Before every holiday we like to get together with our friend Levana Kirschenbaum, cooking teacher and cookbook author with a practical and nutritious approach to cooking. Don't miss her latest cookbook: “The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen: Glorious Meals Pure and Simple”. I attend her holiday cooking demo, we schmooze, we eat and we share it all with you.
Q: What do you like about cooking for Rosh Hashanah?
I love all the seasonal foods. Because it occurs right at the end of summer, we are all happy to get reunited with heartier dishes: soups, stews etc. Also, lots of cooking with fruit.
Q: With your Sephardic background, are there any High Holiday traditions that Ashkenazis would be interested in?
Our Rosh Hashanah Seder plate: just like a Passover Seder plate has 7 kinds of vegetables.
We also serve a delightful mixture of pomegranate seeds and walnuts, flavored with orange flower water.
And one more mixture: sesame seeds, anise seeds and sugar.
Q: What will someone learn by coming to one of your holiday demos?
Even though I spent my life developing recipes, I tell my students that the recipe is still the least part of it, in and of itself, and the best proof is, even with all the million recipes available online, not everyone is a good cook, not by a long shot. What I do tell them is the most important is to use absolutely nothing but the real thing, across the board: THIS, and not the recipe, will guarantee not only delicious food, but a much greater quality of life. They often think it will mean more time or more money, that is, until they see me in action and realize they might from now on spend less time and money, and end up with much superior food.
Q: What are your go to Rosh Hashanah recipes and why?
I would say lamb dishes. This is my splurge. Lamb shanks with artichokes and mushrooms and tiny potatoes, lamb with dried fruit, lamb with oregano lemon sauce etc even a lamb roast I was lucky to find at Aaron's Gourmet Empire.
Here is Levana's Rosh Hashanah menu that she demonstrated the other night, join her every Monday for another exciting menu, see her schedule here.