rosh hashanah recipe

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Hummus Simanim

Monday, September 3rd, 2018

As the New Year approaches, I always like to evaluate where I stand and think about what changes I want to make for myself in the coming year, both personally and professionally. For years, my goal was to take the necessary steps towards writing my own cookbook, and now that I have met that goal (far beyond my expectations, with our first printing of 15,000 books completely sold out in just 3 months!), I keep asking myself, “What’s next?”.


I’m not the type of person that settles on status quo – I’m always dreaming up the next big thing and finding ways to challenge myself. It’s like they say – “If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind” – and I definitely believe in that.


Truth be told, once the book went to print, I was so emotionally and physically exhausted that I couldn’t imagine coming up with new recipes and ideas ever again! But as my workload lightened up this summer, I got back in the kitchen because I wanted to, not because I had to, and I found my groove again! I went back to my roots, the foods and the flavors that I love the most (yes, that means Israeli food!) and this amazing new recipe came to me! It’s simanim on steroids and it is everything you’ve ever dreamed of for your Rosh Hashanah table and more!

Simanim, or symbolic foods, are traditionally eaten on Rosh Hashanah to symbolize our hopes for a sweet New Year. Some simanim include leeks, pomegranate, gourds (any type of squash), dates, black eyed peas or green beans, beets, carrots and fish head (some use ram’s head). These specific foods are eaten because their hebrew translation relates to specific blessings that convey our wishes for the coming year.


When I put the platter together, I couldn’t stop taking photos because, I mean, HOW GORGEOUS IS IT, amiright??? I all but maxed out my SD card and went. to. town. (No- I like seriously went to town, for some fresh pita!). I invited my neighbors over and we stood over my kitchen counter in the mountains, scooping hummus and salad onto blistered bread, the tastes of Israel growing stronger with each bite. It was a simple dish, but it captured everything I love about what I do – channeling my creativity, sharing with friends, cooking with color and putting a twist on tradition.

This dish reminded me how important it is to cook from a place of love – it is, after all, the secret ingredient that makes everything taste better – and that it’s food, family and tradition that brings us all together.

Wishing you all a healthy, happy and sweet New Year with much success in all areas of your lives. May we continue to reach milestones and share good news with each other this year!
Ksiva Vachasima Tova L’shana Tova Umisukah!



Related Recipes:

simanim fritto misto
simanim pasta salad
simanim holiday salad
hummus bassar
chestnut hummus

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Hawaij Honey Cake with Labneh Frosting

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018

If you are lucky enough to own a copy of Millennial Kosher, chances are you are one of hundreds who has made my hawaij garlic confit a staple on their Shabbos table. I for one can not get through the weekend without the intoxicating smell of hawaij wafting through my home. And my challah can’t live without dipping into the fragrant oily dip.

I’m proud to have introduced so many people to one of my favorite spice blends – a Yemenite curry that is famous for it’s use in chicken soup. What many don’t know, however, is that there is also a sweet version of hawaij, traditionally used for coffee. Since many honey cakes incorporate coffee into the batter, I figured that spicing up the cake with some hawaij for coffee was the perfect way to introduce the sweet side of the Yemenite spice.

Besides for the fragrant spice blend, I also incorporated one of my favorite Israeli ingredients – silan or date honey. It’s interesting to note that when the Torah speaks of Israel being the “Land that flows with milk and honey”, it is actually referring to date honey. There is nothing quite like dates from the shuk in Israel, and silan has become a much-loved ingredient in my house. It works both in sweet and savory applications (try it over pargiot!) and it’s delicious when paired with tahini.

Now lets talk about the other unique component of this amazing recipe – the frosting! If you’d never tried making labneh before, it’s so much easier than it seems! Labneh is the Israeli cream cheese – light and creamy with a healthy dose of tang. I’m personally not a fan of classic American cream cheese, so it’s all about the labneh for me!

Labneh is extremely versatile – it can be rolled into balls and marinated in olive oil with different spices, drizzled with some olive oil and za’atar for dipping pita, or made into a sweet frosting with some added hawaij to perfectly compliment this breakfast loaf!

I am totally obsessed over how this recipe came together! The cake is crazy moist, nothing like that dry honey cake we all dread. The hawaij adds just enough spice, but nothing over the top, and the creamy frosting adds a nice tang to balance out the sweetness of the cake.

My favorite part about this cake though, was decorating it!! I had a vision for incorporating my favorite seasonal fruit – figs – and I just love how it came out! Feel free to play around with fresh pomegranate, honeycomb, cinnamon sticks and other fun toppings to make the cake your own.

I always say I’m not a baker, but this recipe helped me realize that even though I don’t like the science of baking, there is still so much room for creativity and if I can get around the technicalities, I can create a masterpiece.

Here’s to a New Year of trying new things, delicious eats and sweetness all around!

This post was sponsored by Norman’s. All opinions are my own. 

Related Recipes:

parsnip honey cake with cream cheese frosting
honey cake with caramelized apples
bourbon honey cake balls

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Parsnip Honey Cake with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting & Rainbow Carrot Chips

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

I’m not a baker. Let me start with that. Sure I can follow a cake recipe. And I’ve even made the occasional Elmo and Barbie cake for my kids birthdays. But I don’t “bake”. Especially not cakes like THIS.

I don’t know what it is. The whole layering thing. And the frosting. It’s just such a MESS. Case in point: I decided to defy all logic and attempted to layer my cakes without trimming them first, so that they were flat. Of course the layers started slipping and sliding, so I had to separate them, post-frosting and then do the trimming. Mess is not the word. My kids were pretty happy though. They got to enjoy the best part of the honey cake (the sticky top layer), all smothered in frosting.

Now since this IS a honey cake, trimming the best part off the layers is such a sin. So I highly recommend you follow this technique so that the layers bake flat. Wish I had followed my own advice but I just get lazy when it comes to baking.


Case #2 in point, I let my frosting sit out after whipping it, and it got kinda warm and runny, but instead of refrigerating it so that it would hold up nicely, I just wanted to stack the cake already. THIS is why I don’t bake. No patience. Baking is all about precision, patience and organization, and while I do possess those qualities, baking does not exactly bring them out in me. Maybe it’s because I just want to get it done so I can dig in to the cake already!

So why this cake? Well, I came up with this crazy cool concept of doing a carrot cake/honey cake hybrid. And if that wasn’t enough, I had to switch up the carrots for parsnips, and take it over the top with FRIED RAINBOW CARROTS STRIPS. It’s go big or go home. Especially if I am about to make a layered cake!

I developed this recipe in honor of Rosh Hashanah, when it is traditional to eat honey cake, for a Sweet New Year. Since many people have a custom not to eat nuts on Rosh Hashanah, I knew I couldn’t garnish my cake with chopped pecans, which would have been my first choice. Shredded coconut is another great option but I wanted a little hint to the surprise inside the cake – the parsnips!

Honestly, I can’t say this cake tastes like parsnips. It tastes like honey cake. But when you get a couple of shreds of parsnip in your mouth, you get a little hint of flavor. If you want more of a parsnip flavor, add some more shredded parsnips to the cake. It’s as simple as that :)

I honestly could not be happier about the way this cake came out. I totally winged the recipe, and not understanding the science of baking, it could have been a complete flop. I was almost not expecting the cake to work but it came out so unbelievably moist! And my kids kept running downstairs wanting to know what smelled so INCREDIBLE.


I KNOW this cake is good for one reason and one reason only. The world’s most pickiest taste testers LOVED IT. My kids gobbled up the cake, licked their fingers, and said OH MY G-D between fork fulls. I kid you not. This is a home run. Kid tested. Mother approved.

Related Recipes:

honey cake with caramelized apples
carrot muffins
couscous with thyme, honey roasted parsnips, carrots & beets
pumpkin whoopie pies with maple cream cheese frosting

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Honey Hasselback Baked Apples
with Brie & Pecan Streusel

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015


I heart brie. I never thought I could be a semi-moldy-cheese kinda girl but here. I. am.


When Natural & Kosher Cheese asked me to go all Rosh-Hashanah-out on their brie, I was only too happy to oblige. I knew I had to do something with apple & honey, because besides being the symbol for a Sweet New Year, fruit and honey just go so well with brie! Case in point: these dried fruit brie bites. Mmm mmm good.

If moldy cheese and fruit sound gross to you, let me tell you this: I did a cheese demo a few months back, and I had a room full of people who thought the same. Many of them had never tried brie before, and they had no plans to. But after watching me make my brie en croute with homemade fig jam, they warmed up to the idea of melted gooey cheese smothered in sweet fruit. A few bites later they were all over it, stinky cheese and all!


If you’re still on the fence, let me assure you that when I say stinky cheese, I don’t mean bleu-cheese-style. I would NEVER go near that stuff! Brie has an edible white rind that, yes, does have mold in it, but it is oh so mild. You can always cut it off if you want to get to the gooey interior of the cheese minus the (slight) funk.

Now that we’ve (hopefully) got you passed the brie, can we please discuss the hasselbacking? Y’all know I’m kinda obsessed with hasselback anything. And after this hasselback salami, now you all are too! I promised myself I’d be hasselbacking lots of other foods, and after seeing this video on cookinglight, I was all over hasselbacking my apples! How gorgeous are they? Gosh, I have so many hasselback ideas up my chef sleeve, I can’t wait to share them with you!


Now if you want to skip the brie on these and just go pareve for a fantastic dessert, feel free to leave out the cheese and use margarine or coconut oil in place of the butter. Top it off with some ice cream and you’ve got yourself a golden dessert for your holiday meal! (Or, do yourself a favor and stick to the cheese, and serve this up for a special Rosh Hashanah breakfast!).


This post was sponsored by Natural & Kosher Cheese. Follow them on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, or via their Blog

Related Recipes:

apple and honey tart
hasselback sweet potatoes with apples
dried fruit brie bites

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Honey Fig Roasted Salmon

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Excuse me while I type while my mouth is full. [gulp]

I don’t usually eat the recipe I’m posting while I’m posting it, but I seriously can’t get enough of this salmon. Who knew figs and salmon would go so well together, right?

The truth is, I would eat figs over cardboard. They’re that good. And with Rosh Hashanah coming, I couldn’t think of a sweeter fruit to incorporate into my holiday meal. Fig season is short, and I want to make the most of it before it’s gone!

It’s hard to believe that summer is really coming to an end, and the High Holidays are almost upon us. I see it in the seasonal fruit that’s making it’s way into the stores (yay for honeycrisp apples!), I feel it while I shop around for school supplies, uniforms and Yom Tov clothes. And I even smell it in the air as the summer days turn to cool nights, and the scent of fall creeps in. It’s sad to see summer go, but the New Year brings with it a fresh start and new possibilities.

I feel about the The High Holidays, the same way I feel about the first day of school. It gives me butterflies. And even though I’m way past the school-era (thank G-d!!), I still get those butterflies when I take my kids to orientation on the first day. I never realized the benefits of marrying someone whose last name begins with an “A”, until my kids started school. Thankfully, I don’t have to sit there for hours until their name is called!

I may not be in school anymore, but the truth is, my name is still called, each year, on high. As we read in the prayer of “Unesanneh Tokef“, “All created beings pass before you, one-by-one, like a flock of sheep…You count, reckon, and are mindful of them, and you allocate the fixed portion for the needs of all your creatures”.

May we all be blessed, that as our names gets called by the ultimate principal, may we be inscribed for a SWEET (and figgy) New Year filled with healthy, happiness, peace and of course, good food!

I’d like to think that this holiday isn’t just about the food, but the truth is, it is so much a part of it. We celebrate Rosh Hashanah through an assortment of symbolic foods, including the head of a fish and sweet, sticky honey. This recipe uses a whole side of salmon, but you can feel free to cook the fish head along with it, for a beautiful presentation. I love how festive and elegant this is, not to mention sweet! It is sure to be a show stopper on your holiday table.

Related Recipes:

teriyaki salmon
honey mustard salmon
honey roasted figs
holiday salad with figs and honey

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Honey Roasted Za’atar Chicken with Fruit

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m pretty big on za’atar right now. But regardless of my newfound love of the spice mix, I’ve been making a variation of this chicken for quite some time. I decided to kick it up a notch for the holidays by adding red wine, honey and dried fruit for a festive finish.

Za’atar is a mixed herb and spice blend popular in the Middle East. It’s primarily made up of sumac, thyme, oregano, sesame seeds and salt. The spice blend is widely available in supermarkets, but you can also find it on amazon.

Other za’atar recipes:

grilled corn with za’atar garlic compound butter
malawach cheese pastries with dipping sauce

Related recipes:

sweet Hawaiian chicken
Rosh Hashanah roast
honey mustard chicken pastrami roulade

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