Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Jewish New Year is Coming

Like every other Jewish woman I know who's going to be cooking for the upcoming holiday....if that's you - Don't Panic! It is a month away....that said, it's time to start planning. In fact, my aunt and many others are already cooking and freezing. Everyone else is at least planning on who's hosting which night...Rosh Hashanah potentially has three dinners....and Yom Kippur has two...the night before the fast and, of course the big Break Fast meal when Yom Kippur ends.

You can get an idea my experiences in 2007 from this post or this one or 2006 or 2005 You'll notice that most of the dishes in the menu are repeated. That's because my family would riot otherwise. The Yom Kippur Break Fast might look like here or here, if you're interested.

This year, now that we're living in Halifax, I won't be doing all the cooking and hosting. It looks like Rosh Hashanah is taken and I probably will be doing the meal before the Yom Kippur fast with Joanna's mother-in-law doing the Break Fast. But we're still talking.

That said, I already have the main course planned...

....Lamb with Ras el Hanout and Honey served with mashed sweet potatoes. It's from a new book I love called The Ethnic Paris Cookbook.

Since one doesn't eat or drink from the end of dinner, served before sundown on the eve of Yom Kippur, until sundown the next day, the meal needs to be substantial but not overly seasoned to leave you thirsty. Typically for these holidays, we usually forgo spicy dishes and focus on sweet...symbolic for a sweet year ahead.

I haven't decided on a first course, probably a soup - but not Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls which we will have eaten at least twice during Rosh Hashanah. And dessert will be fresh fruit, probably my favorite Fruit Salad with Lavendar Honey and either the awesome Tunisian Date Cake I made last year or the Tunisian Honey Cake in The Ethnic Paris Cookbook. Then again, perhaps I should I just do my traditional...spread all my Jewish cookbooks out and pick something entirely new. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

So what's your ritual before a major holiday?


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Great dishes! That lamb recipe sounds mighty good and extremely flavorful!



gotnomilk said...

I too start planning about a month ahead. I LOVE it! I enjoy making the old family favorites, but I especially relish introducing a few new dishes each year for every one to taste and test. I find that it helps make all the preparations fun and less laborious when there's something new to prepare and try. And my family and guests can't wait to see what Kitchenetta has come up with this time.

Katie said...

Wow, I haven't even started to think about it yet but I really need to! I love Moroccan food and often cook with ras-el-hanout so I really like the look of your dish. I think we'll probably just have roast chicken though - that's what I always want to eat before the fast!

Dee said...

I never realised that the Jewish New Year coincided with the Muslim Hari Raya. I'm not Muslim, but we're a Muslim country and it's Ramadhan now so it's dates and traditional breaking of the fast yummies galore.

I love ras el hanout and make a mean tajine, but I've never cooked anything Jewish. I have Claudia Roden's Book of Jewish Food which I bought for the reading pleasure, but perhaps I need to take it into the kitchen as well.

Goody said...

I remember the year I made creamed cod for Thanksgiving-people do NOT like tradition messed with.

Growing up, my mother always made borscht pre-Yom Kippur, loaded up with boiled potatoes and sour cream (you know, so we didn't starve from malnutrition over the next 24 hours).

One thing I did already is can a number of pints of mulled honey (with cinnamon and lemon slices)to spread on challah. The recipe is in the Ball Blue Book of canning and it rocks. Can't wait to use it in a honey cake.


Hillary said...

Oh my goodness, is it that soon already?! Gaaah. My aunt will be cooking on night 1 of Rosh Hashanah, and my mom cooks on day 2, but I wanted to help out this year. Jeez, time flies. Nice meal before Yom Kippur!

Ruth Daniels said...

Rosa, the lamb is really awesome. It's one time I don't think anyone will complain about changing the tradition from chicken.

Gotnomilk...I'm definitely with you. I love tradition, but I also like to bring in some other traditions as well.

Katie, I'm pretty sure that at least one of the Rosh Hashanah dinners will star roast chicken or turkey.

Dee, Claudia Rosen has some lovely books. I also own the Book of Jewish Food and Arabesque is on my list. One of the things about Jewish cooking is that our heritage is global. So even though my family roots are from Russia, Poland and apparently Spain before that, I love to eat some traditional dishes from Jewish homes in North Africa, India...all so exotic and yet so familiar.

Goody, I've had more than one rebellion in my home over the years, so I know not to stray too far.

The mulled honey sounds wonderful. I just made some lavender honey syrup from some wonderful local honey. Definitely will star with some fresh fruit salad and maybe even in the Tunisian Date cake that became a tradition last year.

Hillary, have fun helping out.

And to all of you...Jewish or not, may the year ahead bring you peace and prosperity.