Rosh Hashanah is an auspicious time, meant for new beginnings and good luck. We wish people inscriptions in the book of life, say special prayers for health and prosperity, and even wear white, symbolizing purity and cleansing from sin.
I like to put my money where my mouth is: according to Sephardic custom, certain foods – like dates, squash, and pomegranates – are lucky, and should be eaten in abundance on the New Year.
Another one of these auspicious foods is black-eyed peas, which I’ve been eating regularly ever since returning from Southeast Asia this past December. While they aren’t a traditionally Thai or Vietnamese food, they’re a staple in Burma, just over the border from Thailand. With the steady influx of Burmese émigrés to Thailand, vendors have started selling specialties from their hometown on the streets of Chiang Rai, near the border. One of my favorite dishes, which I first encountered in Naomi Duguid’s excellent book Burma, combines black-eyed peas with turmeric, shallots, ginger, and fish sauce. It’s a surprisingly addictive combination.
I built on that original recipe in honor of Rosh Hashanah, adding another auspicious food – pomegranate seeds – and some pomegranate syrup, for good measure. I swapped out fish sauce for soy sauce, added a heaping handful of parsley, and finished the dish with a big squeeze of fresh lime.
Because Rosh Hashanah starts so early this year, we’re planning on at least one picnic lunch, to take advantage of what we hope will be good weather. I’m planning to serve this, alongside the usual round challah and apple slices dipped in honey. Double good luck!
1 heaping cup black-eyed peas
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh grated turmeric root or ¼ tsp ground turmeric
1 large shallot, minced
¾ tsp salt
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp pomegranate syrup, optional (if not using, double lime juice)
½ cup pomegranate seeds
2-3 Tbsp chopped parsley, chives, or a mixture
Juice of ½ a lime
If your black-eyed peas are old, soak them overnight in enough water to cover them by at least 1 inch.
When ready to cook the peas, fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Add drained peas, cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until peas are fork-tender, between 45 minutes and 1.5 hours. Cooking time varies drastically and depends on the age of your peas, so check them regularly.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in your smallest sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the turmeric and shallots, and cook for 3-4 minutes, until shallots are soft, fragrant, and browned in spots. Add salt, stir to combine, and remove from the heat.
When peas are soft but still retaining their shape, drain them, transfer them to a bowl, and pour the shallot mixture over the peas, making sure to scrape the sauté pan for all those little bits of turmeric and shallot clinging to the bottom. Stir beans to incorporate, taking care not to smush them too much.
Add soy sauce and pomegranate syrup if using, and toss to combine.
Right before serving, fold in pomegranates, fresh herbs, and lime juice. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.
Last week as I was scurrying around trying to feed my dog, feed my daughter and also cook dinner for me and my husband, I had some culinary inspiration (by peering into my fridge) and put together this new recipe for lemon mustard brussels sprouts.
The husband loves most recipes that use mustard as a seasoning, and I love using fresh citrus when I roast chicken or veggies. The combination seemed like a perfect culinary, and marriage, compromise. It takes almost no time to prepare, but the mustard and lemon pack a big flavor punch, so its great for those weeknight, last-minute dinners, or for a super simple Shabbat side dish!
1 bag fresh brussels sprouts (about 3 cups)
juice and zest from 1 lemon
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp dijon or whole grain mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut brussels sprouts in half and place on baking sheet.
Mix together olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper. Drizzle mixture over brussel sprouts and mix around with hands to ensure brussel sprouts are coated evenly.
Place lemon halves on baking sheet as well.
Roast Brussels sprouts for 35-45 minutes until desired crispiness.
Some of the best ideas are made on the fly, and this recipe was one of those. While perusing my local fruits and veggie market I decided it had been far too long since I had made acorn squash – a childhood favorite.
My dad used to roast acorn squash with maple syrup and then let us eat up the the sweet squash with a spoon. But I wanted to try a slightly new spin, and instead of roasting it with maple syrup, I opted to roast it and then finish it with pomegranate molasses and for crunch, some chopped walnuts.
2 acorn squash, cut in half
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
pinch crushed red pepper
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix brown sugar, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Sprinkle over each half of squash.
Roast squash for 45-60 minutes or until tender.
Scoop out flesh and mash with a fork until desired consistency. If you prefer very smooth, put through a food processor.
Finish squash with pomegranate molasses and chopped walnuts
A few weeks ago I wrote about a delicious coconut rice cake we tasted while vacationing on the island of St. John. And this weekend I finally got the chance to recreate them! I often make wild mushroom risotto balls, but this was a new sort of rice endeavor. Arborio rice, which you use to make risotto, has a lot of starch and so when you form it into balls for frying, it sticks together very easily. Basmati (or jasmine) rice is less starchy and requires a bit more elbow grease to ensure proper sticking. I like to keep a small bowl of cold water on hand to wet my hands while patting, the same as you might do while forming matzah balls.
This recipe does take a bit of time but it is delicious and something different especially to serve for guests or on a special occasion. And best of all? It’s pareve!
Serve it with a spicy Pineapple Salsa like this one from Two Peas and their Pod or a Mango Chutney like this one from Alton Brown for a lovely appetizer. Or serve it as a side dish along side grilled chicken breast, steak or seared salmon.
1 cup basmati rice
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 tsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
1 tsp salt
1 tsp coconut extract
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying
Bring coconut milk and water to a boil. Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp olive oil. Add rice and reduce heat to low-medium. Cover and let cook untouched for 20 minutes.
Allow to cook, placing in fridge for at least one hour or up to 48 hours.
Place rice into large mixing bowl. Add beaten eggs, shredded coconut, salt and coconut extract. Mix gently with hands.
In a medium skillet, heat 1/2 inch vegetable oil on medium heat.
Fill small bowl with cold water and another bowl with panko bread crumbs. Wet hands and make form flat rice patties using palms of your hand, packing tightly as you work. Patties should be about 1/4 cup size. Dip each side of the patty into panko bread crumbs,
Fry patties on each side about 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove from pan and place on wire rack or plate lined with paper towel. Sprinkle with extra salt while still hot.
Serve while warm.
Last month my husband and I brought our 4 month old daughter to visit one of her two living great-grandparents. Our daughter was delighted to meet her great-grandfather, and his wife cooked us a wonderful Shabbat dinner to celebrate, which included, among many other delicious dishes, a cherry apple noodle kugel that I just couldn’t get enough of.
As I devoured the sweet kugel I had the idea that the cherry-apple kugel could easily turn into a cranberry-apple kugel perfect for a Thanksgiving side dish.
The original recipe calls for a can of cherry pie filling, which I swapped out for a scratch-made cranberry sauce made with lemon zest, sugar and water.
No patience to make your own sauce? Buy a can of whole cranberry sauce to substitute!
8 ounces fresh cranberries
2 tsp cornstarch
¾ cup water
½ cup sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
1 ½ lbs wide egg noodles (one and a half packages)
5 large eggs
3 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced
½ cup margarine or butter
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon plus extra
Place cranberries, ½ cup sugar, water and lemon zest in a saucepan over medium heat. Wait until water begins boil and then add cornstarch and stir. Continue to simmer until cranberries are all soft and sauce thickens. Add a little water if needed. Set aside to cool.
Cook noodles in large pot. Drain well and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 pan.
Melt margarine or butter and mix with sugar, cinnamon and apples. Separate eggs and beat egg whites until frothy and thick. Add egg yolks to sugar-apple mixture.
Add noodles and mix well. Gently fold egg whites to noodle mixture.
Spread half the noodle mixture into the pan. Add a layer of the cranberry sauce. Add the remaining noodles. Sprinkle with a very light dusting of cinnamon on top.
Bake 50-55 minutes, or until desired crispiness on top.
I love summer cookouts, but at some point this summer I will get sick of the usual burgers and hot dogs and crave something a little more interesting on the grill. Not to mention the lack of fruits and vegetables found at your typical summer barbecue.
I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for some grilled dishes featuring fruits and veggies and I’ve put together some of the standouts:
While Paula Deen is not best known for her healthful recipes, this Grilled Radicchio and Walnut Salad is a real winner and a great side for any grilling party.
I love grilled peaches, especially as a simple dessert served with fresh whipped cream. But I had never seen a recipe quite like The Food Yente’s Grilled Peach Salsa which would make a great appetizer served with tortilla chips, or would also be delicious served over grilled chicken or salmon.
Guacamole is a crowd-pleasing starter, but try changing it up by grilling your avocado with these Grilled Avocado Toasts from Martha Stewart – you will wonder why its taken you so long to try it!
I must give credit where credit is due, and my husband’s roasted (or grilled) corn salad is one of his best dishes. While this dish is best made while fresh corn is in season, you can make this side dish all year round using canned corn as well.
4 ears of corn
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 avocados, diced
juice and zest from one lemon
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 bunch cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
Shuck the corn and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook on a hot grilled until slightly charred on all sides around 5 minutes.
Remove the corn kernals from the cob.
In a large bowl mix together corn, tomatoes and avocado. In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and zest, cilantro, salt and pepper.
Add dressing over corn mixture and toss together.