Borscht (an approximation)

1 small onion, chopped

Saute this in a big pot, in a little olive or canola oil until clear, or brown. Add

3-4 cups homemade chicken stock
2-3 cups tomatoes (either fresh or canned), blended up until smooth
2-4 cups water


(Basically you want enough liquid to cook the vegetables in, with some left for broth.)

1-2 bay leaves

Leave on medium heat. Chop

5-7 small beets including the tops
5-7 carrots
2-4 stalks of celery (if you want)
1 bunch green onions including the tops
1-3 cloves garlic


Add to the broth. Cook until vegetables are tender, but not mushy, and the broth is deep red. Sometime during the cooking, add (tasting often)

lemon juice
white sugar
salt
pepper
dried basil
dried oregano
whole grain mustard


(I realize that this is the tricky part, but here I have no clue about measurements, since I add a small amount of each ingredient until things taste right, and this is usually a long, contemplative process.)