By Tina Wasserman
I don’t do Break Fast. I used to but I couldn’t stand thinking about my menu and setup while I was supposed to be praying and I wasn’t going to miss Neilah so that I could heat up the kugel. That said, I’ve been there and done that and I learned a very important lesson…LET PEOPLE HELP! I don’t mean in the kitchen, but someone can bring the fruit salad, someone can pick up the bagels (make sure they get them sliced because fasting hands shake too much to slice carefully) and someone can make the egg salad. Save the creative part of the menu — the baked goods (made in advance), the special casserole that you are known for and even the homemade challah (also made in advance) — for your own sense of accomplishment. Let the store make the whitefish salad or get the Acme brand at Costco, which is the best on the market (it is also the one that markets buy in bulk and then put in containers; they rarely make their own). Oh, and last, but not least, enjoy the few people you are with and the joy of embarking on a new year hopefully filled with good health and peace.
Tunisian Spiced Carrots
Since this carrot recipe can be made in advance and served at room temperature, and represents prosperity in the coming year, it is a perfect addition to your Break Fast even if you are breaking with meats.
- 1 pound carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon whole caraway seeds
- ½ tablespoon harissa, to taste
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 or more teaspoons red wine vinegar
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Fresh mint, finely chopped for garnish (optional)
1. Add ½ inch of water to a 3-quart saucepan. Lightly salt the water.
2. Add carrots and cook over moderate heat until tender when pierced with a fork. This should take 10-15 minutes.
3. Drain the carrots and place in a serving bowl.
4. Add the caraway seeds and harissa to the carrots and gently stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
5. Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a small, screw-top jar and shake to thoroughly combine. Let the dressing rest for 30 minutes, if possible, to allow the garlic to infuse the oil.
6. Pour dressing over carrots and toss well. Sprinkle with mint, if using, and serve.
Serves 4 or more as a side dish.
• Never use large amounts of water when cooking vegetables or you will lose some of the nutrients if the vitamins are water-soluble. Vitamin A, found in carrots, is actually fat-soluble but its color can fade in too much water.
• The garlic can be cracked open and added to the dish if you don’t want pieces throughout the finished product. Remove before serving or grate the garlic to make a paste.
This is a variation of the ubiquitous Sephardic almond macaroon. However, this is the Iraqi version because it includes cardamom and rosewater and it was traditionally served at the end of Yom Kippur.
- 8 ounces almond slivers
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons rose water
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Place almonds in a food processor workbowl and pulse the machine on and off to grind the nuts until they are fairly fine.
3. Add the sugar and pulse on and off 10 times to combine well and grind until very fine.
4. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse on and off until the mixture is well combined and a thick batter is formed.
5. Lightly shape into balls or drop by teaspoons onto the prepared cookie sheets. A sliver of almond is sometimes pressed into the top of the cookie before baking.
6. Bake for 14 minutes or until lightly golden. The longer you bake this cookie the harder it becomes. This is a matter of personal taste and strong teeth!
7. Store in a plastic bag when cool. Keeps for a week or more.
Makes about 2 to 3 dozen cookies.
• A good rule of thumb when buying nuts is the weight of the nuts will yield double by volume. This means, 8 ounces of nuts yields 2 cups of nuts.
• Never seal food in a plastic bag or container while still warm. The steam will make your product soggy. Reheat in oven to crisp it again before serving but only for 5 minutes or less.
• It is easy to find almond meal and this will save you all that time from grinding!
How about some good ol’ applesauce that tastes like it was just picked from a tree? Apples are now available from this season’s crops and are sweet instead of starchy. No peeling involved, which gives you a rosy color if your apples are bright red and can accompany dishes on your menu.
- 4-6 medium apples, preferably McIntosh or Gala or Jonagold
- ¼ to ½ cup water
- 2-inch cinnamon stick or ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup sugar (optional)
1. Core the apples and cut into eighths.
2. Cover the bottom of a 3-quart pot with ½ inch water. Place the apples and cinnamon stick in the water. Cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes or until apples are very tender.
3. Remove the cinnamon stick, reserve the water from the pot and place the apples in the basket of a food mill.
4. Following the manufacturer’s directions, use the medium disk and pass the apples through, leaving the skins in the basket. (A strainer would work as well.)
5. Add some of the reserved liquid and cool. Mixture will thicken.
6. If necessary, add sugar to taste and any additional cooking liquid. Serve.
NOTE: If you don’t own a food mill, just remove the skins by hand with a spoon before mashing.
• Because the perfume cells of the apple are in the skin, ALWAYS keep the skin on when making applesauce. The sauce will be naturally sweeter and not need any additional sugar.
• The pectin in the apple skin is a natural thickener. Sugar is therefore not necessary to bind the applesauce.