Category Archives: Soups

July 4 Recipe: Red, White and Blue Soup

By via flickr.

Red, White and Blue Soup sounds kind of, well, trite when it comes to a July 4 recipe. But, really, this is a colorful and healthy sweet/tart starter for any July 4 meal, says Chef Renee. There are a lot of ingredients, but the prep couldn’t be easier. All you need is a knife, a cutting board and a blender, and you’re good to go.

July 4 Recipe: Red, White and Blue Soup

Yield: 6 servings


Soup base:

1 red seedless watermelon, peeled and cubed.  Save all the juice.

½ cup grenadine

Juice and zest from 2 lemons

1 cup white grape juice

1 teaspoon white sugar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground white pepper

Place all ingredients in a blender. Don’t fill blender more than halfway. Blend the mixture until it is fully liquefied. This will take 2-3 minutes.

Refrigerate for at least one hour and stir periodically.  The soup should taste sweet and tart.


1 cup plain yogurt

1 tablespoon honey

1 lime, juice only

Mix all together and refrigerate for one hour.  Put into a squeeze bottle, or you can use a spoon to make dollops onto the soup when you serve it.

BLUE.  This is the “salsa” that will garnish the soup.

½ pint blackberries, coarsely chopped

1 pint blueberries, coarsely chopped

1 medium shallot, peeled, finely diced

3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

6 mint leaves, shredded into thin strips

1 teaspoon white sugar

pinch salt

pinch pepper

1 lemon, zest and juiced.


Mix all the ingredients of ‘Blue” together and wait an hour—keep at room temperature.

When ready to serve the soup, remove it and yogurt from the refrigerator 15 minutes ahead of when you plan to serve it.

Stir soup well, and pour into 6 chilled wide soup bowl.

If you are using a squeeze bottle, make a design on top of the soup, or with a spoon place a dollop of yogurt in center of soup.

Place a spoonful of blueberry “salsa” on top of yogurt.

Garnish each bowl of soup with a sprig of mint.

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Passover Recipe: Easy Italian-Ashkenazi Matzoh Ball Soup

The Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews contains an Italian-Ashkenazi matzoh ball soup.

Passover Italian-Ashkenazi Chicken-Matza Ball Soup

Italian matzoh ball soup??

This unusual recipe, combining the Sepharidic and Ashkenazi traditions—Italian and Ashkenazi Chicken-Matza Ball Soup—comes, says Chef Renee, from a wonderful cookbook called The Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews, by Edda Servi Machlin, first published in 1981.

Explains Chef Renee Marton: “The recipe is a combination of Italian Passover soup and Ashkenazi matzoh ball soup, or as Machlin dubs it, ‘matza’ ball soup. I’ve added herbs, but otherwise it’s the original recipe.”


1 boned chicken breast (2 halves)

3 eggs, slightly beaten

8 cups chicken broth

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

Dash white pepper

Dash nutmeg

¾ cup matzoh meal

1 bunch chives, finely chopped

1 bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped


Grind or finely chop the chicken breast.  Combine eggs, ¼ cup broth, oil, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Add matzoh meal, chives and ground chicken and mix well.  Set aside in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Bring the broth to a boil.  Shape the chicken mixture into 12 balls and drop directly into the boiling soup. When it comes to the second boil, lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer 20 minutes without removing the lid.  Add parsley.  Serve immediately.

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Recipe: Dairy- and Gluten-Free Oyster and Bacon Chowder

Oyster stew is a hearty winter dish. Photo by by rhiannonstone via flickr.

It’s the new year, and instead of some bland diet recipe, here’s a luscious dairy-free (and gluten-free) chowder from Chef Renee. Bacon boosts the flavor profile. And lots of veggies make you feel virtuous for the new year.

Rather than milk or even cream, which is traditional in most chowder recipes, this one  is thickened and enriched with potatoes. I love chowder, but since I’m lactose intolerant, I generally steer away from it because of the dairy component.

Dairy and Gluten Free Oyster and Bacon Chowder

6-8 servings (it stores well for up to a week)


1 pint (16 oz) shucked oysters and juice

3-4 strips of bacon, as thick as possible, diced

2 medium onions, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 strips of celery, diced

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

4 bay leaves

1 cup frozen corn kernels

3 Idaho baking potatoes, peeled and cubed, covered in water

½ bunch parsley, finely chopped

1 bunch scallions, trimmed and sliced thinly (green and white parts)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

freshly ground pepper – 15 twists


Step 1

Boil the three potatoes in fresh salted (you should be able to taste the salt) water until soft and tender. Mash the potatoes by hand and add 3 cups of the cooking water OR put the potatoes in a blender with 3 cups of the cooking water and puree until you have a smooth slightly thick mixture.

Don’t over mix or the potatoes will become gummy. You are not making mashed potatoes—you want a liquid with the consistency of heavy cream.

Step 2

In a soup pot, add bacon. Cook until the fat has melted and the bacon is crisp. Remove bacon.

Add onions, carrots, celery and bay leaves. Sauté until vegetables are soft, but not browned. Add garlic and cook another few minutes.

Add potato soup and corn. Heat until very hot but not boiling. Add salt and pepper.

When ready to serve, add oysters, bacon, scallions and parsley. Heat until just hot, but don’t boil, or the soup will separate (still tasty, but looks a little funny).

Taste for salt and pepper.

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Recipe: Thanksgiving Squash Soup

Squash soup. Flickr via by Andy Ciordia

Squash soup—it practically screams autumn and Thanksgiving—is a great way to start your Turkey Day feast. Here’s a recipe from Chef Renee.

Plus, she’s built in a bonus. The soup should be made the day before. So you get to cross one item off your Thanksgiving prep list!

Thanksgiving Squash Soup with maple cream drizzle

Serves 8

This soup is better if made the day before serving.

Preheat oven to 325F.

Prepare the squash:

4 pounds of squash—any combination of pumpkin, acorn, butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into chunks.

½ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons brown sugar or dark honey

2 teaspoons kosher salt

10 twists fresh pepper

1 branch rosemary, leaves removed

Toss all the ingredients together and roast on an oiled baking sheet for 30-40 minutes, until squash is soft. Reserve.

Prepare the soup base:

2 large white onions, peeled and cut into large dice

2 large carrots, peeled and cut into medium dice

4 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped

2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

1 large sprig of thyme

1 stick cinnamon or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 stick butter, sweet

¼ cup olive oil

2 quarts chicken stock, (you can use water if you prefer)


In a large stockpot, heat butter and oil until sizzling. Add onions and carrots and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until they start to soften. They should not brown.

Add garlic, ginger, thyme and cinnamon. Sauté until garlic and ginger are soft.

Add squash and 2 quarts chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until everything is very soft—about 30 minutes. Turn off heat and let soup cool for one hour.

Puree soup in a blender or food processor, in batches. You can add more chicken stock to thin it.

Pour soup through a strainer to remove the thyme, ginger and cinnamon stick.

Refrigerate overnight.

Maple drizzle

1 small container sour cream

¼ cup maple syrup

1 cup toasted pecan halves, cut in quarters

pinch salt

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate until 30 minutes before serving soup.

Reheat soup slowly until simmering. Taste for salt and pepper.

Serve with a drizzle of maple cream

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Recipe for Father’s Day: Smoky Gazpacho Mario with Spicy Slim Jim Stirrer

Gazpacho. Photo by paul goyette via Flicker.

How about a gazpacho recipe for Father’s Day from Chef Renee that’s he-man enough to please Dad and that’s also sure to win over the rest of the family?

Smoky Gazpacho Mario with Spicy Slim Jim Stirrer

Serves 4

The night before: fill one ice cube tray with tomato juice, and freeze overnight. Use the rest of the tomato juice in the recipe below.

Place 4 tall highball glasses in the refrigerator.


1-quart Sacramento tomato juice, or V8 juice, divided as indicated above
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded, and cut into large dice
1 green pepper, seeded, and cut into large dice
½ red onion, peeled and cut into large dice
½ lemon, juiced
¼ cup sherry wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
large pinch Italian parsley (no stems), plus 4 nice sprigs
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon salt
½ jalapeno pepper (or serrano)- optional
12 twists fresh black pepper

One package of Slim Jim sausage sticks.  Remove from package and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes.


Place all ingredients (except Slim Jim sticks) in blender.  First pulse until every ingredient is well chopped, then puree until you have an easily pourable drink.

Add 1 cup of vodka (or dill seed flavored Aquavit) and re blend briefly.

Taste for seasoning.

Add tomato ice cubes to highball glasses.  Pour in the Smoky Gazpacho Mario until ¾ full and add a Slim Jim to each glass, along with a sprig of Italian parsley.

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