high holidays

Chick Pea and Carrot Salad

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Of course, of course we will be slicing apples and dipping them in honey on Rosh Hashanah. (which begins at sunset on September 29th).

But chickpeas are on the menu too. In his Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, the late rabbi and food authority Gil Marks wrote that “chickpeas are a traditional Rosh Hashanah food, a symbol of fertility, abundance and a wish for a well-rounded year to come.”

I usually make chickpeas into hummus, but sometimes I serve them whole, as a snack, roasted, the way my mother made them when I was growing up – a recipe called nahit. She coated the chickpeas with vegetable oil, sprinkled them with salt and paprika and baked them until crispy.

I changed her recipe somewhat -- I use olive oil, kosher salt and fresh thyme, or sometimes za’atar, as seasonings. Nahit is a delicious snack and a healthy one too: chickpeas are a good source of protein, minerals (including calcium) and fiber.

For this coming holiday though I’ll be making a chickpea and carrot salad to serve with dinner. Carrots are another symbolic ingredient of the holiday, so this recipe is a double-up of special ingredients of festive food for the holiday table. It’s a dish that can be made in advance, which makes it a good choice at such a busy time. And it is colorful too, fit for any celebration, including Break-the-Fast. 

Chick Pea and Carrot Salad

  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas

  • 4 medium carrots, sliced thin

  • 1/2 chopped red onion

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

  • salt to taste

Rinse the chickpeas under cold running water; let drain and place in a bowl. Add the carrots, onion, parsley, mint, cumin and cayenne pepper and toss to distribute the ingredients evenly. Pour in the olive oil and lemon juice. Toss to coat the ingredients evenly. Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste.

Makes 6 servings

Carrot Bread with Raisins for Rosh Hashanah

Somehow Labor Day is over and the food thoughts in my head go straight from tomato salad and grilled chicken to pumpkin soup and baked apples

Of course there's still time to enjoy the last of the summer fruits and vegetables, still time for outdoor-cooked grilled, marinated steak

But I'm thinking forward. It's almost a new season and -- yikes! -- the High Holiday season is only two weeks away.

Which leads toady's food thoughts to: carrots, because carrots are traditional during Rosh Hashanah. I usually cook them in soup -- one version or another. But last year I decided to experiment with a few recipes for carrot quick bread.

This is the one we like best. It's moist and sweet, so it can be dessert, and because it is parve, it is a good choice after a traditional holiday meat meal.

But also makes a good snack either by itself or smeared with cream cheese (softened is best and maybe even mixed with some lemon juice).

CARROT BREAD(P)

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1-1/2 cups grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-1/2”x4-1/2” loaf pan. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into a bowl. Set aside. Beat the brown sugar, white sugar and vegetable oil in the bowl of an electric mixer set at medium speed for 2-3 minutes, or until well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in the lemon juice and peel. Add the dry ingredients and blend them into the egg mixture. Fold in the carrots and raisins. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool completely. 

Makes one loaf  

Plums - as Crisp, not Torte

A few weeks ago I spotted Italian prune plums at Fairway. It was 96 degrees out, in the middle of a heat wave, and here I was looking at the first culinary signs of autumn.

But there they were, the plums, and of course I bought several pounds of them.

My thoughts went immediately to Plum Torte, the iconic Rosh Hashanah dessert. I make one every year.

But those plums are too good to reserve for just one holiday.

So I made these Italian Prune Plum Crisps.

Crisps are a more homey-style dessert than a stately looking Plum Torte. However, I think they are just perfect for the holidays. Easier too.

Or, why not serve both?

 

Plum Crisp with Oat Streusel

Filling:

  • 36 Italian prune plums
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking or rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, cut into chunks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the plums, brown sugar, lemon juice and flour in a baking dish. Set aside. Place the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl and mix ingredients to distribute them evenly. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients with fingertips or a pastry blender until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Place the oat mixture over the fruit. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is crispy and brown.

Makes 6-8 servings.

 

 

 

How Sweet It Is!

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After Labor Day the entire social structure of my life changes along with everyone else's. All of a sudden we switch gears from grilling and walks on the beach to back-to-school stuff and fall fashions.

And the High Holidays.

Everywhere I look now there's a Rosh Hashanah reminder. Even though it's late this year (Jewish holidays are always early or late, never on time). The first night is October 2nd. Not so far away!

And so, to paraphrase the poet Shelley, I ask you: when Rosh Hashanah comes can Apple Cake be far behind?

No way! Because Apple Cake is one of the culinary icons of the holidays, a rite of passage for all would-be Jewish bakers. It wouldn't be a proper holiday without this dessert.

But not every apple cake is quite like Amy Kritzer's! This delectable new version, fragrant with chai-inspired spices (cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and cloves) and cloaked with a soft, maple-infused cream cheese frosting is a standout for its creative take on an old-fashioned classic. It's a beauty as well, with its creamy drizzle and, if you wish, chopped walnuts for garnish.

The recipe is from Amy's new book, Sweet Noshings, which is loaded with magnificent recipes that feature modern updates to and new ways with traditional Jewish baked goods. Everything from Mandel Bread (Amy's includes espresso powder and dried cherries), to Chocolate-Lime Sufganiyot (perfect for Hanukkah) to Flourless Chocolate-Orange Cupcakes with Beet (!) Frosting (I can't wait to try that one!).

There's even a riff on the classic egg cream (it includes strawberries and almond milk).

Anyone who is familiar with Amy's popular blog, WhatJewWannaEat, knows that her recipes always surprise, always inspire. The cookbook does too. Satisfying those of us who like to go beyond ordinary when we cook.

And it certainly satisfies a sweet tooth.

Apple Chai Cake with Maple­ Cream Cheese Drizzle

Prep time: 30 minutes  • Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes  • Makes: 12 servings

 For cake

  • Butter, oil, or cooking spray for greasing pan
  • 3 cups (426 g) all-purpose flour, 
  • plus more for flouring the pan
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (235 ml) neutral-flavored oil (such
  • as canola, vegetable, or grape seed)
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (400 g) sugar, plus extra 5 tablespoons for apples
  • 4–5 Granny Smith apples, (3½ cups/440 g), sliced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

 For drizzle

  • 4 ounces (113 g) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (113 g) powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon (plus 1–2 teaspoons, if needed) milk (or water or almond milk if keeping parve), at room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF/ 180ºC. Grease a 12-cup (2.8 L) Bundt pan with butter and a dusting of flour (or use nonstick spray) and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a separate large bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer or spoon, mix together oil, eggs, orange juice, and vanilla. Then mix in 2 cups of the sugar until combined. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, switching to the beater attachment (or continue to mix by hand). Mix until combined, being careful not to over mix. Batter should be thick but pourable. 

4. Peel and core apples and cut into thin, 1/8-inch (3 mm) wedges.

5. Combine apples in a large bowl with remaining 5 tablespoons sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.

6. Spoon a third of the batter in pan. Add half of the apple mixture in an even layer, add another third of the batter. Follow with other half apple mixture and last of the batter.

7. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove and finish cooling on a cooling rack. 

8. To make drizzle, beat cream cheese and butter with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Then beat in powdered sugar, butter, maple syrup, salt, and enough milk to get a thick but runny glaze. Keep beating until smooth. Drizzle all over your cooled cake.