Rosh Hashana and Parshas Haazinu Sweets and Treats
Rosh Hashana is known for its symbolic foods. From round challot to apples and honey, much of the food we eat on Rosh Hashana is meaningful. But did you know that there are so many different symbolic foods on Rosh Hashana? This week’s Parsha Sweets and Treats blog will include our regular weekly Parsha section (as Rosh Hashana leads right into Shabbat) as well as some ideas for symbolic foods to enhance your Rosh Hashana table, complete with a few of our favorite recipes (which will appear at the bottom of the post)! These dishes have become an annual tradition in our house and we look forward to them all year. We hope that they make your Rosh Hashana a bit more sweet.
Wishing all of you and your families a Shana Tova U’Metuka – a Good and Sweet New Year,
The bulk of Parshat Haazinu is a song sung by Moshe to the Jewish People on the last day of his life, as commanded by Gd in the Parsha last week. In this shirah, he once again recounts the journey of the nation through the desert as they are about to enter the Land of Israel promised to them by Gd. He warns them not to sin and describes the terrible things that will happen if they do. In the end, he tells of a time when the people will return to Gd who be reunited with His land and people. After this song, Gd instructs Moshe to climb Har (Mt.) Nevo from which he can see the Land of Israel before he dies on the mountain. This is the closest Moshe will get to entering the Land of Israel.
For this week’s Parsha treats, I recommend “Krembo’s.” Literally translated as “cream inside” a Krembo is an Israeli treat that consists of a round cookie topped with whipped icing and then covered with a thin layer of chocolate. Luckily, I was able to find these in my local supermarket in the Kosher section. When unwrapped, the krembos resemble mountains, symbolic of the mountain Moshe ascends to look at the Land of Israel. We will also be serving blue and white jelly beans, which remind us of the Land of Israel that Moshe sees right before his death, and that the Jewish People are about to enter. Shabbat Shalom!
Rosh Hashana Symbolic Foods:
1) Carrots: May our merits increase
For this symbolic food we have two recipes to share. Carrot Muffins are more kid-friendly and even the pickiest eaters will eat them! Honey rum carrots are delicious and the honey makes it all the more appropriate! The “Simanim Salad” also includes carrots. See recipes below.
2) Leeks or Cabbage: May our enemies be decimated
In our home, we make “Simanim Salad” that includes leeks, cabbage carrots and pomegranate! See recipe below.
3) Beets: May our adversaries be removed
I will admit, we go the easy route for beets and buy the beets in a jar in our supermarket. Everyone loves them!
4) Dates: May our enemies be consumed
We eat dried dates for this symbolic food in our home.
5) Gourd: May the decree of our sentence be torn asunder and may our merits be proclaimed before You.
Pumpkin muffins are a favorite in our house! See recipe below.
6) Pomegranate: May our merits increase as the seeds of the pomegranate
While there are pomegranate seeds in our Simanim Salad, we like to eat them plain as well!
7) Fish: May we be fruitful and multiply like fish
We make gefilta fish with large carrots for this symbolic food. But we also serve fake crab sticks for those in our house who prefer those and fish candies since we have one non-fish eater as well.
8) Head of Fish or Lamb: May we be as the head and not as the tail
The very idea of having the head of an animal on my table is not palatable to me. But the kids love our adaptation. I buy gummy fish at the candy store and then cut off the heads and serve only the heads of the gummy fish.
9) Since many of the symbolic foods are plays on words (based on what they are called in Hebrew or Yiddish) there is a modern American version that we adopted for fun a few years back. The ingredients are simple – lettuce, raisins and celery. Please let us have a raise in salary! I cut them up and add a bit of a vinaigrette dressing.
Recipes: (Our personal modifications appear in parentheses)
Honey Rum Carrots (from Kosher by Design Short on Time by Susie Fishbein):
1 pound baby carrots (we sometimes use carrots cut into large coins)
1 cup water
1 Tablespoon margarine (we use a healthier margarine alternative and it comes out great)
3 Tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon seat salt (we use regular salt)
2 Tablespoons rum or bourbon (we use rum)
In a skillet or pot, heat the carrots and water to boiling over high heat. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, until the carrots are tender. Drain; return to the skillet. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, cook the margarine, honey and salt for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until blended and smooth. Add the mixture to the drained carrots. Off the heat, to avoid a flame-up, add the rum. Cook over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring, until the carrots are tender and glazed and the liquid has mostly evaporated.
Carrot Muffins (from Kosher by Design Kids in the Kitchen by Susie Fishbein):
1 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup canola oil
12 ounces baby food carrots (usually 3 jars)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 350. Place the sugar, flour and oil in a medium mixing bowl. Add the baby food carrots, using a small spatula or a spoon to get all of the baby food out of the jar. Add the baking soda, cinnamon and eggs. Mix with an electric mixer at medium speed for 3 minutes, until the batter is smooth. Place paper muffin cups into a muffin or cupcake tray. If your measuring cup has a spout, pour the bater from the measuring cup into the muffin cups; if not use a large spoon. Fill the muffin cups almost to the top. Place trays in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. If after 30 minutes, a toothpick placed in the center of a muffin comes out gooey, return the muffins to the oven for another 2-3 minutes.
“Simanim Salad” Adapted from Purple Cabbage Salad (from Kosher by Design by Susie Fishbein):
16 ounces shredded purple cabbage (we use 2 bags of shredded cabbage which might be closer to 20 ounces)
1/3 cup chopped scallions (we substitute leeks instead of scallions)
1/3 cup pine nuts (we leave these out)
1 8 oz bag of shredded carrots
1 11 ounce can of madarin oranges, reserving the juice
1-2 handfuls of dried cranberries (we substitute pomegranate seeds)
4 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon reserved mandarin orange juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 vegetable or pareve chicken flavor bouillon cube or 1 teaspoon dried consomme powder
Place the salad ingredients into a large zip-lock bag and set aside. In a jar or cruet, mix the ingredients for the dressing. Close and shake until thoroughly mixed. Pour over the salad. Refrigerate to let the flavors mix for at least one hour. Can prepare early in the day.
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins (from Kosher by Design Short on Time by Susie Fishbein):
3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 15 ounce can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup canola oil
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
shelled pumpkin seeds (optional as garnish)
Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tins with paper muffin liners. Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda in a mixing bowl. Add the pumpkin, oil, eggs and cranberries. Mix with an electric mixer on medium speeds for 2 minutes. Pour the batter into the muffin tins, filling each one 2/3 of the way. If you’d like, top each muffin with a few pumpkin seeds. Baked, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the muffins comes out dry. Serve hot or at room temperature.