What’s one dish you make that utilizes one of the simanim?
Head of a lamb! I make lamb cheeks with gourd (squash), carrots, chickpeas, and raisins (three simanim in one go). I put Swiss chard in a quiche, and I make black-eyed peas — most Sephardim stew them with meat, but my family prefers a recipe I found years ago as a cold salad, mixed with celery, bell peppers, scallions, and a vinaigrette. Take your pick!
We make carrot dill soup and leek pinwheels.
Carrot cauliflower soup with leeks —so healthy, so good.
—Sarah Faygie Berkowitz
I make my regular shabbos chicken soup and add the beet, carrot, squash, and leek into it; it gives everything a delicious taste.
—Chaya Perel Nojowitz
I make an amazing date cake with a crunchy topping that my family looks forward to every year. I contributed the recipe to Mishpacha over a decade ago! It’s absolutely my family’s favorite cake, and I make it just once a year. It’s a patchke because you have to check the dates (they’re sometimes infested). We have it for kiddush before shofar. It doesn’t taste like dates because they melt into the batter and keep it super moist. The crunchy topping adds to the flavor and takes it to the next level.
What’s your go-to Yom Tov dessert?
Homemade pistachio ice cream is a hassle to make but definitely a favorite at my house, so I try to make it as a treat for Yom Tov. (Thanks to Mrs. Fried for this delicious winner of a recipe!)
I make a lot of Nesspresso shots and fold them into barely-
melted vanilla ice cream. Strong coffee flavor is essential. Then I make a crunch (also essential). I’ve done toasted coconut added to sweet crumbs and then baked. You can also add Viennese crunch — also delicious. Candied nuts (if you have them this time of year) well carmelized and then crushed always makes a great topping.
Do you have any beautiful Yom Tov minhagim to share?
We do a Rosh Hashanah seder. I make small appetizers using all the simanim and we say all the Yehi ratzons that go with them. Everyone goes around the table and leads one of them. We have the same friends who join us every year, and we all look forward to it.
What’s your signature Rosh Hashanah round challah shape?
I like to do a batch of these cute pomegranates to have in the freezer all Tishrei! Just roll a ball of challah, place into a sprayed muffin tin, then roll a second very small ball and make perpendicular cuts with kitchen shears for the top.
I don’t usually do anything complicated, but I saw this idea going around, and it was too easy (and too cute) not to try. Roll a small amount of challah into a long rope. Using a rolling pin, flatten out the rope. Then slice the rope almost into two vertically, leaving about an inch of space at the top. Roll the almost-detached rope up, like you would for a cinnamon bun. Open up the two sides of the roll and you’ll have what looks like an apple with a stem and leaf on top. I added red food coloring to the egg wash to give it a hint of apple color.
I shape the dough into seven medium balls and place them in a 9-inch (23-cm) round, with one ball in the middle. I learned this from my sister. It’s a no-fail method for really pretty round challos.
Any tips on serving from the kitchen to the succah?
I like to use a soup tureen so I don’t have to bring the hot bowls of soup to the table one by one.
I find plating at least one course helps with the heavy load of washing dishes after so many meals. I also find I make less options when I plate since I usually feel I have to offer more options when I’m serving on platters. I usually don’t plate when I have company, but when it’s just family it’s a time-saver on all ends!
(Originally featured in Family Table, Special Tishrei Issue 810)
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