Jun 28 2011
While growing up, the real sign of the start of summer was when my mother would switch from making hot borscht to cold borscht. The recipes for the two are quite different and serve distinct culinary purposes. Warm borscht usually includes some sort of meat and sliced cabbage, making it a hearty meal. Cold borscht is meant to be refreshing and light, with toppings such as cucumbers or a hardboiled egg.
Early members of the Eldridge Street Syngagoue brought the traditional meal of borscht to the Lower East Side from Eastern Europe to satisfy the varied needs of the hot and cold months. The early members kept cool in the summertime by eating cold borscht and adding an American innovation – the egg cream! Follow their lead and try out the recipes below this summer.
Sophie Ugelow’s Simple Borscht
- 4 large beets with leaves
- 3 cups cold water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tbs. lemon juice (or vinegar)
- 2 boiled potatoes cut in 1/2 inch pieces (optional)
- 1 peeled cucumber cut in 1/2 inch pieces (optional)
- 1 cup sour cream
- (This blogger recommends adding cubed hardboiled eggs and a sprinkle of dill or parsley as well!)
- Cut tops off beets and save leaves. Wash leaves well and cut ito 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices.
- Peel beets.
- Put whole beets and leaves into pot and add cold water. Water should cover beets plus one inch. Bring to boil, lower flame to simmer and cook until a fork easily goes into whole beet.
- Remove beets and let cool. While beets are cooling, add sugar, salt and lemon juice to liquid. When beets are cool enough to handle, coarsely grate into soup. Refrigerate.
- Serve cold with 1/4 cup sour cream and pieces of boiled potatoes, cucumbers, hardboiled eggs, or parsley. Makes four servings.
Old Fashioned Egg Cream
- 1/4 cup of chocolate syrup (we recommend Fox’s U-bet)
- 1/2 cup of whole milk
- Pretzel rod (optional)
Pour the milk into a large glass. Add the chocolate syrup and stir well. Then tilt the glass and top off with a generous spritz or pour of seltzer. Serve immediately with a long spoon, straw or pretzel rod. Makes one serving.
Let us know how your recipes turn out! Also, we would love to hear your personal or family variations, so please post your additions or substitutions below.