Archive for the 'pareve soup recipes' Category


Chef Lévana at Masbia in Flatbush

Yesterday Chef Lévana spent the morning cooking with volunteers at Masbia...

Flatbush location, in Midwood, 1372 Coney Island Avenue; between Avenue J and Avenue K.

Flatbush location, in Midwood, 1372 Coney Island Avenue; between Avenue J and Avenue K.

Tina Weiss - volunteer - helping Chef Lévana, volunteer

Tina Weiss – volunteer – helping Chef Lévana, volunteer.

Putting 250 portions of chicken in the oven...

Putting the first batch of 500 portions of chicken in the oven…

Shmuel Ben Eliezer, photographer and columnist for The Jewish Press, covering Lévana's cooking

Shmuel Ben Eliezer, photographer and columnist for The Jewish Press, covering Lévana‘s cooking

Rabbi Farahbot, the mashgiach speaking with Chef Lévana

Rabbi Farahbot, the mashgiach, speaking with Chef Lévana

Masbia is an organization with three locations: Borough Park, Rego Park, and Flatbush. They serve 500 meals a day, In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, they gave out over 20,000 meals to hurricane victims. As its website states:

The Masbia Soup Kitchen Network has been feeding the hungry for over ten years and since its opening in April, 2005 the kosher soup kitchen has expanded, now serving meals at three locations in Brooklyn and Queens and distributing one and a half million meals a year. Masbia relies heavily on the generosity of its benefactors and food donors, which oftentimes requires the cooking staff to rely heavily on creativity and ingenuity […]

[…]One of our favorite Bible passages is from Parshat Vayera. In the reading we learn about the virtues of kindness, or chessed, from Avraham and Sara. Avraham teaches us that helping others should be done with respect and dignity. This is evidenced by his running out to greet his guests despite having received his Bris Mila just three days prior. In addition, the Midrash teaches us that Avraham’s tent was open in all four directions, allowing him to see a guest coming from any direction. This serves as our inspiration for our service model and our logo.

Like Avraham and Sara we serve every one of our clients in a dignified manner, regardless of which direction, or from what life circumstances, they may come. Volunteers acting as waiters are present every evening in our restaurant-style locations. Individuals coming to Masbia will always find a warm welcoming atmosphere where they can rest their souls and fill their stomachs.

Avraham gave kindness freely and without judgment, and so does Masbia. Our logo represents how important Abraham’s acceptance was in shaping how we choose to help people. Individuals that are hungry in New York know that Masbia doesn’t have any requirements or restrictions on our services. Referrals, proof of income, or any paperwork for that matter are not required.[…]

  • […]Everybody in need is welcome. No qualifications are required and no questions are asked. However, in order to serve as many people in financial need as possible, we ask that those who dine at Masbia on a more regular and continuing basis to have a reference letter with them, either from a social worker or a community leader.

Chef Lévana and other dedicated volunteers worked tirelessly throughout the morning to produce nourishing meals for those in need. Masbia serves the meals in restaurant like settings.

Chef Lévana has graciously agreed to share one of the recipes she made yesterday:

Chickpea Vegetable Soup

This recipe makes 150 quarts, and serves about 500. I have no doubt you will want to make a smaller batch! I am including the smaller amount for each ingredient on each ingredient’s respective line in parentheses, to make about 8 quarts, 2 gallons.
60 quarts water (12 cups)
60 cups canned chick peas , rinsed (3 cups)
6 cups olive oil (1/3 cup)
16 cups tomato paste (2/3 cups)
10 pounds diced carrots (2 large carrots)
10 pounds diced zucchini (2 large zucchini)
10 pounds diced rutabaga or purple turnip (1 medium head)
10 pounds frozen chopped spinach (1 small box, about 12 ounces)
10 pounds chopped onion (1 large onion)
1 1/2 cups sea salt (1 1/2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup ground bay leaves (1 teaspoon)
1 1/2 cups paprika (2 tablespoons)
1 1/2 cups turmeric (2 tablespoons)
1 1/2 cups dried dill weed (2 tablespoons)

Bring the water to boil in a heavy pot with a broad bottom. Add all remaining ingredients and bring to boil again. Reduce the flame to medium, cover the pot, and cook for 1 hour. Adjust the texture and seasonings.

The aroma of this soup was very good, judging by the people tasting it, it obviously hit the spot. Judging by the ingredients, it’s obviously very nourishing; I’ll just have to make it at home.
Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!


This past Monday eve, SYR and I attended Lévana‘s Dinner and a Show: Light Italian Feast. As usual it was enjoyable, educational and absolutely DELICIOUS! Certainly one of the best cooking classes I’ve ever attended.

We especially liked the Cioppino and Lévana graciously allowed us to post her recipe:



  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 4 ribs celery, peeled
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 1 fennel bulb, quartered, centers removed, sliced-thin
  • 3 leeks, darkest parts removed
  • 1 large can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 6 cups water
  • 6 bay leaves, or 1 teaspoon ground
  • 2 good pinches saffron
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon anise and fennel seeds
  • Good pinch cloves
  • Good pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 2-ounce can anchovies, drained and rinsed
  • 1 side salmon (about 3 pounds), cut in large cubes
  • 1 pound flaked mock crab
  • 1 large bunch flat parsley, minced


Heat the oil in a heavy wide bottom pot. In a food processor coarsely grind the garlic, celery, pepper and onion. Add the ground mixture to the pot, with the leeks, and sautè until translucent. Reduce to medium and cook for 30 minutes. Add the fish and parsley and cook just 5 more minutes. Ladle into soup bowls, and serve with good toasted bread or croutons.

Though it took me more 60 years to even taste fish, I can assure you (as does, SYR) that these was an incredibly tasty soup with a rich array of subtle flavors. Considering the ingredients… I can actually say…. it’s good for you, as well!

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!



Soups as Comfort Food – Part 3

There are myriad types of soups, while I never intended an exhaustive listing when we started this series, while I realize there are far more types than I’m ever likely to try, this series only deals with some of my favorites from among those I’ve tasted. In this, the final installment of the series we will again feature two soups.

We chose all these recipes both because of their taste and the ease of preparation.

Last evening, at a cooking demo by Chef Lévana Kirschenbaum, I tasted her incredibly flavorful and very simple to prepare…

Aduki Bean Burdock Soup


  • 12 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 6 bay leaves, or 1 teaspoon ground bay leaf
  • 2 cups aduki beans
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 1 celery root, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 1 large zucchini, cut in large chunks
  • 1 large red onion, quartered
  • 1 large piece burdock, peeled and cut in large chunks


  1. Bring all ingredients to boil in a wide heavy pot.
  2. Reduce to medium and cook covered for 1 hour.
  3. Cream the soup with an immersion blender.
  4. Adjust texture and seasonings.

If you do not have, if you cannot find burdock, you can substitute almost anything else. In spite of her recipe calling for burdock, Lévana – just to demonstrate the versatility of her recipe – used kale stalk instead

If you are like me you probably never heard of burdock before…What is burdock? For its culinary and medicinal properties look it up in the Wikipedia. Meanwhile, as the article says:

the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy wrote in his journal, in 1896, about a tiny shoot of burdock he saw in a ploughed field, “black from dust but still alive and red in the center … It makes me want to write. It asserts life to the end, and alone in the midst of the whole field, somehow or other had asserted it.”

For another of Chef Lévana’s superb soup recipes check out Quick Black Bean Chocolate Soup

To end this series I chose to adapt an Emeril Lagasse variation of the classic French Onion Soup on the Food Network :

Gratinee Lyonnaise (Lyon-style Onion Soup)

[adapted to conform with kashrus]


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 pounds yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup cognac
  • 8 cupspareve soup stock
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, tied into a bundle with kitchen string
  • 1/2 loaf French bread, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1 pound Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated
  • 2 egg yolks (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Port wine (optional)
  • Finely chopped parsley, garnish


In a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the cognac. Return the pan to the heat and cook until the alcohol has evaporated. Be careful as the cognac may ignite.

Add the soup stock and thyme sprigs and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the soup for 45 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, toast the bread slices until light golden brown. Remove from the oven.

Preheat the broiler.

When the soup is ready, divide 1/2 of the toasted bread slices between 6 individual ovenproof serving bowls or crocks and top with 1/2 of the grated cheese. Ladle some of the soup among the bowls and top with the remaining toasts. Ladle the remaining soup among the bowls and top with the remaining cheese. Place the bowls on a baking sheet and place under the broiler until the cheese is melted, golden brown and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Optional topping:

In a small bowl combine the egg yolks and Port and whisk to thoroughly combine. Pour some of the mixture evenly among the soup bowls, stirring in around the edges so that it is incorporated into the soup. (The heat of the soup will cook the egg yolk and this will thicken and enrich the soup.)

Garnish the top with chopped parsley and serve hot.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!



Soups as Comfort Food – Part 2

Soups as Comfort Food

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