Once my garden produces an abundance of fresh herbs and vegetables, the time is right to cook Botvinka. Soups are very popular in Eastern Europe and are the first course of a lunch or dinner meal, just like tossed salads in the U.S.
The name for this soup derives from the description of the tops (botvinka – leaves, and stalks) of very young red beet plants, which are the major ingredient in this soup. This dish is full of goodness of fresh, young, green leafy vegetables, and because they are so tender, they require very short cooking time.
The Easter Basket of special foods (described below) is arranged on Holy Saturday and taken to church, where a special blessing ceremony with prayers and sprinkling with Holy Water, is performed by the parish priest. The blessed food is served on Easter Sunday Brunch, once the fast is broken after the morning Easter Liturgy.