Planning for the Chagim, Part 4: RH Post Mortem. With recipes!

How was your Rosh Hashana?!

For us, it was lovely to be with family and friends, and the food I cooked (mostly) turned out really well, but I will say that I dearly miss one-day yom tov in Israel! Did you know that four out of the next five years are going to be three-day chagim? Isn’t that just great?

In any case… (sorry to vent)… I wanted to give you a quick run-down on what worked and what didn’t for my RH cooking. Truth be told, this post is mostly for my own sake, since I never seem to remember from one year to the next, but you should feel free to take any lessons you want as well.

Apple Challah
Oy vey, recipe fail. It did NOT work to freeze the challah before the second rising. The loaves were doughy and dense. So please don’t try it that way if you were thinking about it. I’ve got another loaf in the freezer for Sukkot, and I will try letting that one rise even longer before baking, but I’m not optimistic.

On the other hand, I did talk to a friend who made the recipe after reading about it here, and she said that hers were amazing and her whole family loved them. Hooray! Of course, she didn’t freeze them like I did. Seriously, this is THE best Rosh Hashana challah, so don’t be scared off by my freezing disaster. Just make sure to cook yours before freezing ! (You can find the recipe link here.)

Apple challah ready for freezer

Apple Challah Rolled Out, Still Needs to Rise

Best Brisket Evah – My friend Katie, who runs the Kansas City Kosher Co-Op, had a couple of extra roasts from an order misfire, so I bought one from her at the last minute. I don’t even know what cut it was, but this thing was ha-uge. About 8 pounds and very long. I bought the giant disposable tins from Costco to cook it in. Here’s the recipe I used, slightly adapted from’s kosher cooking guide.


  • 1 7-8 pound brisket, washed and patted dry (I’m lazy, I didn’t do this)
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup Coca-Cola
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 6-8 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 2-3 T soy sauce
  • 2 giant onions or 3 regular sized ones

Whir all ingredients except for the onions and beef together in the food processor. Cut onions into 1-cm slices and layer bottom of roasting pan with them. Place beef on top and pour marinade over. Tightly cover with at least one layer of tinfoil and cook forever.

I cooked ours all day Wednesday (5 or 6 hours, probably) on 300°F.My husband sliced it that night and we refridgerated it overnight. In the morning, we reheated it, covered in all the juices and onions and two layers of super tight tinfoil, for about 4 hours on 200°F. We ate it again the next day, which meant another 2 hours of reheating. Never once did it get tough — just more and more melty-in-your-mouth. Seriously, if you enjoy sweet brisket, make this recipe! (Sorry I don’t have a picture.)

Carrot Spice Cake
I made two of these and froze one and am SO excited to eat it again on Sukkot. The cakes were amazing. Moist and delicious. But they were quite humble in presentation. If you’re a fancy dessert person, you may want to at least find a baking dish that isn’t a disposable tin from Costco. But I have decided that I’m okay with humble, because this just isn’t the time in my life for ungapatchka desserts!

I mostly followed the spicy carrot cake recipe in the purple Spice and Spirit: The Complete Kosher Jewish Cookbook, and then whipped up some pareve orange frosting for the top. Very kid-friendly.

Here’s the recipe and a picture of it pre-frosting.

pareve spice carrot cake


  • 2 cups grated raw carrots
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup oil (I substituted sugar-free apple sauce)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar (I used half brown, half white)
  • 2 cups flour (I used unbleached white, but I think you could substitute up to half whole wheat without a problem)
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (I used about 2 1/2 x this)
  • 1 tsp nutmeg (I used a bit more)
  • 1 tsp salt (I omitted)
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, optional (I hate nuts in my desserts, so I skipped this)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 9×13 cake pan (lazy me just sprayed with Pam).

In a large bowl, beat all ingredients except for the nuts, at a low speed for 1 minute. Scrape sides well, then beat at a high speed for 2 minutes. Add nuts and mix by hand.

Pour into greased cake pan and bake for 45-50 minutes. Allow to cool completely and frost with Orange Cream Frosting.

Frosting (how I did it, not how Spice & Spirit recommends)


  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine, softened
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp or more to taste of orange juice
  • 2 tsp color-free vanilla extract

Cream margarine in Kitchen-Aid or mixer. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time. Beat in orange juice, adding more as necessary to achieve desired consistency. Add in vanilla extra. The cookbook says to add corn syrup and food coloring, but I think that’s totally unnecessary!

How’d your Rosh Hashana meals come out? Any surprises or mishaps? Did you manage to stay sane and within your budget? Have you started planning for Sukkot yet? Stay tuned for my frugal(ish) menu plan for eating under the stars coming very soon!

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