Cold Cucumber Soup

Since the girls started school, it feels like a whirlwind of nonstop activity! It seems as though I am even more time challenged than ever before. 

I want to post this recipe, however, before the winter really sets in and no one can even think about making a cold soup. There is always the possibility of an Indian Summer.

This recipe is the outcome of one of my wonderful patient’s generosity. Bob shared with the group a few weeks ago some of his fresh, homegrown, basil, peppers and cucumbers. With such luscious produce, I experimented and came up with this recipe for cold cucumber soup. 

This recipe is extremely fast and easy. It’s almost like salad in a bowl. And, it’s perfect for those time challenging moments when you want something slightly different and slightly fancy.

The measurements are imprecise and VERY flexible.


2 English cucumbers

1 zucchini

(The idea is to have twice as much cucumber to zucchini)

1/2 onion

1/2 pepper

1 lemon juiced

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh basil, chopped

Water to desired consistency, but be careful not to add too much.


Place all ingredients into food processor and blend to desired consistency.

Simple, easy & elegant!

I am happy to say that this was a successful experiment. Everyone loved it! The fresh basil made all the difference!

Nothing beats garden fresh produce.



Gazpacho Soup

Today, I had a wonderful group with my patients.

Sometimes, when I run a group, I ask patients to introduce themselves with the following questions: “what do you love to do?” Or, “what do you do that makes you lose track of time?”

Surprisingly, such a simple question generates a lot of discussion. It engenders positive feelings of well-being and it is an opportunity for patients to share with each other their passions in life.

One patient, Henri, (I wrote about him in The Birthday Party shared in an earlier group that he loves to garden and he even grows his own vegetables.

Today, he surprised us. He brought in his first crop of tomatoes. With such luscious tomatoes, I decided to make gazpacho soup.

I have not made gazpacho soup in years. I forgot how great it is.

This recipe comes from my Aunt Perel (A”H). Aunt Perel was a fabulous cook! I think of her often, especially when I cook.

Cooking was Aunt Perel’s passion in life. She could quote the source and the originator of a particular recipe the way other people discuss academic research.

This soup is particularly great when using fresh, ripe tomatoes. It feels like eating salad in a bowl.


1.5 lbs ripe tomatoes

3/4 cup onions

1 cucumber, peeled

1 small green pepper

1-2 garlic cloves

1.5 teaspoons salt, to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup olive oil (can add up to 1/3 cup, but my family does not like things with too much oil)

1/2 cup wine vinegar

1/2 cup water

Optional: 3/4 cup dried breadcrumbs, or serve with croutons


Place ingredients in food processor and pulse until desired consistency. Adjust seasoning. Serve chilled.

tomatoes shared during our group

voila! final product

I must say, this soup surpassed my wildest expectations!

My husband loved it! He said, “this is fantastic! I don’t even like gazpacho….. Can I have some more?”

A true vote of confidence!

Many blessings to Aunt Perel (A”H) for sharing her wonderful recipes and culinary expertise.


Killer Chicken Salad

This week, Raizel loved the fresh food that I made for Shabbat, that she ate it fresh out of the oven!

Fortunately, I had some leftover grilled chicken and pasta. So I made this salad to serve to our guests.

This is my husband’s name for this salad. Of course, he makes a joke about the name: kill-la rather than killer. 

When I suggested that perhaps we should change the name to something less provocative, he disagreed. 

So, Killer Chicken Salad it is.

This is a great way to use up leftover chicken!


Chicken, cut into bite sized pieces 

Pasta, (For Passover I use cooked potatoes)

Celery, sliced

Onion, minced

Pepper, chopped 


1/3 cups vinegar or lemon juice (I used lemon juice here)

2/3 cup oil, I used olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed 

1 teaspoon dried mustard

1/2 teaspoon each of salt, basil, oregano

1/4 teaspoon pepper 

This time I think I just added my herb spice mix, but the basic recipe is as above.

Add chicken and vegetables into bowl. Pour over dressing. Toss together and serve.

Simple, and yummy!



Eggplant Spead Variations 

Last week I posted a recipe for Eggplant Caviar.

My husband, however, does not like to eat raw onions. He feels that raw onions have a bitter aftertaste.

So, this week I made eggplant spread with roasted peppers and onions instead.

Roasting the vegetables gives the dish a milder flavor than using raw vegetables. To compensate, I added some garlic powder. It gave it a bit more pizzazz.

Here is the picture:

The dish is actually from my grandmother, who was very close to my Aunt Esther.

We enjoyed many meals using those dishes!

Lemon Cumin Beet Salad 

This is another salad that I made for our potluck lunch 2 weeks ago.

Raizel is still in love with cumin, so I thought I would experiment with this.


Beets, cooked and sliced

Onion, sliced thinly. 

Alternative: scallions, fresh mint or cilantro 


1/2 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons oil

2 teaspoons paprika 

2 teaspoons cumin

Salt and pepper to taste. I think I added 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper 


Place beets and onions in bowl. 

Whisk together lemon juice, oil, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper and pour over vegetables. Garnish as desired with fresh herbs.

Everyone loved it and there was barely any leftover.  A good sign.


Bon appetite!

Eggplant Caviar 

This past Shabbat, we had a potluck lunch with the women I learn with every week during the summer. We all made various dishes and it was a really wonderful meal. I will miss learning over the winter with everyone!

I made salads and side dishes.  Among my contributions was this recipe for Eggplant Caviar.  I think that another name for this is Romanian Eggplant.  My Aunt Esther (A”H) used to make this all the time.  Her family was from Romania, and I think this may be common from that region.


2 eggplants, whole

1/4 cup minced onion

1/4 cup minced peppers (optional)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 lemon juiced (about 1/4 cup)

Salt and pepper to taste


Roast the eggplants whole in a 425*F oven until soft. Slice some holes in the eggplant to release steam, otherwise it might explode in the oven. (This has happened to me and cleaning the oven is not pleasant.)

When the eggplants are cooked, cool and let drain.  Scoop out the inside of the eggplant. Add the onions, peppers, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and blend together.

I don’t make this often, and I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder.

By Sunday, there was hardly any left!  This was all that was left to take a picture of:

Everyone loved it!

Citrus-Ginger Beet Salad 

This year, Sukkot fell closely after Shabbat. 

So, I wanted to serve festive and extra special food while still using up my leftovers from Shabbat. 

My mother gave me this recipe years ago.  With so many leftover beets, I felt inspired to try and make it for the first time.

I am happy to say that it was a hit!


Cooked beets

1 orange, zested and juiced

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 inch fresh ginger, grated

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon oil

Salt and pepper to taste.


Zest or peel orange and lemon and squeeze the juice of both. Grate or mince fresh ginger root. Add honey, oil, salt and pepper. Blend together and pour over beets. 


Easy and elegant! Enjoy!

DIY Kiddush: Black Bean Salad

This is from our friend Sandra, a chef par excellence.  We loved it so much, we almost didn’t want to share it!


Black bean salad

(Endless variations of…):

1 can drained and rinsed black beans

1 can drained and rinsed chick peas

1/2 bag frozen corn

1 red pepper cut into small pieces

3 scallions cut into small pieces ( some of the green part also)

1/3 bunch flat Italian parsley or cilantro

Olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper to taste

Put vegetables in bowl. Whisk oil, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste together and pour over vegetables.


DIY Kiddush: Cabbage Salad

I  had a lot of help with our kiddush. Not only did people help me set up and clean up, they also helped with the cooking. My friend Daila suggested posting everyone’s recipes for everyone to enjoy. This is her cabbage salad recipe. Thank you Daila!
Cabbage Salad 


1 bag shredded cabbage

4 chopped scallions

4 tsp sesame seeds

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup craisins

Ramen noodles (I put in chow mein noodles)




1/2 cup oil

1/2 tsp black pepper

3 tablespoons white or cider vinegar

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 tsp salt


Mix and pour over salad a little bit before serving.

I made it without the chow main noodles.

Fava Bean Salad

Fava Bean Salad


2 c fava beans, dried

3 T fresh parsley

1 t cumin (or more, to taste)

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1-2 fresh lemons, juiced

salt and pepper to taste


I cooked the fava beans all day in a 1.5 quart crock-pot.  If you want, fava beans can be made in a pressure cooker, 40 minutes to pressure.

When cooked, I added the other ingredients.

To serve

I added olive oil, and fresh tomatoes, and cucumbers.  Goes well with rice too.

This is a more recent picture of this salad:


Fava Bean Salad