Beet Soup a la Borscht

Sopa de Beterraba Russa

This soup is so delicious; it has a hearty root flavor and stunning color. Although originally a Russian dish, it has been warmly incorporated by cuisines all over the world. This recipe is very easy to make. It is a wonderful vegetarian soup and also delicious in its vegan approach. Like many soups, it is excellent the next day.

I first had this soup many years ago at the Intercontinental Hotel in Rio. I wonder if the Hotel is still there. Anyway, I fell in love with beets and started trying to replicate this wonderful soup.

Here is a Brazilian version.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chopped shallots
  • 2 chopped garlic gloves
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 2 chopped celery stalks
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 large apple skinned and chopped
  • 2 raw beets
  • 2 tablespoons butter*
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh parsley chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sour cream**

Directions:

  1. Cook beets with skin on in boiling water until soft. Drain and set aside to cool enough to handle. Remove the skin and cut into pieces.
  2. Heat oil and butter in a large sauce pan and add shallots, garlic, bell pepper, celery, apples and tomatoes. Let it cook until veggies begin to soften. Add beets and vegetable stock… bring to a boil.
  3. Turn heat to low and smooth soup using an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper to taste, agave nectar, and fresh thyme. Cover and let it simmer over a low heat for about 30 minutes.
  4. When ready to serve, scoop soup into bowls, add a dollop of sour cream and garnish with parsley.

*For a vegan approach substitute butter for vegan butter

** Substitute sour cream for coconut cream. It is super delicious this way too!

Serving tip: I like to serve with sourdough bread or garlic toast

Enjoy!

Vegan Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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Biscoitos Veganos  de Chocolate

Chocolate chip cookies are not a Brazilian original  but as a Brazilian living in the United States for so long I learned to love and to make them for my family. This is also not a  traditional chocolate chip recipe, it is a vegan adaptation as we are moving more towards vegetarian and vegan foods. I have not seen chocolate chips that are 100% chocolate, it is usually milk chocolate, so I use 100% chocolate bar ( no milk) and cut into chunks. It is absolutely delicious! You will be hooked!

Ingredients:

1 cup pitted dates

1 cup natural peanut butter or almond butter

2 cups almond flour

1 table-spoon “neategg” vegan egg substitute

1/4 cup almond milk ( or any non dairy)

4 OZ unsweetened dark chocolate 100% cocoa

powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Using a food processor, beat the dates and peanut butter until all mixed and smooth
  3. Add almond flour and process.
  4. Dissolve “neategg” on non dairy milk and add to food processor. A ball of dough should be formed now but if still dry and crumbly add another spoon of non dairy milk.
  5. Place dough in a bowl, break chocolate into very small chunks and mix with your hands making sure dough incorporates all the chocolate chunks.
  6. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper, roll dough into small balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let it stand for 10 min.
  7. place cookies on a rack or a plate and sprinkle powdered sugar.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pita Bread

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Pao Arabe

Pita Bread is so easy to make, the perfect pair for Hummus! The warm and rich flavor of the Arab cuisine that reached Portugal and Brazil.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1 tea-spoon salt
  • 2/3 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 table-spoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tea-spoon dry yeast

Directions:

  1. Mix flour and salt in a bowl.
  2. Dissolve yeast in water and add olive oil.
  3. Make a hole in center of flour and add yeast mixture, then slowly knead mixture to make a soft dough.
  4. Turn dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
  5. Place it back in the bowl, brush top with a little extra olive oil, cover with a plastic wrap and set aside, in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour.
  6. Punch dough, place it on a lightly floured surface and divide it in 6 balls.
  7. Roll each ball in to a circle or oval shape about 1/3 inch thick. Brush each one with a little more olive oil, cover them back and let them rest for 30 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, pre heat oven to 400F. Place 3 pita circles on a pizza pan or cookie sheet. You will need to pans or bake in batches.
  9. Bake for 6 minutes or until they puff up and are golden brown.

So Yummy!