“I have been making this recipe for years.

“I chose it because of its beauty but also because I always have the ingredients on hand. A buttermilk substitute is easy, just add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar per 1 cup of milk. I always have carrots and onions on hand and balsamic vinegar in my pantry. I always have sour cream or yogurt in my refrigerator, too.

“In these trying times, beauty can be hard to find. When I present this soup on a hot summer night, it perks up the senses in a great way. It is even more striking now that my nasturtiums are blooming.” — JULIE MALLETT, Raymond

Chilled Beet Soup

The recipe comes from Bon Appetit magazine.

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

3 medium carrots peeled and chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 (15-ounce) cans sliced beets, with liquid

1 tablespoon sugar

2 cups buttermilk

Chopped fresh chives

Heat the oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add the carrots and onion. Cover. Cook until the vegetables are just tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Add vinegar. Cover. Continue cooking until vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes more.

Working in batches, add beets with their liquid, sugar and carrot mixture to a blender. Puree. Transfer to a large bowl. Add buttermilk. Season with salt and pepper.

Chill three hours or up to three days. Top with chives or nasturiums, if you have them.

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