Holidays

 

Holiday Prep Tip #8 – Time and Place For Day...

 

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With all these prep ahead tips there are still dishes or elements of dishes that should be made day of.  Point here is to pre-prep the patchke stuff and leave the last minute cooking for dishes best served fresh and finishing touches.  I like to think of the day of work as assembly day.  I grab a my already cleaned and cut chicken, already in the baking dish, from the fridge, add a handful of already sliced onions, and rub with my ready-to go homemade rub (see tip #9).

Being organized like this including the essential step of having prepped your veg (ever notice how much longer a beautiful salad takes than a Brisket!) will save you from making each visit to the kitchen epic.


 

Holiday Prep Tip #7 – Label, Label, Label

 

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When you freeze label with detail: the dish, the date, and how many it serves. If I know I am having 15 for one meal and 25 for another meal I write “Fricassee for 25” or “Creamy Coconut Carrot Soup for 15”. This way I don’t get confused and pull out Creamy Coconut Carrot Soup for 8 when I am expecting double the number of people.

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Holiday Prep Post #6 – Cook Thematically

 

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It’s good to organize your cooking and prep work by theme:

Day 1 wash and prep your veg


 

Holiday Prep Tip #5 – Chop, Chop, Chop

 

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Now is when you really earn your sous chef stripes.  (Say that 10 times fast!)  I chop, cut, slice, dice, ribbon, julienne and more about once a week.  I think about my menu and cut accordingly. I often have carrots 3-ways in my fridge: in coins (for roasting and snacking), julienned (for stir fries and starchy sides) and ribboned for salads.

I filet my bell peppers (includes washing and removing the seeds and ribs) and slice them into strips so I can easily grab a bunch and use them as is and/or quickly dice without having to wash and clean.


 

Holiday Prep Tip #4 – Don’t Be Scared...

 

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Now that I live in Israel most meat comes frozen. There are fresh butchers here and there but for the most part I buy my roasts, chop meat, and stew beef, frozen. Similarly whole sides of salmon and fish fillets come frozen. Fishmongers are harder to come by than butchers. And because year-round I don’t have time for a big shop more than once a week I buy lots of fresh chicken – on the bone, in cutlets, in strips, ground – and freeze that as well. This way, I can just shop from my freezer before cooking.

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Holiday Prep Tip #3 – Organize Your Shopping...

 

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Now that you know your menu, including intended repeats organize your list by shelf stable and fresh produce.  Have you ever noticed that stores start to run out of stuff as the end of the holiday draws to a close?  Of course this is most prevalent on Passover but it happens during the High Holiday season as well.  We usually do 1 BIG and by BIG I mean HUGE shop at the start and then fill in with perishables and last minute items throughout the month.  This way you have everything (or most things) you know you need at the ready.

When you organize your list though, be sure to include any perishables you need for bulk cooking within that first shop.


 

Holiday Prep Tip #2 – Consider Encore...

 

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When planning your menu, consider your company and time between each holiday meal and don’t shy away from serving the same thing more than once over the course of the month.  Serve the same soup the first night of RH and the first night of Sukkot or the same brisket Shabbos of the 3-day Rosh Hashanah Yom Tov and Shabbos Chol Hamoed (Sukkos).  Point is, don’t make 3 soups, 5 briskets, or even 8 desserts.  Cook in bulk by doubling/tripling/quadrupling recipes that freeze well.

Freeze in portions the size of your crowd and pull from the freezer in advance of the meal.  This way you are not starting from scratch before each holiday.  Alternate your menu based on company (so you don’t repeat food with repeat guests – although that wouldn’t be the worst thing) and proximity of meals.


 

Holiday Prep Tip #1 – Plan Your Menus Now

 

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By now, I mean right now.  Tomorrow is ok (now is better!) but just don’t let it wait a week.  Plan your menu for the entire holiday season at once, the earlier the better, from the first Rosh Hashanah meal to the last Simchat Torah seudah.  Crazy Fact: There are at least 16 meals if you live in Israel and 20 meals if you live outside of Israel.


 

DIY Rosh Hashanah Hostess Gift *Giveaway*

 

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Make your own hostess gift or centerpiece. Filled with candy this vase doubles as a gorgeous table decoration and a candy dish filled with edible goodies for the kids.

This year the first night of Rosh Hashanah falls on the night of September 24th, 2014.  A big relief after last year’s early holidays, we have time to plan and prepare.  Still, hopefully we will all get a little break and be invited out for at least one of the meals and that is when this amazing do it yourself hostess gift will come in handy.


 

Why You Should Add Leeks To Your Rosh Hashanah...

 

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Everyone knows that Rosh Hashanah is apples and honey time. But there’s a growing tradition to include other symbolic foods on the menu during the High Holiday season — foods that evoke our wishes for G-d to bless and protect us in the year ahead.

Leeks for instance.


 

15 Simanim Inspired Sides and Mains

 

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When I sat down to write this post I had to take a few minutes to research the many simanim we eat by Rosh Hashanah.  I ended up spending quite a bit of time reading up about the reasons we eat these foods, they are foods we eat all year round but yet their incredible significance is truly seen around Rosh Hashanah.  Foods such as dates and leeks are connected to the destruction of our enemies, pomegranates for increasing our spiritual merit, and carrots for abundance, just to name a few.  Below are 15 sides and mains that prominently featured some of the most well known of the simanim– don’t worry, you won’t find any recipes for fish head or ram’s head below!

 


 

Rosh Hashanah Gift Ideas Everyone Can Enjoy

 

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It’s always nice to bring a gift when someone invites you to a meal, but the typical red or white bottle of wine can get a little boring and cute little tchoktes take up space and are not appreciated by everyone.  I mean how many honey pots can a person break–er–I mean get as a gift.  Fine, if you are like me maybe you appreciate a new honey pot every year, and last year I shared some lovely new honey related gift ideas that go beyond the pot.  Those gifts inspired me to find more Rosh Hashanah gifts, but this time they are all edible.

My feeling is no one can have too much actual honey, did you know it doesn’t go bad?  And no one can have too much chocolate, olive oil, flavored liquors, teas etc.  The trick is choosing the right ones, the best ones, the food products that look like a gift.  Here are my suggestions.


 

Free High Holiday #FreshNewYear ebook

 

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A Healthy Rosh Hashanah Menu *Giveaway*

 

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This year get all your kosher shopping done in one place. Winn-Dixie is committed to providing kosher foods and works to add more products every day.


 

Buckwheat Honey Time

 

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A few months ago I was invited by the National Honey Board to a honey tasting.  Do I have a sweet job or what?  I learned everything I ever wanted to know about honey and discovered my new found love for buckwheat honey.

Buckwheat honey was the last variety we tried.  It is a dark honey with a very intense, malty flavor. It is amazing how the source of the pollination, in this case, buckwheat, can impart such a difference in taste and texture.  After licking my spoon dry, I noticed that about half the other people didn’t finish their sample.  The person leading the demonstration said, “you either love it or hate it.”  (Clearly I was in the love side of the spectrum)