simanim salad

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Angel Hair Pasta Salad

Thursday, September 18th, 2014


I’ve really got to start cooking from cookbooks again. It’s literally been years since I’ve made something from a cookbook. And it’s not because I don’t have any – trust me. I’ve got more cookbooks than I have room for in my small Brooklyn home. They’re all just sitting there on the shelf, like figurines on display, looking pretty!

I usually only take my cookbooks out on Shabbos, when I browse through them like an old photo album. I drool over the good recipes, sigh over the bad ones, and then return them to the bookshelf. Once in a while I promise myself to try a recipe, but I usually forget or don’t get around to it.

Recently, my Shabbos guest was looking though my cookbook collection and she asked me what my favorite recipes were from some of my cookbooks. It made me realize that cookbooks are not just for browsing – some of them have really good recipes that I should actually be cooking. She told me some of her favorites dishes from the cookbooks we had in common (like Smitten Kitchen, Jerusalem, Plenty, The Kosher Palette, Kosher by Design and others) and I promised myself I would give them a try.

It really hit home this week because for the first time in a while, I was stumped. I had planned on an apple and honey dessert for the blog, but sadly, it flopped (yes, that happens to me!) and I couldn’t think of anything else that I wanted to post. Until, I was speaking to my friend and she mentioned a recipe for angel hair pasta that she was making for dinner. She said it had mushrooms and leeks – and when I heard leeks, I was all over it. My mind started racing, thinking about all the ways I could turn it into a Simanim salad – filled with lots symbolic foods that we eat on Rosh Hashanah.

I went straight for some of my favorite Rosh Hashanah foods – beets and pomegranates – keeping things mess-free with golden beets. The pomegranates add great crunch, and the honey rounds it all out with a hint of sweetness.

So thanks to Dina (and whoever came up with the original recipe), for getting my creative juices flowing again.I can’t wait to dust off my cookbooks and open my eyes (and palate) to a new range of recipes! Shall we call it a New Year’s Resolution?

What are some of your favorite cookbook recipes? Share them in the comments below!

Related Recipes:

Israeli couscous salad with roasted beets, carrots and parsnips
holiday salad with apple and honey vinagrette

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Holiday Salad with Apple & Honey Vinaigrette

Monday, September 2nd, 2013


When I first developed this salad recipe, I did not have Rosh Hashanah in mind. In fact, it was just about getting creative with the ingredients in my refrigerator (which is pretty much how all my salads happen). When all the components came together, it just screamed holiday, and I knew I had to share it for the upcoming Chag.

Although figs are not one of the traditional fruits eaten on Rosh Hashanah (like pomegranates, apples and beets), it’s a good idea to take advantage of the season’s bounty. Fig season is short and sweet, and besides, they are one of the Seven Species of the Land of Israel. The figs add a chewy texture, sweet flavor, and beautiful color to the salad making it the perfect holiday appetizer.

Fresh figs are not the only bright piece to this beautiful salad puzzle. Chioggia beets also add amazing color and design. On the outside, the humble root vegetable is unassuming (ie. ugly). But when you cut into it – you get the most beautiful candy cane spiral that is almost too magical to eat. The thing about chioggia beets is that when you cook them, that beauty all but disappears into a dull pinky beige mass. To appreciate the bright pink spirals, candy cane beets should be eaten raw – shaved thinly on a mandolin.

To further the Holiday theme, I whipped up an “apple and honey” dressing, using apple cider vinegar and sweet honey. If you have a custom not to eat vinegar on Rosh Hashanah (due to it’s sour taste), you may substitute with lemon juice.

Watch me make a Rosh Hashanah Simanim salad with TorahCafe here:


Watch on TorahCafé.com!

Other Rosh Hashanah Salad Ideas:

rainbow slaw with poppy seed dressing
pomegranate coleslaw
apple celery veggie dip
roasted beet & orange salad
couscous with thyme & honey roasted carrots, parsnips and beets

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Couscous with Thyme & Honey Roasted Root Vegetables

Sunday, September 25th, 2011


I came up with this dish when thinking of how to incorporate some simanim as well as fall vegetables like beets, carrots and parsnips into the Rosh Hashana meal. These root vegetables complement each other really well, and the addition of honey and thyme really rounds out the dish. If you’d like, you can leave out the couscous altogether, but I like the texture and how it turns purple from the beets. In fact, my kids call this “purple couscous” and they eat it by the bowlful.

This salad incorporates 3 simanim, beets, carrots, and honey. Serve it with fish or meat.

>Beets are called Silka, which is similar to Siluk, meaning removal. We ask Hashem that our adversaries be removed.

>Carrots have a dual meaning. In Yiddish, they are called Meren, meaning to increase. We ask Hashem to increase our merits.


>In Hebrew, carrots are Gezer,  meaning decree. We ask Hashem to judge us positively.


>Honey (as well as carrots) is eaten because of its sweetness. We ask Hashem to bless us with a sweet new year.

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