I had all the ingredients to make my classic borscht soup and yet I was in a playful mood; I didn’t want to prepare my borscht dish exactly as I was used to. I decided to use the flavours but offer a differ spin on the meal. That’s how I created a deconstructed version using basically all the ingredients from my own recipe for borscht, a dry version of sorts, in a bowl, but using different techniques to prepare the vegetables.
How you can do this too:
- Find a recipe you or anyone in your family enjoys eating. It can be granny’s heritage recipe, from a magazine, a recipe blog post, your own, or from wherever! Just make sure you credit the originator, please.
- Determine what flavours are the non-negotiables. Spices, salt, herbs, oil, etc.?
- What other ingredients do you want to keep in the dish? What must stay or what can go? Could depend on what you have on hand!
- Consider changing the preparation technique: instead of wet, how about dry? Can you switch any of the cooked ingredients so that they are raw? Creamy or not so much? This is really where the dish can change since hot food taste so much different than when it is cold. Example, carrots. Think about how different the taste is when you eat it raw, pickled, boiled, roasted, or stir-fried? The flavour changes as well as the texture changes.
- Take a related ingredient and use it instead. This means the colour, taste, etc. For example, in my dry version of borscht, I didn’t have any green peas on hand (that I used in my original borscht soup) so I used edamame instead – same colour and sort of the same taste and family. I also didn’t have green cabbage, so I used up some red cabbage. I think you get the idea.
- How you present it on the plate also can turn the dish on its head. Instead of mixing, how about stacking? Why not consider shaving instead of mashing? Grating instead of in chunks? Play with textures and overall presentation! It’s amazing how the flavours can be so different when the food is thinly sliced versus chunky or seasonings are layered.
Why not turn a dish on its head which really is developing your food story at the same time?! After all, you are the writer of your own food story book. You can mix, match, flip, turn, enhance, add, remove any ingredients to come up with a totally unique presentation using flavours you enjoy and love. And it doesn’t mean you need a culinary diploma or degree to figure this out as you can see!
I welcome your ideas, re-created recipes, thoughts. Enjoy playing, and oh, I’m hoping you’ll get inspiration from the recipe I’ve included too!
Classic Ukrainian borscht is turned on its head by using different preparation techniques, but retaining all the flavour.
- 4 beets, medium peeled, long finger-like pieces
- 1 Tbsp raw honey
- 2 Tbsp dark balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups potatoes peeled, cubed
- 2 Tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1 Tbsp dill weed, dried or increase amount if using fresh, to taste
- 1 1/2 cups green beans fresh or thawed from frozen, not canned
- 1/2 cup edamame or use green peas if you have
- 3/4 cup carrots peeled, shredded or cut very fine and thin
- 1/4 cup onions red, white, or yellow, cubed or in long pieces
- yogurt or sour cream, to taste (or use a dill sauce)
- salt, pepper to taste
Peel all vegetables.
Cut the beets and toss them with honey, vinegar, and oil. Set aside.
Cut the potatoes and toss them with the oil and dill weed. Set aside.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place beets on one half of the sheet and the potatoes on the other. Spread out so that it is in one layer.
Roast in 400F oven for around 20 minutes until golden and soften.
Meanwhile, place green beans and edamame in a pot with water on the stove. Bring to boil to heat. Drain. Keep warm. You can season with salt if you wish.
Cut carrots and cabbage and set aside.
In a frying pan, add some oil, the cut onions. Stir-fry until softened. Set aside. Keep warm.
When serving, add all together in a bowl and toss or plate in rows.
Add yogurt and more dill weed on top. Season with salt and pepper if you like. If you'd rather, consider making a dill sauce and spread over top.
What’s your food story?