purplish/grey color, it was also pretty lumpy. It was cheap, fast and easy to make, but it certainly looked like a bowl of gruel. I remember the first time I made it in London. My flatmates got a glimpse of it and they were pretty turned off. I had to convince them that it was actually delicious, and when they tasted it, they agreed. For the most part, I am completely happy with a dish like that, but sometimes you need a little color and beauty in your food, and today was one of those days.
I had plans for dinner. I was going to (re-)make a delicious corn ‘salad’ filled with roasted cherry tomatoes and zucchini, topped with these shrimp, cilantro, and chipotle lime dressing. And suddenly it wasn’t summer anymore. It was pouring and 10 degrees outside. There was no corn to be found at the farmer’s market and I got squash and beets in my CSA box. Granted, since then, the weather has improved drastically- it is sunny and kind of warm but there is a noticeable chill in the air. I could see my breath when I was walking to work this morning. I’ve been told there is no ‘fall’ season in Calgary, so hopefully we can cling to Summer a little longer, but apparently there is already snow west of the city, so I don’t know how much longer we have.
Ok, I’ll admit, the Kohlrabi doesn’t play a more or less important role in this slaw than the other vegetables. So, why does it get a starring role in the title of the recipe you ask? Well, because I was so excited to be using it! I received my CSA box and in it was a little kohlrabi, that I had no idea what to do with (and that beautiful purple spring onion! Can’t get enough. Is it normal to get this excited over produce?). I tasted a little piece and it basically tasted like a hard, crunchy piece of cabbage. It definitely isn’t as strange as it looks. I also read that you can use its leaves in the same way that you use kale or another winter green. So exciting!