Any celebration deserves special food and drink to help mark the occasion, and the Jewish New Year is no exception.
So this year, make it a real New Year’s party and offer up this Apple and Honey Cocktail and Baked Brie with Caramelized Apples and Onions. These apples and honey will help make a very sweet Rosh Hashanah indeed, but both libation and appetizer would be tasty additions for any celebration.
Both recipes are from last year’s Apples & Honey Cookoff, sponsored by the Jews Next Dor, a young adults group affiliated with Congregation Beth David of Saratoga; the first is my adaptation of a drink by Maor Shaffin, the second is a Shira Mandel recipe that won first place in the “savory” category.
This year’s event takes place Monday, Aug. 31 at a private home in San Jose. For more information, go to www.cbdyag.wordpress.com.
Apple and Honey Cocktail
1 cup ice
1 1⁄2 oz. vodka
1⁄2 oz. Smirnoff Green Apple Twist vodka
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
1⁄2 oz. simple syrup
1 tsp. honey
1 thin slice of apple (dipped in lemon juice to prevent browning), optional
Place ice in cocktail shaker or small pitcher. Add vodkas, lime juice and simple syrup. If the honey is liquid, add that to the mix. If the honey is crystallized, gently warm until it is liquid, let cool and then add it. Shake or stir until combined. Strain into martini glass. Garnish with apple slice on side of glass if desired.
Baked Brie with Caramelized Apples and Onions
8 oz. round loaf of sourdough bread
1 round of brie, approximately 7 to 8 ounces
1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. butter
1 Tbs. canola or other vegetable oil
1 cup of thinly sliced onions
2 1⁄2 cups of cored and peeled thinly sliced tart, green apples
1⁄3 cup dry white wine
1⁄2 tsp. honey
1⁄2 tsp. chopped fresh or 1⁄4 tsp. dried ground thyme
1⁄4 tsp. salt
1⁄4 tsp. ground black pepper
1⁄2 cup slivered almonds
sourdough bread for serving, sliced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut hole in the middle of the round loaf wide enough to contain the round of brie. Make the hole about double the thickness of the brie, but leave at least 1⁄2 inch of crust on loaf bottom. Set aside. Stand the round of brie on its side and slice in half so you have two disks (this is easier if the brie is cold). Set aside.
In large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 Tbs. butter and the oil. Add apples, stir well to coat and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add wine, honey, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir well and sauté until the wine has evaporated and the apples are lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes.
Place the bottom half of the brie (cut side up) into the prepared loaf. Top with half of the apple mixture and half of the almonds. Top with remaining half of brie (cut side down). Top with remaining apple mixture and almonds. Cut the 1 tsp. of butter up into bits and scatter atop apples and almonds. Put baking sheet with bread and cheese in oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes until cheese is very soft. Serve warm with sliced sourdough bread.
Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and blogger. Her columns alternate with those of Louise Fiszer. She blogs her food at www.clickblogappetit.blogspot.com. E-mail questions and suggestions to email@example.com.