Beet Borscht and Oatmeal Bread Recipe/Review
Geraldine Hartman, who has written the cookbook, Not Just For Vegetarians invited us to try some recipes out of her book. I stepped up to the challenge and even agreed to cook something I've never even eaten: beet borscht with a quickie oatmeal bread.
Here's what I've found:
1. Beet borscht is basically a beet chili
2. I like beet borscht
3. Even screwing up the recipes makes for good eating
I really enjoyed this soup and bread combo. I cook a lot but that doesn't necessarily mean I'm skilled, so I rate recipes on how well the dish turns out, ease of the preparation, and how badly I can screw it up and it still turns out well. If the beet borscht and quickie oatmeal bread recipes are any indication, Not Just For Vegetarians is a whole book of opportunities for me to look like a star despite my ineptitudes!
Here are the recipes:
Things to note about the borscht:
I procrastinated forEVER on making this recipe and the beets, cabbage and veggie pepperoni waited patiently in my fridge for a while until I made it. The veggie pepperoni is probably the scariest thing I've ever cooked with in my life (something like the Frankensoy of the veggie world), however once mixed into the soup it added wonderful spice and slight heat to the dish. My advice here is to pre-chop everything before you turn on the stove. Also, fresh organic beets are the way to go. Enjoy!
RUSSIAN BEET BORSCHT
Add a dollop of sour cream or yogurt and thick slices of fresh bread for a truly Russian feast. Serves 6 generously. Freezes well. Can be served hot or cold.
3 T. vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
2 med. carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery (use the leaves also),diced
1 large potato, diced
1 small cabbage (red or green) finely chopped
1 (155gr.) pkg. vegetarian pepperoni or ham, diced
2 – 14 oz. cans of diced (drained and rinsed) or equivalent cooked, fresh beets if available
2 – 14 oz. cans stewed tomatoes (keep the juice and add to the soup with the tomatoes
2-4 cloves garlic, minced (to taste)
2 T. fresh or 2 teas. dried finely chopped dillweed
2-3 T. apple cider vinegar
1/2 teas. sea salt, to taste (opt.)
1/8-1/4 teas. freshly-ground pepper, to taste
1-1 _ teas. Mrs. Dash Original Blend OR Spike Seasoning Blend, to taste
1 T. honey
5 C. vegetable soup stock
2 T. cornstarch
In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, potato, cabbage and vegetable pepperoni or ham and sauté for 5 minutes.
Cover and steam for 2 additional minutes to release flavors. Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT cornstarch. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Blend cornstarch with 5 T. cold water until smooth. Add to soup for last 10 minutes of cooking time.
Things to note about the bread:
I'm not sure what I did wrong here, but I ended up using WAY more flour than what this recipe calls for. Unfortunately I didn't realize how much more I needed until I was in the middle of mixing, so this bread got all my flour leftovers: oat flour, white rice flour, all purpose organic flour and soy flour. I just kept adding flour until I got dough. This also increased the amount of time the bread needed to rise. And the bread still tastes marvelously! It is dense and sweet and definitely best hot out of the oven. My sister exclaimed with glee, "It tastes like beer!" ... of course she's 5 months pregnant.
QUICKIE OATMEAL BREAD
A good recipe to make when you’ve got soup on the stove and want fresh homemade ‘scratch’ bread to go with it. A delicious bread, full of texture and flavor, one loaf may not be enough!!!
2 teas. dry yeast
1 C. warm (not hot) water
1 T. honey or brown sugar
1 C. boiling water
1 C. rolled (uncooked) oats
1 C. molasses
2 T. butter
1 teas. sea salt
1 egg, beaten
2 - 3 C. flour (combine white and whole wheat flour or use all unbleached white if you prefer a lighter bread)
In a small bowl dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in the sugar or honey, set aside in a warm place 10-15 minutes until frothy. In a large mixing bowl, combine the boiling water, rolled oats, molasses, butter and salt and stir to combine. Allow mixture to cool to lukewarm.
Stir in dissolved yeast, egg and gradually add enough flour to form a ball of dough. Knead on a well-floured board for 5 minutes until smooth.
Grease a standard (9” x5”) bread pan and form dough into a loaf shape, placing it in the prepared pan. Brush with butter and let rise in a warm (draft-free) place, covered with a dampened tea towel for about 45-50 minutes, until doubled, don’t over-rise or it will sink!!! Preheat oven to 350, about 10 minutes before bread has finished rising. Bake 35-40 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes before removing from pan. Makes excellent toast as well.
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Posted by Blogpire Productions at April 4, 2006 7:13 PM
Regarding the Oatmeal Bread:
I wonder if the amount of flour is a typo. The ratio of flour to water (2 cups of water to 3 cups of flour) simply won't work for a bread dough that must be kneeded, as opposed to one that gets poured into pans such as banana bread. Add to that an entire cup of molasses (which overwhelms the dough flavour-wise with the current measurements, to the point that it should be renamed 'Molasses Bread') with the recipe as is, and it's a bit of a mess.
I kept track of how much flour was needed to make a kneedable dough, and six cups seems about right. That said, I have a bad back and do all my kneeding with my KitchenAid (dough hook). However, there was simply too much dough to fit in the bowl, and when it started exploding out and trying to crawl up my wall, I gave up and did it by hand.
I gave it a 45 minute rise, shaped into a round loaf, placed in a cool buttered cast iron skillet and gently pressed some oats on the top. Then yes, no longer a quick bread, another rise, to yield a nice full loaf. If baking in traditional loaf pans, I would split it in half and make two loaves, and still give it a second rise until doubled (1-2 hours).
Baking was problematic with a single large loaf. 350 for 30 minutes and it looked done, sounded done when thumped, but a long wooden
skewer inserted above the lip of the skillet through the bread came out goopy. Another 20-30 minutes and no more goop.
I drizzled butter over the top and gave it another 5 minutes in the oven for a gorgeous crust. I let it rest for ten minutes and turned it out onto a cooling rack only to watch it deflate. I almost cried!
So, back in the pan and in the oven (yes, 'hopeless', I was thinking).
Another 15-20 minutes another 10 minute rest, and finaly it was done.
Scrumptius, but smooshed.
Next time I would split the dough in half for two mini-round loafs. I'd also consider increasing the oven temp, as 350 seems low.
Hope this helps other bakers to make a better loaf than mine!
(I'll be adding this review with photos to my blog at some point if you are curious!)