Category: Rosh Hashanah

Honey Mustard Salmon

{A Resolution & A Recipe}

As any mother can attest, getting into the Yom Kippur spirit while we are stuck at home playing boardgames with our kids (not to mention fasting) can be extremely difficult. We are lucky if we get a chance to pick up our machzor, let alone daven, or attend shul. When I need to switch off the Mommy button and get into davening mode, there is one tefillah that will do it for me – “U’Netaneh Tokef” (translation here). The powerful words of this special prayer really help me zero in on the awesomeness of the day, as well as the most important things in life, that we hope to merit in the coming year. The words have always tugged at my soul, but when I learned the story behind the prayer, they became even more meaningful (read it here).

When I ask Hashem to grant me life vs death, to live in harmony vs being harried, to enjoy transquility vs suffering, to be enriched vs impoverished etc…to merit all the positive things vs the negative, I realize that inasmuch as I am asking Hashem for these things, I need to look inside and ask myself, am I doing the same? Am I choosing the positive over the negative?

By nature, I am more of a pessimist, and tend to see the glass half empty. Growing up, I’d wax philosophical and say, “I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist. This is the way the world really is.” But I’ve grown up and matured enough to realize that there is both good and bad in this world. It is up to us how we choose to see it. As it says in Koheles, “Everything has an appointed season and there is a time for every matter under the heaven…A time to kill and a time to heal… A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time of wailing and a time of dancing….”

For me, it takes an effort to see the good in things, but this year, I am renewing my commitment to look at things in a positive way. Just as I am asking Hashem to look at the good in me, and to bless me with all things good, I must look inside myself and do the same. Seeing the world in a positive light, facing challenges with a positive outlook, and choosing to see the good in people, only serves to enhance my life and the lives of those around me.

This “recipe” (if you can call it a recipe!), is one which my family enjoys each year at the seudah on Erev Yom Kippur. I realize that it, too, is comprised of sweet honey and bitter mustard. While delicious, I will also eat it with a prayer that this year, the good should overpower the bad and that we should all merit to see the “honey” in our lives, and not know of any bitter “mustard”.

Wishing all BIB followers a Gmar Chasimah Tova and an easy fast!

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Honey Challah with assorted Toppings

Of course I had wanted to get this post up before Rosh Hashanah, but it wasn’t meant to be. Still, most people continue to eat sweet round challah until after Succos, so I’m sure this recipe will prove useful (and there’s always next year!).

My sister-in-law Ruti used to make challah each and every Shabbos. She was always looking for new recipes, so I bought her Tamar Ansh’s challah book. After trying many different recipes, she came up with her own variation and my adapted version has been my go-to recipe ever since! I truly believe that delicious challah is a result of the love you put into it. If you just dump the ingredients into a bowl and mix it, the challa with turn out dense and heavy. For soft and fluffy challa, you need to take the care to sift the flour and knead the dough. I don’t have a bread machine, so I make my challah by hand. For me, it’s a labor of love. I’m happy to share Ruti’s recipe with you, but keep in mind that your altitude, humidity, and other factors all affect the dough.

Personally, when it comes to challah, I want to taste purely the bread. I don’t mind something sprinkled over the top, but I don’t play around with the dough. However, if you’d like to experiment, here are some filling ideas to mix into the dough before braiding:

– craisins and orange zest
– garlic and rosemary or sage
– raw or caramelized onions & poppy seeds
– fresh fruit (apples, blueberries, strawberries)
– dried fruit (apricots, figs)
– raisins and nuts
– chocolate chips
– olives
– oats

Toppings:

– honey (see below)
– maple syrup (see below)
– sprinkles or nonpareils
– brown sugar
– cinnamon-sugar
– sweet crumbs (see recipe below)
– za’atar
– sesame seeds
– poppy seeds
– minced onion flakes
– minced garlic flakes
– “everything” (my favorite!) : sesame seeds, poppy seeds, minced onion, minced garlic, coarse salt

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Couscous with Thyme & Honey Roasted Root Vegetables


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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Rosh Hashana Roast

A Yom Tov meal, especially a regal one like Rosh Hashanah, deserves a dish fit for a king. In this recipe, a French roast is braised in red-wine with jewels of dried fruit reduced in it’s sauce. I can’t think of anything more festive or delicious for a chag in which we coronate Hashem as our king!

 

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How to Deseed a Pomegranate


Rosh Hashana is full of traditions, many of them surrounding food. Pomegranates are one of the traditional simanim that are eaten so that our merits should increase like the seeds of a pomegranate. I once heard that some people eat raisins and celery so that they should have a raise in salary! Some of the other simanim, like a sheep’s head, I find a bit harder to chew, but bring on the pomegranates!

Growing up, I remember trying to pick the seeds off the membranes, biting into the juicy seeds, and spitting out the pits. But over the past few years, I began enjoying pomegranates all year round, so I learned to deseed them properly. I also learned to enjoy the crunchy pit and no longer spit them out :)

Deseeding a pomegranate is fairly easy.

1. Cut the pomegranate in half (around it’s center, not from top to bottom) and remove the crowned tip from the top half of the pomegranate.
2. Over a bowl, gently press the skin to loosen the seeds from the membranes.
3. Hold half of the pomegranate open-face-down in the palm of your hand, and with a heavy spoon or mallet, tap the pomegranate. You will see the seeds start to fall out.
4. Continue tapping the pomegranate all around, on all sides, until all the seeds have released.
5. Repeat with remaining half of pomegranate.

Once you’ve deseeded the pomegranate, you’ve got to eat them! Continue down the page for some recipes and ideas!

– Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over ice cream or yogurt
– Add to grains like quinoa, couscous, or sprinkle over oatmeal
– Add to guacamole for extra color and crunch
– Add to smoothies for their antioxidant power and tart taste
– Add seeds to fruit or vegetable salads
– Add to chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies
– Add to salsa and serve over fish
– Add to cranberry sauce
– Make pomegranate jam