It’s been a slow summer for me. I don’t do well in the humid heat of Ra’anana. I feel sluggish, ponderous, as sticky as thick honey. All that, and a bout of pneumonia last week, has left me full of ennui and it hasn’t helped the blogging much either. I haven’t been in much of a mood to cook, or to write about cooking. Pity this hasn’t extended to my appetite, that’s been as healthy as ever, in the most unhealthy of ways.
It took my friend Abby to get me out of my funk. Well, not totally out of it, just to nudge me a bit. She’s been asking me about Rosh Hashana menus. I haven’t really thought about the holiday yet, I mean, it’s not Rosh Hashana until next year…
I still don’t have much of a menu in mind, but I’m still a little under the weather, doing the Dracula sneeze and coughing all over the place. So while I’m scarfing down honey to soothe my throat, I might as well focus on some honey recipes. Maybe it will get me motivated…
Rosh Hashana, literally translated as the head of the year, is the Jewish new year. Instead of coming in with a bang and rocking it with Dick Clark, Jews prefer to usher the new year in with lots of prayer and lots of food. We believe that God created the world on Rosh Hashana, so it’s a birthday party of cosmic proportions. So we head off to the synagogue to tell God how great we think He is, we buy new clothes for the occasion, and then we celebrate in the traditional way that Jews know best how to celebrate, we feast! But we’re not without our little symbols, we just love those symbols, and the one most commonly associated with Rosh Hashana is honey. We want a sweet year to come. Sweet encompasses it all, doesn’t it? Are you healthy? Sweet! Successful? Sweet! In Israel it’s not unheard of to answer the question of “How are you?” or “How’s life?” with the reply of “Hakol dvash!” (everything’s honey). It’s a great way to describe the good in life.
So thanks to Abby, Derek Jeter’s second greatest fan and my muse of the day, here’s a little inundation of honey. May your coming year be sweet!
Rosh Hashana Honey Cake — yes, this is the epitome of Rosh Hashana desserts. Many love it, many hate it. I adore it. I have been baking this cake for the past 28 years. When I got married (the first time) a friend of the Ex’s gave us a Ruth Sirkis holiday cookbook as a wedding present. I was a little narked, who gives cookbooks as a wedding present? I got even more peeved when I looked inside. Not only had she written her good wishes on the flyleaf, using our names and hers, thus rendering this present unrecycleable (don’t be shocked, we all do it), but on the next page there was another little inscription — she had received the cookbook herself as a gift at some conference. But this turned out to be one of the better wedding presents, since I used this book often during the first years of that marriage, and the honey cake recipe is supreme! Ruth Sirkis rocks, and so does her honey cake.
Honey Muffins — from the Carine Goren Sweet Secrets cookbook, these muffins are very cupcake-y. My youngest daughter Didi first made these during her first year of National Service. Since then she’s finished her second year and is now in that twilight zone period of looking for a job to finance a shoe habit of Imelda Marcosian proportions. This year she plans to finish up a little scholastic housekeeping before doing a little traveling. After that she has to start pretending to be an adult, but in the meantime, she should have a year as sweet as her honey muffins.
Honey Ginger Grilled Salmon — this is one of my most popular recipes from Recipezaar, now food.com. It’s actually a very easy recipe, and if you don’t want to make it on your grill outdoors you can always do it in your oven.
Honey Pecan Chicken Cutlets — in other words, sweet and crunchy shnitzel. Another one of my more popular recipes on Zaar. One of my reviewers even called this a chicken baklava. If that doesn’t weird you out, go for it!
Potatoes with Mustard and Honey — I have to admit, since I moved in with Ju-Boy and clan I haven’t made these, not once. Ju-Boy has a tradition of making his Sweaty Potatoes for Friday night and his children will not accept any starchy interlopers at the table. Neither will my kids, the little traitors! I don’t have a recipe for Ju-Boy’s potatoes (he refuses to give it to me, but he did teach Shy-Boy how to make them, I might torture him in the name of a future blog post), but I can share my recipe for you. I vaguely remember them as being pretty amazing and very popular with my guests. Considering this year we have the two days of Rosh Hashana followed by Shabbat (not so fondly known in my house as the Triple Threat), I might be able to sneak these into a meal toward the end when everyone is too far gone in a food coma to notice.
Toffee Apple and Honey Trifle — before I even begin to tell you about the recipe, let me just offer a very insincere apology to Ju-Boy. You see, according to him, a trifle is the traditional British dessert consisting of cake covered in fruit cocktail suspended in Jell-O, then smothered in custard and then topped with cream. In his world, that is the only concoction which may be called a trifle. Welcome to Miriyummy’s world. In my world, this recipe is also a trifle. It’s got cake. It’s got fruit. It’s got cream. It’s yummy. It’s a trifle. Deal with it, Ju-Boy. I first created this recipe when I was asked to bring a dairy dessert for a Rosh Hashana meal at a friend’s house. You can make this parve non-dairy) by substituting the dreaded Rich Whip for the whipping cream, leave out the cream cheese completely and sub white chocolate chips for the Skor Bits.
Apple and Honey Baklava — another one of my creations… I love baklava, and this was just a little indulgence one year. A lot of people think baklava is difficult to make, and sometimes it is. This time it isn’t. If you do make this and serve it up to friends and family, don’t let them know how easy it is to make. Just sit back and soak up the sweet compliments.
So I could leave you with a cute little video of buzzing bees or those singing worms in the apple wishing you a happy new year, but I won’t. If you’ve been getting Rosh Hashana emails over the last few years you know what I’m talking about. And if you haven’t, you’re not missing much. But I will leave you with one of my favorite ABBA songs, and my wish for a year as sweet as honey, and just as yummy!
Posted on 7 September 2011, in Carine Goren, Chicken, Dessert, Holiday cooking, Jewish cooking, Muffins, Rosh Hashana, Side Dishes and tagged ABBA, Carine Goren, chicken, cooking, dessert, honey, Jewish Cooking, kosher, muffins, potatoes, recipe, Recipezaar, Rosh Hashana, Ruth Sirkis. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.