Red Borscht (Красный Борщ)

Felíz año nuevo mis amigos!

I'm coming along in my Spanish studies, friends.  I have a whole deck of flash cards that I am should be studying, but even the best laid plans don't always come to fruition.  I'd planned a nice, quiet week, featuring some lovely solitude and lots of work for the lab, Arete, and myself.  Life intervened, however, and I ended up spending what was supposed to be an utterly quiet and lonely New Years Eve with my lab manager, professor, his wife, and two of their friends, playing Balderdash and talking psych research until 3 in the morning.  It was grand and lots of fun; but alas, I am behind on everything again.

At the lab, though, we've finally finished coding all the data for the experiment we've been working on all quarter, so at least I was productive in that regard this week.  I even watched some Spanish YouTube videos and made a collage of sorts on the wall above my bed with several Spanish greetings, common phrases, and interjections.  I'd wanted to be farther along, though, with more verb conjugations and increased vocabulary.  I haven't cooked very much this week, either, having been fed by others on several occasions when I'd planned to cook.  Oh well, life goes on.  Tonight, I finally got around to making a huge pot of борщ that'll last me a week or so.  I make no promises about the authenticity of this recipe for Russians or Ukrainians, but it is indeed delicious.  It's loosely adapted from a classic borscht recipe on Natasha's Kitchen.  Hopefully this week I'll get around to making rugelach from Natasha too, and maybe even some green tea macarons.

I'm not one for New Years resolutions, but I will say that, this year, I want to focus on taking care of myself.  Not being selfish, not being unwilling to love deeply and care fiercely, but remembering to take a step back once in a while and evaluate, does this make me happy?  Is this fulfilling?  If the answer in my mind is a resounding no, or perhaps even silence, it's important that I change whatever it is that isn't healthy.  If there's anything I've learned over the past year, it's that loving something that hurts you doesn't make you a better person, or more righteous, or make your love more real, it makes you someone who doesn't know when it's time to walk away, to let go.

Here's to being honest with ourselves, and with each other.  Cheers.

Red Borscht

3-4 medium beets, washed thoroughly
2 baking potatoes, washed thoroughly
1 medium onion, sliced in half-moons
2 medium carrots, sliced
1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
6 c chicken broth
1/2 lemon, cut in half
Kosher salt
2 bay leaves
Handful parsley, chopped

In a stock pot filled with 10 c water, boil the beets until cooked through, ~1 hour.  Remove the beets, peel, and set aside.  Keep the cooking water at a simmer.  Meanwhile, set the chicken broth in a saucepot over medium-high heat to bring it to a boil.

Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise, then again, to quarter the potato.  Slice widthwise, then add the potato with the sliced carrots into the beet cooking water with ~1 teaspoon salt, tomatoes, onion, bay leaves, and pepper.  Meanwhile, slice the beets the same way you sliced the potatoes, so they're of equal size.  Once the potatoes are almost done cooking, add the juice of one lemon quarter (reserve the other for the end), cooked beets, shredded cabbage, and boiling chicken broth.  Adjust seasoning, then simmer until all the vegetables are cooked.  Add the juice of the other lemon quarter and the chopped parsley, as well as salt and pepper to taste.  Remove the bay leaves before serving with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt and a hunk of crusty bread.


  1. Love this. Minor correction to your Spanish: you'd want to say "feliz año nuevo MIS amigos" (the objects need to have gender and number agreement).