Kosher First Course

Leek and Lettuce Soup

Leek+Lettuce+Soup.jpg

Make 4 – 6 servings. 

Potatoes, leeks and lettuce make for a creamy, delicious winter soup.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 medium leeks

  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

  • 3 tablespoons extra -virgin olive oil

  • 1 pound Golden Yukon potatoes

  • 1 medium head Boston lettuce

  • 3 cups chicken broth

  • ½ teaspoon curry powder, approx.

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • Garnish with snipped chives

PREPARATION:

  1. Cut off and discard the dangling roots and most of the green parts of the leeks. Discard one or two tough outer leaves. Cut the white and light green parts into slices. Place in a sieve and rinse thoroughly under cold running water to remove any sand. Drain.  

  2. Peel the potatoes and cut into small pieces. 

  3. Separate lettuce leaves, wash and spin dry.  

  4. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the leeks and garlic and sauté for a few minutes. Add the potatoes, lettuce, curry powder and 2 ½ cups of broth.

  5. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and cook, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.  

  6. Puree in a Vitamix until smooth and creamy. 

  7. Adjust the consistency with the ½ cup reserved broth. Season to taste with curry powder, salt and pepper. 

 
 

Cucumber Avocado Soup

Cucumber Avocado Soup.jpg

Makes 4 servings.

A delicious refreshing summer soup with a distinct taste of cucumbers, this recipe requires no cooking and is so quick to prepare.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large cucumbers, trimmed, peeled, sliced
  • ½ ripe medium avocado, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, approx.
  • ¾ cup cold water, approx.
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

GARNISH:

  • 1 Kirby cucumber, rinsed, dried, trimmed and cut into very small cubes.

PREPARATION:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a Vitamix and puree till silky and smooth.
  2. Adjust the consistency with cold water. Season to taste with lime juice, salt and pepper.
  3. Serve chilled, garnished with cucumbers.
 
 

Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Soup.jpg

Makes 6 generous servings.

I tend to serve this creamy, flavorful soup all year round. It is light enough to whet the appetite. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 leeks
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 large cauliflower, about 3 pounds, or 2 small ones
  • 3 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil
  • 4 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon Madras curry powder, approximately
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Toasted sunflower seeds for garnish

PREPARATION:

  1. Cut off and discard the dangling roots and most of the green part of the leeks. Discard one or two of the tough outer leaves. Cut the white and light green parts into slices. Place in a sieve and rinse thoroughly under cold running water to remove any sand, drain well.
  2. Peel the garlic and cut into quarters.
  3. Cut off the green leaves of the cauliflower and discard. Cut and discard all but ¼ inch of the heavy stem. Cut the stem and the head into small pieces and rinse.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the leeks and the garlic. Sauté, covered, over low heat for 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower, 4 cups of the broth and the curry powder. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and cook, covered, for about 20 minutes or until cauliflower is soft.
  5. Puree the soup, in batches, in a Vitamix until very smooth.
  6. Adjust the consistency with the reserved broth and season to taste with curry powder, salt and pepper.
  7. Garnish with toasted sunflower seeds.
 
 

Tomato Watercress Soup

Watercress Tomato Soup2.jpg

Makes 6 servings.

This soup is a blend of interesting strong flavors. I serve it either at room temperature or hot.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1½ cups vegetable broth
  • ½ pound Golden Yukon potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, rinsed, cored and cut into large pieces
  • 1 bunch watercress, stems removed, rinsed (3 cups loosely packed). Reserve a few petals for garnish
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium covered saucepan. Add onion and garlic and sauté over low heat for 5 minutes. Add 1½ cups broth, potatoes and tomatoes.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook, covered, until potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.
  3. Add watercress and cook covered for 2 minutes.
  4. Puree in a Vitamix, in 2 batches, until smooth.  
  5. Adjust the consistency with the reserved broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Garnish with watercress petals.
 
 

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Zucchini and Roasted Pepper Soup

Makes 4-generous servings.

This is a light, creamy, flavorful soup with a touch of cumin, and it freezes very well. The ingredients are in season all year.  

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 1 pound zucchini (3 medium), plus 1 extra for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil,
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cumin, approx
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION:

  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. Core the peppers,
  3. Cut into quarters and seed.
  4. Line a broiler pan with foil and place the peppers, skin side up on it.
  5. Broil close to the heat source until skin is almost blistered and charred, about 7 minutes. Wrap the peppers in the existing foil and cool.  The heat will loosen the skin. Peel and cut into pieces.
  6. Rinse zucchini, pat dry, trim ends and slice.
  7. Heat olive oil in a medium, covered saucepan, add the onions, and sauté covered over low heat for 2 minutes. Add the cumin, zucchini, peppers, and broth.
  8. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower the heat and cook covered until the vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes. 
  9. Puree the soup in batches, in a Vitamix until the soup is very smooth. Season to taste with cumin, salt and pepper.

GARNISH:

Rinse, dry, trim and finely cube the extra zucchini. Sprinkle over the soup.

 
 

Eggplant Caviar

Makes 6 first course servings.

This is a Georgian (Russian) dish where eggplants are plentiful and seedless. There it is called “the poor man’s caviar.” l like to serve this piquant dish surrounded by sliced English or Persian cucumbers and crackers.

Like most simple recipes with very few ingredients, the quality of the eggplant becomes paramount. Unfortunately, I have no suggestions how to pick a good eggplant (try to find one with few seeds).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium to large eggplant (about 1 ½ pounds)
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons double-concentrate tomato paste
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Line a pan with foil.
  3. Place the eggplant in pan and bake for about 35 minutes, turning once, until the eggplant is soft to the touch.
  4. While the eggplant is baking, heat the oil in a skillet.  Add the onion and sauté, over low heat until soft and transparent. About 10 minutes.
  5. When the eggplant is  cool enough to handle, discard the stem, cut in half, scrape off some of the seeds if there any, and pour off any accumulated juice. Scrape the flesh into a food processor, fitted with the steel blade. Add the onion, and the tomato paste and pulse until almost smooth. 
  6. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  7. Serve at room temperature.