Glory to Ukraine!

 Some years back, a friend loaned me a copy of a Ukrainian cookbook. The name of the book escapes me now but it introduced me to a cuisine and approach to food that left a mark.

This week, the eyes of the world are on that beleaguered land. And anybody who's not moved by the scenes playing out there isn't anybody I want in my life. The resolute bravery of the Ukrainian people, from their president on down taking up arms is some of the most inspiring footage I've ever seen. Theirs is a battle for the ages and history's being made in real time.

I was watching another video of President Zelensky and I was so moved I wired money to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. I used a service set up by the National Bank of Ukraine and you can find instructions by following this link. As of my writing this, the banking system in Ukraine is still functioning and I hope it stays up and running throughout this war of Russian aggression. My donation is not much when I look at how much the Ukrainian people are giving but it's something. And it's certainly more meaningful than changing my Facebook profile pic to the Ukrainian flag and calling it a day. Please consider donating to their cause.

OK, back to the Ukrainian cookbook.

One of the recipes that stood out to me was a Ukrainian borscht. I'd had borscht before but this one had a zip and flavor to it I couldn't get enough of and it achieved that zip with the addition of tart apples, like a McIntosh. The recipe called for this soup to be served chilled and as lovely as it was, I like soups to be served hot so I set about shifting the recipe and making it my own. Because it evolved to feature feta as a finishing touch, I think it works better as a puree than it does with the ingredients left whole.


2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 or 2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 pounds beets, peeled and coarsely grated
2 McIntosh Apples peeled, cored and chopped
6 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
sheep’s milk feta
1 tablespoon each of fresh parsley and dill, chopped


  • In large heavy pot, heat oil over medium heat; add onions
  • Cook; stirring for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent
  • Add beets, apples and stock; raise heat to medium high
  • After bringing ingredients to boil, reduce to simmer for about a half an hour, or until the beets are tender
  • Puree with an immersion blender until smooth; transfer to a clean pot
  • Add vinegar, salt and pepper; keep warm over low heat until ready to serve
  • Ladle soup into warm bowls; place generous portion of feta into middle of each bowl and garnish with herbs

And there you have it. A way to eat like a Ukrainian after you make a donation to their cause.