Hello again. Rosh Hashanah is getting closer, and I didn’t want you to think that just because I am the butcher’s wife, all I know how to cook is meat. In fact the joke is that when I met Peter, I was vegetarian. He slowly coaxed me into eating meat, but to this day, I often cook without meat, and I have always cooked vegetables and side dishes with every meal I serve. Growing up my mom always served a starch, a green vegetable and an “orange” vegetable with every meal, and I guess I kept the tradition going, and still do most nights. I do however tend to serve fresh salad more than she did, Mom and Dad I hope that you can see what I am doing from wherever you are, and you know how much you both inspired my love of cooking. Mom you were an amazing cook, and Dad I will never forget how you made Es and I cook Sunday night dinners for you (from the age of 8 or so) and how you would grade us. I guess it payed off!
What would Rosh Hashanah be without some delicious potato dish? I have tried for many years to develop the perfect potato kugel recipe, and finally I had a brilliant idea! My potato latkes always go down very well, so why couldn’t I use the recipe for them for my kugel? Then I thought, how could I get the top and bottom of my kugel to be crispy? Follow my recipe and you will see.
Potato Kugel (serves 8)
5 medium size russet potatoes
1 small onion
¼ cup self-rising flour
2 tsp. kosher salt (potaotes need a lot of salt)
½ tsp. black pepper
3 extra large eggs
½ cup olive oil
Squeeze it tightly to remove any excess liquid from the potato and onion mix.
Return the vegetables to a mixing bowl and add the flour, salt and pepper.
Mix well until the flour is well blended into the vegetables.
Add the eggs and mix well.
Pour ¼ cup olive oil over the bottom of a baking dish making sure the entire surface is covered with a thin layer of oil.
Pour the potato mixture on top of the oil and press it into the dish so that the entire dish is filled evenly.
Pour the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil on top of the potato mixture.
Bake at 400 F for 35 minutes.
Take a fork and pierce the top of the kugel in a number of parts to allow the excess oil to seep in and crisp the center of the kugel. Bake an additional 5- 10 minutes. The top and bottom of the kugel should be brown and crispy.
Remove from oven and let it stand for 5 minutes before cutting into serving portions.
Not everyone likes potato kugel, and more often than not on Shabbat or Yom Tov I make roast potatoes.They certainly are my daughter’s favorite, especially when they get all crispy. She just loves picking the crispy pieces off.
Quantities are hard to give for potatoes as I find that people eat a lot of them. This recipe should feed 8 people comfortably.
8 medium size potatoes (russet, white, or gold)
Lawry’s Garlic Powder
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp. dried rosemary flakes
Peel the potatoes and place in a bowl of cold water so they don’t go brown.
Remove potatoes from the water and dry thoroughly on paper towel.
Slice potatoes into wedges (I usually cut the potato into quarters and if they are too big I may cut the quarters in half again) and place in a baking dish.
Drizzle with olive oil. Do not soak them in olive oil, but make sure the bottom of the dish is covered in a very thin layer of oil.
Season well with salt, paprika, and garlic powder and toss the potatoes in the oil to coat all sides.
Sprinkle chopped rosemary on top. Mix together.
Bake at 350 F for at least an hour. Half way through turn the potatoes once. Do not turn them again. Let them continue cooking for at least an hour or until really crispy. Can stay in oven for as long as you need them to (1-2 hours) but at this temperature. If you are cooking at a higher temperature, you can roast them in the same oven, but just adjust timing and make sure they don’t burn.
Note: I often substitute baby potatoes or small red or other new potatoes. I do not peel those potatoes and if they are very small, I leave them whole, or I cut the small/new potatoes into small chunks and follow the same recipe, but I cook them for and hour to an hour 15 minutes.
Carrot, Sweet Potato, and Mango Tzimmes
My friend Merle in Cape Town once gave me her delicious carrot tzimmes recipe. You have to have tzimmes on Rosh Hashanah right? Well, I asked her permission to use it on my blog, and she kindly sent it to me, but as I was about to make it and take some pictures, I realized that I was missing some key ingredients, so once again I had to think on my feet. The result turned out so delicious, I have decided to include my recipe, and I will keep Merle’s for a different time.
1 1-lb. bag of peeled carrots
3 medium sweet potatoes
2 large mangoes
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup flour or you can use potato flour for those who follow a gluten free diet
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 heaped tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Peel sweet potatoes and cut into small chunks, put in a mixing bowl.
Cut peeled carrots into similar size chunks and add to sweet potatoes.
Peel and slice mangoes into similar size chunks and set aside.
Drizzle the olive oil over the carrot mixture and coat vegetables lightly with the oil.
Add the honey and stir well.
Add all other seasonings, and once again mix well.:
Lastly lightly fold in the mango pieces, being careful not to mash them.
Place mixture into a casserole dish and cover well with aluminum foil.
Bake at 350 for at least 2 hours, or until vegetables are soft and glazed. I mixed the vegetables once during the cooking time. Can be left in a low oven for a long time.
This dish freezes well.
Last but not least some delicious fresh salads. I could not help making this beet salad when I saw all the farm fresh vegetables this week. I am not a lover of fennel, but in this salad it just gives the kick it needs. Also don’t think I forgot to dress my vegetable salad, or wonder why I did not include a salad dressing, it is intentional. I feel there are so many different sauces, and flavors at such a meal, and I love enhancing the taste of food with fresh herbs from my yard, that I felt the salad tastes just perfect the way it is.
Beet, Orange and Endive Salad
1 bunch beets
4 medium oranges
1 small bulb of fennel
+ 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
6 – 8 leaves of Bib lettuce or a similar lettuce that has round, soft leaves.
Cut beets from their stems, wash and wrap each beet in some aluminum foil.
Place the wrapped beets into a baking dish and bake at 350 F for 35 – 40 minutes or until beets are soft.
Remove from the oven and open foil and allow beets to cool.
Meanwhile peel the oranges. I find that if I use a serrated knife, the skin peels easily and it removes the white pith from the orange at the same time. I suggest too that you do this over the salad bowl, so that any juice from the orange goes straight into the bowl.
Take a sharp paring knife and cut into each orange segment, removing it from the membranes, and place each segment into the salad bowl. Once you have removed all the segments, squeeze the remaining pith and membranes to extract all the juice.
When the beets are cool, peel them with the paring knife and slice into small segments, the size and shape of the orange pieces. Add to the oranges.
Remove the fronds from the fennel and take off the outer peel. Thinly slice a small bulb of fennel and add to the oranges and beets.
Season with salt and pepper and add the vinegar.
Stir gently to mix well and cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate and cool.
This salad is best made a few hours or day in advance as the ingredients turn a beautiful color as they marinade.
Serve on a bed of bibb lettuce or a similar lettuce that has round, soft leaves.
Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Fresh Herbs
1 small punnet grape tomatoes
3 crisp persian cucumbers
2 green onions/ scallions
2 Tbs. fresh basil chopped in ribbons
2 Tbs. chopped mint
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash all the ingredients well. Make sure to dry the fresh herbs thoroughly before you slice them or they will turn brown.
Slice tomatoes in half and place in a small salad bowl.
Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and then cut into small chunks. Add to tomatoes.
Chop the white and some of the green part of the scallion into small rings and add to vegetables.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the fresh herbs. Blend all the ingredients together and cover and refrigerated to let the flavors blend.
Serve decorated with fresh mint leaves.
Avocado Pear Salad
4 medium ripe avocados
juice of 1 lemon
3/4 tsp. hot sauce
½ tsp. coarse salt
½ tsp. celery salt
½ tsp. onion salt
½ tsp. black pepper
2 Tbs. Mayonaise
Dash Paprika for garnishing
Cut avocados in half and remove the pit. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon and place in a mixing bowl.
Mash the avocado finely, but not completely smooth. I like the consistency to be the kind that you can see was hand mashed. (If you like it smoother, you can use a food processor to mix alll the ingredients until it is smooth, more like a dip consistency.)
Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Place into a serving dish and sprinkle paprika over the top to garnish.
Happy cooking and Beteiavon!