Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rosh Hashanah Feast

Passover is my favorite holiday, followed by Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. I'm usually planning a weeks worth of Passover food upwards of a month in advance, but Rosh Hashanah is just one feast meal, so the planning might begin a week ahead, maybe a few days again. I gotta say, sometimes the planning and the cooking is more fun than the eating.

Traditional Rosh Hashanah food is based on the phrase "May you have a sweet year. May God inscribe you in the book of life". So lots of sweet foods (for a sweet year), hand shaped foods (for the Hand of God that inscribes you in the book of life), round foods (for the never ending circle of life), lots of apple and honey, sweetened bread, fruit filled meats and sweet sauces. Having had apples and honey and apples and honey and bread and honey as the "Rosh Hashanah snack" my entire childhood, it was time for apples and honey and bread, just not in the same bite.

For any Jewish Holiday involving food, you gotta have Challah. Just a few minor changes to a regular Challah make it extra sweet and pretty for Rosh Hashanah.

Rosh Hashanah Challah (makes One Challah)

1 pkg dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 egg + 1 egg white for later
1/8 cup honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 oil
2 - 3 cups flour
1/2 cup raisins, soaked in warm water for half hour, then drained

dissolve yeast in the water, with a little bit of honey. let sit 10 minutes or until frothy. beat one egg in a large bowl, then add honey, salt & oil and beat again. now add yeast mixture, and mix well. Add the flour, a little at a time, you shouldn't need all of it, until a soft dough forms. flour your hands, and knead the dough for about 10 minutes, adding more flour if it gets too sticky to handle. put a few drops oil in the bowl, and turn dough to coat. cover, and let rise in a warm place for 2-3 hours. after first rise, punch down, and knead the raisins into the dough.

Sabbath Challah is braided, and Rosh Hashanah Challah is round. Grease a cookie sheet, and pull the dough into a long rope, one end being fatter than the other. put the fat end in the middle of the cookie sheet, and wrap the rope around it. If it resembles a cinamon roll when you're done, you did it right. cover, and let rise for one more hour. half hour before your going to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 400. right before baking, brush the top of the loaf with egg white. bake at 400 for about 30 minutes, or until top is browned.

Let cool completely before eating. Eat hot bread and you'll get a tummyache!

CousCous Stuffing
I wanted to do a stuffed turkey, but i didn't want to go the normal route of stuffing, and i wanted some sweet and filling in there. I also have an unholy love for fried onions.

1 onion
pinch sugar
2 cups prepared CousCous (make it with broth, not water)
1/4 cup chopped dried cherries
5 or 6 chopped dried dates
3-4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp dried cardamom
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
salt & pepper

Slice the onion, and fry in a little oil over medium heat. add the sugar if you want, it will help the onion color faster. after onion is fried and browned to your satisfaction, blend all ingredients and refridgerate at least one hour. after an hour, taste and add more spices as needed.

that's gonna go great in this delicious fruity
Apricot glazed Turkey
Whole Turkey
Apricot preserves- how much you need depends on how big the bird is
salt & pepper
olive oil

A little like the famous Bacon Wrapped Turkey Roll, but i didn't feel like deboning the Turkey. make sure the Turkey is completely thawed! put cotton stuffing bag in the cavity, and gently stuff with cooled stuffing. close bag, use toothpicks to keep the opening closed. flip the bird breast up, and gently pull the skin away from the flesh, pulling towards the spine. If your able to pull the skin away from the legs as well, that's even better. Don't completely pull the skin off, it's going to be the "blanket" to keep all the moisting and flavors in. rub the flesh with oil, and season with salt and pepper. brush with apricot preserves and tarragon. now fold the skin back over, and secure down with toothpicks. rub oil over the skin, and season with more salt & pepper. cover with foil, and bake at 350 approx 15 minutes per pound. check with a meat thermometer before you eat it! Not sure how long to cook your turkey, or how to know when it's done? call your Mom or Grandma, they'll know. And they'll be really proud of you for cooking a whole turkey!

Sweet Potatoes w/Honey soy glaze
I got this out of a Japanese Cookbook from the library a few years ago. and you just can't go wrong with sweet potatoes.

4 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 olive oil
3 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp dried ginger

toss potato peices in a bowl with oil and some salt. pour onto a greased rimmed cookie sheet, and roast at 350 for 30 minutes, or until edges are browning. drizzle sauce over, and broil for a minute or two (beware of smoke!! Our smoke alarm almost went off!).

Green Beans with breadcrumbs
Had this at a friends house, and it was love at first bite. Cuz ya'll know I love greenbeans!

1 lb green beans
1 tbsp italian breadcrumbs

saute green beans in oil over medium heat. you want to get a little browning on 'em. when they are bright green with bits of charring, they're done. takes about 8 minutes. combine in a bowl with the breadcrumbs, serve immediately.

Dessert was the deliciously magnificient Cardamom Apple Cake. Again, what a pain in the nect to make, but so delicous it's worth it. we had it with strawberries on the side.

So that was the Rosh Hashanah feast, and it was beyond delicious. Can't wait till Thanksgiving!

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