Rosh Hashana: Recipes Beneath the Apple Tree
Chef Yochanan Lambiase
Why do we specifically dip an apple in honey on Rosh Hashanah?
One of the primary reasons why we use an apple is because of its sweetness. Coupled with the added sweetness of the honey, it is symbolic of the ultra-sweet year we hope Gםd will grant us.
I suppose, however, that you are asking why the apple was specifically chosen from all other fruits that are also sweet—why not, say, a peach or a mango dipped in honey?
The apple symbolizes Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden), which according to the Midrash has the scent of an apple orchard, and in Kabbalah is called "the holy apple orchard." When Isaac commented regarding his son Jacob (Genesis 27:27): "Behold, the fragrance of my son is like the fragrance of a field, which the L-rd has blessed!", the biblical commentator Rashi explains that this refers to the scent of an apple orchard; the scent of Gan Eden.
Furthermore, when Solomon depicts the love God harbors for His nation, he writes (Song of Songs 8:5): "Beneath the apple tree I aroused you[r love]." Eating an apple on Rosh Hashanah is an attempt to remind God of our age-old love.
May we see the blessings of the honey and the apple this year – may it be a sweet one for all.
Shana Tova U'Metukah - A Sweet New Year To All,
Founder of The Jerusalem Culinary Institute
Roasted Apple & Squash Soup
2 Empire apples cored and quartered
1 large winter Squash (2 ½ pounds) peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Cajun Rub to taste
4-5 cups Vegetable broth
Preheat oven to 400 F
In large roasting pan, toss squash onions, garlic and apples with the oil to coat. Season well with salt and Cajun Rub. Roast, stirring every 10 minutes until vegetables are fork tender and lightly browned, about 30 minutes.
Put half the vegetables with 2 cups stock in a food processor and puree to smooth (I find the food processor to be much better than the immersion blender). Take the other half and combine with 2 more cups of broth. Return puree mixture to the pot. If the soup is too thick, add more broth.
Serve with a dollop of Pesto on top.
Lamb O’ Pomegranate
Pomegranate juice, red wine, garlic, sweet onion, lemon, and herbs make a tenderizing marinade for butterflied leg of lamb. Instructions are given for roasting in the oven for a no-fuss main dish. It will require a bit more attention to avoid flare-ups, but you may also cook this lamb on the grill. Plan ahead for this recipe. The lamb needs to marinate overnight. (Once cooked it can be frozen)
• 1 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
• 1/2 cup sweet red wine
• 1 large sweet onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
• 1/2 lemon, unpeeled, seeded and chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
• 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
• 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
• 1 (5- to 6-pound) lamb shanks or shoulder, boned and butterflied ( Ask your butcher to prepare this for you)
Place pomegranate juice, red wine, sweet onion, lemon, garlic, pepper, mint, rosemary, thyme, and salt in a heavy-duty blender. Pulse until the onion is minced. Pour into a heavy-duty zip-top bag.
Add lamb to the bag, squeeze out the air, and gently massage the marinade into the lamb. Refrigerate 12 hours or overnight.
To Roast in the Oven:
Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a 9 x 12-inch baking pan with foil.
Remove lamb from marinade and place in the pan, fat-side up. Discard marinade. Roast in the oven until internal temperature reaches 145 F., about 2 hours. Let rest 15 minutes before cutting slices against the grain.
To Cook on the Grill:
Preheat coals in grill to medium.
Wipe the lamb of excess marinade. Grill, turning occasionally, until internal temperature of lamb reaches 145 F. Let rest 15 minutes before carving slices against the grain.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Baked Yams with Lime and Honey
Makes 8 servings
• 3 yams, about 4 lbs.
• 1/2 cup water
• 6 Tablespoons honey
• 4 Tablespoons margarine or Butter, room temperature
• Juice of 4 limes
• 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F. Wash yams and place in a baking dish with the water. Bake until potatoes are soft when tested with a fork and skins are puffy, about 1-1/2 hours. Set aside to cool slightly. (Leave oven on.) When yams are cool enough to handle, peel and place in a medium baking dish. Add honey and Margarine lime juice, salt and pepper. Stir and mash well with a potato masher. Cover with foil and return to oven for 15 to 20 minutes longer, until heated through.
Tangy Etrog Cake
juice of a lime
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 3/4 cups cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon orange juice
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon reserved citrus mixture
1 tablespoon orange juice
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a tube pan with oil.
Grate the etrog peel and then juice the lime, lemon and whatever juice you can squeeze from the etrog. (strain to remove membranes and seeds).
Reserve 1 tablespoon for the glaze.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Cream margarine with sugar. Add citrus mixture and blend.
Add eggs and beat well. Alternate, adding half of flour mixture with half of orange juice, beating well after each addition.
Place batter in pan and bake about 45 minutes or tested done.
Blend together remaining tablespoon of citrus mixture, confectioner's sugar, tablespoon of orange juice and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Remove cake from pan and drizzle glaze over warm cake.