Few of us can ignore or not be affected by the news coming out of Ukraine right now. Dark moments like these challenge us to remember once again who we are and what we can endure and refuse to tolerate.

JUST MAKING IT PERSONAL….. My friend Ardyth was a Fulbright Scholar in Ukraine years ago and still has friends there, including Alyona, Sasha and their 3 boys. We have been following the family’s journey. A week ago they were living a normal life in Kyiv. A few days ago, escaping Kyiv, leaving her college student son and Sasha behind, Alyona and the boys were living in a family members’ basement in the Khmelnitskaya region of the country. Then they became refugees in Poland. It took 3 days of strangers driving them, offering food and shelter along the way, to get to Bavaria where they are finally settled for the time being. No words.

Last Sunday, however, I needed to shelve those loftier considerations of ‘what I could endure.’ I wasn’t even enduring the weekend. My jangled nerves weren’t responding to “Just Breathe.” Although I could locate Ukraine on a map, I didn’t know it shared borders with seven other countries. If called to perform, among other things, I can now name all those bordering countries and their capital cities.

WUNDERBROT, rolled oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, buckwheat, almond meal, psyllium husk, chia seed, sesame, salt, maple syrup, water, tahini, brown rice, sourdough, apple cider vinegar, fresh yeast and brown rice flour from Moxie Bread Co., Boulder, Colorado.

Which brings me to borscht.  A female store owner in Kyiv recently said to CNN, “I’m not scared anymore. I know Ukraine will win. The two things a Ukrainian woman needs to know is how to make borscht and Molotovs!”

MIREPOIX – Mirepoix is a mix made from finely diced vegetables (the mix of vegetables will often vary by country and cuisine) that are cooked in butter or oil, low and slow as to sweeten the ingredients rather than caramelize them. These slow-cooked aromatic vegetables form the first layer of flavor to many recipes.

Ukranians consider this beet soup, with its 30 different varieties, to be their national dish. It is a hearty vegetable soup made out of beets, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, parsnips onions, garlic, dill and may include meat or fish. Food is part of Ukraine’s culture and identity. Every babulya (grandmother) has her favorite version.

I used refrigerated and vacuum-packed beets for this recipe. Fresh young, summer beets, of course, are a better choice.

I’d never made or even tasted borscht. Last Sunday that became my project. Fun fact. To even grasp what I was creating, I first purchased a jar of Manischewitz Borscht for tasting purposes!  After scanning the internet for various recipes, I settled on Natasha Kravchuk’s meatless version (recipe below). Another fun fact. Starting your meal with a hearty vegetable soup like borscht is a fantastic way to lose weight! You end up eating 15% fewer calories over the course of a meal.

For a number of very good reasons I cancelled my trip to Paris this spring and am in Boulder for a few weeks. This beautiful carton of eggs is from Benevolence Orchard. The owner always includes a small feather. (Full Disclosure: Although I will pay $10 for a carton of fresh, locally produced eggs, I will not pay $10 for a tube of Colgate Tooth Paste!)


In 2017 when Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, killing 2,975 people, the deadliest U.S.-based natural disaster in 100 years. World Central Kitchen, a not-for-profit organization devoted to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters and led by the celebrated Chef José Andrés, was first on the scene. Since Adriana Angelet, a member of our French Fridays with Dorie virtual cooking group, was Puerto Rican and dealing with the devastation, we “Doristas” decided to contribute money to WCK in her name. 

Since that time as Chef Andrés has expanded his impressive food relief effort throughout the world, I’ve contributed monthly to WCK, making it a recurring donation. He is a phenom. In time, I predict he will win the Nobel Peace Prize. When Russia invaded Ukraine, his team quickly organized to feed what is now almost 1 M refugees. Currently, WCK meals are being distributed in five Ukrainian cities and on the Polish, Romanian, and Moldovian borders. Learn more about wck.org here.

Before leaving Maui I had a delicious lunch at Mala Tavern – Ahi Bruschetta including edamame hummus, flax seed toast, local tomatoes and 20-year old balsamic vinegar
A week or so before saying Mahalo to Maui, I asked my ever generous landlord for another lime for my gin-and-tonics. She brought me a “limb.” Sadly I couldn’t bring them back to Colorado.
I also had to leave my two boyfriends in Maui as well. They preferred hanging out at Upcountry’s oldest general store rather than coming back to Snow Country.

CLASSIC UKRAINIAN BORSCHT (Beet Soup) by Natasha Kravchuk of NatashasKitchen.com

Classic Ukrainian Borscht

Servings: 6


4 medium beets, peeled and grated, 2 cups ( I used refrigerated and vacuum-packed beets for this recipe.)
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
4 cups chicken broth, add water as needed
2 medium/large Yukon potatoes, peeled and sliced into bite-sized pieces
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

Zazharka (Mirepoix):

2 celery ribs, trimmed and finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped, optional
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 Tbsp ketchup or 3 Tbsp tomato sauce

Additional Flavorings:

1 can white cannelini beans with their juice or shredded cabbage
2 bay leaves
2Tbsp white vinegar, or to taste
1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1 large garlic clove, pressed
3 Tbsp chopped dill


  1. Peel, grate and/or slice all vegetables (keeping sliced potatoes in cold water to prevent browning until ready to use then drain). I used refrigerated and vacuum-packed beets for this recipe.
  2. Heat a large soup pot (5 1/2 Qt or larger) over medium/high heat and add 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add grated beets and sauté 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until beets are softened. 
  3. Add 4 cups broth. Add sliced potatoes and sliced carrots. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. If more broth is needed, add 1-2 cups of water.
  4. While potatoes are cooking, place a large skillet over medium/high heat and add 1 Tbsp oil. Add chopped onion, celery and bell pepper. Sauté stirring occasionally until softened and lightly golden (7-8 minutes).
  5. Add 3 Tbsp Ketchup and stir fry 30 seconds then transfer to the soup pot to continue cooking with the potatoes.
  6. When potatoes and carrots reach desired softness, add 1 can of beans with their juice, 2 bay leaves, 2-3 Tbsp white vinegar, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1 pressed garlic clove, and 3 Tbsp chopped dill. Simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes and add more salt and vinegar to taste.
  7. Add a dollop of sour cream or yogurt on top.


My long-time Manchester, Iowa friend, Cindy, drove from Colorado Springs to have lunch with me at Boulder’s St. Julien Hotel. Before we sat down, Cindy ordered champagne. We were off. Our cute U of Colorado waitress was totally into celebrating 70 years of anything! The hostess made it clear it was “our” table. By the time we left, 2 1/2 hours later, most of the customers at the surrounding tables were celebrating as well. It truly was joyful.