rosh hashanah

Best Hummus

fullsizeoutput_8689.jpeg

Despite the fact that hummus is the most popular snack and you can buy dozens of different kinds in every supermarket, I still make my own. And every time, a different recipe, always trying for perfection.

I served a version seasoned with zatar and garnished with toasted pine nuts once for an election night get-together.

I've made hummus using dried chick peas and canned.

One year the guests at my annual Break-the-Fast declared that year's hummus the best they ever tasted.

But apparently last year's Break-the-Fast version topped even that! 

So here is the recipe: easy to make, terrific for entertaining, for snacks, as a sandwich spread. Perfect all year, perfect for break-the-fast.

 

Lemony-Garlic Hummus

  • 1 can chickpeas (about one pound)

  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

  • 1/2 cup tahini

  • 2 large cloves garlic

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon zatar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • cayenne pepper to taste (I use 1/8 teaspoon)

  • chopped parsley, optional, about 2-3 tablespoons

  • zatar, optional

  • pita bread or chips

Drain the chickpeas but reserve the liquid. Place the chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, paprika, zatar, salt and cayenne pepper in a food processor. Process until you reach the texture you like, adding 3-4 tablespoons of the reserved chickpea liquid if you prefer it smoother and softer. Spoon into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with optional parsley and zatar. Serve with pita bread or chips.

Makes about 1-1/2 cups.

Roasted Carrots with Balsamic Vinegar Glaze and Chives

fullsizeoutput_89bf.jpeg

Carrots are always on my menu for Rosh Hashanah dinner. 

This recipe, the one I'm serving this year, is so easy. And you can set it up ahead -- peel and cut the carrots 2-3 days before you have to cook them, and store them in a plastic bag in the fridge.

This dish will go with practically any main course you might serve for dinner. 

 

Roasted Carrots with Balsamic Vinegar and Chives

  • 1 pound carrots
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt to taste
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel the carrots and cut them lengthwise in half or quarters, depending on thickness. Place the carrots on the baking sheet. Pour the olive oil over the carrots and toss to coat them completely. Sprinkle with kosher salt and a pinch of cayenne. Roast the carrots, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Pour the Balsamic vinegar over the carrots, toss and bake for another 8-10 minutes or until they are tender. Sprinkle with chives and serve. 

Makes 4 servings

Baked Apples with Date Honey

fullsizeoutput_86c8.jpeg

If you've never tried date honey, you've been missing something delicious in your life. I've been using it for years in all sorts of dishes from Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake to the Thanksgiving sweet potatoes.

It isn't bee honey. Date honey (known as Silan) is a syrup made from dates. It's thick and sweet like honey, but bee honey has more hints of spice, nuts or flowers, date honey is richer and more mellow.

I have tried several brands and like Date Lady* because of its smooth texture. Last summer, at the Fancy Food show I tasted the company's new California Date Syrup and absolutely loved it. The California syrup has a buttery taste, while the classic middle eastern variety is more molasses-y. Both are wonderful but I preferred the California syrup for delicate dishes such as baked apples and the bolder syrup for breads, cakes and muffins.

The California syrup works perfectly for baked apples, one of our traditional Rosh Hashanah desserts.

*I was not paid for this post. I just happen to love this product.

Baked Apples with Date Honey

  • 4 baking apples
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup diced dried figs
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh orange peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup date honey
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, optional

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash the apples and remove the core with an apple corer or small knife, leaving about 1/2" on the bottom.  Peel the apples halfway down from the top and place them in a baking dish. Mix the raisins, dates, orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg and date honey. Stuff this mixture into the apple hollows. Mix the juice and water (plus extra sugar if desired) and pour over the apples. Bake for 45 minutes, basting occasionally with the pan juices, or until the apples are tender. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings

 

 

 

 

 

Carrot Soup with Cloves

Carrot soup is a classic for Rosh Hashanah. One year I cooked some with harissa and coconut and my husband said it was the best soup he ever tasted. There's a slightly different version in my cookbook, The Modern Kosher Kitchen.

But I'm always trying new recipes -- because for us, carrot soup is beyond holiday festive. It's a healer, a comforter. Ok, not like chicken soup.  But still -- it's a dish I make for new moms or when someone isn't feeling up to par or when anyone I know is a little grumpy or sad.

This carrot soup recipe welcomes even before you taste it with its scent of cloves and cinnamon. I used Aleppo pepper for heat, but if you don't like spicy, you can leave it out.

 

CARROT SOUP WITH CLOVES AND PEPPER (P)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium all-purpose potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1-inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or crushed red pepper)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes, or until softened. Add the carrots, potato, ginger, cloves, cinnamon stick and Aleppo pepper. Stir to mix the ingredients. Pour in stock. Bring the liquid to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Remove the cloves and cinnamon stick. Puree the soup. Add the coconut milk, stir to blend the mixture until it is uniform in color and heat through.

Makes 4-6 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  

Carrot Spice and Honey Muffins

_DSC0119.jpg

I always make a few carrot dishes for Rosh Hashanah. It's tradition!

Most often it's soup, sometimes a side dish.

This year I baked carrot muffins. Big breakfast winner for everyone, especially the grandkids.

Freezable too, so you can have them on hand whenever you might have a need. Like Hallowe'en, Thanksgiving weekend.

 

Carrot Spice and Honey Muffins

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 12 muffin tins. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, brown sugar, yogurt, honey, cooled butter and vanilla extract. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and stir gently just until blended. Fold in the carrots and raisins. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the muffins are golden brown. Let cool in the tins for 2-3 minutes, then remove the muffins to a rack to cool.

Makes 12  

 

 

 

Grandma Hoffman's Skinny Noodle Crusty-Top Mushroom Onion Kugel

Kugel is the kind of food that people can get into an argument about.

The issues can become monumental.

Like -- should it be sweet or salty?

have cheese or not? 

if cheese-- what kind?

And lots more.

Including this biggie -- what width noodles to use!

Skinny? Medium? Wide?

OY!

Here's my answer. Medium or wide for sweet, creamy, dairy-based or fruit-laden kugels served as side dishes with dairy or for dessert, because you want more pasta-surface area to absorb the sauce.

BUT, definitely skinny noodles for a savory kugel because you want it crispy on top to crunch under the pan juices or gravy that come with the tender meat and vegetables.

I grew up in a family where salty kugels were the thing. And ALWAYS made with the skinniest of noodles.

Here's my grandma's recipe. If you make it in a shallow baking pan the entire kugel is one huge crunch. Use a deeper pan if you prefer some soft noodles under the crusty top.

Grandma Hoffman's Mushroom Onion Kugel

  • 10 ounces skinny egg noodles
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or schmaltz
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 10 ounces fresh mushrooms, any variety, sliced
  • 2 large eggs
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • paprika

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook according to package directions, until the noodles are tender but not mushy. Drain under cold water and set aside. While the noodles are cooking, heat the vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Set aside. Place the noodles in a large bowl. Add the vegetables with any accumulated juices, and stir the ingredients to distribute them evenly. Add the eggs and some salt and pepper to taste and mix them in. Place the mixture inside a baking dish. Sprinkle the top with paprika. Bake for about 25 minutes. Raise the heat to 400 degrees and cook for another 10 minutes or until the top is crispy and browned.

Makes 8 servings

Carrots with Pomegranate Jam Glaze

There are several ingredients in my life that I cook over and over.

Salmon. I make it so often for Ed and me that we are turning into fish.

Except that I also cook a lot of turkey, so maybe instead of growing fins and swimming up river we will grow feathers and start saying "gobble gobble."

And carrots. They're my go-to vegetable because most people like them and even people who say they hate vegetables usually say carrots are okay. 

I will definitely serve carrots for Rosh Hashanah. Why?

Tradition!

Pomegranates are also traditional for the holiday, so a while ago I cooked carrots and pomegranates (in the form of pomegranate molasses) together once and the result was really delicious.

But recently I decided to rework my old recipe using pomegranate jam that I bought from Crafted Kosher

It's a keeper.

Also, you can make the recipe up to the point of actually roasting them, so it's one of those wonderful dishes you can make ahead during this crazily busy holiday time.

Carrots with Pomegranate Jam

  • 1/4 cup pomegranate jam
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh orange peel
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 pound carrots
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the pomegranate jam, orange juice, vegetable oil, orange peel, cayenne pepper and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to blend the ingredients, and cook for one minute, making sure the jam has melted. Peel the carrots and cut them lengthwise in half or quarters, depending on thickness. Place the carrots on the parchment lined baking sheet and pour the jam mixture over them. Roast the carrots, stirring occasionally, for 18-20 minutes or until they are tender and well glazed. Sprinkle with mint and serve. 

Makes 4 servings

 

Plum Cake with Oat Streusel

It wouldn’t be the Jewish High Holiday season if you didn’t see at least one recipe for  Plum   Torte .  I suppose it’s because the holidays come at around the same time as the harvest for those small, dark purple  Italian prune plums  and what could be better than dessert made with the newest, freshest, soon-to-disappear seasonal fruit? (Although the torte recipe is so versatile that my niece  Rachel Vail , renowned children’s book author, once made it with  pears .)  I’ve made several versions over the years, including the NYTimes recipe and my  Aunt Beck’s famous  apple cake made with plums.  This year I’m baking a new variation for the holidays. If Plum Torte is so delicious, can’t it be even better — and lovelier looking — with a streusel top?  Yes!  Here it is:  PLUM CAKE WITH OAT STREUSEL     CAKE:     Streusel (recipe below)  1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled  2 cups all-purpose flour  1/2 cup sugar  1 tablespoon baking powder  1/2 teaspoon baking soda  1 teaspoon salt  2 teaspoons grated fresh orange peel  2 large eggs  1 cup milk  12 Italian prune plums, pitted and sliced     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make the streusel and set it aside. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and orange peel in the bowl of an electric mixer. In another bowl, combine the eggs, milk and melted butter. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ones and beat for about one minute, until smooth. Turn the batter into the prepared cake pan. Top with the plum slices. Cover with the streusel. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove the outer ring from the pan and let the cake cool completely.  Makes one cake serving 8 people     STREUSEL     1/2 cup rolled oats  1/3 cup all-purpose flour  1/2 cup packed light brown sugar  1/8 teaspoon salt  4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces     Mix the oats, flour, brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and work it into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.      

It wouldn’t be the Jewish High Holiday season if you didn’t see at least one recipe for Plum Torte.

I suppose it’s because the holidays come at around the same time as the harvest for those small, dark purple Italian prune plums and what could be better than dessert made with the newest, freshest, soon-to-disappear seasonal fruit? (Although the torte recipe is so versatile that my niece Rachel Vail, renowned children’s book author, once made it with pears.)

I’ve made several versions over the years, including the NYTimes recipe and my Aunt Beck’s famous apple cake made with plums.

This year I’m baking a new variation for the holidays. If Plum Torte is so delicious, can’t it be even better — and lovelier looking — with a streusel top?

Yes!

Here it is:

PLUM CAKE WITH OAT STREUSEL

 

CAKE:

 

Streusel (recipe below)

1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons grated fresh orange peel

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

12 Italian prune plums, pitted and sliced

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make the streusel and set it aside. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and orange peel in the bowl of an electric mixer. In another bowl, combine the eggs, milk and melted butter. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ones and beat for about one minute, until smooth. Turn the batter into the prepared cake pan. Top with the plum slices. Cover with the streusel. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove the outer ring from the pan and let the cake cool completely.

Makes one cake serving 8 people

 

STREUSEL

 

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

 

Mix the oats, flour, brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and work it into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

 

 

Plain Old Roasted Chicken

Some people think chicken is boring and unexciting, but I disagree, especially when it comes to a whole roasted chicken.  To me, a large roasted chicken coming out of the oven, crispy-skinned and glistening, fragrant with the aromas of a happy family dinner, is so impressive, so festive, that I always serve it during the Jewish High Holidays.   And can I tell you the other benefits?  Chicken is extraordinarily versatile. You can season it so many ways that you will never run out of ideas. Spice it with  Baharat  or sprinkle it with fresh chopped rosemary. Or just salt and pepper. Drizzle it with  Balsamic vinegar and a bit of orange peel . Baste it with orange juice or wine or chicken stock. Give it some heat with jalapeno peppers or harissa or make it sweet and mild by  cooking it with apples and honey .  I could go on, except I need to tell you that making roasted chicken is EASY.  Here’s the proof:             

Some people think chicken is boring and unexciting, but I disagree, especially when it comes to a whole roasted chicken.

To me, a large roasted chicken coming out of the oven, crispy-skinned and glistening, fragrant with the aromas of a happy family dinner, is so impressive, so festive, that I always serve it during the Jewish High Holidays. 

And can I tell you the other benefits?

Chicken is extraordinarily versatile. You can season it so many ways that you will never run out of ideas. Spice it with Baharat or sprinkle it with fresh chopped rosemary. Or just salt and pepper. Drizzle it with Balsamic vinegar and a bit of orange peel. Baste it with orange juice or wine or chicken stock. Give it some heat with jalapeno peppers or harissa or make it sweet and mild by cooking it with apples and honey.

I could go on, except I need to tell you that making roasted chicken is EASY.

Here’s the proof:      

     

Roasted Chicken

 

  • 1 roasting chicken, 5-6 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • garlic powder and paprika, optional
  • ras el hanout, baharat, garam masala, harissa, chopped fresh herbs to taste, optional
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups chicken stock, white wine or juice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove any pinfeathers and extra flesh and fat from the chicken. Take out the package of giblets inside the cavity (you may save these pieces for stock, except for the liver, or roast them along with the chicken). Brush the olive oil all over the chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and optional seasonings. Place the chicken breast side down on a rack placed inside a roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees. Roast the chicken for 15 minutes. Pour the stock (wine or juice) over the chicken and roast for another 15 minutes. Turn the chicken breast side up. Roast the chicken, basting occasionally, for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken, or until the chicken is cooked through (a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees or 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh). Remove the chicken to a carving board and let rest for 15 minutes before carving. Serve with pan juices (you may strain the pan fluids if desired, and/or reduce them to desired thickness by boiling the fluids in a small saucepan over high heat).

Makes 6 servings