Rosh Hashanah Food: Inspire family and guests with High Holy Days food for thought

So this is where it all comes together — all the thought, all the planning, the testing. And the tasting, the tasting and the tasting. (That’s the best part).

Simanim — literally, signs or indicators — are meant to point the way to improved circumstances. A simanim-inspired menu brings added challenges, but also adds a level of meaning to your Rosh Hashanah meal. 

For the past few years, I have been using this as a Rosh Hashanah conversation starter with my kids during our cooking and prep time together. My guests, my kids, my guests’ kids — everybody loves identifying which simanim are on the table openly or hidden as an ingredient. Our discussion takes on a special yontif energy that only comes with Rosh Hashanah.

Meanwhile, nothing compares to the rich flavor of brisket, plus Brisket in Wine Sauce couldn’t be simpler to prepare — a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

A tasty and economical way to feed a crowd during the holidays, the Honey Chicken is sweet but never cloying. Despite its name, this chicken is not too sweet. The olive oil, soy sauce, garlic and pepper temper the honey perfectly.

The cupcake recipe makes 10 mini-cupcakes, the perfect little sweet treat at the end of the meal. But if this is all you are serving for dessert, you may want to double this recipe so each guest can enjoy two.

In the coming year, may all of your meals be cooked to perfection — nothing burns, nothing is soggy or falls apart. May it be a year of culinary delights and taste-bud adventures! And may you and your loved ones eat in good health, happiness, sweetness and peace.


Gefilte Fish Cakes With Horseradish Sauce

Serves 8

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes, plus 30 minutes chill time minimum

1 loaf frozen gefilte fish, defrosted (22 oz.) or 1 jar (24 oz.), drained

1⁄2 cup diced red bell pepper

1 small red onion, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

11⁄2 cups light mayonnaise, divided

4 Tbs. chopped dill

1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt

1⁄4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 egg

1 cup coarsely crushed matzah

canola oil for frying

1 lemon, juiced

4 Tbs. prepared horseradish

In a large bowl combine gefilte fish, peppers, onions, celery, 1⁄2 cup mayonnaise, dill, salt, pepper, egg and matzah and stir well to combine. Using slightly wet hands, scoop 1⁄4 cup and form into patties. Place on a sheet pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes before frying.

Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Fry patties in batches for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until golden brown. (Can be kept warm in the oven at 250 degrees).

In a small bowl, combine remaining 1 cup mayonnaise, lemon juice and horseradish; stir. To serve, place 2 cakes on a small plate and garnish with a tablespoon of horseradish sauce.

Brisket in Wine Sauce

Serves 8

Prep time: 9 minutes

Cook time: 3 hours

21⁄2 lb. beef brisket, thick-cut

1 Tbs. paprika

1⁄2 tsp. basil

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

3 medium onions, sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled, halved

11⁄2 cups ketchup

11⁄2 cups dry red wine

11⁄2 cups water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Rinse brisket. Place in roasting pan. Rub paprika, basil, salt and pepper into meat. Scatter onions and garlic over meat.

In a medium bowl, mix ketchup, wine and water. Pour over brisket. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil, tenting so that the foil does not touch the meat. Bake, covered, at 325 degrees for 3 hours, or until a digital instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the brisket reads 190 degrees for well done.

Let stand 5-10 minutes before slicing diagonally, against the grain. Serve warm; pass pan juices in a sauceboat.


Honey Chicken

Serves 4

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

In this Honey Chicken recipe, the olive oil, soy sauce, garlic and pepper temper the honey. photo/stuart schnee

1 chicken, about 3 1⁄2 lbs., cut into 8 pieces

3⁄4 cup honey

1⁄4 cup soy sauce

1⁄4 cup olive oil

1 Tbs. garlic powder

1 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Rinse chicken, pat dry and place in prepared pan.

In a small bowl, mix together honey, soy sauce, olive oil, garlic powder and pepper and pour over chicken. Bake, uncovered, at 375 for 1 hour until slightly browned.


Spicy Sauteed Leeks and Spinach

Serves 10

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

4 Tbs. olive oil

6 leeks, white and light green parts only, cut into 1⁄4-inch rounds, then halved

10 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. crushed red pepper

1⁄2 cup white wine

20 oz. bag baby spinach

Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add leeks, cover and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes. Add wine and spinach and increase heat to medium. Cover and cook 4 minutes more, tossing occasionally, until spinach is wilted.


Carrot-Apple Mini-Cupcakes

Makes 10

Prep time: 12 minutes

Cook time: 18 minutes

1⁄2 cup plus 1 Tbs. all-purpose flour

1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1⁄4 tsp. baking soda

1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt

4 Tbs. margarine

3 Tbs. brown sugar

2 Tbs. granulated sugar

1 egg

1⁄4 tsp. vanilla extract

3⁄4 cup grated carrot

3⁄4 cup grated apple


8 oz. package nondairy cream cheese, softened

2 Tbs. honey

2 Tbs. confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a mini-cupcake baking pan with 10 cupcake liners or lightly grease with baking spray.

In a small bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt and whisk to combine.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine margarine and sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Add carrot and apple and mix until moistened. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Distribute batter evenly to make 10 mini-cupcakes. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool 10 minutes and then remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing: Whisk together nondairy cream cheese, honey and sugar until smooth. Frost the top of each cupcake with a heaping tablespoon.

Jamie Geller is the author of the best-selling “Quick & Kosher” cookbook series and online cooking show, and creator of the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller magazine. Her recipes, menu ideas and how-to videos are at