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A Sweet New Year

           Rosh Hashanah and the ensuing Sukkos holiday season are nearly upon us, and if you are a busy person but still like to serve nice meals, then you are surely thinking about how and what to cook.  Below, you will find some great recipes that can be prepared in advance and then frozen.  This way you can concentrate on yom tov itself and enjoy time with your family. 

 

Let’s begin with a recipe for the traditional round challahs many of us eat until Shabbos Berashis.     


 


Quickie Whole Wheat Challah


 


           This is a great, easy Erev Shabbos/Yom Tov recipe. It makes 6 smallish-medium sized loaves or 4 large ones. It has the minimum amount of flour in it to create the “shiur” of flour necessary to get the mitzvah for hafrashas challah and it only takes about 15 minutes to put together. They came out so delicious, that there is never even a crumb left over!

 


1 kilo/7 cups very finely ground whole-wheat flour


1 kilo/7 cups whole-wheat regular flour


2 cups additional white flour  (Total flour used: 5 lbs./2.3 kilo)


4-5 cups warm water


4 eggs


1 cup light brown sugar


2 T. salt


1 1/2 T. dough conditioner, optional


3/4 cup canola oil, divided


 


Place 2 cups of warm water, sugar, and yeast in a mixing bowl. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Add in 2 kilos flour, eggs, 2 more cups water, salt, conditioner, and most of the oil. Start to knead. Add in the rest of the flour and oil. If the dough is too firm, add small amounts of water until it is slightly sticky. To help the dough slide out of the bowl easier, add in small amounts of oil as you knead. When it is a nice, soft but still firm and only slightly sticky dough, turn it out and into a deep oiled bowl or onto an oiled surface. Turn the dough over once or twice to be sure its greased on all sides.   

 

Be mafrish challah and cover the dough with plastic or place it in a large garbage bag overnight in the fridge. Or as an alternative, you can leave it to rise, covered in plastic, for one hour on the counter. After 45 minutes, punch it down and let it rise some more. After covering your trays with baking paper, shape the challahs and let them rise for not more than 45 minutes. Brush with egg and bake until golden brown on top and bottom, about 40 minutes on 375°F/ 190°C. 

 


Now, onto the main meal and a new sweet chicken recipe


 


Sweet Peach Glazed Chicken

 

8 – 10 pieces of chicken, cleaned and skinned


1/4 cup flour


1/2 tsp. pepper


 


 

 

Preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C.

 

Put the flour and the pepper into a plastic bag and shake well. Spray a large baking pan with cooking spray. Place each piece of chicken into the bag and shake it a bit to coat well. Lay it, upside down, onto the pan. Spray the chicken pieces lightly with the cooking spray. Slice one large onion into half rings and arrange them over the chicken. Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the recipe:


 


1 16 oz. can of peach slices, with the liquid reserved


2 T. canola oil


1/2 tsp. ground ginger


1 tsp. ground mustard powder


1 T. garlic powder


1 T. onion powder


1 tsp. soy sauce


1/2-cup ketchup


1 T. cornstarch


1 tsp. paprika


 


Slice the peaches into four slices each and set aside.

 

In a small pot, place the reserved juice from the peaches, oil, ginger, ground mustard, garlic and onion powders, soy sauce and ketchup. Bring to a boil and lower to simmer.  Place some of this liquid into a small bowl and add the cornstarch to it.   Mix with a wooden spoon until smooth and then immediately add it back into the sauce simmering in the pot. Turn off the flame and stir the sauce so it thickens. Set aside for a few minutes.

 

After 30 minutes have passed, remove the chicken from the oven and turn each piece over. Sprinkle with the paprika, then spoon the sauce over, allowing any extra sauce to seep between the chicken pieces. Arrange the peach slices on top and continue baking for another 55-60 minutes. Check after 30 minutes and if it seems to be drying out, cover the pan with foil until the chicken is done.

 

This is delicious served over rice.


 


The following two recipes feature butternut squash, which are usually plentiful at this time of year. They are versatile, inexpensive, very healthy, and can be used in a wide variety of ways.

 

One great idea to start off with is to scrub the squash, cut it open and take out the seeds, and then cut it into several large chunks. Leave these chunks either in between the chicken pieces mentioned above (in the above recipe you can add them in when you do the sauce so as to save yourself an extra step) or underneath the chicken altogether. The squash absorbs the flavor of the chicken, bakes tender and is filled with juice this way. It is simply delicious. Besides, then you have a main dish plus a cooked vegetable all in one pan!


 


Smooth Butternut Squash Soup – Serves 6- 8


Here’s an incredibly easy and fast soup recipe that your guests are sure to love whichever meal you choose to serve it at


 


2 large onions, diced


3 T. canola oil


1 medium zucchini, washed, unpeeled and chunked


1 carrot or 1 small sweet potato, peeled and chunked


1 potato, peeled and chunked


1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chunked


Small amount of fresh parsley


1 T. salt


Small pinch of black pepper


 


Sautee onions in oil until they turn golden but be sure they don’t burn.  Add in zucchini, carrot and potato chunks, continuing to cook for a few more minutes.  Meanwhile, peel the butternut squash (if you have a Swiss potato peeler, like they sell in Israel, it goes very fast) and cut into chunks.  Add them to the pot as well along with the parsley, salt and pepper. Add in water to cover plus 2 more cups.  Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer and let cook for about an hour. 

 

After an hour, turn off the fire and using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. It should now turn a beautiful shade of orange. Serve immediately or freeze for later use. Reheat before serving.


 


            And here’s a nice recipe to end with, something that you can use for Kiddush Rosh Hashanah mornings that is both healthy and filling. A great recipe to start the New Year and to continue using as well.


 


Butternut Squash Banana Muffins


Yield: 24-26 muffins


 


2 eggs


1/4 cup light brown sugar


2 tsp. baking soda


1 1/2  tsp. baking powder


1/2 cup apple juice concentrate


2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour, finely ground preferred


3/4 cup soymilk


1/4 cup canola oil


1/4 cup ground sesame seeds


1/3 cup wheat germ


3 mediums sized ripe bananas, mashed


1 1/2 cups butternut squash, boiled and mashed


1/3 cup mini chocolate chips


 


Wash off a medium sized butternut squash. Cut in half, scoop out the seeds, and place it in a pot with about 2 cups of water. Cover and boil the squash for 30 minutes. Remove the squash and rinse in cold water for a minute to stop the cooking process. Scoop out the flesh and mash it up. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of the mashed squash and set aside. (Everything else can be frozen to use in another recipe or eaten immediately topped with a bit of butter and brown sugar!)

 

Beat the eggs until they turn fluffy – this will add volume and lightness to your muffins. Add in the sugar, baking soda and baking powder. Set the mixer on low and add the apple juice concentrate. Turn off the mixer.

 

Add in the flour, soymilk, oil, ground sesame, and wheat germ. Mix until smooth and then turn off the mixer.

 

Add in the bananas and squash and mix again for just a minute until it is just incorporated. Pour in the chips and stir in by hand.

 

Line a muffin tray with muffin liners and fill each one ¾ of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes until the muffins test clean when pierced with a knife. Remove immediately and cool on wire racks.


 


Enjoy all the recipes and your yom tovpreparations,


Kesivah V’Chasimah Tovah,


Tamar Ansh



(Photos by: Sharon Bentov)


 


Tamar Ansh is an author, recipe developer, and food columnist. Her published books  include: Splitting the Sea (Targum Press); Let’s Say Amen!, an illustrated children’s book, (Feldheim); Anything’s Possible! (Targum), a cookbook which is both gluten free and kosher for Passover; and  A Taste of Challah (Feldheim), all about how to prepare, shape, beautify, and simply enjoy challah baking as well as halachos and stories about the mitzvah itself. All books can be bought online as well as in Jewish bookstores anywhere in the world. See more at www.TasteofChallah.com. She also accepts various speaking engagements and thanks everyone for all their wonderful reader feedback!

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Rosh Hashanah and the ensuing Sukkos holiday season are nearly upon us, and if you are a busy person but still like to serve nice meals, then you are surely thinking about how and what to cook. Below, you will find some great recipes that can be prepared in advance and then frozen. This way you can concentrate on yom tov itself and enjoy time with your family.

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