Chilled borscht with beet biscuits

 After almost two months hiatus (i.e. incredible laziness) I am offering you a recipe for possibly the most beautiful and striking dinner you will ever come across. Chilled borscht with beet biscuits create a delicious and vibrant pink meal.

 This recipe is from a little while back when I was still getting my CSA box. I got a lot of beets one week, as you can see. I turned to my trusted 'Vegetable Love' cookbook to figure out a way to use them up and found these two enticing recipes.
 I cooked all the beets at once and separated them out after, since both recipes call for boiled and peeled beets. Peeling beets is much, much easier after they have been cooked, the skins rub right off.
 I don't own a food processor. I know this is shocking based on my penchant for kitchen utensils, but I am short on counter and cabinet space as it is so I've been holding out. I used my hand held blender, which was not ideal. I really may need to ask for a food processor for Christmas. I could probably start taking over other rooms in the house for cooking utensils.
 These biscuits are dense and chewy. I thought they were delicious but quite rustic. If your ideal biscuit is something flaky and buttery these may not be what you are looking for but I thought they were moist and flavorful and quite liked them.
 In addition to the awesome pinkness of the soup recipe, I liked that you can add whatever toppings you like. I added goodies from my CSA like parsely, cucumbers and chives. The eggs and potatoes also really upped the flavor and texture, plus made the soup hardier. The soup is served cold (great for a summer evening, alas we are a bit passed that) but with the warm biscuits I imagine it is quite nice even in colder weather.

Chilled borscht with beet biscuits

1 pound beets, trimmed and scrubbed
2 tsps white vinegar, or to taste
4 tsps fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsps kosher salt
1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup heavy cream
Toppings: chopped onion, chopped cucumber, chopped fresh dill, lemon wedges, sour cream, heavy cream, reserved grated beets, chopped hard-boiled egg, cold boiled very small waxy potatoes
1. Place beets in a small saucepan with water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the beets are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 30 to 45 minutes.
2. Drain the beets in a sieve lined with a damp cloth; reserve the cooking liquid. Run the beets under cold water to cool, then peel.
3. In a food processor (or with a box grater), grate the beets.
4. Return half the grated beets to the cooking liquid. Reserve the rest of the beets for topping or for another use. Season the soup with the vinegar, lemon juice, sugar and salt. Stir until everything is dissolved. Chill.
5. Just before serving, whisk in the sour cream and heavy cream. Pass small bowls of the whatever toppings you like.
3 small beets (2/3 pound) trimmed and scrubbed
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for flouring the board
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
8 tbsps cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1. In a medium saucepan, cover the beets with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the beets are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 30 to 45 minutes. Drain and cool 10 minutes. Rub off the skins and quarter.
2. In a food processor, puree the beets; there should be 1 cup of puree. Transfer to a bowl. Whisk in buttermilk.
3. Sift the dry ingredients into a medium mixing bowl. Cut in the butter until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Place in the freezer or refrigerator until the butter is hard, 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Scrape the puree into the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon just until the dough comes together around the spoon. This will be a very moist, sticky dough, there should still be whole pieces of butter visible in the dough.
5. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Knead about 10 times, incorporating enough flour so the dough no longer sticks to hands. Keep the board well floured.
6. Pat the dough out 1/2 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter or a class, cut into 2-inch rounds. Place on an ungreased air-cushioned cookie sheet or a heavy baking sheet, preferably black. Bake on the center rake of a 500F degree oven for 9 to 11 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes, then serve.

Recipe from Vegetable Love by Barbara Kafka

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