Monday, September 22, 2008


.HAPPY NEW YEAR ROSH HASHANAH Festivals and celebrations that bring us all together are the best time of the Year.
I always feel there are some people who cannot wait to create the invitations, the gifts and meals, the d├ęcor and the extra little thousand details that make it all special and unforgettable. If you find all the planning too much, do not despair, just modify it all, let it be easier with the same love thrown into it, but scaled down to the size that you can cope with.

I like a color scheme and choose the tablecloth and serviettes, plates and glasses to have a connection to the New Year. I place little surprises at each child's place and they love the colorful cards and wrapped up gifts

Welcome the New Year with apples and honey When people walk in serve a slice of apple and honey. I arrange it on a tray with raisins, a bowl of pomegranate pips, nuts, apple jam and fresh dates.

If you have many children, place little dishes on the table with fun things in them. Tiny candies, chocolates and pecans and walnuts. Some kids nibble rather than eat…

Make the meal simple with the favorites of everyone. Not easy , but try, Kids like what they recognize and old folks like easy to eat foods. Do not experiment with way out nouvelle cuisine; just make tasty dishes that go with the holiday. I will give you a list of ideas.
The dessert should be ready and the dishes can be prepared on a tray that has serviettes, spoons and scrumptious goodies on it. Then you can sit down as everyone does a serve yourself tea, coffee and cake dessert.

Drinks. Water, juices, iced tea. Chilled grape juice and wines to celebrate the New Year.
Starters. In homes where people eat meat and fish, herring, liver, fish balls are served. We replace them with boiled eggs, asparagus, artichoke hearts, cut up vegetables, cherry tomatoes, fresh and pickled cucumbers and olives. You can have a fresh green salad and a good dressing. Sprinkle pecans and walnuts on this. Cheeses can be prepared as slices, cubes and even grilled haloumi, cheeses marinated in olive oils, spreads and dips make a great start.

Have a few assorted challah s and rice crackers (for gluten free diets) whole wheat bread and some rye crackers.

Soup. I find this fills everyone up, but a vegetable soup is the best.

Main course. I will refrain from telling you what to make, as everyone has their favorites. Here are a few ideas.

Lentil loaf, Stir fry vegetables, Broccoli and Mushroom quiche, Onion Pie and tzimmes
We always include beets, red cabbage, roast potatoes, carrots, rice, quinoa and beans.

Rice. Cook plain brown or white rice. I make two sauces and let people choose. You place them on the large platter with the rice. One is sweet. Lightly fry two onions, 2 teaspoons pine kernels, two thinly sliced apricots and two teaspoons sliced almonds
And chopped walnuts.and a little turmeric. The other one is a savory one .Lightly fry two cloves, of garlic, chopped onion, cut up spring onions, one grated carrot and ten to twelve mushrooms. Add salt ,pepper and parsley. You will find people choose what the want and the left over rice is ready for the next day. You can turn it into a pudding by adding honey, cinnamon, cream or butter, or two yogurts and bake it in the oven. Serve with ice cream or chocolate sauce.
Use left over rice to make stuffed peppers with nuts and herbs.

Roast potatoes. I bake or boil washed potatoes the day before. I cut them up and roast them with the peels, with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Kids love these. The others can
. be made into a quick potato salad. I make a salad dressing of two tablespoons olive oil, herb salt, black pepper, chopped fresh parsley, a teaspoon of prepared mustard, a teaspoon of honey and two tablespoons of sunflower seeds. This dressing is healthy and delicious.
Cabbage. Cut red cabbage thinly and lightly fry in a pan with 2 diced onions. until the cabbage wilts. Add two peeled and diced apples, half a cup of raisins, half a cup of brown vinegar, 2 teaspoons salt and two tablespoons sugar. Add a little water or orange juice. Cover and simmer on a low flame for twenty minutes. When the cabbage is tender, add 1/4 cup of red wine and heat through. Excellent with any main dish.

Baked cherry tomatoes and onions. I use three cups of cherry tomatoes, one cup of baby onions cut in thin slices, ten cloves of garlic. Arrange in an oven dish and sprinkle two tablespoons olive oil, a little coarse salt and black pepper. Bake for ten minutes. Fabulous with any dish. I prick the tomatoes before I bake them If you have any left over, blend and use as a spread on toast or with a baked potato.

Green beans. This is another vegetable that is traditional to serve with a Rosh Hashanah meal. I use fresh beans and cut them in half and steam them until they wilt. I add a dressing of two teaspoons olive oil, two teaspoons roasted sesame seeds, chopped clove of garlic
thinly sliced yellow pepper. I add this to the beans and warm through.

The idea of this meal is to combine foods with the traditional symbols of the New Year

Vegetable platter. I steam washed pieces of broccoli, cauliflower and sweet potatoes. I do these separately. It is a lot of work, but do this the day before. Cool and store.
Slice zucchini into shapes of a cigar and steam lightly. Use a dressing of olive oil,
Chutney and balsamic vinegar
Arrange all the vegetables on an oven dish and bake for ten minutes. Sprinkle olive oil on everything The idea is to prepare ahead and assemble with no effort. You can sprinkle finely cut up chives on this and serve on a large tray.

Dessert. Traditionally we have honey cake, compote of prunes, raisins, cinnamon ,nut cookies, apple and cinnamon kugel, a never ending of delights. Being sane and sensible , I know there. Is ,hardly place for more after a large meal. I like a bowl of assorted ices, tofu ice creams, chocolate and carob sauces, pureed apple sauce and chocolates for the kids. I prepare a fresh fruit salad of fruits in season. I use steamed peeled and cut up apples. They are made a day or two before and you can add them to the compote or fresh fruit salad. They do not spoil and make life easier. Left over apples can be made into pudding or apple pie. With the tea tray ready, sit down and relax.

I wish you all the joy of renewal, dreams to start a New Year, Re unions that are full of love and caring and most of all Health and Happy days. Love and light Rona

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