Sunday, January 24, 2010

Solyanka and Odessa Beets

You win some and you lose some, right? I went into this project knowing that I may sometimes fail. Not all of these recipes are going to knock the socks off my tastebuds. Solyanka is a prime example of one such fail. Solyanka first, we'll get to you in a minute, Odessa Beets.

Solyanka is a Ukranian style casserole. According to my computerized best friend, non-vegetarian versions of Solyanka are made with meat or fish, pickled cucumbers, and cabbage. It's supposed to resemble a thick, spicy, soup. Not exactly the most enticing dish, but I thought I'd give it a go.Solyanka is rich and tangy with varied texture, somewhat smooth because of the mashed potatoes, cottage cheese, and yogurt, and a little crunchy because of the cabbage, carrot, and sunflower seeds. My initial comparison was to Cooler Ranch Doritos... maybe because of the fresh dill. Charlie and my mom doctored the dish up with a little cheddar cheese on top, confirming for the dinner crowd that cheese truly does make anything better.Initially, I had hoped to serve Solyanka with Odessa Beets as a side. Unfortunately, the beets required an extra hour to tenderize in the oven, so it didn't sync up. Odessa Beets are also a Ukranian dish, made with grated beets, sliced dried plums, freshly minced garlic, pineapple, walnuts, and lemon juice. Beets are a food I could eat all day long. I love them roasted with a little olive oil in the oven. I love them in salads. I love them in juice! Beets are amazing. This salad was delicious, a little tangy because of the fresh garlic and lemon juice and a skosh sweet because of the dried plums and pineapple. I was pleased with how the beets turned out but am not sure I will make them again because they took so long in the oven!

All in all, this was a worthy attempt at trying something totally unique from the New Moosewood Cookbook. I'm glad I tried it, even though the food was a little disappointing and the dishes weren't done at the same time, as originally planned. Above all, it was worth it to share laughs over the dinner table with my family over such a unprecedented concoction!

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