Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A beet allergy is no laughing matter.

Waitress: "Now, does anyone at the table have any food allergies that I should know about?"
Boy (with panicked look, said in his head): "Please no, please no... don't do it Alex, this is a nice restaurant."
Me: "Umm, yes, I actually have a meat allergy."
Waitress: "Oh!  Well I don't think we have any on the line tonight, maybe in a garnish... I will make sure to keep it away from your meal."
Waitress: "Here is your crusted tofu dish, EXTRA BEETS, tee hee!"
<Insert confused look between boy and I>

So I do this thing that the boy hates (comes right after loving him too much on the con list).  Sometimes, when I don't feel like talking about being a vegetarian, but I want to be assured that no meat will come anywhere near my food... I will say that I have a meat allergy.  Another gem was when I told this to our waiter at a fancy french restaurant, and when he responded with, "Is that a real allergy?," I quickly assured him, "Umm, I carry an epi pen!  Ask him!"

I really am a treat sometimes.
Peeled beets are so pretty!
Now, I tell you all of this because beets made their way into my farmers market bounty this past week (Gasp!  No one was there to protect me from their allergy ridden ways... :-/).  I hemmed and hawed about what to do with them.  I had an assortment of ideas, but when my mom suggested I do borscht, I figured a nice nod to the Eastern European half of my heritage would be appropriate.  I had also picked up some carrots and cabbage at the farmers market, so I was well on my way.  Some internet searching taught me that borscht recipes are vast and varied, so I tried to extract the key flavors and then made the best with what I had.  Those flavors are beets (or dirt, as my roommate told me), cabbage, and vinegar.
Done and done.

Russian Approved Vegan Borscht       

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 medium beets, cleaned and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 large carrot, chopped (or a few smaller ones)
  • 1 medium potato, cleaned and cut in 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 small head of cabbage, sliced (I used a mandolin)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in large pot.
  2. Add the onion and garlic, sauté until the onion is soft.
  3. Add the remaining vegetables.
  4. Meanwhile, heat up vegetable stock.
  5. Continue sautéing vegetables for about 5 minutes, then add warmed vegetable stock and bay leaves.
  6. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
    • (I had some remaining veggie meat balls in my freezer from the Italian Wedding Soup, so I threw those in the pot with 10 minutes left)
  7. Add the vinegar, and then salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve immediately and piping hot.
  9. Enjoy!


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  2. I read your blog.I thought it was great.. Hope you have a great day. God bless.


  3. In my opinion the technically no cure for allergies. The good treatment for deal with this condition is to avoid the main food directly. I get this point from eliteassignmenthelp that the foods containing traces of the main food should also be avoided by listing them on the bases of experience as well research.

  4. Claiming to restaurant staff to suffer from an allergy when you don't really sucks. Even in kitchens where cooks take every precaution to avoid cross-contamination, your allergy claim may force them to have to prep your meal from scratch- forgoing the use of their prepped mise-en-place - taking take extra time (which would otherwise be used to prepare the other customers' meals) and can have a negative effect on their work flow and moral. Also if your server and/or cooks are actually familiar with food allergies, you'll look like a fool and they won't take you seriously. Meat allergy doesn't exist. RED meat allergy does. Seafood allergies do. Fish allergies do. There is no general meat allergy that requires the use of an EPI-pen. Please don't trivialize other people's legitimate allergies by lying about your own.

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