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A Savory and Sweet New Year

August 22, 2018 | by Elizabeth Kurtz

Zesty and delicious recipes to add to your repertoire.

We’re all familiar with the sweet flavors of Rosh Hashanah and it’s appropriate to include pomegranates, honey, apples, and symbolic foods in your Yom Tov dishes. This year I’m sharing some recipes that are both savory and sweet, with very complex flavor profiles to add to your repertoire. This combination of both zesty and sweet is very satiating and a wonderful addition to your recipe box. And don’t worry, there are a few classics here too. Good Yom Tov and a sweet new year to all!

Not Your Ordinary Maple Butternut Squash Soup

Photo by Minimalist Baker

Serves 6-8

Don’t be fooled! This is no ordinary squash soup. Yes, it has the basics, squash, onion, apple and cinnamon, but boasts other super bold flavors, like cumin, ginger, soy sauce and vegetables. Then comes the creamy coconut milk adding richness and a touch of maple syrup to sweeten it up. It’s divine.

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch cube
  • 1 granny smith apple, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 ¼ cups vegetable broth or pareve chicken broth
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • 2 (13.5 ounce) cans coconut milk

Garnish: Drizzle of coconut milk and cinnamon and optional pumpkin seeds

In a 5 quart pot, heat coconut or olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring for 3 - 4 minutes, until onions begin to soften. Add celery and carrots and continue cooking for about 3 minutes.

Add squash, apple, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, broth, soy sauce, maple syrup and coconut milk and raise heat to high. Bring soup to a boil and cook for 6-8 minutes, until squash is softened. Turn off heat and cool for 20 minutes. With an immersion blender or traditional blender, puree soup until smooth.

Serve warm with a drizzle of coconut milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

This soup can be made three days ahead of time, store in airtight container in the refrigerator or up to three months in the freezer. Defrost in the refrigerator.

Sweet and Savory Honey Coated Chicken

Photo by Little Spice Jar

Serves 6

This recipe includes a homemade super delicious harissa sauce which is made with roasted pepper, smoked paprika, garlic, and spices. Harissa is traditionally quite spicy. In this version its milder for Rosh Hashanah. If you can buy a harissa sauce it makes this recipe incredibly easy. The combination of smoky harissa and honey makes this sweet and smoky and a bit spicy too, but it has wonderful contrasting flavor.

  • 1 red pepper, fresh or ROASTED from a jar
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons ground coriander
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ½ pounds boneless, skinless, chicken thighs or chicken pieces
  • ¼ cup honey

For the Red Pepper Harissa: Over a gas flame (or under the broiler), char the red pepper on all sides until skin is blackened. Transfer to a plastic bag, and seal the bag, let stand for 10 minutes. Peel, stem and seed the pepper (if using a roasted pepper from a jar, skip this step).

Place pepper in food processor. Add cumin, coriander, garlic, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, salt, and tomato paste and puree until smooth. With motor running, drizzle in olive oil. This can be made and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or frozen up to 3 months.

For the chicken: In a large bowl, massage ½ cup red pepper harissa onto chicken, coating all sides.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a low-sided baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Place coated chicken on a low-sided baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 35 minutes. Drizzle chicken generously with honey and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until chicken reaches and internal temperature of 165°F, and is browned and caramelized.

Serve warm with any pan juices.

Standing Rib Roast

Serves 10

Extremely decadent and delicious but reserve this for special occasions like Yom Tov. It’s an expensive cut of meat so use this technique to ensure perfect cooking. It should be made right before serving and be careful with rewarming, make sure you do not overcook it.

  • 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • One (5-rib) 12- to 13-pound standing rib roast

Preheat oven to 450°F. In a small bowl, mix the mustard with the garlic, rosemary, thyme, pepper and kosher salt. Whisk in the olive oil.

Place meat in a roasting pan and season it lightly with additional salt and pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil. Roast the meat in the lower third of the oven for 20 minutes.

Remove the meat from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Brush the mustard mixture all over the top and sides of the meat. Return meat to oven and roast for an additional 1 1/2 hours, rotating the roasting pan 2 or 3 times for even browning. The meat is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the roast at the thickest part registers 125- 135°F (for rare). Transfer the roast to a carving board, cover it loosely with foil and let rest for 20 minutes.

Carve the roast 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and serve warm with accumulated pan juices.

Fresh Caramelized Apple and Cranberry Noodle Kugel

This recipe is from my best-selling cookbook, titled CELEBRATE, food, family, shabbos. It’s just one of the 200 + favorite recipes that are easy enough for everyday and special enough for any holiday. I make this kugel on Rosh Hashanah and often in the fall when cranberries are fresh and available. Buy extra bags of fresh cranberries and store in the freezer so you can make this any time of year.

Serves 12


  • 12 ounces extra-wide noodles
  • 4 tablespoons margarine, divided
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, chopped
  • 11/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup Tofutti sour cream
  • 3/4 cup vanilla soy milk
  • 11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

To prepare the kugel: Preheat oven to 350°∆F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add noodles and cook about 7 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and mix with 2 tablespoons of the margarine in a medium bowl.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons margarine in a large skillet over medium-heat heat. Add apples and cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft. Add cranberries and brown sugar; stir and cook about 4 minutes, until cranberries are cooked through but not popping open. Remove from heat and set aside.

Combine eggs, sugar, sour cream, soy milk, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl; whisk until smooth. Add reserved noodles and apple-cranberry mixture; stir to mix. Pour mixture into prepared pan. To prepare the topping: Combine flour, sugar, oats, oil, and cinnamon in a small bowl; mix well. Sprinkle over kugel. Bake about 1 hour, until set and cooked through. Best served warm.

Apple Poppy Seed Slaw

Photo by

Serves 8

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (12 ounce) bag shredded green cabbage
  • 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup shredded carrots
  • 1 lb. sweet red apples, such as Pink Lady, cut into matchsticks (about 3 cups)
  • ½ cup craisins
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegars, ground mustard, grated onion, honey, poppy seeds, salt, and pepper. Stir until combined. Toss the cabbage, onion, carrots, apples, craisins, and parsley with the dressing. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, if needed and serve.

Pomegranate Custard Tart

Photo by

Serves 12

This tart is fantastic with any type of fruit topping. Feel free to decorate it with mixed fresh fruit, cheat a little and use a berry pie filling or a lemon curd on top, or even add a chocolate or Lotus butter ganache. It has many wonderful uses, but for Rosh Hashanah I like to make the pomegranate topping or sometimes use some special “first” fruits decoratively over the top.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup margarine, room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar

Custard layer:

  • 1 ½ cups tofutti sour cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1½ tablespoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Pomegranate Topping:

  • 2 cups pomegranate seeds
  • ½ cup apricot preserves

For the crust: Preheat oven to 350°F.

In an electric mixer, cream flour, margarine, flour, sugar and vinegar, until well blended. . Press into bottom and sides of 10” tart pan. Bake until golden. (Alternatively, use 2 cups graham cracker crumbs, ½ cup melted margarine, ½ cup sugar. Mix together and press into a tart pan.)

For the filling: Preheat oven to 325°F. Whisk together the Tofutti sour cream, sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt until smooth. Pour into cooled tart shell. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until custard is just set. Cool to room temperature.

For the topping: Gently place the pomegranate seeds on top of the sweet custard cream. Melt apricot preserves in the microwave and brush the melted preserves over the pomegranate seeds. Refrigerate and serve.

Tart can be made 2 days ahead of time without pomegranate topping. Store in the refrigerator. Top with pomegranate seeds a few hours before serving.

Honey Oatmeal Cookies

Photo by food network

Makes 24 cookies

A better version of a plain honey cookie and moister oatmeal cookie. I add chips, raisins and nuts, because I love extra crunch and sweetness in a cookie.

  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup white or whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup raisins, chocolate chips, raisins or butterscotch chips or a combination

Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.

In an electric mixer, beat margarine with sugar until thoroughly blended. Mix in honey. Blend in egg and vanilla, mixing until smooth. In separate bowl, mix together oats, flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda; blend into honey mixture. Stir in raisins or chips.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto greased or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool 2 to 3 minutes before removing from baking sheet. Cool completely then store in an airtight container.

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