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Curried Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup
with Cilantro Matzo Balls

Monday, October 10th, 2016

It’s that time of year again. The season is (finally) changing, the leaves are starting to color, and Pumpkin Spice Latte is back on the Starbuck’s menu. It’s when all the blogs start to dish out their sweet pumpkin creations and I betchya thought I was one of them.

Pumpkin is alright. I even made my usual mini pumpkin pies for Rosh Hashanah last week. What I didn’t make was tzimmes. Lets just say that that cloyingly sweet dish of honey-sweetened carrots and sweet potatoes (sometimes with added prunes) is not one of my favorites. My mom always makes a big pot (tradition!) with the addition of marrow bones and flanken, but somehow it always manages to make it’s rounds around the table, barely making a dent in the heaping pile of sweetness. That’s just it – the stuff is just. too. sweet. And the more I discuss holiday menu’s with people, the more I hear that tzimmes is on the out (I guess my tzimmes roast is going to get buried real deep in the archives!)

Most people keep tzimmes on their menus because it’s traditional to eat carrots over the holidays. Besides for the obvious symbolism for a sweet New Year, the Yiddish word for carrots is meren, to multiply, which is a blessing we hope for in the coming year. Not being a big fan of tzimmes, I try to incorporate my carrots elsewhere, such as in a raw slaw, or roasting them with some maple and harissa.

It occurred to me that with Yom Kippur upon us, and Sukkot not too far away, a savory play on tzimmes ingredients might we a welcome change. I decided to do that in the form of a soup, and to incorporate some of my favorite Thai flavors – curry (for some heat), honey (for some sweet) and coconut milk (for some creaminess). To make it festive and holiday worthy, I added cilantro matzo balls to round out the flavors and keep things exciting!

Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of cilantro but I am coming around. I used to find it completely intolerable but I am slowly sneaking in small amounts and it’s growing on me. Honey + curry though are one of my favorite combinations and I use it in curries, chicken recipes, fish dishes, roasted chickpeas and even popcorn. There’s something about the sweet and spicy that I absolutely love.

I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve seen on Facebook recently lamenting the lack of savory recipes in kosher cookbooks. Every roast is smothered in a sweet concoction, chicken is doused in apricot jam and don’t even get me started on the ridiculous amount of sugar in salad dressings. I mean, I get it. I grew up that way too. But the only way out of the sugar coma is to slowly reduce the amount of sweetness you add to recipes and to introduce more savory (and if you’re open to it, spicy) food. It’s all about conditioning your palette. If you go back to the old recipes on my blog, you can see for yourself how I’ve slowly transitioned to more savory foods. Now, when I taste a salad that’s been doused in sweet dressing, I can’t even swallow it.

There’s a place in food for all that sugar – it’s called dessert, and that’s why we all love it so much! And finishing a meal off with something sweet is precisely why you should start it with something savory. So, now that Rosh Hashanah is behind us, and we don’t *have* to douse everything in apples and honey, lets welcome the New Year with a newer savory approach to food. This curried carrot and sweet potato soup is a great place to start because it’s both sweet and savory with a nice amount of heat from the ginger and curry.

Wishing you a sweet New Year as sweet as honey and as spicy as curry. Shanah Tova Umetuka!



This post was sponsored by Lipton Kosher. All opinions are my own. 

Related Recipes:

peanut chicken curry
curry chicken salad
coconut crusted fish with curry aioli
curried rice salad
butternut squash soup with shallots and apples

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Tzimmes Roast

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Somebody pinch me, I can’t believe Rosh Hashanah is around the corner! I mean, where did the summer go? It’s hard to believe my kids have already started school and we’re about to embark on a new journey for the year 5775.

If it weren’t for the smell in the air, I would be keeping my kid’s bathing suits around. Instead, I’m packing them up with their bright summery wardrobes, and filling their closets with warm winter sweaters. What is it about that smell – that special something in the air that tells me that the Hebrew month of Tishrei is just around the bend. Can you smell it too?

It’s that slight fall breeze and the freshness of falling leaves that runs through my veins, bringing up memories of bygone Tishrei’s. Weeks filled with the hustle and bustle of Yom Tov prep that culminate in the awe-inspiring day of Yom Kippur and end with the joyous celebrations of Succot. So many feelings of regret, sadness, gratitude, hope, inspiration all wrapped up in the September breeze…it’s intoxicating.

The power of scent is truly extraordinary. It can evoke the deepest memories and trigger rememberences from childhood and beyond. The smell of tzimmes simmering on the stove brings me back to the Jewish New Year’s of my youth; honey dripping from my chin, counting the pomegranate seeds at the table.

There’s nothing like tzimmes to evoke memories of Rosh Hashanah, so I decided to do a little twist on the classic recipe.  Cooking the sweet carrot hash alongside a roast is a great way to make the best of your Yom Tov meat without having to cook your tzimmes separately. You can serve it all up on a platter and wow your guests with traditional Rosh Hashanah food, redefined.

Here’s to the start of many sweet things – from our food, to our lives. May we all be blessed to create the sweetest of memories this year!

Related Recipes:

Rosh Hashanah Roast
honey roasted za’atar chicken with dried fruit
couscous with honey roasted carrots, parsnips and beets

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