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Rosh Hashanah on the table

Rosh Hashanah arrives on Wednesday evening, Sept. 4 – but the cooking is already in full swing.  We checked out what some of the most well-respected kosher cooks have on their holiday menus this year. And here is what we found.


stuffed chicken breastStuffed chicken breast with a red wine, pepper and honey sauce

By Avigail Myzlik, Israeli chef and author

The perfect dish for Rosh Hashanah day

Stuffed chicken

4 chicken breast halves (de-skinned and de-boned)

Large onion, coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup dried apricots

1/4 cup dried pears

1/4 cup prunes

1/4 cup blanched almond halves

1/2 cup Yarden Merlot

Salt and pepper


1/2 cup Yarden Merlot

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon mustard


1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme (fresh or dry)

Heat a pan with olive oil and brown the onion over a medium heat.Stir occasionally until the onion becomes soft and golden. Add the dried fruit and wine to the pan and bring to a boil. Cook on a strong heat until most of the liquid evaporates. Pour all this filling into a separate bowl and in the pan roast the almond halves until golden. Add to the filling and season with salt and pepper. Create a pocket lengthways along the chicken breasts and fill with the filling. Close with wooden toothpicks. Mix the honey, mustard, ground pepper and thyme. Spread over the chicken breasts and season with salt. Place the chicken breasts in a medium dish and pour the wine for the sauce over them. Roast the chicken breasts in an oven preheated to 420 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Remove. Pour the remaining liquid from the chicken into a small pot and thicken slightly over a high heat. Cut the breasts into slices and serve with a little sauce drizzled over them.

Serves 4

Wine recommendation

The Yarden Merlot is a true classic, aged for 14 months in French oak barrels. It is a full-bodied, award winning wine which showcases fruity notes of plum and cherry layered with nuances of chocolate, fresh herbs and a delicious earthiness. Yarden’s series of Merlots have consistently outdone themselves for sheer quality, powerfulness and for simply bursting with flavor. It provides the perfect accompaniment to this equally flavorsome dish.

Another option, which matches with a range of chicken dishes, is the Gilgal Merlot. Without compromising on their reputation for high quality wines, the Gilgal Merlot displays extreme value for money. The Gilgal Merlot is aged for 9 months in French oak barrels and has a slightly lighter body than the longer aged Yarden Merlot. The Gilgal Merlot displays notes of red berries and cherry and its pleasant finish, displaying oak and pepper notes, is truly expressed when left to breathe prior to serving.


Holiday Carrot Honey Cake

By Jamie Geller

joy of kosherJamie Geller is author of Quick and Kosher: Recipes from the Bride Who Knew Nothing and Quick and Kosher: Meals in Minutes. This fall, Geller’s new book, Joy of Kosher, will be published, featuring more than 100 kosher “fast, fresh family recipes.” In addition to her cookbooks, Geller is founder of the Kosher Media Network, and has a popular website and television show. A year ago, she made aliyah to Israel with her husband and five children. This recipe for honey cake, a Rosh Hashanah staple, is included in the soon-to-be-published Joy of Kosher. She writes:

It’s a tradition to make honeyed foods for Rosh Hashanah and this dessert is one of them.  I had to find a way to make a honey cake I could actually eat.   …Hubby told me (although I knew it already) that it’s not traditional to bake this in a Bundt pan, so I decided to do it anyway.  I think it’s super pretty like this, perfect for the holidays.  When I decided to add carrot (another symbolic Rosh Hashanah food) he groaned “Oooh, nooo,” but when he tasted it he said, “Oooh, goood.” Oh, the glaze is also not traditional, but I like cake better with it.  And the nuts are a bit controversial. Sephardic Jews eat them on Rosh Hashanah, but Ashkenzis don’t. Go figure. So to be safe, use the coconut flakes when serving this for Rosh Hashanah and the nuts when entertaining year round.


Cooking spray

1 tablespoon instant coffee granules

1 cup hot water

3 large eggs

3/4  cup canola oil

1 1/2 cups honey

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 four-ounce jar carrot baby food

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups shredded carrots (optional)

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 to 1/2 cup slivered almonds, chopped, walnuts or coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8- to 10-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray. Combine the coffee and hot water in a small bowl; stir until dissolved. Combine the eggs, oil and honey in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well blended. Stir in the dissolved coffee, sugar, vanilla, carrot baby food and juice. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and salt in a large bowl. Gradually add to the egg mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in the shredded carrots, if using, and pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when touched, 45 to 50 minutes. Allow the cake to cool 10 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a wire rack and let cool completely, about one hour.

Once the cake is completely cooled, prepare the glaze: whisk the confectioners’ sugar with 1 to 2 tablespoons water until a pourable glaze consistency is achieved. Drizzle the glazer over the cake. Top with the nuts or coconut. Store the cake on a cake platter with a lid or in a container with a tight-fitting lid.

Serves 10.

This recipe will yield two 9 x 5 loaf pans. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.


Carrot and Parsnip Soup 

By Ronnie Fein

hip kosherRonnie Fein is author of Hip Kosher, from which this recipe is taken. Fein, who lives in Stamford, is now working on another kosher cookbook. She writes:

I have served [this recipe] often for Rosh Hashanah. My family loves it and carrots are of course traditional for Rosh Hashanah. This is a thick, but elegant soup that’s gently sweet but also has the complex combination of flavors I strive for when I create recipes. It includes both cumin and dried coriander. It is also a dish you can make several days ahead. And it can be either meat or pareve, depending on which stock you use. So it is also versatile.

I like it as a first course to turkey, which I always make on Rosh Hashanah, but I know it will be just as good if you’re serving brisket, chicken or any other roast. The soup is fine if you serve it as is, but if you add a garnish or two it really gives it a festive touch that makes it more special for holiday meals. Simple strands of chives will do. Or crumbled pita crisps or croutons. If you want to bulk it up you can make dumplings (just mix some beaten egg and flour and drop it by the forkful into the soup and let it cook for a few minutes). 

You can also make this extra rich as a cream soup for a dairy meal. Add some half-and-half cream at the end and heat through (of course, this would make it dairy, so be sure to use vegetable stock). Or serve it with a dollop of plain yogurt on top.


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 medium garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

1/2 lb carrots, peeled and chopped

1/2 lb parsnips, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon ground coriander

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2–3 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute. Add the carrots, parsnips, cumin, coriander, and some salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another minute, stirring ingredients. Add the stock and one cup water, bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, about 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Puree the soup and return it to the pan to reheat. Serves 4–6.


Braised Steak Kebabs with Apricots

By Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek

Braised Steak KebobsThis fall a new cookbook that shines the spotlight on starters and side dishes will be published by Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek, authors of the Made Easy Series. Starters & Sides Made Easy includes 60 recipes. Leah Schapira is the co-founder of CookKosher.com, a popular online kosher recipe exchange, and the author of Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking.  Victoria Dwek is the managing editor of Whisk, a popular kosher food magazine published weekly by Ami Magazine. They write:

Some people will tell you that kebabs belong only on the grill. Don’t tell that to the Jewish homemaker, who does not want to be standing over a fire right before a meal, but still wants to bring these pretty, juicy, and flavorful bites to the table. Kebabs that we can throw into the oven and then pull out and serve are way more practical. These kebabs are marinated and then braised, giving the meat plenty of time to absorb its fruity (but not overly sweet) marinade. I think that my skewers have found a brand-new home: in a roasting pan.


1 1/4 lbs minute steak roast, cut into ¾-inch cubes

1 onion, cut into strips

36 dried apricots

36 dried cherries or prunes

1/2 tsp salt

Pinch coarse black pepper

12 oz beer


1 cup pomegranate juice

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 cup olive oil

Prepare the marinade: In a medium bowl, combine pomegranate juice, teriyaki sauce, garlic, and olive oil. Add steak cubes. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place onion strips into a Dutch oven or roasting pan. Remove steak cubes from marinade (reserve marinade) and thread skewers with steak cubes, apricots, and cherries or prunes. Place skewers over onions and season with salt and pepper. Pour beer and reserved marinade over skewers. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

These kebabs will freeze well after cooking; just make sure they have plenty of liquid to keep from drying out when reheating.

Yields 18 skewers.


Carmelized Turnips with Crispy Brussels & Roasted Chestnuts 

By Jason Cohen

turnipsEarlier this year, Taglit-Birthright Israel released Israel to Go: Look & Cook Book, a cookbook featuring 20 recipes derived from the foods native to the Mediterranean. The recipes chronicle the exotic cultural experience offered to participants of Taglit-Birthright Israel trips. Taglit-Birthright Israel sends Jewish adults between the ages of 18 to 26 on a free 10-day trip to Israel to strengthen each participant’s Jewish identity. Since its inception, more than 350,000 Jewish young adults have taken part in Taglit-Birthright Israel from more than 65 countries, all 50 U.S. states and from nearly 1,000 North American college campuses. Although Israel to Go is being given as a thank you gift to trip participants and donors to the Birthright-Israel Foundation and is not available to the general public, Taglit-Birthright did share some of the book’s recipes, including this one from Jason Cohen of the United States. He writes:

Turnips are one of my favorite vegetables.  I believe that caramelizing them with light brown sugar is the best way to bring out their sweetness. Roasting the brussel sprouts is the best way to keep them al dente.  Finally, roasting the chestnuts with a high quality olive oil provides the depth of flavor that bacon would provide, and the dish remains kosher!


2 large turnips, peeled and medium diced

Olive oil

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

Salt and pepper

1 lb brussel sprouts, cored and halved

8 ozs chestnuts, shelled

Toss turnips in olive oil and brown sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 35 minutes, until fork tender. Toss brussel sprouts in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast at 350 degrees for 25 minutes until al dente. Roast chestnuts at 250 degrees for 20 minutes, until aroma intensifies. Season with salt. Mix all ingredients together and serve.


Apples with Dried Fruit and Marzipan 

From Amos Hayon

Amos Hayon

Amos Hayon

(JNS.org) Your Jewish holiday desserts don’t have to be boring. That’s what Amos Hayon – an Israeli pastry chef at Lola Restaurant in the Great Neck neighborhood on Long Island, N.Y. – believes. Amos appeared on an episode of the Food Network’s “Sweet Genius” program in 2011. He took home the $10,000 prize after competing against three other chefs and completing three challenges that include using mystery ingredients and creating a theme-inspired dessert. Read more about Amos at Amoshayon.com.


8 green apples, peeled and cored

7.05 oz good-quality marzipan

The dry fruit filling:

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup almonds

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped dates

1/2 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons honey

1 egg white

1 tablespoon margarine

Mix together in a medium sized bowl all the dried fruit filling ingredients into a mixture consistency. Take the apples and fill them inside with the mixture. Take the marzipan, break it into 8 balls and roll out flat. Individually cover each apple with the flattened marzipan. Place the apples in a 13” x 9” fire-resistant baking dish. Pour into the dish about 1.25 cups of white wine. Place the apples in the oven at 320 degrees for 60-90 minutes until the apples soften. Place the apples on a serving plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Serve with vanilla sauce or vanilla ice cream. Serves 8

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