You can't beet this Ukrainian borscht


April 27, 1994|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,Sun Staff Writer

Just mentioning peanut butter cream pie can conjure up a big fat guilt trip. To shorten the ride, think about a bowl of Ukrainian borscht.

From Westminster, O. Hargraves asked for the pie recipe. And the borscht was the request of Charles E. Hopwood III of Baltimore, who wrote that he wanted a "Ukrainian borscht similar to the one I had in the Russian restaurant Moscow Night before it closed. It was a wonderful garnet-colored thin beet soup that was spiced and served with a big dollop of sour cream in the center. I ordered it every time I visited the restaurant.

"And, I detest beets," he added.

MA Both requests were answered by Lillian M. Suman of Baltimore.

Suman's Ukrainian borscht

1/2 to 1 cup of dried mushrooms, chopped or whole

1 large onion, whole

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 medium beets, cut in thin strips

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

8 to 9 cups water

1 small carrot, cut into thin strips

1 small stalk of celery, diced

1 cup shredded cabbage

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 clove of garlic, crushed, if desired

Salt and pepper to taste

Pour hot water over mushrooms, then drain and rinse thoroughly. Cover the mushrooms with about 2 cups lukewarm water and soak for 30 minutes or longer depending upon the variety of mushrooms used. Then slowly simmer in the same water until they are tender. Set aside.

In large pot, slightly cook the whole onion in the oil. Add the beets, parsley and the 8 to 9 cups water. Cover and cook until the beets are barely done. Add the carrot and celery and continue cooking for about 15 minutes. At this stage, put in the cabbage and cook until it is tender but not overcooked. The cabbage should retain some crispness. Add the garlic and the lemon, using the lemon juice with discretion as the borscht should be mildly tart but not sour. Season to taste and finally add the cooked, chopped or whole mushrooms along with the mushroom stock and bring to a boil. Discard the onion.

For clear borscht, strain before serving. If strained, the )( mushrooms may be used as a filling for a pastry appetizer. Borscht should be served with a dollop of sour cream.

Suman's Peanut Butter Cream Pie

2 (3-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

2 tablespoons milk

2 (1.5-ounce) envelopes whipped topping mix

1 cup cold milk, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla extract divided

Peanut-graham cracker pie crust

Chopped roasted peanuts

Combine cream cheese and powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl; beat until light and fluffy. Add peanut butter and 2 tablespoons milk. Beat well.

Prepare one envelope whipped topping mix according to package directions, using 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Fold into the peanut butter mixture and spoon into baked crust.

Prepare the other envelope of whipped topping with 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and spread evenly over the peanut butter mixture. Garnish with peanuts and chill at least 5 hours before serving.

Peanut-Graham Cracker Crust

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons ground peanuts

1/4 cup margarine, melted

Combine cracker crumbs, sugar and peanuts and stir in the margarine. Mix well. Press mixture firmly and evenly into a 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.

Lillian Suman writes that the peanut butter pie recipe came from the 1982 Southern Living appointment diary and the borscht recipe came from The Sun in 1971.

Chef Syglowski, with the help of chefs and students at the Baltimore International Culinary College, selected and tested these recipes.

Recipe requests

* John W. Schlitzer of Baltimore writes that he is "searching for a recipe to make the kind of dark, heavy pumpernickel bread we used to buy from a stand in the Northeast Market many years ago."

* Mary Lou Thompson from Longmont, Colo., wants two recipes. "I would love to have a recipe for spaghetti sauce from scratch. And, a sweet poppy seed dressing for fruit, without onions," she wrote.

* Paula Baranowski of Havre de Grace is looking for a broccoli mold recipe "that contains eggs, Swiss cheese, almonds, nutmeg and sour cream," she wrote.

* Jane M. Graham of Ellicott City and Audrey Burkindine of Baltimore want a recipe for Louisiana ring cake similar to that sold by the old Rice's Bakery.

* R. H. Davis from Kent, Wash., who was visiting in Phoenix, wrote that she wished to continue a soup search here. "This Italian soup I had several times in the past, but now never find it served, was a pesto soup with tortellini, with medium to thin broth and very aromatic."

* Pearl Dicus of Metolius, Ore., wants a pumpkin jam recipe. She notes that although she has asked many people for this recipe, no one seems to have heard of it.

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a long-gone recipe, maybe we can help. Please print each response or request clearly on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and phone number. Send to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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