Box of chocolates? Check. Roses? Check. There may even be some jewelry in store. All that’s left is the perfect meal. One that will elicit those three words you’ve been longing to hear…
“Dang, that’s tasty!”
While beet and cabbage soup may not be one’s first thought when plotting a romantic evening, allow me to make a case for serving up a delicious bowl of this Ukrainian classic to your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day. It’s red. Be it rose petals, a heart-shaped card or a hearty bowl of soup, red is the color of romance. Don’t mess with the classics. Homemade wins. Sure, dinner out in a fancy restaurant has its merits, but when wooing that special someone, a meal thoughtfully planned and prepared for the occasion shows just how much you care.
This is especially true if your usual specialty is making reservations. Beets are an aphrodisiac. The ancient Romans had it right when they prescribed beets as a medicinal “romantic supplement.” The natural nitrates in beets convert to nitric oxide in the body, increasing the oxygen capacity of blood vessels, increasing energy and improving blood circulation. For love is like a garden. What is sown and reaped in the garden is a reflection of the caring gardener. Express yourself by sharing the bounty of your well-tended garden with the one you love. Okay, that last one may be a little corny, but what the heck. That’s what Valentine’s Day is all about.
2 tablespoons butter
2 onions, sliced thin
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cups beef stock
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 carrots, sliced
3 red potatoes, sliced thin
3 cups cabbage, chopped
1 teaspoon dill
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
Scrub beets, wrap loosely in aluminum foil and arrange on a baking sheet to roast in a 400 degree oven for 50-60 minutes.
Allow beets to cool, then peel, dice and set aside.
Sauté onions and celery in butter in a heavy pot until soft.
Add beef stock and bring to a boil.
Add caraway seeds, salt, pepper, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, dill, vinegar, tomatoes and beets and return to boil. Reduce to simmer for 40 minutes and remove from heat.
May be served hot or cold. Ladle into shallow bowl and garnish with sour cream and boiled egg.