Gayle Schindler

With Rosh Hashana only a few days away, you probably have your menu set and, if you read my last column, most of it prepared and frozen already. Here are a few recipes for last minute items, including a couple of cocktails to welcome your guests and a sweet dip for a little forshpeis – a little taste – to enjoy while you’re waiting for everyone to arrive. 

I wish you and yours a Shana Tova u’Metukah – A Sweet and Good Year – filled with happiness, health, good fortune, and lots of great meals.

Pomegranate Cocktail

Recipe is for one cocktail. Simply multiply to make a pitcher.

Ingredients

1 ounce vodka

1 ounce Pama pomegranate liqueur

2 ounces Pom pomegranate juice or more if it’s too strong for your taste

Splash of seltzer or club soda

Directions

1. Mix first 3 ingredients in a tall glass filled with ice. 

2. Top with splash of seltzer or club soda.

If you are making a pitcher, leave the ice and seltzer or club soda out and top each glass individually. If you have any leftover, it will keep in the fridge for a week.

Maple Bourbon Cider

Recipe is for one cocktail. You can multiply the amounts to make a pitcher, but shake the bourbon, maple syrup, and lemon juice with ice before adding to the pitcher; then stir in the cider. If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, stir the first three ingredients, with ice, vigorously, before adding the cider. Shaking with ice is an essential step in making cocktails that contain citrus. The shaking and the booze dissolve some of the ice, adding water to the cocktail.

Ingredients

2 ounces bourbon

½ ounce real maple syrup

½ ounce fresh lemon juice

4 ounces apple cider

Directions

1. Add all ingredients to metal cup of shaker set.

2. Add ice, cover with the pint glass – set into the cup at an angle. Shake vigorously.3. Strain over ice. Garnish with an apple slice.

Tahini Honey Dip

This is SO easy to make. For a pre-dinner snack with cocktails, serve as a dip with sweeter vegetables, such as carrot, red pepper, and jicama. For a simple, healthful dessert, serve with fruit.

Tip: When measuring sticky things like syrup, honey, and tahini, spray your cup or spoon with oil. The sticky ingredient will slide out easily.

Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

1 pound silken tofu (open package over sink)

¼ cup plain tahini

2 tablespoon honey

Orange zest for garnish

Directions

1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, fitted with a metal blade.

2. Process until ingredients are mixed together and tofu is smooth.

3. Garnish with orange zest.

Butternut Squash Soup

This soup is very easy to make, perfectly seasonal, and a good choice if you have any vegetarian guests. Reheat on low and watch to make sure it doesn’t boil or scorch.

If you have time for a garnish, cook shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas) in a little canola oil in a non-stick pan for a few minutes, until they begin to brown and smell toasty. This can be done a day or two ahead. Sprinkle on top of hot soup. Makes about 3 quarts; Serves 6 to 10, depending on the rest of the menu.

Recipe adapted from “Sundays at Moosewood.”

Ingredients

1 med to large butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed

1 large onion, chopped

2 tablespoon canola oil

¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated if possible

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh, chopped

2 bay leaves

1 medium carrot, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

1½ cup vegetable broth or water

1½ cup tomato juice

1 cup apple cider

1 cup orange juice

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Place the halved squash on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or foil. Roast 45 minutes to 1 hour, until soft. 

3. Scoop out pulp and discard skin.

4. Meanwhile in a large pot, saute the onion in the oil with the nutmeg, cinnamon, thyme, and bay leaves until onion is translucent.

5. Add the carrot and celery and broth or water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until carrots are tender – about 10 to 15 minutes.

6. Remove the bay leaves and add the cooked squash. Use an immersion blender in the pot (or transfer to a food processor) to puree everything. 

7. Add the juices, re-blend or stir to combine.

8. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Pan Braised Brussels Sprouts

You can prep Brussels sprouts two ways; always start by cutting off any brown bottoms. One way is to cut the sprouts in half or quarters, depending on their size. The pieces should all be the same size, so they cook evenly. You can also shred the sprouts in a food processor, fitting with the slicing blade at the top. If you shred them, cut cooking time by almost half. Regardless, after you close the lid, check the sprouts at 3-minute intervals and stop cooking when they are soft, but still retain their bright green color. It’s OK if they still have a little crunch at the center.

This is a simple recipe that is best made at the last minute. If you make them ahead and then reheat, the poor sprouts will turn grey and mushy, which is why many people don’t like them. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Ingredients

1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts

3 tablespoon canola oil

6 to 8 ounces peeled, roasted chestnuts, usually found in a foil bag package

1 cup vegetable broth

2 tablespoon Dijon style mustard

2 tablespoon whole seed mustard

Salt and pepper to taste, usually more pepper than salt

Directions

In a large non-stick skillet over high heat, heat the oil and brown the sprouts for 5 to 7 minutes, until most of them have one side that is quite brown and they smell toasty. Shake the pan often and keep an eye on them.

Add broth, mustard, and chestnuts; turn burner to low and cover skillet. 

Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, checking them every few minutes to make sure they retain their bright green color.

Season with salt & pepper. Serve hot.

If you questions about food, email Gayle at food@americanisraelitete.com

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