Revisiting an old post. After a fun time at the opening of Ed Hose's Tiny Illustration Studio last night, and finding this image of hers, I decided to resurrect an old post from 2011. Not sure how to do this without ruining the original but I'm taking a chance.

Have any of you ever read Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins? What does this have to do with Borscht you say??? Even more perplexing, I arrived at borscht via cabbage, so why now start on Jitterbug Perfume ? Well, here is something that popped into my little pooh bear brain whilst making the connection from cabbage to Borscht and finally BEET!!

"The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.
Slavic peoples get their physical characteristics from potatoes, their smoldering inquietude from radishes, their seriousness from beets.
The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can't squeeze blood out of a turnip...
The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime. The beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot. The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.
The beet was Rasputin's favorite vegetable. You could see it in his eyes."
(Tom Robbins-Jitterbug Perfume)

I think Shannon has already used this quote in a blog entry, no doubt it has been used countless times and I'm using it again. For another great TR quote, read through the entire post! :-) There are so many other great lines from other Tom Robbins books but we'll leave them for now and go on back to the Beet, to the Borscht, to the soup.

1 lg onion
3 - 4 cloves garlic - diced smaller than the rest of the veggies or put through a garlic press (my favorite)
1 head green cabbage 
3 - 4  whole, cooked with peels left in tact (roasted or boiled)
3 - 4 potatoes ( I used Yukon Gold with the skins still on)
3 - 4  carrots

2 or 3 celery stalks
1 28 oz can tomatoes ( I used whole plum, chopped with juice)
2T tomato paste
1 t. fennel Seed
1 t. chopped dill (additional fresh dill is great for garnish but alas I had none, if you have it, use it)
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1/4 t. smoked paprika
1/4 t. Bell Seasoning (optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 Bay leaves
6 -8 c. Veggie stock or water or any combo of both. Start with 6 cups and add more as needed.
Optional Garnishes: Chopped fresh Dill, Veggie Sausage Crumble, Vegan Sour Cream

NOTE: I used a "rustic" chop for all vegetables resulting in a country-style or chunky soup. Measurements need not be exact for this recipe so I used quantity of veggies instead. You will adjust the seasoning to your particular taste after the soup is finished, and actually, the "day after" is the best time to eat this hearty soup! Use a large stock pot as this is enough soup to feed all of the Ukraine !
1. Start by steam-sauteing the onions in a small quantity of stock or water until translucent. While onions saute, soak the chopped potatoes in cold water, this will help prevent discoloration from the beets, but eventually they will turn that beautiful magenta color, everything will so you can skip this step if you don't care! 
2.  Add the celery and carrots saute for another 5 min. Rinse and drain the potatoes.
3.  Add the cabbage, stock/water combo and seasonings along with the potatoes.
4. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and set to a boil on Med High heat untili veggies are just tender
5. Enjoy with any or all of the optional garnishes and some crusty bread.

"The highest function of love is that it makes the loved one a unique and irreplaceable being." TR


  1. BEET-UTIFUL! love that quote too--the intensity of the beet color is always amazing: i stare at the beet water, at my gorgeously stained fingers and just wonder "what immortal hand or eye" imagined this luscious penetrating colour! similar to husking corn and feeling the marvel of the silk. corn has almost the opposite kind of intensity: pale and transluscent. nature's imagination gone wild.
    thanks, Meem!

  2. Looks yummy. Can't wait to try it on a girls sleepover. Jean


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