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Stay cool as a cucumber

COLD BEET SOUP
Žaltibarščiai
3-4 fresh red beets (canned beets can also be used)
2 small cucumbers
2 hard-boiled eggs
½ cup sour cream
2 cups buttermilk
4 cups cold water
½ cup chives, chopped
Fresh dill, chopped
Salt to taste
Pinch sugar, if desired
Cook unpeeled beets in water until tender. While the beets are boiling: Peel cucumbers and chop into small cubes (about ½ inch); peel shells from hardboiled eggs and separate whites from the yolks. Chop the whites very finely. When the beets have finished boiling, remove from the water, cool and peel. Grate them coarsely. In large mixing bowl, whisk together  water, buttermilk, and sour cream. Then add the beets, cucumbers, egg whites and chives. Stir until well blended. Season with salt to taste; add dill. Place in refrigerator to chill. Serve with boiled potatoes sprinkled with chopped dill.
Please note:
This is just one version of this favorite Lithuanian summer dish. Each cook has their own version. At restaurants in Lithuania, a hard-boiled egg is usually quartered and two of the pieces are placed in each individual soup bowl, and a dollop of sour cream is placed on top.

SUMMER GARDEN SOUP
Daržovių sriuba

2 Tbsps. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
6 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup uncooked white rice
1 1/3 cups fresh spinach, washed and chopped
1 1/3 cups butter lettuce – rinsed, and torn into small pieces
1 1/3 cups chopped fresh parsley
Salt to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion, carrot, and celery; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent and the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Pour in chicken stock and rice,; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 35 minutes or until rice is soft. Stir in spinach, lettuce and parsley; cook just until wilted. Season with salt and black pepper. Use an immersion blender (or blend in batches in a blender) until smooth. The soup may be thinned with more broth, if desired. Refrigerate overnight before serving. Garnish as desired.

CHILLED CUCUMBER SOUP
Žalta agurkų sriuba

3 cups plain yogurt
1 large European (sometimes called English or “seedless”) cucumber, peeled, halved, and coarsely grated, plus 6 paper-thin cucumber slices with skin for garnish.
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1½ Tbsps. chopped fresh mint
2½ Tbsps. chopped fresh dill, plus
6 dill sprigs for garnish
2 cups milk, or more if desired
3 Tbsps. white wine vinegar or fresh
lemon juice
Salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
Line a sieve with cheesecloth and place over a large bowl. Spoon the yogurt into the sieve and let stand in the refrigerator for 4 hours. Discard the captured liquid and place the yogurt in the bowl. Add the grated cucumber, garlic, olive oil, mint, chopped dill and milk, and mix well. Stir in the vinegar or lemon juice. Before serving the soup, season with salt and pepper. Ladle into individual bowls and garnish each serving with a cucumber slice and a dill sprig. Serve well chilled.

CHERRY SOUP
Vyšnių sriuba
2 lbs. fresh cherries
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. potato starch
1 cup sour cream
Cinnamon

Wash cherries, remove pits, cover with boiling water, add sugar and cinnamon, and simmer 10-15 minutes. Add dis- solved (in water) starch and bring to a boil. Chill. Stir in sour cream before serving. Homemade egg dumplings (leistinukai) may be cooked separately and added to this soup, or it may be served with plain croutons (not the store-bought variety used in salads).

COLD APPLE SOUP WITH DUMPLINGS
Žalta obuolių sriuba su leistiniais

5 medium apples
1 cup sugar
1 cup fruit juice
6 cups water
Cinnamon, orange peel
Cut up apples, put in a pot, add spic-
es, cover with 3 cups water and cook.
When apples are cooked, force through
strainer, add fruit juice, sugar, and heat
but do not boil. Chill.
Dumplings (leistiniai)
2 apples
2 Tbsps. sugar
2 eggs
Bread crumbs

Peel and grate apples. Add sugar, eggs and bread crumbs to make a thick dough. Beat well. Spoon the dough, using a teaspoon, into boiling water. When the dumplings rise to the surface, remove from heat, cool and add to soup. Chill before serving.