When I was growing up in Los Angeles, Rosh Hashanah dinner always meant that my mother spent several days in the kitchen. She didn’t have farmers markets.
Today, with the variety of fresh produce available, I can prepare a hearty soup that will be the main course of the meal, and not spend all day in the kitchen. I can use many of the symbolic vegetables that are served during Rosh Hashanah, including leeks, which are said to bring good luck, and squash, which represents a year of blessing.
Vegetable soups are fast and simple to make. They can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Most soups are even better the next day, and the longer they cook the more concentrated they become. Puree the leftover soup, and the thick broth can be used as a sauce for pasta on the second night of the holiday.
Choose fresh vegetables according to the season and don’t be overly concerned with exact measurements. When serving, spoon on some extra-virgin olive oil or top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese for additional flavor.
Recently, while shopping at the farmers market in Santa Monica, I purchased fresh sugar-snap peas. I boiled them just until tender, and then cooled them and pureed them in the blender. This became the base for a delicious soup. Because of the flavorful base, there was no need for cream or stock to give it a rich flavor. Fresh white corn kernels give this bright green pea soup some texture and crunch, or you could add noodles in place of the corn to make it a one-course meal.