Monday, September 29, 2008

Happy New Year! Roasted Plum Tsimmes


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.


Shana Tovah!



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)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Slice carrots into coins with a crinkle cutteror a regular chef's knife. Place in a medium mixing bowl.

  3. 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.



  4. Sprinkle grated ginger over carrots and plum slices; drizzle with olive oil. Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper; toss to coat evenly.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

20 comments:

  1. What a lovely gesture! L'shanah tovah to you!

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  2. This is gorgeous...and so are the scones. Your friends are lucky to have you cook for them.

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  3. These photos are mouth watering! It was my pleasure to lend a hand, though really you didn't need my input! I thought it was so sweet of you to create a recipe for Deborah - lucky lady. :)

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  4. Looks wonderful .. great pictures!

    Denise
    http://WineFoodPairing.blogspot.com

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  5. This looks so tasty and kind!

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  6. L'Shana Tova! I saw your tsimmes photo on Recipe Muncher and had to stop by. What a lovely dish! I just might be making it next year. The colors are extraordinary.

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  7. That is such a kind and thoughtful gesture! Deborah is lucky to have a friend like you. This looks so delicious.

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  8. First time here on your lovely blog. And what a sweet gesture to make that for your friend... lucky her!

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  9. Wow, Deborah is certainly a lucky woman to have such a friend, even if it is a long distance relationship. This dish looks absolutely lovely! My mouth is actually watering.

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  10. That looks absolutely gorgeous! It would have gone perfectly with our Brisket. I'll have to make it to eat with all our leftovers!

    Happy New Year!

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  11. That's an awfully sweet thing to do. Deborah is lucky to have such a good friend. The tsimmes look delicious! Those plums are the most beautiful color!

    We're not Jewish either, but my daughter always makes us observe all of the holidays. We have Seders for Passover, a Menorah for Hanukkah, etc. We even did Kwanzaa a few times. Unfortunately, we're having pork chops tonight. Maybe she won't notice. ;)

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  12. ~ Jules Someone, Audrey, Ari, Denise, Nina, Lori Lynn, Stephanie, and Anudivya: Thanks so much! Glad you like the recipe! I was happy that plums are still in season here - there were many to choose from in the market. Cutting the carrots into coins helps them cook at the same rate as the plums. It's such an easy dish to bring together. :)

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  13. ~Zoe Francois: I LOVE brisket! Mmmm - you're right; what a good combo.

    ~SGCC: Thank you! I bet our daughters would get along well! ;) I hope the pork chops didn't cause too much of a stir!

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  14. Hello, All,
    I am Deborah--newly of mouthwatering plum-and-carrot fame! Several of you used the word “lucky,” and you are so right. Friendship goes two ways.
    What a gift! What gift-wrapping!
    Thank you, Sandy, thank you!!!!
    Hearty appetite and a year of good health, good eating, and good work to everyone, no matter what you celebrate.
    Shanah tovah u’metukah, a good and sweet year!
    Deborah

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  15. I just got an email from my mother with the following advice: "Check out the recipe--my favorite copyeditor and now a friend, created it for me. The recipe is worth making quite apart from that." I decided to check out the blog first but now I'm off to the store.... Mouthwatering, indeed!
    Thank you from "2 degrees of appreciation"

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  16. ~Deborah: Now everyone can see what I mean and why I wanted to make something special for you!

    ~Jewish: You are so welcome! Thank you for stopping by!

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  17. Not only is Deborah a wonderful cousin, but she was a cook who inspired me early on in my cooking career. Her home was filled with lovely things to eat - we always talk recipes when we have the opportunity.
    I look forward to trying your lovely tzimmes recipe which could be great with the late season plums available here in Jerusalem where I live.
    Happy New Year to all!

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  18. ~Beth Steinberg: Thanks so much for stopping by! It's no surprise to hear that Deborah's an excellent cook; she's excellent in so many other ways!

    We're starting to lose our plums here in NY now, but there are still a few around, and of course the imports. But now on to the apples, and we have no shortage of those!

    Happy New Year to you, too!
    ~Sandy

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  19. Beautiful recipe and also applicable for Sukkoth!

    Thank you so much and happy Sukkoth.

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  20. ~Thank you, Robeske, and happy Sukkoth to you, too! ~S.

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