Chicken Stock

Bring water to boil. Add all ingredients except salt and pepper. Simmer for 2 hours. Salt and pepper to taste. Skim off fat from top until only clear broth remains. Pass through standard strainer and then again through fine strainer and discard solids.

The skimmed fat can be purified to be used as schmaltz for matzo balls, etc. by passing through a fine strainer and let settle in a tall glass container for several minutes so that the pure fat separates from the other liquids. Using a fine-tipped turkey baster, suck the pure fat from the top and place in a plastic bag. Store in freezer.

Matzo Ball Soup

Beat eggs. Stir in seltzer, schmaltz, and spices. Schmaltz should be melted but not too hot or it will cook the egg mixture. Gradually stir in matzo meal. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably longer. Fill pot with just enough chicken broth for the matzo balls to float when they are cooked. Bring to boil. Make balls from the matzo batter using about two Tbs of batter per ball. Keep hands moist when making the balls so that the batter does not stick to hands. Gently drop balls into the boiling broth. Add only enough balls so that they will not be too crowded and stick together when cooked. Cover pot and simmer briskly for 30 minutes. The balls will double in size and float to the top. Remove balls from the broth with a slotted spoon and serve in hot chicken soup.

*Schmaltz is rendered chicken fat. It can be made by boiling a chicken and skimming the fat from the top of the water. The skimmed schmaltz can be frozen in plastic bags for later use.

Rebecca's Baking Powder Dumplings

Mix all ingredients into a dough and refrigerate. Drop into boiling liquid to cook.

Cold Pumpkin Soup

Preheat oven on convection bake to 425° F. Remove skin from pumpkin using vegetable scraper. Scrape out the seeds and cut into rectangles or triangles which can lay flat. Place pumpkin pieces on large baking tray, curved sides up. Baste with melted butter and place in oven until pieces start to turn slightly brown. As pieces brown, remove them from tray and continue to cook remaining pieces until brown. Allow pumpkin pieces to cool and remove any parts of pumpkin which have burned. Place pumpkin in a food processor and puree several minutes until very smooth.

Sauté onions in butter until translucent. Add 3 cups of the chicken broth and simmer 15 minutes. Transfer onion and liquid to food processor and puree. Return mixture to saucepan. Add pumpkin, rest of chicken broth, sugar and spices, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in cream and truffle oil. Chill and serve. Additional truffle oil can be added to each bowl without stirring as a finish. Serves 24 people.

Cauliflower Soup

Dice onions and sweat in a little butter until tender (no color). Add cauliflower, salt, and cover halfway with water. Put lid on and simmer about 25 minutes until completely tender. Strain solids and puree with cream. Save cooking liquid for thinning if needed. Adjust seasoning. Add truffle oil to taste. Yields 3 quarts.

Steve’s Vichyssoise

Cut up and rinse leeks discarding the dark green parts. Cut up onions, and roughly chop garlic. Sautee the leeks, onions, and garlic in butter for about 1 hour until light brown. Do not over brown. Puree the cooked leeks, onions, and garlic in a food processor, slowly adding enough of the milk to form a thick liquid.

Boil the potatoes in very salty water. When cooked enough to break apart with a fork, drain through a colander. Mash potatoes with some of the cream until there are no large lumps and then puree in food processor for a few seconds until smooth. Mix all ingredients in a large pot. Add salt to taste. Chill and serve with chopped chives as a garnish.

Steve's Cold Beet Borscht

Place water and beef broth in pot and bring to simmer. Wash beets and remove stems. Place in the simmering liquid along with peeled whole onions. Simmer for 40 minutes.

Save the cooking liquid. Remove beets and peel by rubbing with paper towel. Puree the onions and ⅔ of the beets in a food processor. Cut the rest of the beets into ¼" slices and cut the slices into ¼" squares.

Add the beet and onion puree to the cooking liquid. Add all the other ingredients except for the dill and sour cream and simmer for five minutes. Remove from stove and chill for at least 12 hours. Add the sour cream and puree the mixture again until no sour cream lumps remain. Add the dill and adjust spices to taste. Serve with a large dollop of sour cream and a few dill sprigs floating on top.

Restaurant Pico Summer Gazpacho

Toast the cubed Durum bread in oven at 350ºF for 8 minutes. Grind garlic into paste in mortar and pestle with 1 Tbs salt. Blend all ingredients. Pass through a fine chinois. Add salt to taste.

Melanie's Gazpacho

Press the portion of the vegetables to be ground through a meat grinder. Dice the remaining portions for texture. Combine all of the vegetables in a large bowl. Add the stock, lemon juice, and vinegar and stir very briefly. Stir in the fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste. Depending on the sweetness and strength of the tomatoes, tomato paste and more sugar can be added for thickness and to strengthen the tomato flavor. Chill the soup for at least one hour before serving. Remove from the refrigerator, stir, let rest for 15 minutes and then pour the olive oil over the soup and stir.

Melanie's Golden Gazpacho

Peel the tomatoes and gently remove their seeds. Chop the tomato flesh very finely or pass it through a food mill (do not puree in a blender or processor) and place it in a large bowl. Stir in the stock, onion, garlic, and lime juice. Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the avocado and chill the soup for at least one hour. Remove the soup from the refrigerator, ladle into soup bowls, and top each serving with a generous tablespoon of olive oil and a sprinkling of chives.

Melanie’s Minestrone Soup

Put chicken broth and the tomatoes in a large pot and bring to a boil. When it starts to boil turn the heat down to low so the broth will simmer while you are chopping the rest of the ingredients. Sauté the garlic, Italian parsley, onion, leek, and celery in the butter using a large, wide pan over medium heat until lightly browned. Add more butter if necessary.

While the veggies are sautéing, empty the cans of beans into a colander and rinse until water is no longer foamy. Add the beans to the broth. Simmer until thoroughly heated. Add sautéed ingredients and cook over high heat for about 20 to 30 minutes. The liquid will reduce and it will take on a “stew-like” consistency. Add seasonings last. Salt to taste. (Start with1 tsp. You might need up to 5 depending on the brand of chicken broth you use). Reduce to a simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.

Ham and Bean Soup

* Dried bean mixture can be any of the following: great northern beans, navy Beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, lentils, black-eyed peas, lima beans, split peas, garbanzos

Place ham hock in a large stock pot. Add 12 cups of cold water and bring to a boil. Add the dried beans. Return to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for approximately 2 hours. Remove the ham bone and allow to cool to room temperature. Add remaining ingredients and continue to cook over moderate heat for approximately 60 minutes or until the beans are tender. Remove the meat from the ham bone and cut to the desired bite size - fine or chunky. Add the meat to the soup.

Steve’s Thai Chicken & Coconut Milk Soup (Tom Kha Gai)

Add the chicken broth (42 oz) plus 8 oz of the chicken stock to a large stock pot. Cut the onion into bite-sized pieces (about 1” square) and simmer in the broth until the pieces start to turn soft. Do not overcook or they will become mushy. Remove the cooked onions from the broth and set aside.

Slice unpeeled galangal root into 1mm slices. Add the lemon grass, galangal root, and Kaffir lime leaves to the chicken broth. Cover and lightly simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let covered pot stand for at least 1 hour to let the flavors infuse into the broth. Remove and discard solids from the broth.

Add the tamarind, fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar, mushrooms (drained), and dried red pepper flakes to the broth. Bring to simmer again and then immediately remove from heat. Add the cooked onions, coconut milk (40.5 oz), Thai chilies, and cilantro to the warm broth. Adjust flavor with salt, palm sugar, red pepper, and fish sauce as needed.

Cut the chicken breasts into bite sized (about 1” x ½” x ⅛”) pieces. In a separate small pot, heat the remaining 8 oz of chicken cooking stock (not the chicken broth) to a simmer. Add the chicken pieces to the cooking stock and turn up the heat. When the outside of each piece turns white, remove immediately and set aside. (The inside should still be slightly pink. If the chicken is allowed to cook all the way through at this point it will become tough and dry. It will continue to cook later as it sits in the hot soup when served.)

The soup and poached chicken can be refrigerated and served later. To serve, first heat the soup in a microwave oven. Then add the poached chicken to each serving. Serve with finely sliced Thai chilies. Serves 8 persons.

The coconut milk, straw mushrooms, galangal root, lemon grass, Kaffir lime leaves, palm sugar, concentrate cooking tamarind, fish sauce, and Thai chilies can be purchased at:

Asian Market
5 Mary St
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 459-7133

Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup (Phở Bὸ)

In a dry pan on low heat, stir-fry star anise, cardamom seeds, and cinnamon stick until fragrant. Turn off heat and add coriander seeds and cloves. Stir and put into a small cloth bag. Grill onion, shallots, and ginger until juice runs out to release the pungency. Then wash them. Wash and drain bean sprouts.

Blanch beef bones in simmering water and 1 Tbs salt to clean them and to remove blood from the marrow. Discard water and transfer bones to a new pan in 6 quarts of simmering water with a little salt. Add grilled onion, shallot, and ginger and simmer for 5 hours.

Put cloth bag with spices into boiling broth. Season with salt, sugar, and chicken bouillon. Continue to boil for another hour.

Quickly blanch the rice noodles and bean sprouts and place in bowl. Top with sliced beef loin strips, sliced onion, and cilantro. Pour the boiling stock into bowl and sprinkle with pepper. By this time the raw beef should be medium cooked. Serve with chilies, yellow bean sauce, sliced red chilies, lime wedges, mint, basil, culantro, and cilantro.

Recipe from Mai Home (Saigon Culinary Art Center)
269 Bis
Nguyen Trai Street
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Tel: (84-8) 3838 6037 5433
Fax: (84-8) 3837 8782
Hotline: (84) (0) 908 184 448
email: or

Richard Lee's Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup (Phở Bὸ)

Put beef bone into cold water for 3 hours to remove blood. Replace water every 1 hour. Roast beef bone, white onion and red onion at 400oF for 10 minutes. In cold water, cook roasted beef bone, white onion and red onion. Add white radish. Simmer for 6-8 hours.

Take beef bone and white radish out of the stock after 6-8 hours. Add toasted cinnamon and star anise. Add salt, sugar, chicken bouillon powder to taste. Cook this stock for another 2 hours.

Once stock is ready, slice beef fillet and put in a strainer and cook until medium done. Place flat rice noodle and beans sprouts in another strainer and put in boiling water for a minute and put in a serving bowl. Top up noodle and sprouts with cooked sliced beef. Pour beef stock to cover the noodles and beef. Garnish with sliced white onions, fresh coriander, fried shallots, crushed pepper corn and Vietnamese coriander. Serve with lettuce, basil, lime wedge, chili sauce and hoisin sauce.

Richard Lee's Vietnamese Tamarind Sweet Sour Soup

Cut coral trout into 5cm cubes. Put tamarind into hot water for 20 minutes. Take out tamarind sauce. Cut mint stalk, pineapple and tomato smaller. Stir-fry mint stalk, pineapple and tomato. Add tamarind sauce and water. When boiling, add fish. Add seafood powder. Place bean trout into a bowl and pour in the hot soup. Enjoy soup with rice noodle. Serves 4 persons.

Bouillabaisse (Restaurant de Bacon)

Prepare the aioli mayonnaise: Crush very finely chopped garlic, egg yolk, a small amount of olive oil, and salt in a mortar and pestle until a very smooth texture is obtained. Slowly add olive oil and lemon juice, whisking to create an emulsion. A food processor can be used instead of a whisk. The olive oil is added very slowly at first, then faster once the initial emulsion has formed.

Prepare the fish stock: In ¼ liter of olive oil in a large pot, brown sliced onions, garlic, tomatoes, celery (cut into pieces), 1 red pepper, and tarragon, on high heat. Once well-browned, add the 3 kg of small rock fish, gutted and scaled. Stir well for about 20 minutes to get a paste. Add the herbs, salt and pepper to taste. Add boiling water (1 liter per kg of fish) and boil for 30 minutes. Pass through a food mill and strain in a fine chinois, applying pressure to obtain as much juice as possible. Finish the seasoning with the saffron (5 grams or more).

In the fish stock, poach the 4 kg of fish according to their size and the firmness of their meat (the John Dory requires longer cooking time than the red scorpion fish of equal size whose meat is more delicate). One can never repeat enough that the fish must not be overcooked; the cooking time is always shorter than what we imagine.

Add potatoes cut into ½ inch slices to the stock just before the fish and bring to a boil. Once cooked, gently remove the fish, carefully bone, and place the fillets in large preheated flat bowls. The stock (very hot) is then poured over the fillets. Float several very hard croutons sliced from the day-old baguette, rubbed with fresh raw garlic, and topped with garlic aioli mayonnaise in the bouillabaisse just before eating.

Movie of the preparation of the fish stock at the Restaurant Bacon:

Martin’s Bean and Barley Soup

Soak dry red beans according to package instructions.

Barley: Sauté onion, mushrooms, 6 cloves of finely chopped garlic and seasoning in olive oil until onions are transparent. Boil 3 cups water. Add barley and boil for one hour, or until slightly chewy. Add mushroom and onion mix and sauté the entire mix for a few minutes. Eat some. It is really good, but leave some for the soup.

Drain and wash red beans and put them in a large pot with enough water to cover the beans and another two or three inches. Add carrots, tomatoes, sausage, the rest of the garlic, thyme, and seasoning, and simmer for 1 hour. After ½ hour, add the barley mix. Add cabbage to soup and simmer for another hour. Let sit overnight.