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Festive occasions deserve only the finest mixed drinks, but not everyone likes playing bartender for hungry friends and relatives — especially when the upcoming holiday season stretches over three weeks and multiple meals.
Here are a few crowd-pleasing cocktails that are sweet, festive and total crowd pleasers for the New Year.
Sangria is the ideal party drink— inexpensive, festive and serves a lot of people— and also provides an elegant way to utilize wine brought by guests that isn’t quite good enough to take its own place on your table (or that doesn’t suit your palate).
How to make this crowd pleaser seasonally relevant? Replace the sugar with honey or pomegranate molasses You can use an Israeli liquor such as the citric Tubi 60 or an American spirit like Nahmias et Fils’ fig brandy or Sukkah Hill’s holiday-inspired liqueurs. Keep the holiday tradition of tasting new fruits— add sliced kumquats, lychees, figs or whatever interesting fruit you can find.
Note: Making sangria is about keeping proportions. For every one bottle of dry red wine, you want to add the following ingredients.
For Jewish and secular holidays alike, the kids in my family celebrated with bottles of sparkling cider. This incredibly simple drink will keep you young at heart and your shopping lists mercifully short. We recommend using Golan Heights Distillery’s Golani Honey whisky, specially mixed for Rosh Hashanah with locally-sourced avocado honey. Otherwise, any honey whisky will work.
In a champagne flute, add the honey whisky and top with cider.
Pomegranates are an auspicious fruit to consume during Rosh Hashanah: They are one of the Seven Species promised by God to always be plentiful in the Land of Israel, their “crown” is reminiscent of the liturgy’s mentioning of God as King, and they are thought to contain one edible seed for each of the Torah’s 613 commandments.
This drink is a riff on the classic gin and tonic, with extra color and quench from the aforementioned fruit and a splash of sweet vermouth or sherry.
I never understood the “double crust” pie. I mean, even the flakiest, most tender crust is satisfying enough as a single layer, in my humble opinion.
But streusel topping? Now we’re talking.
And streusel topping is as much the star as the filling and crust are in these charming, bite-sized apple pie cookies – perfect for Rosh Hashanah, Thanksgiving and all of your fall celebrations!
This is a foolproof and easy recipe, made even simpler with the use of refrigerated pie crust. But feel free to switch things up! These cookies would be just as delicious with a shortbread, puff pastry or even crescent roll base – so use whatever you like. The key is to cut the circles slightly larger (about ¼”) than the base of your muffin tin, so that the edges come up a bit and hold the filling in place.
And unlike a traditional pie, these keep beautifully for a few days, allowing you to get a jump on your holiday baking! Best of all, they’re a no-mess, no-slice, no-utensil dessert that will add a special touch to your table!
And I’m not saying you SHOULD serve these with the tiniest scoops of vanilla ice cream. But I’m not saying you shouldn’t.
As the Jewish New Year approaches, the month of Elul is a time of reflection on our past year and the beginning of teshuvah, or repentance. We do this every year — prepare ourselves to reflect, repent, ask forgiveness. There’s something wonderfully therapeutic about it. Those rabbis really knew what they were doing.
And like the Passover seder when there are specific foods to enjoy as a meaningful part of the holiday, Rosh Hashanah is no different: We dip apples in honey for a sweet new year, we say a blessing over a new fruit, we might put out the head of a fish on our table for prosperity and abundance, and we enjoy sweet, round challah. There is even a tradition of having a Rosh Hashanah seder, where symbolic foods are blessed and enjoyed to welcome the year.
But back to that round challah— what is the significance?
There are many explanations: the circular nature of our year and seasons, or how a round challah resembles a crown, thus crowning god the king on the New Year. And there is also another explanation, which that it is a way to distinguish the already sacred challah as something even more special and distinctive for the New Year. How is this night different from all others? Sweetness and fluidity and hope for the coming year.
Now that you know why we enjoy round challah, it’s probably time to start baking. Watch below for some easy shaping techniques to make a round challah. Or you can also watch here for a full recap on braiding challah for Shabbat and holidays. Wanna try and get super fancy? Check out these tricks from New York City’s famous Breads Bakery.
And here are some of our favorite recipes to try this holiday.
While Rosh Hashanah is generally known for its sweet foods like apples and pomegranates, there’s an ancient, slightly less-sweet, Sephardic tradition of eating foods for what they represent rather than what they taste like. Dark and leafy beet greens, plucked from their sweet, earthy roots are one of those foods.
It all stems from the fact that beet greens were once the favored part of the crop. Gil Marks wrote in The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food that early Mediterranean farmers cultivated beet greens and not their roots, which were stringy and small — and not desired until much later. It wasn’t until the mid 1500s that the modern juicy red beet root was cultivated, in Germany or Italy.
On Rosh Hashanah, beet greens or chard (“silka” in Aramaic) became a symbol for the new year, along with squash, fenugreek, leeks and dates, each with their own symbolic meaning.
These foods are served and reflected upon with special blessings full of word play and puns during the the Sephardic Rosh Hashanah seder. Beet greens (“selek” in Hebrew and “silka” in Aramaic), for example, embody the hope that all enemies will be removed in the new year. Both “selek” and “silka” resemble ways of saying “removal” in Hebrew and Aramaic.
Over time, beet roots were favored over their leafy tops, but today, resourceful cooks are using the whole plant. If it’s there, why not put it to use? You’ll reduce your food waste and boost your meal with added vitamins and minerals while you’re at it.
You can find beets and their greens at farmers markets or in well-stocked produce sections. You’ll have to remove the greens from the beets yourself, and it’s best to do this as soon as you can—that way, the beets stay firm and the leaves stay fresh. I often remove the leaves and place them in a separate bag right after I purchase them at the farmers market, so that they don’t get damaged on the way home.
Cooking the greens is the easy part—just use them in place of spinach or Swiss chard. And don’t worry, you can cook the stems too — my favorite thing to do is add them to vegetable stock or saute them with the leaves.
Here are several recipes that might inspire you to bring the beet greens into your Rosh Hashanah tradition.
Iraqi False Mahshi: Layered Swiss Chard, Beets, Rice and Beef from The New York Times
Fried Beet Greens Meatlessballs from Food 52
Greek Beet and Beet Greens Pie from The New York Times
Sauteed Beet Greens with Garlic and Walnuts from Edible Berkshires
Salad of Beet Greens and Walnuts from the Los Angeles Times
The post Why Beet Greens are a Traditional Rosh Hashanah Food appeared first on My Jewish Learning.
No matter if you use bubbe’s holiday brisket every year, or you’re trying a new recipe discovered on Pinterest, there are some universal rules you need to keep in mind when cooking brisket. And believe me, if you cook for enough holidays, at some point you may find yourself accidentally making one of these errors. (We have all made these mistakes at some point along the brisket journey.)
Everyone from bloggers like Melinda Strauss of Kitchen-Tested to butchers like Fischer Brothers & Leslie in New York City agree: Second cut is the best cut for juicy, tender brisket. Since the second cut has more fat, it yields more flavor; first cut tends to be dry, not the adjective you want to use when serving brisket.
Sandy Leibowitz of The Kosher Tomato says “Good brisket takes time. Cook it low and slow in a liquid that covers the meat about halfway. A fork should pierce and slide out easily when done properly.” If you try to cook it too quickly, you will be disappointed with a tough piece of meat that no one will want to eat.
Cookbook author and supremely experienced cook Ronnie Fein says never cook your brisket above 300 degrees. The ideal temperature is 250 degrees.
If you try to slice your brisket while it’s hot, the fibers are too soft, and it will be nearly impossible to get even, picture-perfect pieces. Have a little patience and let it cool before you slice it.
Requiring even more patience: Cook it 1-2 days before you plan to serve it. Saucy dishes like stew, chicken soup and even tomato sauce are always better the next day as the flavors have a chance to marry and deepen over night.
After the brisket has properly cooled, and it is removed from its liquid, it’s finally time to slice it. And I will admit that this step can be confusing. But as food writer and cookbook author Leah Koenig shares: Never slice your brisket along the grain. It should always be sliced against the grain. Even a perfectly cooked brisket will be tough if it isn’t sliced properly.
This may seem obvious, but you want to make sure you order a big enough brisket depending on your crowd. Tori Avey recommends half a pound of brisket per person. But you may want to order even a bit more. Food writer Gabriella Gershenson says, don’t just plan enough brisket for dinner — make sure there is extra for leftovers. And I wholeheartedly agree.
The post Never Make These Classic Mistakes When Cooking Brisket appeared first on My Jewish Learning.
If you are in planning mode for your family’s High Holiday meals, you are not alone – even famous chefs do a lot of planning, and here’s what they will be serving. Take a cue from these recipes and add some chef-worthy dishes to your holiday menu this year.
“For Rash Hashanah, I always have ‘holiday soup.’ It is a dish that my Grandma Sali made for every Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, it has a long tradition on my family,” says Ziggy Gruber of Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen Restaurant in Houston. “It started off our meal and is a hearty soup with flanken (short ribs) in it, and it is just addictive with each and every bite. She only made it for the holidays, so you were always looking forward to the holidays coming. It is so special to us, and we still make it every holiday in my family. Other things we always have for Rosh Hashanah are challah-stuffed veal chops, kasha varnishkes, noodle kugel, Manischewitz-braised short ribs and stuffed cabbage.”
This recipe, inspired by Admony’s mother, is excerpted with permission from her first cookbook Balaboosta.
“There is no better way to celebrate the coming of the new year than to share a love of food with family and friends. The aroma of chocolate babka baking is a sign that the holidays are here. This recipe calls for the balancing of two favorite flavors: cinnamon and chocolate. Last year, Finagle a Bagel opened up a test kitchen at its headquarters in Newton, Massachusetts, giving us the opportunity to create our own chocolate babka for the community. We always look forward to this time of year.” — Susan Gould, head baker at Finagle A Bagel
While the Grossinger family prepares this recipe for the pre-Yom Kippur meal, many families enjoy kreplach in their chicken soup for Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot.
“Here is life’s irony: Yom Kippur is traditionally known as a Jewish fast day. But equally as important is the custom of consuming a large meal before the fast. And many Jewish people eat kreplach, the Yiddish dumpling delicacies with fillings of ground meat or chicken, without knowing why. After all, it is a tradition, and a tasty one at that,” says Elaine Grossinger Etess, daughter of the famous hotelier and cookbook writer Jennie Grossinger, of her mom’s famous kreplach recipe.
It is time, however, to unwrap the kreplach mystery. There are many kabbalistic interpretations where the filling and dough represent divine attributes of G-d. But Rabbi Edward David of the Young Israel of Hollywood-Fort Lauderdale offers the most logical explanation: “Once you get three or four interpretations, you know that the source material is nebulous. Bottom line is that we do it because if feels good, or in this case, tastes good.”
Kreplach are traditionally made with a ground meat filling and were the choice accompaniment to the chicken soup served each year at the traditional dinner before the fast at the legendary Grossinger’s Catskills Resort. Note: This recipes make 24 or more kreplach, depending on how thin you roll the dough.
For the kreplach dough:
For the meat filling:
For the kasha filling:
To make the meat filling: Heat the chicken fat in a skillet. Cook the meat and onions in the fat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the salt and pepper. Cool before placing filling in the squares of dough.
To make the kasha filling: Lightly brown the onion in the fat. Stir in the kasha and the pepper. Cool before placing filling in the squares of dough.
To make the kreplach dough:
Anna Gershenson may not make this recipe every year for Rosh Hashanah, but it connects her deeply to her mother, who passed away right before the holiday 19 years ago. “This recipe is special because of its connection to my mom. She would never make them (tayglach) when we lived in Riga, but instead would order from a Jewish lady who specialized in them. When she knew she would be immigrating out of the country she asked that lady to teach her, and she had been making it in America ever since. I would come to her apartment to help her make them and learn, of course.”
Note: The tayglach will stay fresh for a couple of days, or freeze them for longer storage.
For the dough:
For the syrup:
Makes about 30.
The post We Asked 5 Jewish Chefs What They Serve for Rosh Hashanah appeared first on My Jewish Learning.
Get ready for the cutest and easiest Rosh Hashanah dessert idea: apple and honey pie pops! With homemade filling and store-bought pie crusts, your friends and family will be super impressed with these delicious pops. Only you have to know how easy they were! See below for our fun video and the full recipe from Sheri Silver.
Sure, people love to make fun of gefilte fish, but a survey conducted by (who else?) The Manischewitz Company found that most people actually like this classic Jewish holiday dish!
Intent on spreading the gefilte love, Manischewitz has proclaimed this Thursday, Sept. 14 as #NationalGefilteFishDay and is urging folks to #GiveGefilteFishaChance!
To help you celebrate, we’re giving away 3 grand prizes — each winner will get 3 jars of Gefilte Gummies, 3 jars of classic Gefilte Fish, along with several popular condiments.
The post FREE STUFF: Manischewitz Gefilte Fish for Rosh Hashanah appeared first on My Jewish Learning.
The whole family will love this healthy whole wheat apple bread for Rosh Hashanah. One slice is great for a quick breakfast on the go or as a delicious lunchbox treat for your kids. The bread is free of refined sugar and dairy, and is made with almond milk, coconut oil and coconut sugar.
The whole wheat flour and rolled oats pack a good dose of fiber and provide some extra staying power before your next meal.
Note: To make oat flour, grind old-fashioned rolled oats in a food processor until they resemble fine sand.
There was always tzimmes on our Rosh Hashanah dinner table, but I was never much of a fan. It was mushy. It had prunes (ick). But who am I to questions such an iconic dish of my ancestors? And so despite some lukewarm feelings about this dish, this year I decided to try my hand at making some tzimmes in my own kitchen. I failed miserably.
Luckily, my friend and colleague Gloria Kobrin from Kosher by Gloria offered to teach me in her New York City kitchen. Her recipe takes two days to prepare and is a beloved family recipe from her great-great grandma who brought it over to the U.S. from Belarus.
You can watch me and Gloria make her classic family recipe below. But let me say this: It was absolutely 100 percent crazy delicious — nothing like the tzimmes I remember from my childhood. I can’t wait to make it again for my family this holiday season. Find Gloria’s recipe for tzimmes here.
Want to try some other varieties of tzimmes?