"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Jellied Borscht

See, this is the problem when you have a backlog of recipes. What to write about when you can finally snatch a quiet moment to compose a post? Tripe? The triumph of grilled margarita pizza? The promised post on sauterne-soaked cake?

If I followed my methodical approach, I think I'd be writing about blue cheese-stuffed hamburgers, but I find myself wanting to tell you all about jellied borscht instead.

Yes. Jellied Borscht.

One of the things that absolutely delights me about The Gourmet Cookbook is when I make something beyond my realm of experience that turns out to be amazingly good. Of course, you have to enjoy the key components here, namely: beets, radishes and gelatin, but if you're down with those things you'll love jellied borscht.

It's not on epicurious, so here we go. It's so simple I can even recite it from memory.

You'll need:
a jar of borscht
fresh lemon juice
unflavored gelatin
sour cream
fresh dill

Strain the solids from the jar of borscht, and save those for something else. Put the liquid in a bowl and add 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice. Sprinkle 1 1/2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin on top and let it soak in, then put it in a pot on the stove, bring to a boil and let simmer for five minutes.

Pour into a pyrex dish and put in the fridge.

When it's set (it'll take at least 2 hrs), chop it up and put it in a bowl. Put some diced radishes on top, a dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkle of fresh, minced dill.

Here's what mine looked like. Forgive the tupperware; I was taking it to work.

Should you be wondering, borscht jello tastes like a deep, complex cherry jello. Adding radishes, sour cream and dill rounds out the flavor. I used daikon radish--that's why they're completely white.

I have to confess part of my pleasure in making this dish was chortling over imagining O'Malley coming home from school and digging into the jellied borscht (which didn't happen, alas). I DID get him to take a bite of the whole thing, ensemble, only to discover that apparently he hates both beets and radishes, and was very sad that I had put that stuff in his mouth. Oh, the face!

And it turns out that some people hate gelatinous stuff. I was going on and on about this dish to my friend Elizabeth, and all she could do was shudder in horror.

But Don and I loved it, and one of my cooking clients was so keen on the idea when I described it that she wants me to make it for a dinner party next Thursday.

As the weather gets warmer (and for some of you it's damn hot already) keep this one in your toolbox.


Eve said...

can we hear about the grilled pizza next??

Georgia said...

Oh my - this would have been good in equal parts hot and humid SE Asia!