Campfire Soup for Lag b’Omer

Spring is here, and the weather is nice enough for the family to go on a camping trip.

In Israel, it is also time to celebrate Lag b’Omer (or Lag Baomer): a celebration of the Bar Kokhba Revolt against the Romans between 132 and 136 CE, which occurred on the 33rd day of the Omer period of counting the days between Passover and Shavuot. In Hebrew, lag (ל”ג) has a numerical value of 33.

Every year, I pack my cast iron Dutch cauldron so I can cook dinner over the campfire. After my family and I pitch our tents, we carefully build our campfire. It is time to prepare my famous beef and lentil soup.

Beef and Lentil SoupIMG-20150410-WA0089

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bunch parsley, minced
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 1 lb. black lentils
  • Soup bones
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper
  1. Heat the olive oil in the pot.
  2. Add the chopped onions, and cook until translucent.
  3. Add the ground beef.
  4. Cook until the beef is browned.
  5. Add the soup bones, and season to taste.
  6. Pour in the black lentils.
  7. Cover the mixture with water so it reaches four inches below the rim of the pot.
  8. Add the parsley and thyme and bring to a boil.

The soup is ready when the lentils are soft.

More Lag b’Omer recipes:

Winter Goulash

As colder days arrive, many of us develop a craving for hot, hearty soups. Goulash, the Hungarian national dish, is exactly what one needs to warm up from head to toe.

T250px-Gulyas080his soup originated in the ninth century, among the cattle herdsmen of Hungary. As they drove herds of cattle from Hungary to the markets of Vienna and Venice, they prepared this spicy meal on the way.

As the cowboys guided the cattle toward the meat markets, some cows were slaughtered en route for the men’s own consumption. The meat was flavored with Hungary’s signature spice: paprika.

Paprika is made of air-dried chili pepper. It was initially brought to Europe from the Americas by Spanish and Portuguese explorers, who called it pimenton. The Spanish were the first to smoke it in the 16th century, bringing out an intense earthy flavor

Paprika spread from the Iberian Peninsula to Africa and Asia. The Ottomans, who controlled the Balkans, introduced paprika to Central Europe. Paprika derives its name from the Croatian word papar, “pepper.” Although it is considered a Hungarian spice, paprika was not widely used in Hungary until the late 19th century.

To cook goulash, the meat was browned in a cauldron with onions, salt, and smoked paprika. Water, garlic, caraway seeds, parsley roots, carrots, sweet peppers, tomatoes, celery, and potatoes were then added. White wine or vinegar was poured into the soup just before serving. Sometimes, a dough of egg and flour was mixed. Small pieces of dough were pinched and added to the soup to make tiny egg noodles. [Read more…]

Pumpkin-Ginger Soup

— by Ronit Treatman

As Arctic winds blow into Philadelphia, and the snow piles up, our instinct to consume warm, hearty soups kicks in.

This is an opportunity to make use of the many varieties of pumpkins and squashes that are widely available now.  

Pumpkins are high in vitamin A, and have a good amount of vitamin C, iron, and calcium. Also, they are fat free.

When combined with onions, garlic, ginger, herbs, and spices, the pumpkin shines as a winter entree soup. Pumpkin-ginger soup can be served with a green salad, a hearty bread, and a selection of cheeses.

Full recipe after the jump.

  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup peeled and minced ginger root
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup non-fat coconut milk
  • curry powder
  • cinnamon
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • toasted pumpkin seeds
  • cilantro, minced
  • scallions, sliced
  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot over medium heat.
  2. Saute the onions, garlic, and ginger until the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the vegetable broth, and bring to a boil.
  4. Add the coconut milk and the pureed pumpkin.
  5. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.
  6. Season to taste with curry powder, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.
  7. Serve garnished with cilantro, scallions, and toasted sunflower seeds.

Winter Soup And Salad

— by Talia Goren

In these cold January days, what can be better than soup and salad? Try the delicious combination of mushroom-quinoa soup and heart of palm salad. It is gluten, dairy, meat and soy free!

Full recipe and picture after the jump.

Mushroom and Quinoa Soup

  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1lb sliced mushrooms, cut in half or thirds
  • 2 cups raw quinoa
  • 3 shallots, sliced
  • 2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • Salt to taste
  1. Put vegetable broth and water in the pot on medium heat for 5-6 minutes.
  2. Add spices, stirring in between each addition and let simmer for another 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add mushrooms and shallots.
  4. Once it’s boiling, add quinoa and minced garlic. Simmer on low for 15-25 minutes, or until quinoa is cooked through.
  5. Serve with freshly ground black pepper!

Hearts of Palm Salad with Dill Dijon Dressing

For the salad:

  • 2 medium plum tomatoes
  • 2 parisian (or equally small) cucumbers
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 6 hearts of palm (if they are short. if they are long, you only need three). Note: make sure there isn’t extra salt or flavoring, you won’t need it!
  • 1 bunch romaine lettuce
  1. Chop tomatoes, cucumbers and onions into small squares.
  2. Slice hearts of palm (about 2cm each), and then in half.
  3. Separate lettuce and then slice into 2 inch pieces.
  4. Toss gently.

For the dressing:

  • 1 Tbsp Gluten Free Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  1. Combine all ingredients until mustard has incorporated into the olive oil.
  2. Drizzle on the salad, tossing well so it’s fully covered.
  3. Enjoy!

Talia spends a lot of her time in the kitchen preparing copious amounts of experimental foods, which she tests on her very patient and consequently well-fed family and friends. Although she came to the states from Israel when she was just a toddler, she retains her love of loud, passionate discussions and homemade hummus. When she is not in “balabuste” mode, she makes a living composing, singing and performing. Talia also gives workshops to young singers to teach them healthy vocal, performance and audition technique.

No Oodles of Soup

— by Dakota Marine

Tonight for dinner at my sorority house we were having my all time favorite meal… salmon.  Okay, just kidding, I don’t like salmon, or any type of fish for that matter. I debated throughout the day of an alternative meal I could make for dinner and finally decided on a hearty soup. And lets be honest, soup is my favorite food.

Recipe and picture after the jump.
I pulled out the Vietnamese Pho Noodle soup box from my drawer and the cold package of No Oodles noodles from my fridge. The original noodles in the soup taste a bit like straw, so I decided to switch them out for the No Oodles pack of noodles. No Oodles are a new brand of noodles which are zero calorie and gluten free, made from sweet potatoes. They don’t taste like anything plain, but they work for mix-ins with already prepared meals. I carefully placed the handful of No Oodles onto the bottom of the white plastic Pho soup bowl and cut open the Pho soup spice packets and sprinkled them on top of the new noodles.

Then I moved into my sorority kitchen and searched for my mystery ingredients. I started with a small bowl from the kitchen filled with firm tofu and raw broccoli as well as a plate with vegetables from the salad bar — shredded carrots, chopped green peppers, sliced mushrooms and dark green beans. Tonight my sorority’s kitchen salad bar was going to take on a new meaning. The ingredients could hardly be contained in the small bowl, as I filled it to the line with water, I had to push the food back into the bowl so it wouldn’t fall out.

I placed my “homemade” soup into the microwave for two minutes and 30 seconds and out came a steaming hot bowl of flavors. I spooned the broth into my mouth and was instantly taken aback by how spicy it was, but it mixed well with the other plain vegetables. The broccoli was soft, the mushrooms were cooked and the peppers burst with crunchiness in my mouth. The spoonfuls and forkfuls were filled with noodles, vegetables, broth, the flavors were endless. The noodles, so long and clear, were a perfect addition in the bowl of goodness.

Dakota Marine is the creator of Eat My Tailgate, where she takes us into her sorority’s kitchen.

Tips & Tricks for Making Perfect Matzo Balls

From CookKosher.com

These quick and easy tips will pay big dividends. This year, make your Matzo Balls deliciously perfect!
Matza Balls Recipe
Ingredients:

  • 6 Eggs
  • 1 cup Oil
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 pinch Salt and Pepper
  • 18 oz (or 500 gram) fine Matzo Meal

Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients with a fork. Adding the matzo meal gradually until the mixture is thick but not too hard. Add more matzo meal if too soft.
  2. Let harden in fridge for an hour.
  3. With wet hands form into about 60 balls and drop into boiling water or boiling soup. Boil for 15 min.

Rate and review this matzo ball recipe.

Visit CookKosher.com for more kosher recipes.

The Yiddishe Mamma’s Spell: Chicken Soup

— by Ronit Treatman

In his incredible scientific cookbook Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, Dr. Nathan Myhrvold describes how to trap all of the odors and flavors of chicken soup in a test tube.  He is then able to preserve this super concentrated broth for later consumption.  From a scientific point of view, this is exciting and thrifty.  Nothing is wasted!  But this is not the way of the Yiddishe Mamma.

More after the jump.

For me, a Yiddishe Mamma, chicken soup is not just food; it is a spell that I cast.  I begin the process with cold filtered water, the best quality kosher chicken, and the freshest vegetables.  I place all these ingredients together in a pot, and let them simmer slowly over the stove.  The soup fills my home with its delicious aroma.  When my child arrives home and opens the door, he is embraced by the delectable smell of my chicken soup.  He instantly knows that he is loved.  As he steps into the kitchen, I tell him, “Sit down, ketzale (little cat), have some soup.”   My son sits down at the kitchen table, and I place a steaming bowl of soup in front of him.  He savors his first spoonful of my golden chicken broth with little square egg noodles.  The balance of chicken, vegetables, salt, and noodles is just right!  I can see him sigh with pleasure and begin to relax.  It is only then that I ask him, “Nu, so, my child, tell me what happened.”

The women in my family have been casting this spell for generations.  They also made their own egg noodles from scratch.  I buy Manischewitz egg noodles for my soups.  Here is our chicken soup recipe:

Yiddishe Mamma’s Chicken Soup

  • 1 fresh (never frozen!) kosher chicken, with the skin removed
  • 6 large carrots
  • 1 large Spanish onion
  • 1 large parsley root
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 1 bunch parsley leaves
  • 1 bunch dill leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of salt, or to taste
  • 3 quarts cold, filtered water
  1. Place the chicken, onion, carrots, celery, parsley root, water, and salt in a stockpot.  Cover and bring to a boil.
  2. Lower the heat, and allow the soup to simmer for one hour.
  3. Add the parsley and dill during the last 15 minutes of cooking time.
  4. Cook the egg noodles according to the instructions on the package.

Nathan Myhrvold is an inventor, a scientist, and a master French chef.  Dr. Myhrvold worked with Microsoft for thirteen years, acquiring over 30,000 patents. This is the conundrum Dr. Myhrvold: by concentrating the chicken soup’s aromas and flavors, you dilute its power.  Generations of Yiddishe Mammas will attest to that!

Celebratory Fall Harvest Soups for Sukkot

–by Ronit Treatman

Other than bread, we are not instructed to serve any specific dishes during Sukkot.  The point of this festival is to celebrate the fall harvest.  A wonderful way to connect to nature is to cook with what is in season locally.  In Pennsylvania we are blessed with a bountiful fall harvest.  Hearty homemade vegetable soups accompanied by an assortment of breads are a wonderful way for your family and guests to warm up during the chilly fall evenings in the sukkah.

You can source your local vegetables by gathering your own crops from your garden, picking vegetables yourself at a farm, being a member of a Community Supported Agriculture group, or shopping at your local farmer’s market, coop, or supermarket.  Fresh seasonal produce will result in the most flavorful soups.  

Soup and bread recipes after the jump.
Some fruits and vegetables that are harvested in Pennsylvania in the fall are broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, lima beans, peppers, pumpkins, and apples.  Here is a recipe for a pareve harvest soup that incorporates some of these fresh vegetables adapted from Casey’s Café.


Spicy Fall Harvest Soup

  • 2 or 3 of any kind of squash such as butternut squash, pumpkin, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, or hubbard.
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2 rutabagas
  • green onions
  • cilantro
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 3 cups of coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon red Thai curry
  • 2 tablespoons Garam Masala
  • 1 tablespoons Ground coriander
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cut the squash in half.  Remove the seeds and rub the inside with olive oil.  Place on a cookie sheet.
  2. Place the onion, sweet potatoes, rutabags, and turnips in a porcelain baking dish.  Add ½ cup of water, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cover with aluminum foil.
  3. Bake all of these vegetables for 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Peel the squash.
  4. Puree all the vegetables in a food processor.  
  5. Place the puree in a stockpot with 4 cups of water, the vegetable broth, and coconut milk.
  6. Add ginger, chili sauce, coriander, curry, and garam masala to taste.

You can chop up green onion and cilantro to garnish.

Serve with whole grain corn bread for a gluten-free feast.  Here is a recipe adapted from The Fresh Loaf.

Whole Grain Corn Bread

  • 2 cups ground corn meal
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¾ cups of soymilk
  • 1 ¾ tablespoons of vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.  
  3. Oil an 8X8 inch porcelain baking dish.  
  4. Pour the batter into the dish.  
  5. Bake for 30 minutes.

Pennsylvania is one of the largest growers of mushrooms in the world.  The rich variety of mushrooms we can get in Kennet Square is not to be overlooked.  Phillips Mushroom Farms grow White, Portobello, Baby Bella, Crimini, Shiitake, Oyster, Maitake, Beech, Enoki, Royal Trumpet, and Pom Pom mushrooms.  Below is an adaptation of Ina Garten’s mushroom soup recipe.


Mushroom Medley Soup

  • 2 cups thinly sliced assorted fresh mushrooms
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 leeks, diced
  • 1 cup minced cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon minced thyme
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup white wine
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup half and half
  1. In a large stockpot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Sautee the onion, one cup of mushrooms, and carrot.  Season with salt, pepper, and thyme.  When the vegetables have softened, after about 15 minutes, add 6 cups of water.  Bring the mixture to a boil, and then allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Take another stockpot, and heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the leeks.  Let them soften slowly over low heat.  After 20 minutes, add the remaining mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes.  Stir in the flour, and then add the wine.  Pour in the mushroom stock from the other pot and stir.  
  3. Simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the heavy cream and half and half.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve hot, with a crusty baguette.  Here is a recipe adapted from Food.com


Fresh Baguette

  • 4 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  1. Mix water, sugar, and yeast together.  Allow to foam, and then add flour and salt.  Knead well.  Place in an oiled bowl and cover with a kitchen towel.  Allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours.  
  2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.  
  3. Form loaf on a cookie sheet.
  4. Prepare an ovenproof bowl with water.
  5. Place cookie sheet with loaf and bowl of water in the oven.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.

A warming, sweet, cinnamony fall fruit soup is the perfect end to the Sukkah feast.  


You may use freshly harvested Pennsylvania heirloom apples that are good for cooking such as:

  • Red Gravenstein:  An apple variety that was brought to Pennsylvania from Germany in the 1600s.
  • Grimes Golden:  This apple variety is believed to have been planted in West Virginia by Johnny Appleseed in 1795.  
  • Cox Orange Pippin:  This apple was brought from England in the 1830s.  It matures to a beautiful red color, and is excellent for cooking.
  • Calville Blanc:  A French apple grown for King Louis XIII, it has a tart flavor.
  • Newtown Pippin:  This variety was grown for export by Benjamin Franklin in the 1700s.

You can order these apples from #1 Farm, at [email protected].  


Fall Fruit Harvest Soup

  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1 pear, diced
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, diced
  • 3 plums, diced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Raw honey to taste (optional)
  1. Place the apple, pear, plums, and cranberries in a pan.  
  2. Cover with water and bring to a boil.  
  3. Add the cinnamon stick.  
  4. Lower the heat and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.

Stir in honey if desired.  Enjoy hot.

This soup goes well with fresh, hot pumpkin bread.  It is a pareve recipe adapted from Simply Recipes.


Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix all the ingredients except the roasted pumpkin seeds in a bowl.
  3. Pour into a 9X5X3 inch loaf pan which has been coated with olive oil.  
  4. Decorate the top with roasted pumpkin seeds.
  5. Bake for 60 minutes.

As the fall days grow shorter and cooler, the yearly ritual is upon us.  We celebrate the fall harvest together in our sukkot.  Whether you are hosting or visiting, offering a delicious, homemade warming soup and a fresh loaf of fragrant bread is the perfect way to bond with friends and family.