Rosh Hashanah Menu

May 9, 2009

12 min read


Chef Hershel's culinary recommendations.

Rosh Hashana. The days are cooler, kids are back in school and this year we need to prepare seven meals. Well, it's a good time to implement change into my life. A time to be more organized, more calm, and better prepared than other years. And I cannot forget to be thankful and joyous -- a truly difficult task, but a great time to start.

First, just a reminder: It's traditional that we begin the evening with special foods that have a symbolic allusion for good. Next reminder: It's also traditional to stay away from using nuts, bitter or especially spicy flavorings like lemon, dill, hot pepper and horseradish, in order to have a sweet year.

I went through all of my recipes and pulled out all the ideas I think would be appropriate to use. Fun foods, old faithfuls, new ideas and recipes I haven't used in a while. I put them in order, combining which recipes complement each other and then dividing them into seven complete meals, keeping in mind diversity, ease of preparation, what can keep well, reheat well, as well as which ones can be made in advance and frozen.

Order and purchase early and make a schedule of preparation.

Good luck, and may you have a good and sweet year!

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Deviled Eggs with Smoked Salmon and Green Onions

Smoked salmon enhances this innovative version of a classic. Potato stands in for half of the yolks to cut fat and cholesterol.

  • 1 8- to 9-oz. russet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil (preferably extra-virgin)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsps. whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsps. minced smoked salmon (about 1 oz.)
  • 3 tbsps. finely chopped green onions

Cook potato in pot of boiling salted water until very tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Cool potato.

Meanwhile, place eggs in medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring to boil. Cover, remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes. Drain. Rinse eggs with cold water until cool. Peel oil shells. Halve eggs lengthwise. Reserve 3 egg yolks for another use. Combine remaining 3 yolks, potato, oil, lemon juice and mustard in medium bowl. Mash with fork until well blended. Stir in 2 tbsps. salmon and 1 1/2 tbsps. green onions. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide potato-and-yolk mixture among hard boiled egg white halves, mounding slightly. (Eggs can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)

Garnish eggs with 2 tbsps. salmon and 1 1/2 tbsps. green onions.

Makes 12 servings.

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  • 2 lemon sole fillets (2 lb. total), each cut in half crosswise
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 tsps. salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup parve milk
  • 3/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs.
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsps. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 tbsps. olive oil
  • 1 tbs. unsalted butter

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 200°F. Combine fish, half of lemon slices, wine, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a shallow dish. Marinate, covered, at room temperature 30 minutes.

Whisk together egg, milk, and ¼ tsp. salt in another shallow dish. Stir together bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, pepper and remaining ¼ tsp. salt in a shallow bowl.

Dip fish pieces, 1 at a time, in egg mixture, letting excess drip off, then dredge in bread-crumb mixture, shaking off excess. Transfer to a sheet of wax paper, arranging fish in 1 layer.

Heat 2 tbsps. oil and 1/2 tbsp. butter in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then fry 2 pieces of fish, turning over once, until golden and just cooked through, 4-5 minutes total. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in oven, then cook remaining 2 pieces of fish in remaining 2 tbsps. oil and 1/2 tbsp. butter in same manner. Serve fish with remaining lemon slices.

Makes 4 servings.

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Marinated Mushrooms

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
  • 2 lbs. small mushrooms, stems trimmed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsps. plus 2 tsps. red wine vinegar
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves

Heat oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic; saute until golden, about 6 minutes. Discard garlic. Increase heat to medium-high. Add mushrooms and parsley; saute until mushrooms are golden, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Cool to room temperature. Transfer to container; cover and chill until cold. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.) Drain mushrooms before serving.

Makes 12 servings

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Jicama, Long Beans, and Cherry Tomato Salad

Jicama [HEE-kah-mah]
(Jicama is often referred to as the Mexican potato, this large, bulbous root vegetable has a thin brown skin and white crunchy flesh. Its sweet, nutty flavor is good both raw and cooked. I use zucchini when jicama is not available.)

Prep time: 20 minutes. Cook time: 8 minutes.

  • 1 lb. long beans, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 2 tbsps. rice vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/3 cup safflower oil
  • 2 tbsps. Asian sesame oil
  • 1 jicama, about 2 lbs. peeled and cut into 2 x 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 pt. baskets of tomatoes

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook long beans until tender but still crisp, about 8 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water until cool.

In a bowl, combine vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk in safflower oil and sesame oil. In 3 separate bowls, toss long beans, jicama and cherry tomatoes in dressing.

On a round serving platter, mound long beans in center. Arrange jicama around beans and tomatoes around jicama to form a tricolored platter.

Makes 6-8 servings.

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Chopped Spinach with Toasted Sesame Seeds

Using a salad spinner makes short work of washing fresh spinach, which usually requires several changes of water. Start by filling the spinner bowl with water. Then fill the basket with spinach, submerge it in the water; and stir the spinach to release dirt. Lift the basket out and repeat with fresh water.

  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 5 large (8- to 9-oz.) bunches of fresh spinach, stem ends and roots trimmed, rinsed well
  • 4 tsps. oriental sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce

Place sesame seeds in heavy skillet; sprinkle lightly with salt. Stir over medium heat until seeds are light golden, about 6 minutes. Set aside.

Line large colander with kitchen towel. Pack spinach, with water still clinging to leaves, into heavy large pot. Cook over high heat until wilted but still bright green, turning spinach with tongs for even cooking, about 4 minutes. Transfer spinach to prepared colander. Cool slightly.

Wrap towel around spinach and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Transfer spinach to work surface and chop coarsely. Place in medium bowl. Add sesame oil, vinegar, and hot pepper sauce. Toss to blend evenly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahed. Let stand at room temperature.)

Makes 8 servings.

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Chilled Herbed Tomato Soup with Citrus and Spice

  • 2 tbsps. olive oil
  • 5 14 1/2-oz. cans diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 tbsps. minced lemongrass (available at Southeast Asian markets and at some supermarkets)
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsps. honey
  • 2 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt broth
  • 1 cup dry wine
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (Cilantro are the bright green leaves and stems of the coriander plant. The Hebrew name is cuzbara.)
  • 2 tbsps. chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tsps. grated lime peel
  • 2 tbsps. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsps. aquavit or vodka
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh arugula

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-low heat. Add tomatoes with their juice, shallots, lemongrass, ginger and garlic; simmers until liquid evaporates, about 12 minutes. Add honey and simmer until mixture is very thick, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Add chicken stock and next 5 ingredients. Simmer 30 minutes.

Working in batches, strain soup into large bowl, pressing on solids to release juice. Discard solids. Season soup with salt and pepper. Chill soup at least 8 hours.

Stir lemon juice and aquavit into soup. Garnish with arugula.

Makes 6 servings.

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Lentil Soup

  • 12 chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 2 tbsps. red wine
  • 2 tbsps. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsps. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 tbsps. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seed
  • 1 medium to large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. tumeric
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 6 ozs. red lentils, washed
  • 5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds, and when they begin to pop, add the onion and cook until golden. Add the garlic, carrots, and celery, and cook gently for 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients and cook 1 minute, then add the lentils.

Pour in the stock. Add the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat immediately and let it simmer for one hour. Remove the bay leaf.

When you serve it, garnish it with fresh onion rings, or finely chopped scallions.

Makes 6 servings.

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Pupiettes de Beef

Slice beef while partially frozen, approximately 3 ozs. each. Tenderize with meat hammer. Place filling on slice roll and secure with toothpick. Cook with sauce of your choice.

Filling #1:

  • onions, sliced
  • 6 sweet pickles, sliced
  • 6 slices smoked turkey

Fry together for 2 minutes.

Filling #2:

  • mustard
  • sweet pickles, sliced
  • 2 cooked carrots

Filling #3:

  • 6 ozs. ground chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup parve cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook until tender.

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Rolled Turkey Roast

  • 2 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 2 1/2 lb. (1 kg. 250 g) turkey loin, with barding fat
  • 7 shallots, peeled and halved
  • 3 Italian peppers, trimmed and cut in 1/2-inch lengths
  • 2 red onions, cut in eighths
  • 2 dried, imported bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat the olive oil in a flame-proof baking dish, and when it is hot but not smoking, brown the turkey sides, which will take about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the shallots and the onions to season the roast and the vegetables to your liking with salt and pepper. Crush the bay leaf and sprinkle it over turkey roast, along with fresh thyme leaves.

Cover and place on the center rack in the oven. Cook until the roast is firm to the touch and cooked through one hour, checking it occasionally to be sure the onions or shallots aren't sticking to the bottom of the pan, simply add a tablespoon or two of water and continue cooking.

Remove from the oven, remove the cover and let it sit for at least 10 minutes, to allow the juices to retreat from the meat. Slice and serve, with the shallots and onions alongside.

Makes 6 servings.

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Mashed Potatoes with Cilantro and Roasted Peppers

  • 6 roasted peppers - 2 green, 2 red, 2 yellow
  • 4 lbs. russet potatoes (about 6 large), peeled, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled, bruised
  • 1 cup warm parve cream
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup chopped fine cilantro

Char peppers over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Wrap in paper bag and let stand 10 minutes. Peel and seed chilies; chop coarsely.

Cook potatoes and garlic in large pot of boiling salted water until very tender; about 35 minutes. Drain. Transfer potatoes and garlic to bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until mixture is smooth. Gradually beat in cream. Add margarine and beat until melted. Stir in peppers and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 8 servings.

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Skillet Potatoes with Red Onion and Chives

  • 2 lbs. small red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled
  • 5 tbsps. olive oil
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well. Cover and chill until cold, at least 3 hours or overnight. Cut potatoes into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and red onion and saute until potatoes are brown and crisp, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer potato mixture to serving dish. Sprinkle with chives.

Makes 6 servings.

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Coffee Granita with White Chocolate Cream

In Italy, coffee granita is served in tall glasses filled halfway with granita and topped with whipped cream. We've added some white chocolate and anise-flavored liqueur.

  • 4 cups freshly brewed strong coffee (made from 6 cups water and 2 1/2 cups ground Fresh roast coffee)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. grated orange peel
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. sambuca or other anise-flavored liqueur

Stir first 4 ingredients in a bowl until the sugar dissolves. Pour into 13 X 9 X 2 metal pan. Chill 2 hours; mix in sambuca.

Freeze coffee mixture until icy at edge of pan, about 45 minutes. Whisk to distribute frozen portions evenly. Freeze again until icy at edge of pan and overall texture is slushy, about 45 minutes. Whisk to distribute frozen portions evenly. Then freeze until solid, about 3 hours. Using fork, scrape granita down length of pan, forming icy flakes. Freeze at least 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; keep frozen.)

Top with 2 cups parve whipping cream.

Makes 8 servings.

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