Apple cake for Rosh Hashana – been there, done that. Here’s a new combo that includes the seasonal and traditionally significant tastiness of the ever-so-overdone Rosh dessert. Thank you smitten kitchen, al di la restaurant, and my CIA spy (aka my brother) for your inspirations…
Category Archives: Rosh Hashana
If grad school has taught me anything, it’s that the less ingredients and the simpler the recipe, the better: for the sake of time efficiency and really tasting those yummy fresh veggies! Since Rosh Hashana is on a Monday this year, try out this carrot salad recipe this year to save some time and enjoy some seasonal produce. You can make it an hour before you serve it or a couple days in advance! The longer the carrots marinate in the dressing, the better.
Question: How long does it take five young professionals in San Francisco to come to consensus on high holiday plans via email and text? I’ll never know the answer. My friends and I started discussing it at the end of August and went in circles for weeks. It was like the set-up to a bad joke – liberal Jews, raised reform, reconstuctionist, conservative, one a convert, all of us with a slight twinge of traditionalism mixed with egalitarianism, and none of us are currently members of a particular synagogue. We even specifically started “shul shopping” by going to some shabbat services looking for a place with the right mix for all of us. The only thing I learned is that the perfect shul does not exist, but in line with the old joke, the one that each person won’t set foot in, does. Luckily, through an impromptu shabbat dinner, we all ended up at the same table and settled on plans within ten minutes. It was a High Holiday miracle!
The dinner came together because I was looking for a Rosh Hashana recipe and serendipitously one appeared in my inbox. I subscribe to a few recipe list and one for salmon with apples and fennel appeared and I knew I was on the right path. Salmon is a pain to make for a crowd because it can easily get dried out, plus it is expensive, not to mention that my good friend, Sarah, now won’t eat fish because she believes it is all unsustainable and toxic. Chicken is almost always the answer for a meal for a crowd of Jews and what I turned to. Since I was sort inventing this recipe I decided a test run was necessary before my larger Rosh Hashana shabbat dinner and invited my friends to serve as guinea pigs.
After working all day and grocery shopping the thought of doing the photography was feeling a bit overwhelming so I called in an old debt and enlisted my good friend Ryan Simon to serve as the official photographer. He has been nagging me to upgrade to an SLR, so this seemed like a good opportunity to let him show me the goods and if it might be worth the investment. All the photos on this post are his, and I threw in a couple of extra because they were particularly good, so I urge you to click and enlarge them.
I also suggest you to look back at some past Rosh hashana recipes as we have a really nice collection going. I personally will be reviewing the how to braid a spiral challah post so I can impress my guest next week. L’Shana Tova!
I’ve been planning to make teiglach for the past couple of weeks, but with the Bay Area in a heat wave I was trying to avoid turning on my stove for the required hour. With Simcha Torah coming up tomorrow night I was rapidly running out of time for the recipe to be relevant, so I cranked up the A/C to get these done in time for the culmination of the high holidays. Given that it was 95 degrees in San Francisco yesterday, I may have lost my mind a little bit, but sometimes a little sacrifice is required for my art. As you prepare to celebrate the beginning of a new cycle of reading the Torah (finish up Deuteronomy and start-up again with Genesis), teiglach make a nice sweet treat to go along with the obligatory drinking and hakafot.
While I have definitely never made teiglach I also started the project thinking I had never eaten them either and was unprepared with for what they would taste like, but upon biting into the completed cookie I remembered having them at some point as a kid.
Teiglach literally means “little dough” in Yiddish and has its history in the Lithuanian Jewish community, and is traditional for Rosh Hashana and Simcha Torah. (Apparently holishkes are also traditional for Simcha Torah, as the rolls of cabbage are symbolic for the Torah rolls) While boiling dough in honey seems a bit odd, the dough cooks up crunchy like a cookie covered in a sticky honey syrup. The ingredients are quite basic and the process is very simple but the resulting cookies are oddly addicting.
As I’m sure most of you know, one of the traditions of Rosh Hashana is to eat apples dipped in honey to symbolize the sweetness of the new year. I personally like to make apple based desserts to incorporate this tradition further into the meal. While my Apple honey up-side down cake is pretty darn tasty, I though I would do something that really allows the apples center stage. I’ve also been on a fig binge. They are in the peak of their season right now and I’ve been finding all sorts of varieties, from California green to the black missions. Now, as if in an effort to slowly torture me, there is a fig tree right at my front door, and while it looks amazing, the fruit is all but inedible to anyone but the squirrels, so unfortunately I have to get mine from the store like everyone else. As Gordon pointed out in his last post, the fig is one of the Seven Species of Israel, and it is the first literal plant named in the Torah, when Adam and Eve used the leaves of a fig tree to cover their suddenly noticed nakedness. This sound very uncomfortable to me, as those leaves are prickly, but I’ll take the fruit anytime.
recipe after the break
A proper New Year’s celebration often includes the symbolic consumption of a fruit that you have not yet tasted this season. Pomegranates are often used as they are just reaching their full ripeness at the end of summer. Often this involves messy digging about in the flesh of the pomegranate for the small seeds or arils that are the only edible part. While my kids love this (and often make a huge mess- this stuff stains!) I am ready to move on to something a bit more elegant.
As this thought was rolling around in my head, one of the food blogs I follow ran a short piece on doing infusions using a whip cream dispenser. Since I have one around that I never use, I thought it would be time to find a new use for it. Before I give you the link to the infusion post, let me recommend that their post on wild meat should be avoided if the sight of whole cooked animals makes you queasy.
Now, this whole infusion business has become the trend of the moment (witness the NYT’s is telling you that it is) and I hate to pile on… no I don’t.
First a few words about pomegranates in Jewish life. Regarded as one of the Seven Species on the Land of Israel (the others being wheat, barley, olives, figs, grapes and dates) they pop up frequently in the bible. The shape was (and still is) used on decorative pieces. The head of the high priest’s staff was a pomegranate as are the decorative handle covers of a Torah cover. The pomegranate is said to contain 613 seeds, corresponding to the number of commandants (or mitzvot) in the Torah. Of course you know you have a Jewish pomegranate when the calyx (or tip) is a perfect six pointed star.
On a more prosaic note. The English word grenade is a corruption of the Spanish for pomegranate- granada (as in, granada de mano or hand grenade). In Hebrew the same cognate is used and both the fruit and the weapon is a rimon. So be careful what you ask for at the market!
As you may have noticed the posting activity around here has virtually disappeared the last several months. It turns out that every single one of the heathens have joined the ranks of the gainfully employed. Given that when we started the blog a year ago all 5 of us of us were most assuredly unemployed I say screw the gloom and doom news on the economy, I do believe this is a sure sign that the economy is looking up. Now that several of us are comfortably in place at our new gigs we are going make more of an effort to post of course just in time for the High Holidays. I know Gordon is working on something of a cocktail nature to ring in the New Year and I am toying around with my favorite fall fruit, figs. Hopefully, when Ariel returns from her Hazon ride she can be cajoled into posting a delightfully sweet baked good. In the meantime I highly recommend reviewing some of our hits from last years High Holidays when we were cranking things out:
Honey and my obsession with it.
Gordon’s amazing instructions on how to braid a spiral Challah
My personally developed recipe for Apple Upside-down honey cake
My brisket, in which I reveal my secret ingredient is none other than Lipton Onion soup mix.
Sephardic Pumpkin Bread for a Spanish Rosh Hashana tradition.
Gordon’s Lox, the perfect start to breaking the fast.
Now that I have put it out to the interwebs and we are also expecting some traffic from our friends over at Zeek magazine, I believe I have firmly committed us to providing you our faithful readers (or just our relatives) with some new content.
An early Shana Tovah to you all!
Once again I am asking the question “is this Jewish?” I don’t know. Carrot Cake recipes appear in a number of my Jewish cookbook, but not one of them indicates why its Jewish. A google search on the origins of carrot cake brings up tons of myths and stories but the only thing people seem to be able to agree on is that the version most of us are familiar with, did not become popularized in the United States until the 1960’s. It may have become a popular Jewish dessert because without frosting it can be made parve. One thing I know for sure is that I love it with cream cheese frosting and Jews definitely know what to do with cream cheese. I was hosting a Big Game party (Go Bears!) and wanted a dessert that was easy to serve and I could decorate with a little blue and gold, and cupcakes fit the bill. Not one of the recipes I looked at had baking time for cupcakes so I had to keep a pretty close eye on the first batch. Overall it was pretty easy and my friends‘ 3 year old daughter said they were beautiful and kept opening the fridge all night to make sure they were still there.
Gordon may have gone out on a bit of a limb trying to make his pumpkin pie Jewish, but it turns out he was just looking for inspiration in the wrong community. Due to our own personal backgrounds, we have been a bit heavy on the Ashkenazi and Israeli food, so I decided to start looking at recipes from the Sephardi tradition. Low and behold, it turns out that pumpkin was one of the first New World plants brought back to Europe by Spanish explorers and is quite popular in Sephardi cuisine. Marc and I got into a discussion of pumpkin use in Sephardic Rosh Hashana meals, as the roundness of the pumpkin is symbolic of wishes for a well-rounded, full year. Marc was particularly fond of roasted pumpkin with couscous and a soup recipe he got from a good friend. In a moment of serendipity, that very evening, Meredith, the Video Producer at Chow.com, walked out of her office with half a raw pumpkin and said “Amiee will know what to do with this”. Indeed I did. (She also sent home some delicious, left-over roast capon and stuffing from the test kitchen). The next day I set about roasting and pureeing the pumpkin and pursuing Sephardic Holiday Cooking. There were several options, but as usual I was drawn toward the bread. While the settlers in the new world developed the moist quick-bread style pumpkin bread most of us grew up with, the Sephardim incorporated pumpkin into the traditional yeast bread and quite tastily into challah. This bread makes a beautiful addition to any Halloween or Thanksgiving celebration.
Recipe after the jump
Success! Thanks to some helpful brainstorming with Gordon I produced a much nicer looking version of my of my Apple Upside-Down Honey Cake and I am now willing to share the recipe. The key was finding a way to keep the apples on the bottom of the pan. This time I created rounds that were similar to the shape of the pineapple rounds from the old classic, which I believe was helpful to the overall structure. Rather than pouring in the topping first and then placing the apples instead I put the apples in first, poured the topping over them and chilled it, essentially cementing the apples to the bottom. I increased the cooking time a bit but overall this is a fun way to have your apples, honey and eat your honey-cake too. Shana Tova!
recipe after the jump