In Full Moon Feast, Jessica Prentice guides us through 13 lunar months and the foods grown and prepared within them in traditional cultures. At its core is the idea that food connects people to one another, to themselves, and to the natural world. Prentice describes the lifecycle of Pacific salmon, who in early autumn are born in freshwater streams, spend their lives in the ocean, and then journey back upstream to their birthplace to spawn the next generation.
The salmon’s natural lifecycle provides a metaphor for this time of year, when we are engrossed in our own “return.” On the High Holidays, we do teshuva, which is often translated as “repentance,” but literally means “return.” We return to ourselves in order to examine who we are and who we want to be.
Eating lox this time of year connects our own process of “teshuva” with salmon’s seasonal “return.” If you have never cured your own lox before, give this recipe a try, for Yom Kippur break-fast! It doesn’t require any special equipment, and is sure to delight. Thin slices of this buttery, moist gravlax will be delicious on your post-fast bagel or on a slice of homemade gluten-free challah. It tastes like no lox you have ever eaten before.
2 pounds fresh center-cut wild salmon fillet, skin on
½ cup kosher salt
½ cup sugar
2 tbsp peppercorns
2 tsp crushed juniper berries (can be purchased at Whole Foods, Fairway, or specialty food stores)
7-8 large sprigs fresh dill
1-2 shots of gin or vodka
In a bowl, combine the salt, sugar, peppercorns, and juniper berries. Line a glass dish that will fit your salmon fillet with two large pieces of plastic wrap and sprinkle half of your salt and sugar mixture onto the bottom. Lay half of your dill sprigs down, then cover with your salmon fillet. Sprinkle the remaining mixture on top of the fillet, then cover with the remaining sprigs of dill and your shots of alcohol, and then wrap everything as tightly as you can in the plastic. Leave it in the dish as the salt will create a brine for the fish. Refrigerate for 3-4 days, depending on the thickness of your filet. The lox is finished when the salmon’s hue has transitioned from pink to deep orange. Before serving, discard the dill and rinse the fillet of the brine, peppercorns, and juniper berries. Slice thinly against the grain with a sharp knife. Serve with sliced lemon and capers.
Variation: try a layer of shredded raw beets on the non-skin side of your fillet before wrapping. After the lox is finished curing, each of your slices will have a purple or dark pink edge to it.
Pomegranate truffles are a popular dessert in my Rosh Hashanah table. Persians are addicted to pomegranates; they even use pomegranates in stew! Hence, it seemed logical to use them for dessert as well. I love how tangy and sweet these truffles are, not to mention how well they go with a cup of tea (instead of using sugar).
I am proud that pomegranates are native of Persia – they are packed with nutritional value and antioxidants that protect against cellular damage. Mulberries, my husband’s favorite dried fruit, are a great source of iron and vitamin C. They also have an antioxidant present in red wine that has the potential of promoting a healthy heart. Hence, these truffles are not only absolutely fabulous to taste but packed with superfood qualities!
1 cup walnut pieces
1 cup pitted Medjool dates
½ cup pomegranate powder
¼ cup mulberries or golden raisins (optional)
Gold decorating dust, cocoa powder, chocolate sprinkles
Place walnuts in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until a paste forms.
Add pitted dates, salt and pomegranate powder and continue to pulse until well mixed. The dough will be crumbly and moist but easy to mold into truffles about 1-1/2 inches diameter.
Optional step: Place a golden raisin or a mulberry inside the truffles and reshape as a sphere.
Dip truffles into gold decorating dust for a whimsical look, or cocoa powder and sprinkles for a more traditional truffle look.
I like an apple cake as much as the next girl (two favorites are Amy’s Bissel Apple Cake and this Cornmeal Apple Upside Down Cake) but there are two nights of Rosh Hashanah, and once I’ve got my apple cake craving taken care of, I need something else. Enter these blondies. Though blondies might not seem quite fancy enough for a big holiday meal, trust me that these will blow your hair back, and can be gussied up into something truly stunning to look at, and downright delectable to eat.
The only specialty item called for here is pomegranate molasses, which you can almost certainly find at your local Middle Eastern food store, or you can buy it online here. I love to drizzle some pomegranate molasses over my yogurt and granola in the morning, and it’s also good as an ice cream topping.
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 ¾ cups brown sugar
¾ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses
½ cup chopped dates
½ cup pomegranate seeds
⅓ cup chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper, and spray the parchment paper with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer cream together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the pomegranate molasses and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the dates, pomegranate seeds, and pecans if including.
Pour the batter into the lined pan. It will be a very thick batter--smooth out the top with a butter knife. Bake until top is golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack.
When blondies are completely cool (I let them sit, covered, overnight) remove from pan, and if you want a round dessert, use a biscuit cutter or the edge of a juice glass to cut circles out of the blondies. Serve topped with ice cream, and drizzled with a tiny bit of pomegranate molasses. Follow with a sweet and wonderful new year.
For me, Rosh Hashanah always symbolizes the beginning of Fall (although it is way early this year, practically still summer) and I love celebrating apples at my holiday table.
This sweet, nutty apple cake will be the perfect ending to your Rosh Hashanah or Sukkot meal, and is sure to satisfy even the most gluten-loving guests.
¼ cup coconut oil (or margarine or other fat of your choice)
¼ cup honey
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup almond meal
½ cup brown rice flour
½ cup millet flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 cup diced apple
1 tsp sucanat (raw sugar)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (if you have convection, use it!) and grease an 8-inch round pan.
Using a mixer, cream coconut oil, honey, and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time, allowing to incorporate before adding the next. Stir in applesauce and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: almond meal, brown rice flour, millet flour, teff flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three batches, allowing each batch to incorporate before adding the next. The batter will become thick and sticky. Stir in diced apples.
Spread batter into prepared pan and sprinkle sucanat over the top. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the top is firm, the edges are golden and crispy and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
For more of Rella's delicious gluten-free recipes check out her blog The Penny Pinching Epicure.
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.
I love a good challah challenge and always welcome an excuse to create new flavors for friends and family to try. I tend to favor savory combinations such as rosemary and garlic, za’atar and “everything bagel” challah flavors, although I also make salty chocolate and cinnamon raisin versions on occasion.
For Rosh Hashanah this year I wanted to branch out and try something completely new and perfect for the holiday.
A few months ago I was chatting with my husband’s best friend’s mother, whom we lovingly call “Mama Morley.” She was explaining a technique she uses for round challah that I had not tried before – stuffing the challah dough and rolling it like a cinnamon bun. Brilliant!
This conversation stuck in my head, and so as I was mulling over potential recipes for the New Year I realized I should try this technique and stuff it with something uniquely delicious for Rosh Hashanah.
And thus my Balsamic Apple Date Challah was born. The dough itself is sweet, laced with cinnamon, vanilla and just a touch of nutmeg. And when you break into the round loaf, it is like biting into a challah cinnamon bun.
I sprinkled the top of the challah with thick sea salt, cinnamon and sanding sugar. But you can leave the salt off if you would rather go all-sweet. Either way, your guests will barely be able to control themselves around this challah. My daughter kept trying to sneak her own bites, as you can see below from her chubby little hands which somehow made it into the photos.
Wishing everyone a sweet, happy, healthy and DELICIOUS New Year.
For the challah dough:
5 cups flour
½ cup sugar
2 Tbsp honey
½ Tbsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 ½ Tbsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 ¼ cups lukewarm water
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
For the filling:
3 gala apples, peeled and diced
1 cup pitted dates, chopped
½ tsp salt
1 cinnamon stick
¼ cup water
¼ cup red wine
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
For top of challah:
1 tsp water
1 tsp honey
1 Tbsp sanding sugar
1 Tbsp thick sea salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
In a small bowl, place yeast, 1 tsp sugar and lukewarm water. Allow to sit around 10 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top.
In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, sugar, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. After the water-yeast mixture has become foamy, add to flour mixture along with oil. Mix thoroughly.
Add another cup of flour and eggs until smooth. Switch to the dough hook attachment if you are using a stand mixer.
Add another 1 1/2 cups flour and then remove from bowl and place on a floured surface. Knead remaining flour into dough, continuing to knead for around 10 minutes (or however long your hands will last).
Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with damp towel. Allow to rise 3-4 hours.
To make the filling, place apples, dates, salt, cinnamon stick, water, red wine and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue to simmer on medium heat until the mixture is reduced. Add the balsamic vinegar and simmer another 2-3 minutes. The mixture will cook around 10-15 minutes in total.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool 5 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick.
Place mixture in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and pulse until smooth.
After the challah is done rising, cut the dough in half. To be as precise as possible, use a scale to measure the weight.
Roll the first ball out using a rolling pin into a rectangle. Spread around half, perhaps slightly less, of the apple-date mixture in an even layer, leaving 1/2 inch all around without filling. Working quickly, start rolling up the dough towards you. Try and keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Pinch the end when you finish.
Create a pinwheel shaped-challah by snaking the dough around and around in a circle around itself. When finished, tuck the end under the challah neatly and pinch lightly. This doesn't have to be perfect - remember, as long as it tastes good, almost no one (maybe except that judgmental great aunt) will care what it looks like.
Repeat with other half of dough.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Allow challahs to rise another 30-60 minutes, or until you can see the the size has grown.
Beat 1 egg with 1 tsp water and 1 tsp of honey. Brush liberally over each challah. Combine sea salt, sanding sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle over challah.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until middle looks like it has just set, and the color is golden.
I have a love-hate relationship with the High Holidays (who doesn’t!?). It always seems to coincide with a busy time of work and I never have enough time to cook all the recipes I want to try. This year is the first time my husband and I will be celebrating the holidays at home (as opposed to going to family or friends). We are hosting lots of meals, which means I am forced to/have the opportunity to explore new recipes and adapt some of my favorites.
The one thing I make year after year without fail is my mom’s honey cake. It is moist, sweet and the perfect addition to any Rosh Hashanah meal. It is the first thing I eat after the Yom Kippur fast with a big glass of orange juice. When I think of the holiday season I can smell the honey cake and see my mom’s kitchen counter covered with honey cakes and challah.
This year, I wanted to change up the cake by utilizing the same concept and making it a little more interesting. Here is the recipe for a Honey Pomegranate Cake with a pomegranate glaze on top. You can make the cake ahead of time and freeze it for later, however you should not glaze it until you the day you are serving.
For the cake:
1 cup sugar
1 cup oil
1 ½ cups honey
3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup cold brewed pomegranate tea (brewed for 30 min)
For the glaze:
½ cup pomegranate juice
¼ cup sugar
juice of ½ lemon
4 Tbsp powdered sugar
In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and slowly add to liquid ingredients. Pour into 10” ungreased angel food cake pan (tube pan), not a Bundt pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake for an additional 45 minutes.
When the cake is done invert and allow to cool completely before removing.
For the glaze, combine pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil then let simmer uncovered for 15 minutes stirring frequently. It will become a syrup and reduce to about half. Remove from heat, let cool slightly and whisk in powdered sugar until smooth.
Stir in pomegranate seeds and pour over the cake.
I’m kind of obsessed with beets. I’ve made Beet Fries, Pickled Beets and even Beet Hummus. Not only are they tasty and healthy, but a shade of vibrant pink (or golden yellow) that pops on your holiday table. Beets are rich in vitamin C, fiber, and some even consider them to be a natural aphrodisiac. Can’t hurt! Pass by the canned variety in favor of the more flavorful fresh. Totally versatile, beets are perfect roasted, pickled, raw or in this case, fried.
Sprinkled with a little salt, these crunchy chips are delicious on their own, and even better when paired with a sweet and spicy pareve mayonnaise. Sort of a modern twist on apples dipped in honey. I used just red beets, but throw in some golden ones as well for a colorful addition to your Rosh Hashanah meal. The prayer said over beets in Hebrew means to remove, which signifies the hope that enemies and faults will be removed in the New Year.
Amy Kritzer is a food writer and recipe developer in Austin, TX who enjoys cooking, theme parties and cowboys. She challenges herself to put a spin on her Bubbe’s traditional Jewish recipes and blogs about her endeavors at What Jew Wanna Eat. Her recipes have been featured on Bon Appetit, Daily Candy, The Today Show Blog and more. You can follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook and watch her cooking videos on Google+.
For the beet chips:
1 quart vegetable oil
3 medium beets, washed and dried well
Coarse black pepper
For the spicy honey mayo:
¼ cup mayonnaise
3 tsp honey
2-3 tsp Sriracha (or to taste)
In a large, wide pot heat the oil over high heat to 375°F.
Cut the root end off the beets, and cut using a mandolin into 1/8-inch thick slices.
Set up a cooling rack over paper towels near the pot.
Once oil is hot, slip one layer of beets into the oil and fry until golden and the bubbling and sizzling stops, about 3-4 minutes.
Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately sprinkle with salt and pepper and let cool on the rack. The chips will crisp up as they cool.
To make the Spicy Honey Mayo, combine mayo, honey and sriracha in a small bowl. Chill for at least 10 minutes. Serve alongside freshly made beet chips.
Earlier this week I wrote about a recipe for Chicken Gribenes N Waffles Cupcakes. It was a recipe I had researched. Considered. Carefully planned. And it came out…ok. Not quite as mind blowing as I had hoped. But fun to execute and I remain proud all the same. I mean, who else can say they made a delicious pareve cupcake topped with fried chicken skin!?
I had planned to make grilled chicken breasts with a farmers market-fresh peach salsa for dinner this past Monday evening. I picked up all the ingredients I would need for the fruity salsa. My daughter kept me company at the counter while I carefully diced and mixed. It’s such a great feeling when you feel like your meals are well-planned, healthful and then actually executed, right!?
And then my husband, who was bringing home the chicken breasts, got held up at work. What to do with the my salsa!?
Looking in the fridge I spotted some fresh spinach, and a small piece of steak leftover from dinner the previous evening. Hmmm….could these things go together? The answer was a resounding yes.
I added some fresh corn, cucumber, slivered almonds and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Wow- what a winning recipe! My husband and I devoured the leftovers-inspired salad. Who cares if my big plans for grilled chicken breasts with mango peach salsa didn’t work out – the salad that emerged is even better. It was a great reminder to myself that sometimes the best things happen when you don’t plan, both in and out of the kitchen.
I hope you enjoy this hearty salad recipe, and I wish you happy improvising!
For mango peach salsa:
1 mango, diced
2 small-medium sized peaches, diced
1 cup chopped tomatoes
½ red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup finely diced red onion
2 Tbsp finely diced jalapeno
1 Tbsp olive oil
Juice from ½ lemon
Salt and pepper
For grilled steak:
1 pound skirt steak
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 bag washed spinach
½ English cucumber, diced
1 cup fresh corn
¼ cup slivered almonds
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
Heat grill pan on medium-high heat.
Pat steak dry and season liberally with salt and pepper. Add olive oil and rub each side. Oil grill pan and grill steak turning once, 4-6 minutes for medium-rare.
When steak is done, remove from pan and transfer to a cutting board. Let sit loosely covered with foil another 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, assemble the salad and mango salsa.
For the mango peach salsa: in a small bowl combine mango, peach, tomatoes, bell pepper, red onion and jalapeno. Season with salt and pepper and squeeze half a lemon on top. Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil and mix.
For the salad: place spinach leaves on a large plate. Add chopped cucumber, corn and almonds. Top with around 1 cup of mango peach salsa.
After the steak has rested for 5 minutes, slice the steak diagonally across the grain. Place steak on top of salad.
Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Don’t get me wrong: I love fresh fruits and veggies. But I also love schmaltz. Not everyday. Not in large doses. But when it’s appropriate, I enjoy taking that fatty, liquid gold and using it for good, not evil.
But you know what I also love? Chicken skin. That is, gribenes. (Yes, me and your grandmother both.) I am always trying to find new uses, including these Deviled Eggs with Schmaltz and Gribenes and my Ultimate Kosher Burger with Grilled Pastrami and Gribenes. Gribenes will never be bacon. But it’s not a bad substitute for something salty and greasy in kosher cooking.
So when I came across this recipe for Chicken N Waffles Cupcake, I was inspired: breakfast + dessert, sweet + savory, all wrapped up in a cupcake. How could I make this kosher?
And then I realized: I shouldn’t just make this cupcake kosher. I should make it Jewish. Really Jewish. And that’s how it was born: My pareve maple gribenes cupcake.
So when my husband came home from the butcher with 2 huge, free* bags of chicken skin I got straight to work. And I must admit, we were a bit frightened by the results.
The cupcake and the frosting are SO good and moist they don’t taste “pareve” at all. But I’ve got to be honest, while the gribenes looked very pretty, we couldn’t decide if we really loved it on top of a cupcake. But novelty wins the day, and this photo makes it all worthwhile:
I am so happy to have a great new pareve dessert recipe to come out of one my slightly nutty gribenes-inspired ideas. You can choose to include the gribenes, or leave it off all together, but either way, happy cupcake making!
Meanwhile, my quest to use gribenes continues!
How to make your own gribenes? Cut chicken skin into medium size strips. I don’t like cutting them too small, I like a larger piece of skin to crunch on. Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add a scant tsp of oil or chicken fat (schmaltz) into the pan. Add chicken skin and saute 20-25 minutes, scraping frequently with spatula or wooden spoon to avoid the skin sticking or burning.
When skin is a deep brown and appears crispy, remove with slotted spoon and place onto a paper towel. Sprinkle with a smidge of salt.
1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp maple syrup
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup almond milk mixed with 1 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp maple syrup
pinch of salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place liners in a muffin tin and spray with non-stick spray.
Sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl. In another larger bowl, beat egg, sugar, vanilla, maple syrup and oil until combined.
Alternate adding flour mixture and milk mixture to the wet ingredients.
Fill muffin cups 3/4 way full and turn oven down to 325 degrees right before placing the pan into the oven. Bake the cupcakes around 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
To make the frosting, beat together shortening, sugar, vanilla, maple syrup and salt in a stand mixture until smooth.
When cupcakes have cooled completely, pipe or spoon frosting as desired.
Garnish with gribenes if desired and an extra drizzle of maple syrup.
*TIP: butchers often throw out all that chicken skin, so if you are hankering to make your own gribenes, you probably can do it for free. It's also a great way to render your own chicken fat.