Sunday, February 8, 2009

Beety Beauty

My mother's borscht was always served cold and blended to smoothness, a deep pink summertime treat with a dab of sour cream swirled in. She didn't use meat in her borscht, just beets, onions, celery and herbs.

This borscht was a winter treat when we ate lunch with Cousin J-Yah at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone last week. It was piping hot, deeply red and rich with beets and beef, but topped like Mom's with dollop of white, creme fraiche in this case.

We have made an annual pilgrimage of this trip up to the Napa Valley to enjoy the off-season when the roads are open, the vines are sleeping and the bright mustard plants paint the fields with the brightest possible yellow. It's a beautiful time of year, inside the restaurant and out.

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