Wednesday, January 8, 2014

vegan borscht & gluten free tahini crakers

So, G&T. It is hard to get behind this crazy system. The kids who do well are the kids who have been trained to do well. Just look at the sample questions and you can see, it is not a test of intelligence but a test of readiness. I have always felt, wrongly or not, that with enough time, resources and attention anyone can learn to do anything.

And here we are back at the cafeteria. My son has told test giver that he doesn't want to finish. I arrive at the room and he is in the book section looking for a book on dinosaurs. I have promised him a trip the Museum of Natural History when he finishes the test. He is eager to go there. Now.

After telling him that he wont be able to go to the museum if he doesn't finish and assuring him I'll be right outside the room while he finishes, he agrees to do so. Whew.

My son at the Museum
But now I ask myself, what if he gets a good score? Will I send him to an accelerated school where he will have a hard time distinguishing himself in a crowd of other hard working children? Or will I send him to an average school where he will have no problem distinguishing himself? Is it better to be valedictorian of an average school or a B or C student in an advanced school?

What would you do?

I have finally learned, after making so many soups that don't get finished, to halve every recipe. Works like a charm. This soup is only wonderful because of the vinegar. Do not skip this part of the recipe. You'll be cheating yourself out of a brilliant flavor experience. And these garlicky tahini crackers go really well with it.

Vegan Borscht
Adapted From Serious Eats

Makes 3 servings
  • 8 ounces beets (beetroot), peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 medium onions, sliced into half-moons
  • 1 large carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 pound white cabbage, cut thinly into shreds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • Splash of white wine vinegar, to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  1. Peel and cut the onions, carrots, and beets (alternatively, shred the carrots and beets using the shredding blade of a food processor) and sauté over medium heat in the olive oil with a pinch of salt in a large soup pot. Reserve a small amount of beet to grate and add near the end to enliven the color.
  2. In the meantime, bring the vegetable stock to a boil. When the vegetables are soft (about 5 minutes), add the shredded cabbage and the hot stock. Bring to a boil and simmer 15-25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Puree the soup with a hand held blender. Add the reserved grated beet.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add vinegar, aiming for a pleasing but subtle sour taste. Serve with freshly grated black pepper.  
Gluten Free Tahini Crackers
Adapted from Young, Broke and Hungry

  • 1 cup roasted almonds
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cold water, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon tahini 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a food processor grind almonds into meal. Add oil, water, garlic powder and salt and mix until dough forms. Add more water if necessary.
  3. Add sesame seeds and tahini and pulse three times.
  4. Remove dough and form it into a ball. Place it between two pieces of parchment paper and roll out to 1/8 inch thick. 
  5. Remove top sheet and cut into squares. Carefully place paper with dough onto a baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or longer - until browned.

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