Spare No Detail

If you’re anything like me when it comes to food, and you probably are if you’re reading this blog, then you love a good meal recap. What they served at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding? Tell me more! You just had an incredible meal at a farm-to-table spot in Nashville? Spare no detail, please. With that in mind, I hope you will appreciate hearing about the meals we had over Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot. Perhaps they will inspire your own menus. This is going to take a while, and there’s no formal recipe at the end, but I do describe how I made some of the dishes as I go.

First Night of Rosh Hashanah

The first night of Rosh Hashanah was just us four, so I kept the meal small. This was also because I was putting so much effort into the second night’s meal. But for first night, I took the caramelized onions I’d made in the crock pot and made them into a caramelized onion and blue cheese whole wheat tart. The butter from the crust dripped onto the floor of the oven, setting off the fire alarm. I roasted an acorn squash from the CSA with olive oil, salt, pepper and brown sugar, which dripped off the squash and set off the fire alarm when it wasn’t going off because of the tart. Those two, along with a simple salad, is how we started the new year. (Shout out to Rich who oversaw the oven’s self-cleaning overnight to get ready for the main event.)

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Second Night of Rosh Hashanah

For second night, we hosted my parents, my friend Dan, and some friends in town, whom I put in charge of the first fruit. They did a stellar job, bringing rambutan (a cousin of the lychee) and a durian fruit. (For better or worse, the durian was frozen and we didn’t get a chance to open it, but we will later this month. I’m so excited!)

For dinner we had, roughly in order:

Dates stuffed with Goat Cheese. Lilli is 100% completely in charge of this dish. She’s become very adept at using a butter knife to pit the dates.

Potato leek soup, with a dollop of crème fraiche. If you’re going to gild the lily one night of the year, it might as well be Rosh Hashanah.

Baked brie peach chutney in puff pastry. The same friend who brought the wacky fruit had a few weeks earlier collected peaches from her neighbor’s yard, which I made into peach chutney. I sliced off the top of a round of Camembert cheese, piled a few tablespoons of the chutney on top, wrapped it in puff pastry, applied an egg wash and baked it at 400F for 20 minutes — without setting off the smoke alarm! It was marvelous with the round challah from Small Oven Bakery.

Pickled cherry tomatoes. From a new cookbook by Leah Koenig I borrowed from the library that week.

A salad of mesclun, fresh figs, red grapes, blue cheese and candied pecans. I sautéed the grapes with a sprig of fresh rosemary and salt and made a sweet balsamic dressing I made with the local honey we dipped our apples in.

Delicata squash with thyme bread crumbs. Also from Leah Koenig.

Caprese salad with a balsamic reduction.

Farro with honeyed apples. Definitely worth cooking the honey in sweet apple cider.

Baked haddock. Don’t ever overlook Old Bay spice; there are entire states whose cuisines are based on it. I threw together a quick and easy tartar sauce with relish, mayonnaise, kosher salt and fresh lemon. My parents requested a non-dairy dressing to bring to their Shabbat dinner the following night, so I turned the tartar sauce into Thousand Island by adding 2 tablespoons ketchup, a teaspoon white vinegar; I forgot the half minced white onion, but I think it was fine.

Roasted mushrooms. I served these specifically because I thought Bea would eat them. She did!

Roasted carrots. Super low key, just coconut oil, kosher salt and pepper.

Dessert was plum cake, apple and walnut bars, and honey cake.

Special shout out to Thuy, who brought the spectacular new fruits and cleared the table and washed every dish in a matter of 20 minutes. You’re welcome back any time!

Sukkot

First night Sukkot was small, just us four and my parents. Still, the meal is still worth talking about. We had:

Carrot ginger soup

Baba ganoush (more to come on this)

Slow-roasted plum tomatoes. These looked like canoes when I took them out of the oven, so I filled with dollops of ricotta and chives.

Leek-artichoke tarts topped with blue and parmesan cheeses.

Radish and tonnato

Kale salad with roasted delicata squash and pomegranate

Peanut butter mousse ganache pie (recipe to come, soon!)

And ice cream, courtesy of Oma and Zayde.

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I’ll be following up with full recipes for the baba and peanut butter pie. But now I’m going to take a break. Just recapping all that cooking has made me tired. Happy new year, everyone!

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