It was always served with a dollop of sour cream and some diced cucumbers for a cool crunch. And then you'd swirl the sour cream into the clear soup and it would turn opaque and pink.
The soup was always the same, but when it came to serving, it was like Goldilocks and the three bears. My dad liked the soup steaming hot, mom liked it stone cold, and I liked it somewhere in-between. Not chilly, but not hot, either.
Back then, we'd never heard of golden beets. They were all dark red. Even now, golden beets are mostly found at the farmer’s market rather than grocery stores, and now is the perfect time to buy them, while they’re young and tender.
I started thinking about making mom’s beet soup with golden beets, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it would be perfect as a chilled soup. Of course, if you don't like cold soup, warm it up. I won't tell anyone.
I used rice vinegar for this because the mild flavor is perfect. A white balsamic or white wine vinegar would work as well, or even a red wine vinegar - you're not using so much that it would affect the color. I wouldn't use a regular balsamic, though - no sense in muddying the bright color if you don't have to.
If you don't have a yellow bell pepper, orange or red would work as well.
Pickling cucumbers are in season now, but if you want to make this off-season, I’d suggest using English cucumbers.
2 medium pickling cucumbers, peeled and chunked
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut in chunks
1/4 medium onion cut in chunks
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon (or to taste) rice vinegar
For the garnish:
Greek-style yogurt (or sour cream)
Pickling or English cucumber, peeled and diced
Place all the ingredients (holding back on the salt and vinegar until you taste) into your blender. Add 1/2 cup water. Blend until smooth, then taste for seasoning. I always like my beet soup a little bit tart, but it's up to you.
Serve chilled with a small dollop of the yogurt and a sprinkling of the diced cucumbers. Feeling herby? Chopped chives or a little bit if fresh dill would be nice.