With the high holidays right around the corner, here are some recipes by Annabel Cohen to reflect wishes for a good, sweet new year.

Photos courtesy of Annabel Cohen

The High Holidays are upon us. And, as with all Jewish holidays, we should serve “special” foods — those different from what we normally eat on “regular” days. Judging by the frantic queries I’ve received, I guess this is not as simple as I think it is.

Let’s talk about this.

Good and sweet are High Holiday words exchanged from one to another, from greetings to prayers to the foods we eat. So, High Holiday foods are, therefore, sweeter than any time of the year.

The following recipes are traditionally served for Rosh Hashanah. They’re tried and true — and a little traditional and a little not.

SIX-INGREDIENT BRISKET

This simple recipe is very little work. It’s a combination of my mother’s recipe and some of my own tweaks. It’s everyone’s favorite. Bake it; chill overnight; slice and finish baking the next day.

Ingredients:
2 packets onion soup mix (any kind)
5 cups chopped onions
5- to 6-pound first-cut or single-cut beef brisket, trimmed of large layer of fat (if not already trimmed).
½ cup ketchup
2 cups red wine (any kind)
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice

Directions:
Preheat to 325ºF. Arrange onions in a large roasting pan or disposable aluminum pan large enough to hold the brisket comfortably. Place the brisket fat side up over the onions.

Sprinkle the dry soup mix around the sides of the brisket. Pour the tomatoes and ketchup sauce over the onion soup mix. Add the wine and enough water so that the liquid reaches at least halfway up the sides of the brisket.

Cover the pan tightly with foil and cook for 3½ hours. Remove from oven and cool to warm before chilling overnight.

The next day, remove the foil and discard concealed fat from the meat, if any (the fat will be orange from the tomatoes).

Preheat oven to 250ºF.

Place the beef on a cutting board. Slice the beef AGAINST the grain (you will see the grain as long lines — cut across them, not in the same direction of the grain. This is very important so that the beef will not be “stringy.”)

Transfer the juices in the pan to the bowl of a food processor or pitcher of a blender and process or blend until smooth.

Transfer the cut meat slices back to a pan (place them next to each other as you cut them to form the roast again) or into an attractive ovenproof baking/serving dish. Pour the blended or processed sauce over and around the beef and cook, uncovered, for 1 to 2 more hours (test the beef for tenderness and seasonings; it may need more salt). Cover with foil and keep warm until ready to serve. Makes 10-12 servings.

SAVORY ROAST CHICKEN BREASTS

So simple and delicious. The brown sugar adds a little touch of sweetness to savory chicken.
Ingredients:
For the chicken: 
2 pounds boneless and skinless chicken breasts
Olive oil

For the rub:
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tsp. granulated garlic
¾ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. fresh ground pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment.

Pound chicken breasts lightly (between two pieces of plastic) to as much of an even thickness as possible. If the breasts are large (8 ounces or more), cut them in half horizontally into “cutlets,” then pound it lightly. Repeat with all the chicken.

Combine rub ingredients in a small bowl and stir well.

Rub the chicken all over with olive oil. Sprinkle the chicken with the rub and “rub” it on all sides (use all the rub).

Arrange on the baking sheet in a single layer. Cook for 15 minutes, or until golden. Do not overcook. Wait 5 minutes before serving or cutting into pieces. Makes 4-6 servings.

Alternately, you grill the chicken on medium-high for about 6 minutes per side.

BROWN SUGAR APPLESAUCE KUGEL WITH HONEY DRIZZLE

This is pareve so you can eat it with meat or fish or whatever. It’s simple and a perfect side dish.

Ingredients:
1 pound wide egg noodles
2 Tbsp. olive oil (not extra-virgin)
5 large eggs, whisked
3 cups unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. kosher salt
For the topping:
½ cup warmed honey

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9- by 13-inch baking dish well with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat and cook noodles for 5 minutes. Drain the noodles (do not rinse) and transfer to a large bowl. Add the oil and toss well. Set aside.

Whisk together remaining ingredients and stir into the noodles. Dust with more cinnamon.

Transfer to the prepared baking dish and cover with foil.

Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes more. Drizzle with warm honey.

Cool before cutting into squares and serving. Makes 12 to 20 servings, depending on the size of the squares.

ROASTED LEMON AND GARLIC BROCCOLI

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 pounds broccoli florets
½ cup water
3 Tbsp. thin-sliced garlic
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Directions:
Preheat to 425°F.  Combine all ingredients — except lemon juice — in a roasting pan. Cover and bake for 10 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes more. Adjust salt and black pepper to taste, drizzle with the lemon juice and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Makes 8-10 servings.

ROASTED CREAMER POTATOES

I love these tiny (about 1- to 1½-inch diameter) potatoes. When roasted, they become soft inside — almost to a mashed potato consistency. You’ll want to make a lot of these since they’re impossible to resist sampling right out of the oven.

You can prepare everything up to a day in advance, but don’t cook the potatoes until the day you serve them, potatoes just aren’t the same reheated.

When you toss everything together, you don’t even have to chill the raw potatoes (as long as they’re not cut). Just have everything ready and cover with foil and keep on the counter until ready to cook.

Ingredients:
3 pounds creamer potatoes (tiny potatoes)
2 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. granulated garlic (not garlic powder)

Directions:
Preheat to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.

Toss all the ingredients in a large bowl and transfer the potatoes to a sheet pan and spread out into a single layer. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes or until golden, turning once or twice with a spatula during cooking.

Remove from the oven, adjust salt and pepper to taste and serve hot or warm. Makes 8 servings.

SPINACH AND ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SALAD WITH WARM LEMON HONEY VINAIGRETTE

Ingredients:
3 cups 1-inch cubes, peeled butternut squash
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
8 cups fresh baby spinach leaves (or about 8 handfuls)
1 cup thin sliced bok choy
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup very thin-sliced bermuda or red onion, optional
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Dressing:
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds

Directions:
Cook the squash: Preheat oven to 425℉. Toss the cubes with oil and arrange on a rimmed baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or line with parchment. Roast for 15 minutes and remove from oven. Allow to cool.

Just before serving, combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl, including the squash.

Combine lemon juice, oil, honey, garlic and sesame seeds in a microwave safe dish. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and cook on high for 1 minute.

Toss the warm dressing immediately with the salad and serve sprinkled with salt and pepper. Makes 6-8 servings.

Courtesy Annabel Cohen

CHOCOLATE CHIP MANDELBREAD
This is among my most requested recipes. I slice it thin (about 1/3-inch) and toast it until golden.

Ingredients:
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
3 cups flour
1 cup mini chocolate chips
For the topping:
Combine in a small bowl:
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

Combine oil and sugar in a large bowl and mix well with an electric mixer.

Add the eggs and mix until incorporated.

Mix in the baking powder.

Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing until just incorporated (do not over mix).

Stir in the chips until uniform.

Form the mixture into two identical logs on the prepared baking sheet (the batter will be thick). Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until the logs are dry and set. Remove from the oven to cool for about 30 minutes.

Cut the logs into 1/3-inch slices and arrange the slices, cut-side down on the baking sheet (the slices may not all fit, so you may have to bake again in batches). Sprinkle the slices with the cinnamon/sugar (just on one side). Bake the slices for 10-15 minutes, until they are golden. Remove from the oven to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to one month.

Makes 3-4 dozen mandelbread.

Courtesy Annabel Cohen

LEMON COINS
Coins portend a year of prosperity during this season. These lemon coins are pretty and
lightly sweet and tart.

Ingredients:
2½ cups flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 large egg yolks

Directions:
Whisk flour and salt in a medium bowl.

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla in a large bowl, occasionally scraping sides until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add egg yolks; beat just to blend. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture and beat, occasionally scraping sides, just to blend.

Divide dough in half; roll each half into a 10-inch long log about 1¾ inches in diameter.

Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 1 hour. Do ahead: Can be made 2 days ahead.

Keep chilled.

Preheat to 350°F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Unwrap 1 dough log.

Wet the log (use your hands) with water.

Sprinkle sugar (sanding sugar is better) on a rimmed baking sheet. Roll the “log” in the sugar.

Using a sharp, lightly floured knife, cut log into ¼-inch thick rounds. Transfer to prepared sheets, spacing 1 inch apart.

Bake until cookies are firm and golden brown around edges, about 16 minutes.

Let cool completely before removing from the pan. Repeat with remaining dough log, using cooled baking sheets. Makes about 5-6 dozen, depending on the size.

All recipes ©Annabel Cohen 2019
annabelonthemenu@gmail.com.

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