Due to market produce selection, it’s shaping up to be something of a pretty in pink week here in Wonderland. Beets…strawberries…grapefruit juice…purple potatoes (yeah, but close enough relations?). Even before I did the shopping, I was already gazing into the refrigerator to assess the inventory and dreaming in Pantones.
What I already had on hand due to the previous week’s cooking: three perfectly roasted beets; half a bottle of buttermilk; one cup of thick yogurt; one bunch of spring onions; a cucumber and some dill; plus a few remaining pickled ramps floating around in jar of brine that was so sweet and tangy and delicious it would be criminal to not put it to some use.
I mention this because as soon as I saw the Šaltibarščiai soup recipe in Canning for a New Generation, I started in on the Googling and realized that I wouldn’t be able to make a soup a Lithuanian Bubby would recognize, but I might just come up with a tasty “inspired by” summer dish. Plan formed, I went to work with my knife.
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (or kefir)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup strained or Greek yogurt
1 cucumber, seeded and diced into small cubes
2 large cooked beets, peeled and diced into small cubes
1 spring onion, finely sliced and chopped a few times
2-3 T sweet pickle brine or rice vinegar (to taste)
2 T dill, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
Really, once you’ve completed the knife work required (as indicated above), you’re pretty much done. Reserve some of the beet and cucumber pieces for garnish, if desired. Place all remaining prepared ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve.
Soup can be made in advance and kept chilled. Flavors meld, but also be forewarned that the beets will continue to bleed into the broth. By dinner last night, Brian was a little freaked out by the “Barbie corvette” tone the evening’s soup course had taken on.