And Now We Stop to Blog – Rosh Hashanah 2010

September 8, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Rob Gardner

If I don’t sit down to blog, I might just doze off come tonight’s services.  I’ve been running around ragged.  It does not help that late last night and early this morning my attentions were directed at inchoate papers for both daughters.  It seems that AP English and Honors World History are family activities for the Local Family.  I did not touch the morning papers, moving right on to the extended walk for Molly the Eat Local Dog.  And I had to do some of the Twitter and other Beet business.  It’s been cooking since.

I like a big dinner for Rosh Hashanah.  After all, it’s the birthday of the world.  I like to go all out for this holiday for a couple of other reasons.  The holiday arrives at the peak of the seasonal bounty; it is not a holiday made up of storage crops.  Better, it is a holiday with no bitter after taste.  We don’t eat matzoh on the side.  That other High Holiday in ten days, Yom Kippur, also comes at harvest time, but one’s feast is adjusted for the 25 hour fast that follows.  It is the one time when Jewish custom demands bland food (which is supposed to make the fast easier).  The final thing I like about Rosh Hashanah eating is the abundance of symbolic foods associated with the holiday.  If my wife was not screaming at me to get a-goin’ and clean, I’d explain the deeper meanings of the leeks, the chard, the pomegranates, the carrots, the green, the sweetness, etc.  More over, my wife is not in the mood to yet again explain to me why we cannot serve a baked lamb’s head, no matter how meaningful it may have been over the centuries.

As is my custom, I’m the mezze man.  I got these done today:

  • Swiss chard with golden onions – The key to this recipe is to slowly cook down several onions (I use tropea).  When they are richly caramelized, you remove about 2/3rds from the pan.  The remaining 1/3rd are cooked into golden deliciousness.  Mix with boiled chard.  Add olive oil.  Add lemon at dinner time.
  • Green beans, leeks and carrots – It’s green, it’s leeky and it’s gelt-y (the carrots)
  • Black eye peas with bell peppers, jalepeno, red onion – You all know already, right, that the Southern tradition of eating black eye peas on New Year’s copied Jewish tradition of eating black eye peas on Rosh Hashanah.
  • Tomato confit – We had a lot of tomatoes in the bungalow.  I thought of simply using the allspice dressing a la the Jews of Alleppo (one of my favorite cookbooks), but my Vivacious Wife suggested this Moroccan themed dish.

The rest of the meal is in other’s hands.  There will be platters of fruits on the table, both for the tradition of apples and honey and the tradition to eat a “new fruit” of the season.  Besides apples, the fruit includes dates (very Talmudic!), figs and prickly pears (not local but in tribute to the land of my ancestors) and concord grapes (our new fruit).  Fish cooked in a spicy red sauce (what Sephardic Jews eat instead of gefilte fish*).  Chicken with confit garlic and almonds, Jerusalem kugel, oven roasted kale and maybe some squash round out the main courses.  Dessert is cornmeal poundcake with peach compote (and don’t tell anyone, whipped cream).

Happy New Year!

*Although the whole Local Family is of Ashkenazi heritage, we lean Sephardic in the kitchen.