Confession: I am a sucker for the holiday season. Celebrating heritage and upholding tradition is the glue that binds our communities together, plus what’s better than sharing great food and wine for inspired reason? The hebrew month of Elul has arrived and High Holiday motivation is in in full effect. (If not now, when?!) With multitasking ever mandatory, I eagerly embrace the custom of imbuing savory holiday menu with both seasonal and symbolic eats; colorful ingredients that spark enlightened conversation while pleasing the palette and sanctifying the yom tov. To accomplish this culinary ambition, I consulted with kosher chef and food blogger Dini Klein, the 27-year-old visionary behind @dinidelivers, to create a collection of tasty recipes with festive narratives. Below are four thoughtful, Rosh Hashana-approved dishes, honed and perfected to delight and uplift. Shana Tova and Bon apetit!
What better a way to wish for a Shana Tova U’Metukah, “a good and sweet new year,” than to eat one of nature’s sweetest foods? Traditionally, apples are the iconic accompaniment to honey on this holiday. Happy dipping!
- 2 bunches baby kale
- 1 cup celery, thinly sliced
- 3 apples, quartered and thinly sliced
- 1 jar hearts of palm, thinly sliced (5-6 hearts)
- ¼ cup toasted sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- salt and pepper to taste
Combine all salad ingredients together in a medium bowl. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over salad. Toss and serve immediately.
A sheep or fish head is customarily included on the Rosh Hashana menu. Symbolic of being likened to the head, and not a tail, we aim to move forward and make progress in the coming year, rather than follow or linger behind. Vegetarians often enlist a head of cabbage or garlic to do the trick.
SAMBAL CABBAGE STEAKS
- 1 purple cabbage
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon sambal oelek
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- ½ teaspoon agave
- ½ teaspoon freshly minced garlic
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pull off and discard outer leaves and cut cabbage into 5-6 even slices to make ‘steaks’. Sprinkle evenly with remaining ingredients and roast for 30 minutes. Transfer whole steaks to a serving platter and serve warm.
Rubia, the Hebrew term for a variety of small beans or fenugreek, is reminiscent of the Hebrew word yirbu, “to increase.” These foods symbolize the hope for a prosperous year filled with merit.
GRAPE AND FENNEL CHICKEN
- 1 chicken cut into eighths
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 fennel bulb, outer layer discarded, and thinly sliced
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 2 cups grapes
- 3 tablespoons honey
- ¾ cups sherry wine
- 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons fenugreek
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a large 9X13 baking dish tucking most of the grapes and funnel under the chicken and leaving the tops of the chicken exposed to nicely brown. Bake for 45-55 minutes until cooked through and golden. Serve warm.
The rimon, or pomegranate, is one of the Seven Species of Israel. This famously seed-packed fruit illustrates our aspirations for a new year full of merits.
CHOCOLATE HONEYCOMB CAKE
- Margarine and flour for greasing
- 5 oz semi sweet chocolate
- ½ cup margarine. softened
- 1/3 cup honey
- ¾ cup POM juice
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup cocoa
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ cups flour
- For the Frosting:
- ½ cup margarine, softened
- 2/3 cup cocoa
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup soy milk
Additional supplies: bubble wrap
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8 inch round pans with margarine and coat with a thin layer of flour- this keeps the cake from sticking.
In a large microwave bowl, melt the chocolate and margarine in 30-second intervals until fully melted. Whisk in the honey and the eggs. Next add the milk and sugar and whisk well. Add the cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and flour and stir until combined.
Divide between baking dishes and bake for about 30 minutes until a tooth pick is inserted and comes out clean. Allow cake to cool and completely and remove them from the pans.
To make the frosting, blend margarine until smooth. Add in cocoa and then add the powdered sugar and soy milk alternating until you’ve reach spreading consistency. Beat until completely smooth. Add addition soy milk or powdered sugar to make the frosting thicker or thinner if needed.
To assemble cake:
Place on cake on serving dish or cake stand. Using an offset spatula (ideal) spread an even layer of frosting over the top and then place second cake on top of the first. Place a large mound of frosting on the top cake and spread evenly, coating all the sides and top of the cakes. Note: you likely won’t need all the frosting. Let sit for 5 minutes to set slightly.
Meanwhile cut your bubble wrap: Cut one circle of bubble wrap matching the size of the cake. Additionally, cut 1 or 2 long strips to fit around the sides of the cake. You want to cover the cake fully in bubble wrap!
After 5 minutes, press the top circle on the top of the cake and press the longer strips all around the sides of the cake. Press in to get the bubble wrap shape on the frosting. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Remove from the freezer and slowly pull off the bubble wrap. If the bubble wrap doesn’t pull off easily, freeze a little longer.
Decorate with bees, pomegranate seeds, or currants.