On of my best and oldest friend's, Vika, is Ukrainian and Russian and rumor has it her mom makes a mean borscht. I've tried her husband's attempt at mimicing Mrs. O's recipe and my memory of the borscht was one of violent pink, filling soup with a spicy flavor .
I hope one day to try the original or even Rafe's version again, but in meantime the farmer's market had amazing, huge healthy looking beets last week and the time had come to try making my own. Or, you know, someone else's found via the amazing food blog recipe search. This borscht is bright, warm and very healthy with a somewhat sweet, tangy flavor.
Since the recipe was in grams I made the following approximate conversions: 3.5 cups beets, 1 cup onions, 2 cups carrots, 2.5 cups of shredded cabbage, 1 quart vegetable stock and 2 cups of water. I added a touch of red pepper, cayenne probably, to make it spicier as per my memory and let it simmer way longer than 20 minutes as the beets just weren't getting softened to my taste. These adjustments worked well and next time I will use less shredded cabbage as I didn't enjoy its mushy texture.
One word of advice, which may seem obvious, when you grate the beet I advise putting the grater on a hard surface to stablize it and making the beet mobile. Otherwise, you could end up with a grated knuckle. It wasn't too horrifying though as really blood and beet juice look pretty similar. Isn't that reassuring?