One answer might be found in Song of Songs 8:5 which begins with “Beneath the apple tree I aroused you.” Symbolically alluding to the love relationship between G-d and the Jewish people, this poem has been interpreted to suggest that the apples we eat at Rosh Hashana, which remind us of that special relationship with G-d, are what give us the strength to repent and improve ourselves.
Conversely, it could be argued that apples feature prominently at Rosh Hashana simply because the time of year coincides with the bounty of the apple harvest.
Regardless of why we eat them, apples are a delicious and nutritious addition to the holiday kitchen. With more than 7,500 varieties worldwide, their crisp exterior and juicy interior provide infinite options for apple-focused dishes.
This Rosh Hashana, I hope you’ll try my Apple & Calvados Chicken Liver Pate. A more elegant spin on the familiar Chopped Liver, this dish highlights the mystique of the apple by adding complementary layers of flavor that balance the apple’s sweetness and acidity.
Enjoy this recipe. And more importantly, remember to enjoy this time for evaluation, self-renewal and, ultimately, sweet transformation.
Food aficionado and graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Joy Dawn Prevor is the creator of MyCulinaryJoy.com, an interactive learning experience focused on ingredients and techniques that empower food-lovers to make their own recipes. Joy’s culinary repertoire includes Cooking Classes, Freelance Writing, Specialty Catering, Recipe Development, Culinary Demos and National Food & Wine Events. Please visit her at My Culinary Joy.
4 Tbsp margarine
1 Granny Smith Apple, cored and sliced
1 tsp sugar
3 shallots, sliced
1 lb chicken livers, cleaned and dried off with paper towel
Salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
½ cup Calvados apple brandy (ok to substitute with regular brandy)
½ tsp lemon juice
Melt half the margarine in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Mix together the apples and sugar and place them in the skillet. Allow the apples to begin caramelizing - do not stir for the first few minutes
Once the apples are soft and brown, place them in a bowl and set aside.
Melt the other half of the margarine in the skillet and add the shallots, with a pinch of salt and pepper – cook until they are soft and translucent.
Add the chicken livers, season with salt and pepper and allow them to cook for a few minutes until the outside is firm but the interior is still red.
Remove the skillet from the heat and add the Calvados (please be very careful and keep the skillet away from your face as the alcohol may flame up).
Return the skillet to the stove and scrape the bottom of the pan to lift the flavor from any brown bits. Add the cayenne and lemon juice and continue to cook the livers through until the liquid reduces and the interior of the livers is slightly pink (use a scissor or knife to cut a piece open to check).
Pour all the contents of the skillet into a blender, allow to cool.
Add the apples to the blender and puree the mixture until it is completely smooth. Taste the mixture and, if needed, adjust the seasonings (i.e. add salt and pepper, add cayenne if you like it spicier, add more Calvados if you’d like it a little sweeter and add more lemon juice to balance the acidity).
Store the mixture in your serving bowl and place in the refrigerator overnight to allow the mixture to firm up and develop its flavors.
Serve at room temperature with toasted slices of baguette or crackers. If you like spicy foods, sprinkle with cayenne for an extra kick.
I have a confession to make. I’m not proud of it but I feel compelled to share. You know how most Jewish gatherings serve the ubiquitous Assorted Cookie Platter? You know the ones I mean… Well, I confess: I hoard the multi-colored Rainbow Cookies.
I don’t intend to hoard them – in fact, I always start with just one. But I inevitably end up going back for seconds and thirds. I know… they’re called assorted cookies because you’re supposed to try several types. I just can’t help myself! I love their moist and rich almond interior, lightened by a hint of acidic apricot and then intensified by a touch of bitter chocolate. Add the fun colors and you have the perfect cookie.
When planning this year’s Hanukkah gathering, I decided the festivities wouldn’t be complete without these cookies. With just a tiny adjustment to my regular recipe, they became Rainbow Cookies á la Hanukkah. Making them is a multi-step process but, fear not, they are easy steps. Here’s the recipe:
About Joy Prevor: A food aficionado and graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Joy Dawn Prevor has served as a major gifts fundraiser and senior executive in the Jewish nonprofit sector for over 17 years.
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
8 oz almond paste
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 drops blue food coloring
12 drops blue food coloring
12 oz apricot preserves, heated and strained
12 oz high-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter three 9 X 13 baking sheet pans and line with parchment paper. Beat almond paste in stand mixer until smooth. Add butter and sugar and beat until fluffy. Add almond extract and then eggs, one at a time. Add flour and salt - only beat until combined.
Divide batter into three bowls and add 6 drops of blue food coloring to one bowl and 12 drops of blue food coloring to a second bowl – leave the third bowl plain.
Spread each batter into its own pan and bake for approximately 10 minutes and cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, place one of the blue cakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread preserves on it and place the plain cake on top. Spread preserves on plain cake and place the other blue cake on top. Freeze for 1 hour to set jam.
Spread melted chocolate on top and on sides – chill for 30 minutes to set. Flip cake onto another piece of parchment paper and spread chocolate on the other side – freeze for at least one hour. While still frozen, slice cake into 1 ½ inch logs and slice logs into individual ½ inch cookies. Allow cookies to defrost before serving