Sunday, September 9, 2007

Getting Ready for Rosh Hashanah

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I don't know which part of holidays I like best...the planning, the cooking, the feasting with family and friends. But since my Rosh Hashanah dinner isn't until Friday, I thought I'd share my adventures from the beginning.

One thing I love about writing down the proposed menu here is to see how much of it I really stick to when I actually come to prepare the meal. My eyes are definitely bigger than my ability to juggle shopping, cooking and the regular day to day that doesn't stop just because I want it to.

Last night while we continued to watch the Star Wars TrilogyMarathon (we've seen Episodes 4, 5 & 6 so far), I pored over all my Jewish Cookbooks looking for the perfect meal.

Traditionally, there are four courses and all of them have a sweet or mellow note. No bitterness or harshness for this holiday - at least that's our tradition:


Soup - just about every Ashkenazi Jew (Eastern European origins) I know makes Chicken Soup and I'm sure that 2 of the 3 meals this week will have some, so I wanted something different. Sephardi Jews (Middle Eastern background), on the other hand, favor lentils in their dishes as a symbol of wealth - think gold coins. Sounds interesting and I think I found the perfect dish.

Fish & Salad - Another Ashkenazi speciality is Gefilte Fish which I will NOT do - too fishy-smelling in my house, although I love to eat it. So I've found a couple of different options...not sure what that will look like yet. But the salad will definitely be Fattoush, a chunky Lebanese salad I've made before and everyone loved.

The Main Deal (and usually everyone is already full, but - hey, it's a holiday) - my daughter is making brisket, our friend is making turkey, so.......hmmmm. I usually make Orange Ginger Capon or Stuffed Veal, but I'm not in the mood and I don't have time to hunt for the perfect butcher here in Halifax. Let me know of one for later - please! I did get lots of great ideas on yesterday's post and found a really interesting choice in one of my cookbooks.

We definitely need potatoes and I know others will be making the traditional kugel. So I'm going with a family favorite of my own. And since my daughter will probably do the ginger carrots, I'm going to do something with the gorgeous squash I bought at the market yesterday. If I don't have a green veggie on the table, I will hear my mother's displeasure (even though she passed away many years ago). I'm making Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower for our friend's feast, so I guess asparagus or beans will work...or maybe the layer of spinach in the Potato, Sweet Potato Galette will be sufficient.

Dessert - because although no one can move or breathe by this point in the meal, I can't imagine doing without a sweet finish.

So here's what I came up with....at least for now.

Menu

Lentil Soup & Meat Balls from Cucina Ebraica

Fattoush (Lebanese Salad) from Feast From the Mideast

Pesce all' Ebraica from The New Jewish Holiday Cookbook

St Tropez Chicken from Nigella Lawson's Feast

Potato, Sweet Potato & Spinach Galette adapted from Bonnie Stern's Essentials of Home Cooking

Roasted Asparagus with Toasted Almonds from Every Kitchen Tells Its Stories

Roasted Squash with Balsamic Cider Vinaigrette

or

Braised Squash with Ginger & Onions from 1000 Jewish Recipes

Shirley's Honey Cake from Every Kitchen Tells Its Stories

or

Mary's Honey Cake (she sent me the recipe as thanks for all those non-cheesy pasta dishes)

Normandy Apple Tart from Baking, From My Home to Yours

Fresh Fruit Salad with Mint

I wonder what I will actually serve up this Friday. Stay tuned on the weekend for the final version.

And for my Jewish and non-Jewish friends alike, I wish you health, peace, prosperity and joy.

10 comments:

Rob said...

Happy Rosh Hashanah to you (for Friday as I am bound to forget).

Your menu sounds intriguing. I am new to Jewish cooking but got a book called 'The Jewish Kitchen: Recipes and STories from Around the World' - a very interesting book and a good introduction to Jewish cuisine.

I look forward to hearing what of the menu you end up making and what you end up changing.

Best of luck with the preparations for this feast.

marye said...

wow...that is an incredible menu

Ferdzy said...

Happy Rosh Hashanah and all the best in the new year.

I have to say as I've gotten older I've gotten better at coming up with realistically sized menus - I still sit down and write up a long, over-the-top one, but now I sit and look at it for a couple days, and start crossing things out. I've never run out of food yet, or even close...

still, there's nothing better than a big family feast. I'm looking forward to the pictures.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A great menu! Happy Rosh Hashanah!

Hillary said...

Happy early Rosh Hashanah! I can't believe it's only 2 days away (for me, I celebrate it at sunset the night before.)

Your menu looks great - if I were a guest, I'd be happy! As for me...my mom and my aunt do all the cooking for now, so I will sit back and enjoy.

Ruth Daniels said...

Thanks everyone. I really am looking forward to Friday (that's my turn to prepare the meal). Actually, I'm looking forward to Wednesday night, and Thursday night too. No preparing - just enjoying the food and the company.

Brilynn said...

This sounds like it's going to be an amazing feast!

ByTheBay said...

L'shanah Tovah!

Jim said...

Being a child of Irish Catholics myself I never got to try all this delicious-lookin' food, but now I think I need to branch out!

Happy Rosh Hashana!

Nikol said...

That's all fine. What, however, do you think about Obadiah Shoher's criticism pf Rosh Hashanah as aholiday that has nothing to do with New Year? Here, for example http://samsonblinded.org/blog/petty-paganism.htm