My memory is of the general flurry of activity that took place before every Rosh Hashana. The purchase of new clothing and shoes for the New Year. The smell of chicken soup cooking on the stove, and round challas baking in the oven of my mother’s kitchen. My mother standing over mounds of dough that she rolled and cut into various shaped noodles. I remember her taking the noodles and tossing them into the air, like confetti. They would separate and land on the large wooden board, left there to air dry for hours. Little square noodles for soup, and long thin noodles for kugels or a dairy meal. The wonderful aroma of apples and cinnamon baking inside a cake. The live carp swimming in the bathtub, yes like in the children’s book, and yes I played with it. The less pleasant memory of my mother stunning the carp with her rolling-pin and making it into gefilte fish. The beautiful Limoges China that she bought in France and brought with her to the United States, china that only came out for Rosh Hashana. Sweet memories for a sweet year.
To all of you, Shana Tovah U’Metukah.
Note: This is from notes that I once took as I watched my mother make her apple cake. The measurements are not exact as she never used a recipe.
Manya’s Apple Cake
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 sticks butter or pareve margarine
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup orange juice ( added as needed when rolling dough out)
Cream butter and sugar till smooth and light. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. In a second bowl sift flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to egg mixture and stir till well combined. Divide dough into two equal portions.
3 lbs. apples, peeled and cut into chunks.
4 Tbs. sugar (or more if apples are tart)
1 tsp cinnamon (or more to taste)
1/2 cup nuts (optional)
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. matzoh meal
Combine all ingredients and allow to sit for about ten minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 x 13 pan.
Take half the dough, roll out as much as possible (dough is crumbly) and pat down inside greased baking dish. Add apple mixture. Top with remaining dough. Brush top of cake with oil and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Take a sharp knife and cut through dough, creating squares of about 2″ by 2″. Bake for about 45 minutes.
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Matzoh Balls are for Passover, Kreplach are for Rosh Hashana. That’s our family tradition. For those of you who spent part of today trying to get a head start on the holidays, here is what we prepared in our kitchen. Chicken soup, two kinds of Challot and Kreplach.
Cooked soup chicken ( I used 5 of the thighs from the pot of chicken soup)
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 Tbs oil
4 Tbs chicken soup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Saute onions in oil over low flame till golden brown. Chop the soup chicken by hand in a wooden bowl, using a hackmesser. Add sauteed onions, salt and pepper, and 3 Tbs chicken soup. Mix well.
Place 1 tsp chicken mixture into center of each wonton skin. Dip your finger in water and wet the outer edge of each skin before sealing the kreplach to create a better seal.
Place the kreplach on a cookie sheet and freeze. When frozen, remove from sheet and place in freezer bag. On the day you plan to serve the kreplach, line a cookie sheet with wax paper, separate kreplach on sheet and allow to defrost. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Drop kreplach in, a few at a time, for about two minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and place 2-3 in the bottom of each soup bowl and set aside. When you are ready to serve, add piping hot chicken soup to bowl.
Alternative preparation: Norm fried some up (see above) and froze them. They just need to thaw out and sit in the hot soup for a few minutes.
Yield: 40 Kreplach
Here is a photo and a link to the King Arthur Four Recipe for this challah. We tested one out last week and loved it!
Harvest Apple Challah
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Nobody eats real chopped liver anymore but it is yontif and my son David is in town and this is one of his favorites. I have had versions made with lentils, green beans (my personal preference), mushrooms and eggplants usually blended with walnuts, hard-boiled eggs, and onions and although they are delicious they just aren’t the same. The trick to good chopped liver is patience. The onions need to caramelize for about 30 minutes over a low flame. If the color of the onions isn’t a deep golden brown, you won’t achieve that flavor that takes chopped liver to a whole different level. This is the way my mother made it and today I used her wooden bowl and hackmesser (chopping knife) to make it.
Manya’s Chopped Liver
1 pound chicken livers
5 hard-boiled eggs
4 large brown onions
1/2 cup vegetable oil
dash of salt
Broil the livers for about 5 minutes, turning once or twice. Remove and cool. Dice onions and saute in oil over a low flame till they are a deep golden brown. Place all ingredients in wooden bowl and chop till fine or you can do this in the food processor on the pulse cycle but DO NOT over blend.
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