Today was a multi cultural day which in my book, is an all-American day. There are many Russian ex-pats & emigrants that live in the Sacramento region. We took down several trees in or front yard a couple of weeks ago and there was a Russian older man (who lives just a few houses down) who took all the wood for his fireplace. He told us that he keeps bees. I'm so excited about this. I know now that my garden will do well if we have a bee hive near by. I was also happy to see that our trees were being put to good use. We are keeping chunks of the large trunks (stumps) for our future fire pit in the back yard. After going to the farmers market near our house, I had decided to make Borscht which is a Russian beat soup. I imagine that it's a soup with very many different variations depending on personal preferences and what region of Russia the soup is coming from. Here's my version
A bunch of red beats (4-5 very small)(diced)
A bunch of orange beats (2 very large)(diced)
5 small carrots (diced)
1 onion (diced)
half a head of cabbage (shredded)
3 cups of salt(ed) water
2 cups of beef stock
2 Tbsp. butter
Pour beats, carrots and onion into boiling salted water. Then add beef broth, butter, and cabbage. Cook for 15 minutes (I simmered on med/high heat). Squirt in lemon juice. Ladle into cups/bowls and dollop with sour cream.
It was a good hardy winter soup. I imagined children in Russia coming home in the late fall evening to a big bowl of Borscht. My boys don't like soup. I love any kind of new soup. The use of the beats in anything except a salad topper is very different for me. I like beats so I think I might make this again if someone else will come over and eat it with me!
After church and picking up the remaining ingredients for Borscht at the market, we all decided to stop by Capitol Nursery and look into planting some new hedges. Since we were so close, I wanted to show Mike Oto's. It's a store that sells Japanese grocery items. Low and behold they were closed for the New Year. However, Mike spotted something interesting. There was a small hut with a sign for Japanese pastries so, we decided to pop in and have a look. The little shop was packed and through the glass while waiting in line I could see melon pan, green tea melon pan, an pan man choco pan, loaves of soft fluffy white bread, yakisoba bun, tonkatsu bun, and their advertised specialty Kobe cream. We had come late in the day so many of the items were gone. However, we were able to split a Kobe cream and Joshua got he An Pan Man Choco Pan. There were many Japanese folks in line the couple behind us said they drive an hour to get here. How fortunate we are! The baked items were Japanese alright custard cream in the center. Pretty authentic for being 6,000 miles away. Anyone who wants to check it out can google Mahoroba.
I'm sorry I'm not telling my story in any kind of order. After the Borscht, I decided to attempt the bread pudding recipe again. Paula Dean's recipe had a total of 5 cups of sugar. It was good but so sweet and griddy with sugar. I'm hoping to cut the sugar and still get the great taste. I'll let you know how it turns out. I reason too for the replay of bread pudding is I think I probably had about 10 left over rolls from Christmas Eve that were hard as rocks and needed to be used for something!