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Jewish Holiday Foods: Rosh HaShanah

by Daniel Rogov

Rosh HaShanah marks the begining of the new year in the Jewish calendar.
It it celebrated for two days on the first and second of Tishrei.

Baked Apples with Almonds and Raisins

6 large apples, for baking
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter*, melted and cooled
85 gr. blanched almonds, lightly toasted and ground
3 Tbsp. raisins
3 Tbsp. light rum
3 egg yolks
lemon juice as required

In a small saucepan, mix together the rum and raisins with 5 Tbsp. of water. Heat gently until warm. Remove from the heat and let stand.

Peel and core the apples, leaving a base of about 1/2" (1 cm.) at the bottom and a hollowed cylinder of 1 1/2" (4 cm.) in diameter. Rub the apples with lemon juice to prevent discoloration. In a small bowl, mix together the egg yolks, 6 Tbsp. of the sugar, the almonds and the butter. Drain the raisins - reserving the liquid - and add them to the egg mixture.

Fill each apple with about 2 Tbsp. of the filling. Place them in a shallow ovenproof pan and pour in the liquid reserved from the raisins. Pour in another 1/2 cup of water and the remaining sugar. Bake in a medium oven, basting occasionally and adding more water if the pan dries out. Cover and bake about 15 minutes longer until the apples are tender. Serve hot or warm.

* If serving the apples with a meat-based meal, substitute parve margarine for the butter.

Stuffed Veal Breast

1 1/2 kgs. veal breast
675 gr. stewing veal
180 gr. (6 oz) calf's liver
1 1/2 cups white wine
1 cup chicken or veal stock
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 head celery (stalks and leaves), diced
3 medium carrots, diced
2 large onions, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
2 slices white bread, soaked and squeezed dry
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. clarified parve margarine
1 bouillon cube
salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste
olive oil for frying

Melt the margarine in a heavy skillet and saute the onions until golden. Add 1/4 cup wine, simmer until reduced by about half and then add 1/4 cup stock and reduce again. Repeat this process 4 times (using in all 1 cup each wine and stock) and then allow to simmer until the gravy is thick. Pour over the bread slices and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Mash and mix well.

Mince together the stewing veal and the liver and mix these with the bread mixture. Add the eggs and mushrooms and mix well.

Make a deep cut lengthwise in the breast and stuff with the above mixture. Sew closed with kitchen thread and then tie with string in 4 - 5 places. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and saute the tied breast until it is browned all over.

Place the onions, celery and carrots in a large baking casserole, and place the meat on top. Cover with greaseproof paper and roast in a medium oven, turning occasionally and basting with white wine until the meat is tender. Remove the paper and roast another 15 minutes until the meat is brown. Remove the meat and allow to cool (about 15 minutes) before slicing. Set aside to keep warm.

Transfer the remaining gravy to a saucepan, add the rest of the wine and let simmer until the wine evaporates. Add 1 cup of stock, the bouillon cube and salt and pepper to taste. Strain the gravy into a gravy dish. Serve hot. Serves 10 - 12.

White Bean Soup

1 cup dried white beans
1 kg. marrow bones
3 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, diced
2 medium onions
1 small celery root, cleaned
salt and pepper to taste

Soak the beans overnight in cold water. Drain, rinse and place the beans in a large saucepan with the marrow bones. Add cold water to cover. On a high flae, bring to a rapid boil and skim the foam from the surface. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 1/2 hours, opening occasionally to skim.

Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil again and let boil for 2 - 3 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Discard the onion and celery root before serving. Serve with the bones.

Sources:Israeli Foreign Ministry and Rogov's Ramblings. Reprinted with permission.

Daniel Rogov is the restaurant and wine critic for the daily newspaper Ha'aretz. He is also the senior writer for Wine and Gourmet Magazine and contributes culinary and wine articles to newspapers in Europe and the United States.