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Almost-like-Ratner’s Summer Soup

ratners soup

We all have fond memories of special food. When my family made the trek each summer to NYC, we always ate in Ratner’s, a famous Jewish deli founded in 1905 (it closed in 2002) that served only dairy foods. In its heyday, Ratner’s served Sunday brunch to 1,200 people each week, and patrons included Al Jolson, Fanny Brice, Jackie Mason, Elia Kazan, Walter Matthau, Groucho Marx, Robert Kennedy, Nelson Rockefeller… and even the occasional mafia member. My favorite dish from Ratner’s? Their cold vegetable soup made with sour cream. This is my version from those childhood memories.

I have all these herbs growing in my garden. If you don’t, of course you can use dried herbs, but about a third the quantity called for. Can’t do dairy? There are dairy alternatives that work just fine.

Yes, we made this on Eat Well Be Happy, our cooking show. The crew loved this soup. Do use ONLY organic or grass-fed dairy products. It’s so important.

Serves 6

1 C plain kefir or yogurt* ½ C minced red onion
1 C sour cream 2 tsp good salt
½ C minced parsley 1 Tbsp fresh minced dill fronds
1 clove garlic, pressed 1 tsp fresh oregano leaves
1 C diced cucumber (with skin) 1 Tbsp fresh basil (
¼ C diced green scallions Garnishes (another C sour cream, dill,
¼ C halved and sliced radishes radishes, or a splash of smoked olive oil)

 Using a blendor, food processor or Vitamix, quickly combine kefir, sour cream, parsley and garlic. Pour into a large bowl, add remaining ingredients, except garnishes. Refrigerate until very cold.   Serve with whatever garnishes you choose (I use them all, especially more sour cream!)

Got chronic bronchial flare-ups, sinus infections or asthma? Try radishes because they decongest, and they are said to prevent and shorten the duration of UTIs. Don’t know the difference between yogurt and kefir? It’s the kind of bugs (bacteria) present. Yogurt is the beer of probiotic dairy foods, while kefir is the champagne.

*Two kefirs I have in my home frig now are the Green Valley, lactose-free plain kefir and Redwood Hill goat kefir. I love both. If you haven’t tried them, please do and tell me what you think.

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