Treat latsa latke syndrome with these main-dish soups

Food writer Judy Bart Kancigor was expecting her first grandchild when she realized that the upcoming generation might never get to know their history, hear family stories and, more important, taste their wonderful food. She decided to document everything and everyone, including five generations of recipes, in “Cooking Jewish” (Workman Publishing).

Kancigor has a gift for blending the old with the new, the sweet with the savory, each recipe accompanied with a family story. This format presents home cooking at its best, interweaving traditional and somewhat contemporary recipes from her large and sometimes eccentric family.

As for the recipes, many are versions of old favorites like vegetarian chopped “liver” and brisket and noodle kugels. The author devotes a whole page to the “kugel wars,” agonizing over which and whose kugels to include in the book. If you have a sweet tooth, you will be thrilled by four chapters on sweets.

A perfect gift for the cook, this delightfully quirky and endearing cookbook is definitely a labor of love containing 532 recipes that come from Judy’s family’s kitchens and straight from Judy’s heart.

Mediterranean Fish Soup

Serves 6-8

2 Tbs. olive oil

2 Tbs. fennel seed, crushed

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small red onion, chopped

1⁄2 tsp. crushed red pepper

3 large bulbs fennel, trimmed, cored, and thinly sliced

2 large tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped

5 cups fish or vegetable stock

1 lb. red new potatoes, scrubbed and diced

1 lb. salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 lb. snapper or halibut fillet, skinned and cut into 1-inch chunks

salt and pepper

In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add fennel seed, garlic, onion, red pepper and fennel and cook about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until bubbly. Add stock, bring to a boil and add potatoes. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add salmon and snapper and simmer 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Curried Turkey Chowder

Serves 6-8

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 medium apple, cored and chopped

1 Tbs. curry powder, or to taste

1 tsp. ground coriander

1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin

1⁄2 tsp. turmeric (optional)

2 Tbs. flour

1⁄2 cup chopped tomatoes

2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock

3 cups diced, cooked turkey

1⁄2 cup chopped parsley or cilantro

salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, garlic, celery, carrot and apple until soft, about 6 minutes. Stir in curry, coriander, cumin, turmeric (if using) and flour. Cook about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and potatoes and cook until bubbly. Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered 20 minutes. Add turkey and simmer 5 minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with parsley.

Louise Fiszer is a Palo Alto cooking teacher, author and the co-author of “Jewish Holiday Cooking.” Her columns alternate with those of Rebecca Ets-Hokin. Questions and recipe ideas can be sent to j. or to [email protected].