by Jay Kitterman, consultant, Culinary Institute, Lincoln Land Community College
Jewish New Year started last Friday night with Rosh Hashanah and will end 10 days later with Yom Kippur. This time period is commonly known as the Days of Awe (Yamim Noraim) or the Days of Repentance. This is a time for serious introspection, a time to consider the sins of the previous year and repent before Yom Kippur. This year’s celebration will be very different. Family meals during the High Holidays will be smaller than usual due to virus travel and distancing concerns.
Sweet foods that are featured during Rosh Hashanah are meant to symbolize the hope for a sweet and happy year ahead. One of the most recognizable food staples that adorns the dinner table during Rosh Hashanah is apple and honey, a traditional combination that has been passed down the generations for centuries. In addition to dipping the apple in the honey, Jewish people also frequently eat honey cake, pomegranates and round raisin loaves of challah to see in the New Year.
It’s believed that centuries ago, the apple was chosen as the fruit that was to be dipped into the honey on Rosh Hashanah due to the symbolic nature of the fruit. According to a “Lexicon of Jewish Cooking,” written by Patti Shosteck, in medieval times apples were so revered that people would carve prayers into the apple skins before eating them. The pomegranate is also a highly symbolic fruit eaten by the Jewish people during the New Year.The pomegranate is often said to have 613 seeds, corresponding to the 613 rules or commandments contained in the Torah, the first five books of the bible.
Challah is a special Jewish braided bread that is frequently eaten on Shabbat and during religious festivals. However, when Rosh Hashanah comes around, round raisin challahs become especially popular as opposed to long, plaited variations. There are various thoughts on why round for the holiday, one is that the circular shape points to the cyclical nature of the year.
Rosh Hashanah celebrates the birthday of the world and normally we gather in Temple to pray. This year we will be Zooming services. This will be the first time we will not be celebrating the holiday with our family.
The traditional Hebrew greeting for this New Year time period is” L’Shana Tova” which means, “For a good year.” Carol and I wish everyone a sweet and good year, for healing and health, and for a return to fullness.
My thanks to Gloria Schwartz, David Radwine and Carol for the following recipes.
Gloria Schwartz’s Noodle Kugel
1 lb. extra wide noodles
Large aluminum pan
3 whole eggs
2 egg whites
6 Tbl. sugar
12 oz. can pineapple chunks (not in heavy syrup) drained
¾ stick unsalted margarine
½ box golden raisins
1 tsp, cinnamon + more for sprinkling on top
Boil the noodles in a large pot but leave them slightly under cooked.
Melt the margarine in the aluminum pan.
When noodles are slightly under done, drain and return to the pot. Add eggs and sugar together then add them and the pineapple chunks to the noodles. Pour the melted margarine into the noodles, leaving a thin film on the bottom of the aluminum pan.
Mix well. Add the raisins, cinnamon to taste and mix again. Add some additional cinnamon on top.
Bake at 350F for 45 minutes until done. Remove and let stand 15 minutes to cool a bit. Serve. Can be reheated the next day. Serves 6-8.
Leila Radwine’s New Year’s Honey Cake
Honey symbolizes the excitement and sweetness of things to come in the New Year. We could all use some of that in large doses right now!
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup honey
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup warm coffee or strong tea
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup rye or whiskey (replace with same amount of orange juice or tea if preferred)
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 350oF. Lightly grease a 10″ bundt pan .
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Make a well in the center and add the oil, honey, sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee, orange juice and liquor. Using a whisk or an electric mixer on low speed, combine the ingredients well to make a thick batter, scraping well to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with the almonds. Place the pan on two baking sheets stacked together and bake approximately 60-70 minutes or until the cake springs back when you touch it gently in the center. After removing the cake from the oven, let it stand for 15 minutes on a wire rack, then invert the cake on to the wire rack to cool completely.
4-6 lb. 1st cut brisket
1 onion/per pound sliced thin
4-5 cloves of garlic cut up
1 can tomato soup
1 bottle chili sauce
½ cup red wine
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup water or more as needed
1 package dried apricots
1 package dried prunes
1 large can sweet potatoes or yams
2 cans sliced carrots (14.5 ounce cans)
3 large cans whole white potatoes (29 ounce cans)
1 can beer
Preheat oven to 325
Combine water, tomato soup, beer, red wine, Worcestershire sauce at the bottom of enamel roasting pan
Place meat on top of liquid
Sprinkle top of brisket with kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika
Make small slits in meat and place pieces of garlic
Cover and bake in 325 to 350 oven for 3 to 4 hours
Check each hour to see if more water needs to be added
After 2 ½ hours, take brisket out and let cool
Slice against the grain into thin slices and return it to the liquid in pan
Drain cans of potatoes & carrots. Add them along with apricots and prunes
Pour chili sauce over top of brisket
Cook uncovered for additional 30 to 60 minutes
Check periodically to ensure sufficient water
Brisket will shrink. Should serve at least 6
Original recipe from Temple Beth El Sisterhood Cookbook-Fargo North Dakota. Revised by Carol