Here at Short Order, we like to avoid topics related to religion, for no other reason than that this is a blog about food. But the Jewish New Year -- that's Rosh Hashanah, to all the gentiles out there -- is this week, and it's one that merits some discussion.
If the Jewish people are good at one thing, it's turning their religion into an entire feast-centric culture. In fact, the Talmud (a central text of Rabbinic Judaism) says, "There can be no joy without food or drink." Well, true that.
See also: How to Buy Local Honey for Rosh Hashanah
During Rosh Hashanah, especially, the celebration is all about culinary symbolism, starting with the cornerstone of the two-day holiday: apples and honey. Strange foodie metaphors abound during the traditional dinner -- from the head of a fish, which represents coming out on top this year, to the pomegranates, whose seeds are as plentiful as the good deeds we're supposed to fulfill -- but the idea of apples with honey is straightforward: a sweet combo for a sweet new year.
While apples dipped in honey are as simple and sweet as it gets, there's no denying that it can get you into sticky situations. Here are four new ways to eat apples and honey, as provided by Rabbi Marc Philippe at Temple Emanu-El in South Beach.
4. Tomato Apple Juice with Honey
Recipe courtesy of TarlaDalal.com
1/2 cup chopped apples
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tsp honey
4 to 6 ice cubes
1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender with 1 cup of water and blend until it is smooth.
2. Pour into 2 glasses and serve immediately.
3. Honey apple granola crisp
Recipe courtesy of SmittenKitchen.com
3 pounds of your favorite apples, peeled, cored, and cut into medium chunks
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons sugar (you can choose to add less sugar, or no sugar)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup flour
2 cups oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened, as you wish)
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix apple chunks with lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and pinch of salt in a 9×13-inch baking dish until apples are evenly coated. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the honey.
2. Stir in the flour, oats, almonds, coconut and another pinch of salt until clumps form. Sprinkle evenly over the apple mixture and bake in the oven for about 45 to 55 minutes, or until the apples are softened and bubbly.
3. Should the granola brown before you wish it to, cover the baking dish carefully with foil for all but the last few minutes of baking time, when removing the foil will help the granola get crisp. Cool to room temperature and then stash in the fridge to eat with your morning yogurt.
2. Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Green Apple, and Honey
Recipe courtesy of MarthaStewart.com
1 1/2 pounds red beets, tops removed and scrubbed
8 ounces baby Chioggia beets, tops removed and scrubbed with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons grape seed or safflower oil
3 tablespoons pure honey
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
1 green apple
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
2 cups sprouts or micro greens, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place red beets in a baking dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer and add enough water to come three quarters of the way up sides of beets. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt and drizzle with grapeseed oil. Cover with foil and bake until tender and easily pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.
2. Transfer beets to a cutting board. When just cool enough to handle, remove skins, cut into 1/4-inch slices, and transfer to a bowl.
3. Meanwhile, place baby beets in small saucepan and cover with 2 inches cold water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender and easily pierced with a knife, about 25 minutes. Drain beets. When just cool enough to handle, remove skins; cut into halves or wedges, depending on size; and transfer to another bowl.
4. Whisk together honey, olive oil, and 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Add 1 teaspoon salt and season with pepper.
5. Reserve 1/4 cup dressing. Divide remaining dressing between bowls of warm beets. Toss beets to coat.
6. Halve lemon and squeeze juice into a bowl of cold water. Drop lemon halves in it. Peel apple, cut into small pieces (you should have about 1 cup), and submerge in lemon water. 7. When ready to serve, drain apple and blot dry. Arrange beets on a serving platter and drizzle with reserved dressing. Top with apple, goat cheese, and sprouts and serve immediately.
1. Apple and Honey Cake
Recipe courtesy of TheShiska.com
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups all purpose baking flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp allspice
Dash of ground cloves
4 apples - peeled, cored, and shredded
1 cup + 3 tbsp powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1-2 tbsp non-dairy creamer
9 inch Bundt cake pan
Wire cooling rack
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until they are frothy. Whisk in the honey, white sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla. In a separate medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and spices. Incorporate the flour mixture into the liquid. Stir to blend.
2. Fold in the shredded apples.
3. Spray your Bundt pan with cooking spray, making sure to evenly coat the entire inner surface. Pour your batter into the pan. Bundt pan depths vary, so make sure the batter fills the pan ¾ full or less. Do not fill beyond ¾ or your cake might overflow during baking. Use a spatula to gently push the batter to the outside of the pan, pushing slightly up the walls. This will help to get rid of any air pockets that might interfere with the pretty details of the pan. Smooth the batter on the top so it is flat and even all the way around the pan.
4. Bake cake in preheated oven for 75-90 minutes. When the edges darken and pull fully away from the sides of the pan, and the cake browns all the way across the surface, insert a toothpick deep into the thickest part of the cake. If it comes out clean, it's done. It's a very moist cake, so it's easy to undercook it- err on the side of caution and let it bake a little longer if you're unsure (but don't bake it for too long or it will dry out).
5. Let the cake cool for exactly 10 minutes, and then invert it onto a flat plate. Tap the Bundt pan gently to release the cake. If your cake sticks, use a plastic knife to carefully loosen the cake around the center tube and sides. Allow cake to cool completely (very important to let it cool before frosting).
6. Now it's time to decorate your cake. Decorate this cake the same day you serve it; the cake is moist so it tends to "soak up" the powdered sugar, plus the icing looks prettier fresh. To keep things neat, do this part on a wire cooling rack with a piece of parchment paper underneath to catch extra sugar/drips. You can simply do it on a plate if you prefer. 7. First, put 3 tbsp of powdered sugar into a handheld mesh strainer or sifter. Sprinkle sugar onto the top of the cake by tapping the strainer or sifting to release an even shower of sugar around the surface of the cake.
8. Next, make your drizzle icing. Sift 1 cup of powdered sugar into a mixing bowl. Add ¼ tsp of vanilla extract and 1 tbsp non-dairy creamer to the bowl. Stir with a whisk or fork to blend. Add additional non-dairy creamer by teaspoonfuls, mixing constantly, until the mixture has the texture of very thick honey. You want the icing to be quite thick, but still pourable. When you can drizzle the icing in stripes across the surface, and it takes a few seconds for those drizzles to dissolve back into the icing, the texture is right.
9. Place a Ziploc bag inside a tall water glass, open end facing upward and wrapped around the edge of the glass, so there is an open space for easy filling. Pour the icing into the Ziploc bag. Close the bag, leaving a small bit open to vent. Guide the icing towards one of the lower corners of the bag. Cut the very top of that corner off the bag. Drizzle the icing in a zigzag pattern around the cake by squeezing the Ziploc bag gently to release the glaze.
10. Allow icing to dry completely before serving. This usually takes about 30-60 minutes. Slice and enjoy.
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Maybe you've looked through all these recipes, but you're still not feeling the idea of preparing an entire meal for your mishpacha (translation: the fam) this Jewish New Year. We've got you covered. Temple Emanu-El will be hosting a Rosh Hashanah dinner on Wednesday and Thursday evenings ($50 for non-members and $90 for non-member couples) under the direction of Andrew Jacobs, student at the Miami Culinary Institute. It includes a festive Kiddush (that means wine, by the way), apples and honey, and other traditional symbolic foods. You'll find pomegranate seeds in your salad, and crusted salmon or blackened Mahi Mahi as the fish of choice. For more information, visit Temple Emanu-El's website.