Please allow me to preface this recipe with a disclaimer: I'm not Jewish. In fact, I'm an evangelical Christian. I've never had the pleasure of celebrating Rosh Hashanah, and before today, I had no idea what was served for meals during this holiday. So what, you're probably wondering, is a girl like me doing posting a recipe for Tsimmes?
I have a friend. Let's call her Deborah. (That's actually her name, so it's a legitimate thing to call her.) My friend Deborah is one of the most loyal, supportive, encouraging friends one could hope to have. I cherish Deborah's friendship. Without it, my life would be a bit dimmer, certainly less sweet.
Deborah, unlike me, is Jewish. And so, she is celebrating Rosh Hashanah. To show Deborah just how special she is to me, and to wish her a happy New Year, I wanted to make something special for her. Because food is such an important part of my life, professionally and personally, and because Deborah's ongoing enthusiasm and enduring support are in no small part responsible for my efforts on this very blog, I decided to make a recipe for her. A holiday recipe, hopefully something that she would, and could, enjoy eating.
Please note that I do not say a holiday dish. As it happens, my friend Deborah and I don't live near each other. Ours is truly a relationship of the modern era, carried on over phone lines and through the ether via broadband. So, this post, and the recipe it contains, is my Happy New Year tidings to my dear friend.
Now, not having the slightest idea of what to serve for Rosh Hashanah, and because I wanted to surprise Deborah with this post - Surprise, Deborah! - I did a bit of research to find out what sorts of foods I could work with. According to one very wonderful Web article on Jewish foods, the central culinary themes for Rosh Hashanah would revolve around three main foci: "sweetness, roundness, and fullness." I researched a few traditional dishes, and then took the classic presentation and made a few adjustments to personalize the dish - adjustments that hopefully are in keeping with the aforementioned themes.
Once I had developed a recipe I liked, I turned to another, newer friend, Ari, for a bit of advice. Ari was patient enough to answer all of my questions and kind enough to vet my list of ingredients, and I'm grateful for her help. (Happy New Year to you, too, Ari!)
The final steps were preparing, taste-testing (that is, feeding the dish to my intrepid and charmingly game daughter), photographing, and posting - the blogger's version of gift-wrapping.
So, to my dear friend Deborah and her family, and to everyone else celebrating Rosh Hashanah, I hope you enjoy my attempt at wishing you a very happy, healthy new year by way of oven love.
Roasted Plum Tsimmes with Honey-Apple Juice Reduction
In my adaptation of the classic dish, I chose to cut the traditional carrots into coins (roundness), to use plums (fullness, roundness), and to incorporate both honey and apple juice (sweetness).
- 4 medium carrots, washed and peeled
- 4 purple or red plums (not Italian)
- 1-inch-piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and coarsely ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon butter or margarine (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Slice carrots into coins with a crinkle cutteror a regular chef's knife. Place in a medium mixing bowl.
- Using a very sharp paring knife, cut around the circumference of the plums, going all the way down to the pit. Taking one half in each hand, twist gently and the fruit will separate into halves. Remove pit with the tip of the paring knife. Slice plums and add slices to carrots in bowl.
- Sprinkle grated ginger over carrots and plum slices; drizzle with olive oil. Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper; toss to coat evenly.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and spray or brush with oil. Pour carrot mixture out onto baking sheet and spread into a single layer. Roast at 400 degrees F until fork tender, about 15 minutes, turning over once with a wide spatula.
- While the carrots and plums are roasting, prepare the honey-apple juice reduction sauce. Place apple juice in a small saucepan and stir in honey and lemon juice.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower heat to medium-low and let simmer actively until the sauce is reduced by half and is somewhat syrupy, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter or margarine, if using.
- Place roasted carrot mixture in a serving bowl and pour sauce over. Garnish with toasted chopped walnuts if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 4 to 6 side-dish servings.