Rosh Hashana Post-Mortem: What Worked, What Was I Thinking + What Are We Doing for Sukkot

If you haven’t already, I recommend that everyone who cooked for Rosh Hashana take a few minutes today to sit down and make some notes. Put them in your Google calendar (or on your blog ;-)) … so that next year, your planning will be easier and more effective.

Here are my notes on our Rosh Hashana cooking, in no particular order:

Couscous salad with dried apricots = AWESOME! My husband and my dad couldn’t stop eating this! It’s very simple and quick to put together. I doctored it up a bit (I can never leave well enough alone), adding in more nuts and dried cranberries as well, plus tons of fresh herbs and lemon juice. I’ll definitely be making this one again. Here’s where I originally posted the recipe.

Challah – I ended up loving the honey-wash I made up one night when I realized I was out of eggs. Very happy accident. I cut the honey with water and lightly brushed it on top. Yum! I also can’t tell you how happy it made me to hear from all of you who braided your challah using my easy tutorial. I’m so glad it worked for you!

Chicken soup? On Shabbat?! – In the “what was I thinking” category, I had chicken soup on the menu for Shabbat lunch. But I clearly hadn’t thought through how I was going to keep it warm. See, I wasn’t planning on using the crockpot, since my only timer would be busy with the plata. In fact, I wasn’t really planning anything. Since I’d completely MADE the soup by the time I realized all this on Wednesday, I decided to serve it for dinner on Friday night – and then use the hard-boiled eggs that were slated for dinner on Friday as deviled eggs for Shabbat lunch instead. I also dug out a salmon gefilte fish loaf from the freezer and turned it into a nut-encrusted appetizer (all hail the deep freeze!). Crisis averted, but seriously – I think I need to have my husband look over my menus from now on!

Carrot sprinkles – I made these candied carrot sprinkles for my carrot cake and they came out very cute. It wasn’t that much work, so I’d probably do it again. I had a ton left over and froze them, so I might even make  the same dessert for Sukkot.

Braised leeks – O.M.G. SOOOO good. And really very simple. I am definitely making them again. And again. All you do is: Cut leeks in half – soak in cold water and rub to make sure free of dirt. Melt butter or Earth Balance margarine in a large frying pan. Sautee leeks, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then finish with a squeeze of lemon right before finished cooking. These were like CANDY.

Pomegranate London BroilPomegranate molasses was wonderful. I still have half a jar left, so I’ll need to find something to do with it for Sukkot. Overall effect with the London Broil was a little disappointing. Probably won’t repeat this one. 🙁

Apple butter – This was a wonderful and special treat! I’m very glad I made it. If you’d like to make some as well, just use 20-25 apples, peeled and chopped, 2 cups of sugar (could have done with less – and that was half what the recipe called for), and some spices (cinnamon, all spice, ginger, nutmeg). Cook on high for one hour, then on low for 10-11 hours. When it’s all done, I blended in the food processor for a nice and smooth consistency. I adored the butter and am thrilled to have made enough to freeze some as well.

Meat, meat, meat – By Shabbat morning, I found myself gorging on cheese sticks, I was so desperate for dairy. To go from one or two meat meals per week, to two meat meals per day for three days straight, was serious overload. As a result, I will definitely be making some lighter, dairy meals for our Sukkot yomtov.

Those are the culinary highlights from our yomtov. What about you? What were the highlights? The lowlights? What will you repeat? Any insights for Sukkot?


  1. Pomegranate Fizz was a huge hit. Thanks for sharing the idea!

  2. My favorite meal was my Pareve meal on thursday night. It was easy, economical and everyone loved it.
    Hearty Tomato soup with rice
    Make your own falafel- including homemade pita pockets.
    potato latke cupcakes with homemade apple sauce.

  3. would love a new challah recipe. mine were too dry – thought i followed your braiding advice so at least they were pretty!

  4. The Carrot chips that you suggested were Great!
    I made WAY too much, we are eating leftovers all week, so that’s meat 2xs a day for 3 days strait and then for dinner for the next 5 days!! too much!
    No more guests for back to back meals. I was too overwhelmed.
    I need better lunch ideas besides shnitzles, chollent and meatballs. Ideas?

  5. I made Ethiopian food from scratch for Friday lunch – Dairy, since spiced butter is such a big part of Ethiopian food. The injera (flatbread) I made wasn’t great, but the food was KILLER. So good. Some will get frozen for future use.

    I also made this ( in the crockpot with tons of onions and potatoes added, and it was awesome.

    Another hit was a simple salad I made for most of our meals which was romaine, pomegranate seeds, sliced apple and walnuts with a vinaigrette made from pomegranate molasses, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, fresh thyme and a little dijon.

  6. My favorite was our dairy lunch on Friday–smack in the middle of the long meaty days. We even had guests (I called and checked when we added them, but they were excited about dairy). We did feta, spinach, and craisins salad with a (ran out of dressing!) on-the-spot strawberry jelly and honey mustard dressing, lasagna, bagels with cream cheese, plus veggies with ranch. For dessert, we had freshly baked cinnamon cinnabons and dairy brownies, plus milk and dark chocolates. Yum.

    For any other three day Yom Tovs (like the two coming up!), we’ll definitely work in another dairy meal. And check for salad dressing. 😉

  7. Chavelamomela says

    we did dairy lunches for Thursday & Friday – basically, my rule is that if there are 2 festive meals in one day, one should be dairy.

    This prevents a meat overload. i also don’t make the dairy meals too heavy (as in, don’t serve too many heavy mains in one meal).

    The other trick is to have plentiful amounts, but you don’t have to have tons of dishes.

    Day 1 lunch we had a delicious green salad, 3 varieties of pizza (traditional, 4-cheese on garlic & herb crust, and veggies on whole wheat crust) plus some baked tilapia.
    Day 2 lunch was pasta – 3 types of sauces (Vodka & pesto from jars, homemade alfredo sauce). Salmon, and a Salad side dish.

    For Thursday night I had both carnivores and vegetarians, and was pleased that my menu accommodated everyone. I did a lot of salads, which are quick & easy, rather than “patchke” dishes. If I do want to make patchke dishes, I limit myself to 1 “patchke” per meal – for example, I did portabello mushroom napoleans served w. red quinoa. The quinoa is super simple in a rice-maker, so I can focus on the rest of the dish.

    These meals were a hit.

  8. I made 2 layered vegetable casseroles that got baked in the oven on Tuesday night, then warmed up for 1st night RH and the other for Shabbat. Very simple: a layer of onions cut in rings, a layer of sliced eggplant (cut in half again), a layer of zucchini, then a layer of fresh tomatoes. Drizzled about 1/4 c of olive oil and spices to your liking, and/or fresh herbs. Bake at 350 for about an hour.
    THEN last night I took the random leftover vegetables from both casseroles, threw them in a pot with about 6 cups of water and a cup of red lentils, and added some cumin and about 2 Tblsp of tomato paste. After the lentils were cooked, I took my handy immersion blender and pureed everything, making an incredible vegetable lentil soup. And parve!

  9. New recipes:
    Butternut squash kugel: ah-may-zing.
    Turkey breast + onion soup mix + crockpot: ah-may-zing.
    apple parsnip soup: delicious!
    Challahs were a big hit–thanks for the round braid tutorial! I put cinnamon sugar on half of them and left the others plain (so they could be dipped in hummus and guacamole).

    What I would do differently next time: schedule a couple pareve or dairy meals to cut back on the gastronomic excess. I’d add more salads and cut the carbs (yes, I said it…).

  10. I made a pareve meal the first night which was a good light way to kick off three days of eating! Fish with basil and tomatoes, fingerling potatoes in chimichuri, stewed okra and a green salad.

    I made a small and a large round challah for each meal which was the perfect amount. I love your honey wash idea.

    Jane if you still haven’t found a new challah recipe check mine out – it never fails and can easily be doubled for yontiv –

    I did a lot more cooking before yontiv started so that I could focus on family and davening (and clean up!) more.

  11. I was by my mom’s so she did most of the cooking but I brought the ingredients and made the pomegranate Fizz which went over very well after all the kids were in bed! We also made the carrot chips and used them for our Simanim plate. Those were a really big hit with the adults and the kids.
    Our solution to all the heavy meals was to have just challah and soup for dinner on both Thursday and Friday nights.

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