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Challahs And Carroty Sweet Stuffs For A Healthy New Year

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     As we enter one of the most hectic and introspective times of the Jewish calendar year, I would like to take this time to present you with some tasty and special recipes for the upcoming holiday season. Each recipe centers on a traditional theme used for Rosh Hashanah: either sweet round challahs or a sweet side dish for the holiday meals, but each comes with its own unique twist. Some of these recipes are family favorites of mine for a long time and some are much newer; all are superb. From my family to yours, may we all be blessed with a good and sweet New Year!


     Here’s a different and tasty egg challah recipe that we did not have room to publish in my challah book, A Taste of Challah (Feldheim Publishers). I developed it many years ago without the aid of any challah cookbooksand they come out rich and tasty every time. For Rosh Hashanah, if you enjoy your challahs sweeter than usual, make sure to add an extra 1/4 – 1/3 cup of sugar, to the amount of sugar listed here. Or, keep the recipe the same, but add raisins to the challahs’ centeror sprinkle the risen and egged challahs with a cinnamon and sugar mix directly before baking them, instead of the usual seeds for a really incredible kickand your challahs will be out of this world

Rich ‘n Tasty Mixed Wheat Egg Challahs
Makes 6 larger sized challahs or 30 small rolls


     You may halve this recipe very easily if you prefer less for your family, or follow the storage techniques for extra challahs listed on page 42 of the book…


2 cups white flour
3 cups whole-wheat flour
2/3-cup oil
5 eggs
1 ½ T. (Tablespoons) salt
1/3-cup honey
¾ cup light brown sugar
2 oz. / 50 grams fresh yeast
3 cups warm water


Dissolve the yeast in ½ cup of the warm water and a bit of the sugar. When it froths and bubbles, it is ready to use.


Mix these ingredients together until they form a batter. Let it rise for 1 hour. Punch it down and then add to it:
5 cups whole-wheat flour
5 cups white flour
1-cup bran or wheat germ
1-cup warm water


Knead this into the first batter until you have workable and smooth dough. If it is sticky, smear it with a bit more oil and then knead a bit more until it you reach the desired consistency.

Separate challah with a brachah. Let this dough rise another hour, covered in plastic. Then shape and rise as directed in the book. Brush the risen challahs with a mixture of 1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk + 1 Tablespoon sugar. Bake in a preheated oven at 350° F / 180°C until golden brown on top and bottom, about 40 minutes. Simply delicious!


     Now that the main attraction of our Rosh Hashanah meal is readied, let’s go on to some exciting side dishes.


     All of the next recipes center on the theme of carrots, since it is a very traditional Rosh Hashanah food. The word carrot in Hebrew is “gezer.” And the word decree in Hebrew is “gezeirah,” both from a similar root. When we eat the carrots, we have a short prayer to say, “SheTikra Ro’a G’zar Dineinu,” i.e., asking G-d to tear up any bad “gezeiros” there may be decreed upon usso here’s to a year filled with good “gezeiros” for the entire Jewish people, and here are your traditional carrots for the meal, tzimmes no less, but presented totally differently

Carrot-Apple Tzimmes in Pomegranate Sauce
Serves 6-8


1 12-oz. bag baby frozen carrots
1-cup water
2 red apples, unpeeled, washed and shredded
1 T. lemon juice
¼ cup yellow raisins
3 T. sugar
1 T. flour + 2- 3 T. water
½ cup pomegranate juice


      Put the carrots and water in a pot and bring to a boil over a high flame. Reduce the flame to low and cook for 2 hours so they become very soft. Check to make sure the water doesn’t evaporate and if it does, then add another half-cup water until it is done cooking. Remove the carrots from the water, reserving the cooking water.


    Toss the apples with the lemon juice. Add them to the carrots along with the raisins and sugar. Set aside.


     Make sure you have at least 3/4 cup reserved cooking water in the pot; if not, add more liquid to it. Turn the flame on low under the pot with the liquid. In a separate small bowl, add the flour to 2 T. more water and mix it with a spoon to make it smooth; then add this to the hot liquid in the pot and stir to make a smooth mixture. It will thicken almost right away. Add in the pomegranate juice and stir this together once more. Simmer for two minutes. Add in the carrot/ apple mix and let it simmer together for 15 minutes. Turn off the flame.


     It serves well, hot or cold, and the color of this dish is so pretty, besides!


     Note: you can substitute cranberry juice if you cannot find pomegranate juice.

 

     This one is a very interesting and different salad idea that a good friend gave me, which also incorporates the carrot theme presented here. It is surprisingly refreshing, aside from being healthy and delicious, and there’s neither heating up nor fuss involved in serving it

 

 

Minty Carrot-Fennel Salad
Serves 4


3 – 4 carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
1 red apple, unpeeled and cut into tiny cubes, optional
1 medium fennel bulb, cut into very thin strips

2 scallions, sliced thin
2 T. chopped fresh mint leaves
2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. walnut or canola oil
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 walnuts, toasted and then chopped (see directions below) **

 

** please note that some have the minhage of avoiding the use of walnuts “Egozim” for RH altogether. If you do, simply delete this ingredient. When making this delicious salad the rest of the year, you can insert it then.

 


     To toast the walnuts, place them in a dry skillet and mix them as they are toasting. Do this for just about 5-7 minutes, until they turn fragrant, watching that they do not burn. Turn off the skillet. When they have cooled down, chop them coarsely.


     Add the carrots, optional apple, fennel, scallions and mint leaves. Toss together. Sprinkle the lemon juice, oil, and salt and pepper over all. Toss together again. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Directly before serving, add in the toasted walnuts and mix.


    For one last recipe, this one is an old and very frequently used, family favorite. My mother has been making it for years as a kugel, but I say it serves much cuter and easier as mini muffins

 

Mini Carrot Muffins
Yield: about 50 mini- muffins


Or, if you want the easier way out, make it as a 9×3 “kugel” and cut it into squares


4 eggs
1-cup canola oil
1-cup dark brown sugar
1/3-cup hot water
3 cups flour, whole wheat, white, or a combo **
1½ tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 – 4 large carrots, peeled


     ** If you use only white flour, it will come out light and fluffy. I’ve made it many times using whole wheat, a version that is very finely ground, and it comes out excellent that way as well. Plus, any leftovers, if you have any, come in handy as a great healthy snack on the way to school for any kids in your house


       Grate the carrots through a food processor. Set aside.


       Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.


       Place the ingredients in the mixer bowl in the order listed. Mix until you have a thick and smooth batter. Add in the grated carrots and mix again until just incorporated.


    Line the muffin tray with paper liners or spray the tray well with baking spray. Fill the muffin cups until almost full. Bake for 8-12 minutes until they are golden brown or a cake tester or sharp knife inserted into a muffin’s center tests clean. If you took “the easy way out,” and made it into a flat kugel (a.k.a. religious word for cake!), then bake it for 30-35 minutes, until the kugel’s center tests clean. Remove from tray promptly and allow to cool. These freeze great. I know – they even eat great straight from the freezer with only a few minutes of defrost time!

                                                                                         Have A Very Good New Year,
                                                                                                                   Tamar Ansh


        Tamar Ansh is a stay-at-home mom and is also an author, lecturer & food columnist. She has written four books, but the one most applicable to this time of year is A Taste of Challah (Feldheim), www.TasteofChallah.com filled with complete instructions of how to make your challahs come out the best they can be, along with step-by-step photos for ease of understanding. Her other books include: Let’s Say Amen! an illustrated book for children (Feldheim); Splitting the Sea, an inspirational book about finding one’s soul-mate (Targum Press); and her first cookbook, A Taste of Tradition – Pesach non-Gebrokts and all year round Kosher and Gluten free. (Feldheim).

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