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Rosh Hashanah Recipes

September 9, 2013

The key to Rosh Hashanah dishes is the sweetness, so every menu item uses plenty of honey. The sweet meal served for the holiday symbolizes hope for a sweet year to come. 


Honey Cake

Honey Cake is a staple of the Rosh Hashanah menu, and based on the repeated rave reviews from our guests, I will toot my own Shofar by saying I make a darn good one.


I use my great grandma’s recipe which my mom dictated to me over the phone years ago. I remember watching my mom prepare honey cake with fascination when I was little. The best part was when she poured lemon juice over baking soda and it would fizz and bubble. The house would get filled with sweet aroma as the cake was baking, and I would sneak back into the kitchen and flip on the oven light to watch the cake rising (We only had 2 TV channels in the Soviet times). The smell memories are the most prominent and I hope to pass these on to Noah as he grows up. In fear of losing my scribbles, I digitize the family secret by posting it here.



4 eggs, 1 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 cup oil, 1 cup honey, 1tsp vanilla, juice from 1 lemon, 1 cup very strong tea (use 3-4 packets), 1/2tsp allspice, 1/2tsp nutmeg, 1/2tsp cinnamon, 1/4tsp clove, 1/4tsp salt, 2tsps baking powder, 1tsp baking soda, 3 cups flour


1. Mix all wet ingredients in a medium sized bowl

2. Mix all dry ingredients in a large sized bowl

3. Combine the two


4. Bake for 1 1/2 hour at 300 degrees.


Tzimmes is a Yiddish dish which can easily be prepared vegan style by substituting Earth Balance for butter. This year, I modified Martha Stewart’s recipe to use the ingredients I had on hand.


3lbs of sweet potato, 1/4 cup honey, 1/3 cup orange juice, 10 ounces of dates*, 2tbsp lemon juice, 1tsp cinnamon, 1/4tsp salt, orange zest from 1 orange, handful of pecans (optional), 1tbsp butter (optional).


1. Boil sweet potato for 20 minutes, cool, peel and cube into 2-inch pieces.

2. Chop up dates (The recipe called for prunes and apricots which I did not have on hand. To add a Mediterranean flair to the dish, I substitutes dates. * It turns out 10 ounces is a lot and the dates were a bit overpowering. Use half next time.)

3. While potatoes are boiling, zest and juice orange.


3. Mix all remaining ingredients, top off with orange zest, pecans and butter. (Some recipes suggested butter but I don’t think it made much of a difference. Skip next time to avoid extra calories/fat.)


4. Cover and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

My take on Waldorf salad



Organic mixed greens (the more the better), 3 celery stalks, 1 apple, 1/2 cup of red onion sliced, 4oz of feta cheese, handful of pecans, handful of cranberries, handful of raisins.

Honey Mustard Chicken

This is the easiest chicken recipe for Jewish cooks just like me Smile. I prep my chicken a few hours earlier and marinade in the fridge until it’s dinner time. Spoon some sauce over before popping it into the oven for 35 minutes.


2lbs of chicken (I used breasts and thighs for variety), 1/3 cup of mustard, 1/3 cup of honey, 1tsp of paprika, 1tsp of dried basil, 1/2tsp of oregano, salt and pepper to taste.


1. Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl:


2. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper to taste and place in a baking dish.

3. Pour sauce over the pieces, turning each to make sure it’s fully coated.


4. Marinade for a few hours. Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

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