The Northwest Rosh Chodesh group, a program of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Northwest Division Jewish Connections, met Aug. 9 at the Oro Valley home of Ester Leutenberg. Seventeen women, ranging in age from a middle school student to women in their 70s, came together to greet the new month — a tradition that goes back to biblical times — and to prepare for Rosh Hashanah by sharing dishes made with apples, honey or both.
The evening began with a presentation on the symbolism of using apples along with honey to express our wish for a sweet new year. An apple tree is mentioned in the Song of Songs, an allegory for the romance between G-d and the Jewish people, explained Leutenberg, adding, “On Rosh Hashanah we try, once again, to remind G-d of our mutual love.” Another interpretation involves Jacob, who had the scent of an apple orchard on his clothing when he came to receive the blessing of his father, Isaac; the incident took place on Rosh Hashanah. Another midrash, or interpretation of biblical texts, that tells us that the apple tree puts forth the nub of its fruit before the leaves that will surround and protect it. The Jewish people, by accepting the Torah with the statement “we will do and we will understand” — placing holy action and observance of Torah commandments even before understanding and rational acceptance — imitated the behavior of the apple. Thus the apple became a Jewish symbol, a memory aid to the moment of revelation at Sinai.
The potluck dinner included appetizers to desserts. During dessert, group members shared the processes they go through to prepare spiritually for Rosh Hashanah, as well as memories and traditions for the holiday. A cookbook pamphlet was compiled of all the recipes prepared for the evening, including the following (see azjewish post.com for more recipes):
Gorgeous Beet and Apple Salad
4-5 medium beets, cooked and cut into large cubes
1 large Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, cut into large cubes
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon balsamic
vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced
1/4 teaspoon sugar or honey
Mix and pour over salad. Chill and serve.
Quinoa and Apple Salad
1 1/2 – 2 cups quinoa
1 apple, diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Juice of 1 lemon or to taste
1/4 cup oil of your choice
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
Cook quinoa according to package directions. Let cool. Dice apple. Mix apple, cranberries, and cilantro into quinoa. Mix together lemon juice, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add to quinoa mixture and stir. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Stir before serving.
Challah (makes two loaves)
2 tablespoons or 2 envelopes active dried yeast
1 cup and ½ cup warm water (100 – 115 degrees)
1 teaspoon sugar
3 eggs, plus 1 egg
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup honey
1½ teaspoon salt
7-8 cups bread flour
2 cups raisins (optional)
Sesame and/or poppy seeds (optional)
In a measuring cup filled with 1 cup of warm water, put the 1 teaspoon of sugar and stir until dissolved. Put the yeast into the measuring cup water/sugar mixture. Stir a bit and set aside for about 10 minutes. The mixture should bubble. This procedure is called proofing the yeast.
Beat the 3 eggs. Add in this order: salt, oil, honey and the remaining ½ cup warm water. Mix well.
Add the yeast mixture and beat well by hand.
Add 5 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time, and beat by hand with a wooden spoon until each cup has been incorporated. (If you are adding raisins, do so now.)
Start adding more flour, ½ cup at a time, and beat well by hand until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. At this point I have added 6½ to 7 cups of flour.
Sprinkle a cup of flour onto a clean work surface and turn the dough out into it. Knead the dough for about 5-10 minutes, adding more flour to the work surface as needed. Form dough into a big ball. Lightly grease a clean bowl with Pam, big enough to hold the dough ball, even when it will double in size.
When the dough has risen, punch it down with your fist.
Sprinkle a little flour onto your work surface. Put dough back on work surface and knead just a little to form dough into a rectangle. Divide dough into 2 equal parts, and then divide each of these parts into 3 equal parts. Roll the dough into long ropes.
Braid 3 ropes. (If you start in the middle, you can braid to the ends and it will be easier to fold under the ends.)
Place the loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with a towel and let rise about 30 minutes more, until it has again almost doubled in size.
When dough has doubled, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat remaining egg with a little water and then brush the loaves generously. Sprinkle sesame and/or poppy seeds now, if you like.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden.
Sumac Tuna Salad
2 – 7 ounce cans of white meat tuna packed in water, drained
1 medium apple cut in small cubes (squeeze lemon juice over it to keep it from browning)
1/3 cup of walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
¼ to 1/3 cup of dressing (to taste)
1 small lemon, juiced
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon sumac
1 clove garlic
Whisk dressing, blend into salad ingredients.
Waldorf Brown Rice Salad
Corinne Forti via Barbara Esmond
(serves 4, generously)
2 medium Golden Delicious or Cortland apples (Gala, Fuji, etc.)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups cooked whole grain brown rice, cooled
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped walnuts – I have used almonds (when I didn’t have walnuts) and it was good.
1/2 cup raisins or sweetened dried cranberries – I used craisins
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
Spring salad greens
Wash, core and dice apples, without peeling. Place apples in large bowl and toss with lemon juice. Add rice, celery, nuts and raisins; toss to combine. In medium bowl, combine mayonnaise and yogurt. Blend well. Fold into rice mixture. Serve over salad greens.
Spinach Apple Salad
1 package spinach, washed and dried
1 Granny Smith apple, julienne cut
1 cup candied pecans
¼ cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt to taste
Combine and serve.
Crispix Mix – Honey Pecan
6 cups Kellogg’s Crispix Cereal
1 cup mini pretzels, broken in pieces
1 cup pecan halves
1/3 cup margarine
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a 13x9x2 inch baking pan (or something close), coated with PAM, combine Crispix, pecans and pretzels. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, over medium heat, combine margarine, sugar and honey. Bring mixture to a boil, and continue to boil for 5 minutes. Do not stir. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour syrup over cereal mixture, stirring until well coated.
Bake at 250 degrees for about one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool on aluminum foil on counter. Store in an airtight container.
5 medium Red Delicious apples
1/2 cup of celery, sliced
1/2 cup of chopped nuts
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup of golden raisins
juice of 1 lemon
Core the apples and dice into half-inch cubes. Sprinkle the apples with lemon juice. Combine the apples, celery, nuts, mayonnaise, and raisins. Mix thoroughly. Serve on lettuce leaves.
Niki and Kayla Tilicki
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Precook 1 pie shell.
1 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 cups peeled and cored apples
Pour mixture into precooked pie shell, add 2-3 pats of butter on the top and then add the top of the pie shell. Bake for 10-20 minutes uncovered then cover with foil and bake for 40-50 more minutes. (You may want to place the pie in the oven on a cookie sheet to avoid a spill.)
Crumb Topping (optional)
Instead of a crust topping, a crumb topping can be added to the pie. You must do this after baking for 20-30 minutes.
Mix by hand until crumbly:
1 stick butter
1-2 cups of flour (add flour until crumbly)
1 cup brown or white sugar
Deviled Eggs with Apple Compote
8 eggs, hard boiled, cooled and peeled
2 tablespoons butter
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced small
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon-thyme or fresh mint leaves, very finely chopped
Cut each egg in half, lengthwise. Transfer hardboiled egg yolks to a mixing bowl. Melt butter in a sauté pan, and gently cook apples and shallots until tender. Remove from heat, add parsley to apple mixture and let cool. Mash yolks with mayonnaise and mustard and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spoon apple mixture into empty hardboiled egg whites. Spoon egg mixture on top of apple. Garnish with lemon-thyme or fresh mint.
Hudson Valley Apple Cake
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar, divided
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup butter or margarine
4 cups thinly sliced apples
¾ cup slivered, roasted almonds
½ cup raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Juice and grated peel of 1 lemon
¼ cup white wine
2 egg yolks
1 cup sour cream
Mix and sift flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in vanilla. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse corn meal. Spread on bottom of greased 9” pie pan. Combine apples, almonds, raisins, ½ cup sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, grated lemon peel and wine, and mix well; heap in pie pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Combine egg yolks, remaining sugar and sour cream; pour over apple mixture; bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
Apple / Sweet Potato Casserole
5 to 6 medium sweet potatoes
3 apples (such as Granny Smith) peeled and cored, cut in wedges
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter, melted
¼ cup pecan pieces
Generously butter the bottom and sides of the slow cooker. Peel sweet potatoes; cut into ½“ slices. Arrange sweet potato slices over bottom of slow cooker. Top with apple wedges; then nutmeg and cinnamon, maple syrup and the melted butter. Cover and cook on low for about 4 to 5 hours, or until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with pecans the last 30 minutes.
Honey Apple Kugel
Butter for the dish
Salt to taste
1 pound medium egg noodles
6 eggs lightly beaten
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup golden raisins
½ cup chopped walnuts
2 apples, peeled, cored and grated
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup crushed cornflakes
2 tablespoons butter, cut up
Set oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13” baking dish. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook them for 8 to 10 minutes or until they are just tender, but still have some bite. Drain into a colander and tip into a bowl. In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Stir in the honey, raisins, walnuts, apples, cinnamon and orange juice. Pour the honey-apple mixture over the noodles and toss gently but thoroughly. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cornflakes, and dot the butter. Bake for 1 hour or until the pudding is set and golden on top.
Gelatin Blox Salad
4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold unsweetened apple cider or grape juice (or mix)
3 cups cider or grape juice or mix, heated to boiling
2-3 tablespoons honey (optional)
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Sprinkle gelatin over cold juice in large bowl; let stand 1 minute. Add hot juice and stir until gelatin completely dissolves, about 5 minutes. Stir in honey, if desired. Pour into 13 x 9” pan. Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours, then cut into 1” squares. Stir vanilla into yogurt, then combine Gelatin Blox with yogurt.