Smells of a Jewish kitchen at the High Holidays is certain to stir up memories of times past. As sweet as it feels, it is time to update your palate and pantry for the new millennium. All of my High Holiday menus represent tradition, but I also add new gourmet twists that are sure to catch the attention of your kids and grandkids. Who knows? They may even put down their phones.
If your mother was like mine, you never saw her sit down at the table. These days, every
moment spent with busy families is priceless. Now I plan ahead and do lots of prep, so that I can actually talk to my guests when they arrive. For a quick but fancy touch to my table, I take one 14-by-90-inch piece of fabric (from Wal-Mart or a discount fabric store) and coordinate it with my dishes and tablecloth. This “runner” gives your holiday table a whole new look.
I still have wonderful memories of my mother and aunts making homemade gefilte fish and gently (or not so gently) arguing about how much white pepper to put into it. I loved when my mother would talk about her own mother keeping a live carp in the bathtub. But times do change. I need things easier and faster, and frozen gefilte fish fills the bill. There is even a new one already salt-and-pepper flavored! It may not be your mother’s gefilte fish, but it is still fabulous.
Apples dipped in honey don’t seem to thrill the grandkids these days, so I update this staple with dishes of assorted flavored honeys that I ask them to rate from 1 to 10.
If you haven’t incorporated pareve Puff Pastry into your cooking, 5776 is the year! You can wrap almost anything in Puff Pastry. See my easy pot roast recipe served in Puff Pastry shells. It made the biggest hit at a recent Shabbat dinner. You can also wrap slices of semi-frozen gefilte fish in it, brush with an egg wash and bake until brown. This is not your mother’s gefilte fish — but it is sensational.
Rosh Hashanah seems to fast forward right into Yom Kippur break-fast. I wanted to incorporate my Russian roots and experimented making forshmak. It is a Russian herring dish, and you can often buy it in the Russian stores. But I made my own and found the secret was to soak the herring in cold water overnight. It was easy, not salty and a real treat for some old- and new-timers. L’shona Tova to all for a healthy and peaceful 5776.