Tag Archives: vegetarian

Orzo with Veggies and Feta

Orzo with Feta

Orzo with Feta

I’ve been thinking about making something with orzo for a while, and saw a good recipe on Tasty Kitchen and thought I’d give it a try.  But you know me, I can’t follow directions when it comes to food, so, as always, I added my own touch on the recipe.

The asparagus I had was already roasted (LOVE! roasted asparagus) so that was one variation from the original recipe.  Another was the tomatoes.  I love tomatoes, and Sendik’s had cute little cherry tomatoes on sale.  These aren’t good enough to eat on their own yet, but are good enough to cook with (the added spiced and other things in the dish help out the paper-like taste of winter tomatoes).

Ingredients:
1/2 cup orzo
1/2 lb spinach
1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
1/2 cup roasted asparagus (sliced on the diagonal in bite-sized pieces)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
Feta (as much as you like)
2 TB olive oil
Salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder to taste.

Steps:
1. Cook orzo according to package directions
2. Let the minced garlic infuse the olive oil on relatively low heat, so it doesn’t burn, until you can smell it (or about 5 minutes)
3. Add the spinach and cook down a bit
4. Add the tomatoes, season, and cook together for about 5 minutes
5. Add the roasted asparagus and orzo
6. Add the feta

Garlic infusing oil

Garlic infusing oil

Cooked spinach

Spinach cooked down

Tomatoes

Added the tomatoes

Orzo

Added orzo and asparagus

Added feta

Added feta

Ella’s Borsch

Finally! A recipe!

My family has been blessed with phenomenal cooks.  My grandma and her sister make absolutely different but fabulously sumptuous borscht.  That’s right, borscht.  The funny thing is, as ubiquitous as borscht is and as fundamental to “Russian” cuisine, I’ve never made it before today.  Usually, this is how the conversation about borscht goes:

Me:  Grandma, how do I make borscht?
Grandma: When would you like it?  I’ll make some for you.
Me:  No, thanks Grandma, I’d like to learn how to make it.
Grandma:  Well, you’ll need beets and other things.
Me:  Ok, I’ll call you this evening for a complete list of ingredients and quantities.
… Later that evening…
Grandma:  Come by when you can, I have borscht for you.

But today, I decided to pick grandma up so we’d cook it at my place, under her supervision/guidance. Between bouts of laughter, spilled grated carrots, spilled bag of dust from the vacuum, and life advice, we ended up cooking her sister’s recipe (my great-aunt Ella’s recipe).

Though this soup is completely vegetarian, even vegan if you avoid the dollop of sour cream, it doesn’t taste “weak” or like it’s just water and a cabbage.

borscht-ingredients

Ingredients

Ingredients:
2 medium potatoes, diced in medium-sized chunks (I like Yukon Gold)
1 red bell pepper, diced in smallish-sized chunks (if you’d like to use 2, it would be great)
1 medium onion, diced
2 small beets, grated
1 large carrot, grated
1/2 head of cabbage
3 bay leaves
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced (if you like more, you can add more)
2 TBSP of tomato paste (I used catchup instead)
Salt and pepper to taste
2-2.25 cups of water
dill

Steps:
1. Cook the potatoes and cabbage in a pot of boiling water till just tender. About 10 minutes or so.
2. Saute all the veggies (onion, grated carrot, grated beets, and diced bell pepper) till just soft. About 5-10 minutes or so.
3. Combine the ingredients to one pot (whichever pot is larger). I had a cast-iron pot where I sauteed the veggies that had enough room to add the potatoes, cabbage, and the cooking liquid of those, so that’s what I did. I transferred the cabbage, potatoes, and water to the pot with the veggies.
4. Once combined, check the salt level, add the bay leaves, check the water. This is where we added 2 cups of water.
5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer about 15-20 minutes. Check water again. If it’s too thick, add more water. We added about a quarter cup at this point.
6. Add the minced garlic and minced dill (dill, salt, pepper are all to taste).
7. Turn off the heat and let the pot stand there for about 10 minutes.

Enjoy the rich deliciousness. This is typically served with a dollop of sour cream and everyone I know eats it that way. My preferred way is to eat it instead with a slice if somewhat crusty bread and a few cloves of raw garlic. No fear of vampires here. 😉

borscht-veggies-sauteing

Veggies Sauteing

cabbage-potato-borsch

Cabbage and Potatoes cooking

borscht-cooking

Borscht cooking