> Holidays > The High Holidays > Rosh Hashanah

Sweet Rosh Hashanah Dishes

September 2, 2010 | by Tamar Ansh

Healthy and delicious for the New Year.

This first recipe is an old family favorite my mother has been making for years. It comes out tasting sort of barbequed even though it's made in just a regular oven. And it takes only a few minutes to prepare. It's classic and it always works. I am sending these Rosh Hashana flavors from my home, to yours…with wishes for everyone to be inscribed for a year of everything good.

For those of you who do want recipes, tips and lots of info about challahs, see my new website at

Incredible Honey Wine Salmon

This amount is enough for 3.5 lbs / about 1.5 – 2 kilo slice of fish.

A filet of fresh salmon, the size of which was listed above, preferably prepared without bones or skin, and left as one large filet

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1/4 cup semi dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup water

**Note: If you are in a fix and don’t have teriyaki sauce in your house, you can substitute soy sauce. However, many soy sauces are very heavy on the sodium so use a light one, or plan ahead and make sure you have the teriyaki sauce in the house, as it does make a difference.

Rinse off the fish filet and then pat it dry with paper towels so that it is no longer dripping wet. Lay it down, pink side facing upwards, on a parchment paper lined baking pan.

In a small bowl, mix together the honey, teriyaki sauce, dry red wine (DO NOT use sweet wine!! Dry or semi-dry is what you need here), and water. Pour this over the waiting salmon filet. Cover your fish and let it marinade in this sauce for a few hours or overnight.

When you are ready to bake it, go on to the next step…

Preheat your oven to 400°F / 200°C.

Remove the fish from the fridge and slide it, uncovered, into your preheated oven.

Now, this is the part that is most vital. A fine way to ruin a good, expensive piece of high quality fish is to over bake it. This leaves the fish tough, dry, and tasteless. To ensure this does not happen, here's a novel idea: set a timer! Set it for 20 minutes. Exactly when it beeps, no matter what else you are doing (short of leaving the baby on the changing table, that is) you must run and check it. Open the oven, slide it out and flake the thickest part of the fish in the center of the filet by poking your fork directly into it and taking off a small piece. Does it look done through its center (ie, it flakes with the fork and is light pink and appears cooked)? Then take the fish out right now.

If it does not, and if you used a thick piece of fish filet probably it is not done yet, slide it back in the oven, reset your time for another 8-10 minutes, and check it promptly again as soon as it beeps. This is the main secret of preparing good fish. The second secret is NOT to let it sit in the hot oven, covered or not, until serving time. Once it is baked through, immediately remove it from the oven. Let it cool for a few minutes then cover it with baking paper and then foil. Place it in your fridge. If you want it warm, then put it on top of another pan on your Shabbos hotplate for about 30 minutes before you want to serve it. Otherwise, just remove it from the fridge about an hour before serving and serve it at room temperature. Of course, the easiest and best way is to eat it immediately after it's been baked, but on a two or three day holiday that is usually kind of hard to plan so exactly…

Now for another recipe that’s healthy and so easy to put together it will take you less than 8 minutes to prepare.

Trans-fat Free Hermit Bars

This makes one 9x13 pan

  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup molasses or honey
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ginger
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves, optional
  • optional: ¼ cup yellow or dark raisins

I say raisins are optional because if your kids don’t like to see raisins in their baked foods, then you can leave it out. Of course, you can always choose to make these ‘chocolate chip and/or walnut hermit bars’ by adding in mini chips or chopped nuts… or making one recipe of each kind and then mixing the pieces on your platters when serving it…

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.

Just mix all the ingredients together except the raisins. Add a small amount of flour to the raisins, toss it together with your fingers and them add them in as well. Spread it out on a 9x13 pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until light golden brown. Using honey and the whole wheat flour makes it darker, as you see in my picture here. These come out soft and chewy with a bit of slight crunch on the outside. Slice into any size square or bar once they are cool. They look nicest when sprinkled with a fine layer of powdered sugar just before serving. A great and healthier snack idea for the whole family, when they’re all around the house on yuntif and just need a ‘little something’!

This next recipe centers on the theme of carrots, since it is a very traditional Rosh Hashana food. The word carrot in Hebrew is "gezer". And the word decree in Hebrew is "gezairah", both from a similar root. When we eat the carrots, we have a short prayer to say, "sheh-Tikrah Ro-ah Gezar Dineinu", ie, asking G-d to tear up any bad "gezairos" there may be decreed upon us…so here's to a year filled with good "gezairos" for the entire Jewish people, and here are your traditional carrots for the meal, tzimmes no less, but presented totally differently…

Carrot-Apple Tzimmes in Pomegranate Sauce

Serves 6–8

  • 1 12-oz. bag frozen baby carrots
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 red apples, unpeeled, washed and shredded
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup yellow raisins
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon flour + 2- 3 Tablespoons water
  • ½ cup pomegranate juice (you can also use a pomegranate drink such as the Spring brand to save money)

Put the carrots and water in a pot and bring to a boil over a high flame. Reduce the flame to low and cook for 2 hours so they become very soft. Check to make sure the water doesn’t evaporate and if it does, then add another half cup water until it is done cooking. Remove the carrots from the water, reserving the cooking water.

Toss the apples with the lemon juice. Add them to the carrots along with the raisins and sugar. Set aside.

Make sure you have at least 3/4 cup reserved cooking water in the pot; if not, add more liquid to it. Turn the flame on low under the pot with the liquid. In a separate small bowl, add the flour to 2 T. more water and mix it with a spoon to make it smooth; then add this to the hot liquid in the pot and stir to make a smooth mixture. It will thicken almost right away. Add in the pomegranate juice and stir this together once more. Simmer for two minutes. Add in the carrot/ apple mix and let it simmer together for 15 minutes. Turn off the flame.

Serves well hot or cold. And the color of this dish is so pretty, besides!

Note: you can substitute cranberry juice if you cannot find pomegranate juice

Cranberry Chicken

Here's another cranberry recipe -- this one is a family favorite. My mother got it years ago, shortly before I got married, from I-don’t-know-where and she liked it so much that she taught it to the caterer of my wedding and had him make it for the meal! Since then I save it especially for this time of year. It’s simple but very special. This recipe makes enough for two whole chickens.

  • 2 chickens, cut into eighths, skins removed
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 T. onion powder
  • 1 T. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin
  • 1 can cranberry sauce
  • 1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup real French dressing (recipe to follow)
  • Water – use the empty cranberry can and fill it with water
    French Dressing:
  • In a hand blender or immersion blender jar, blend together until smooth the following:
  • 1 small onion
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice

(**NOTE: Some people have a custom not to use anything sharp like vinegar or lemon juice at this time of year. However, these ingredients combine together here to make a very tasty sauce and the individual sharp tastes are not discernible. Each person should follow their own family's custom. I personally do use this recipe each Rosh Hashana.)

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C. Spray two 9x13 baking pans or one large pan with baking spray.

Place the flour with the spices in a plastic bag. Put each piece of chicken into the bag and shake to coat it evenly. Lay the coated chicken pieces in the pan.

Put all the sauce ingredients into a large bowl. Mash them together with a potato masher or a fork to break up the lumps of cranberry sauce somewhat. You can use a bought jar of French Dressing but since I didn’t have any, I made the dressing myself in a hand blender jar. Pour the sauce over the chicken and top it with the onion slices.

Bake open for 75 minutes on bake, not convection, not broil. Check the chicken when it’s been in the oven about half the time. If it looks like it may dry out to you, baste it and then cover it for the rest of the baking time.

Another great Rosh Hashana (or any time, for that matter) quickie idea for a side dish to do with this chicken is to add sliced sweet potatoes to the underside of the chicken. Then, when it’s done cooking, you will have a delicious chicken plus a vegetable side dish to serve it with. Serves well alone or even better, together with the rice of your choice.

Kesiva V'Chasima Tova – may everyone be inscribed for a sweet new year,

All the best,

Tamar Ansh

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