Sunday, November 30, 2014

Friday Night Dinner Project: Rosh Hashanah (New Year's Eve)

If you are looking for a menu to serve at a fabulous New Year's Eve dinner party, look no further.  This is it.  For this week's installment we cooked the Rosh Hashanah menu.  The Jewish New Year has already passed, but if you are celebrating the Christian calendar New Year I highly recommend this selection.  This dinner is truly special.

This menu is also special because for the first time (literally) in the almost eight years we have been married I had to send my husband out to do the grocery shopping.  He described himself as "a lost boy" trying to find things like smoked trout, fresh tarragon, and pomegranate molasses in the store.  He survived and came back with an interesting assortment of items.  

Let's dive in....

First up is a beverage, Sparkling Pomegranate Sangria.  Soooo good.  This is a very refreshing drink.  I would love to serve this at a holiday party, I even brought out my Christmas glasses to drink it in.  We made the non alcoholic version, using orange juice concentrate instead of orange liqueur and soda water instead of sparkling wine.  The other adjustment was that instead of pomegranate juice, I used blueberry pomegranate juice.  This was not on purpose - my beloved grabbed the wrong kind on his adventures in Longo's.  It was still very good.

Next up:
Egg and Smoke Trout Salad with Capers
I wasn't sure how I would feel about this, if it would be too's not.  It's very nice.  Bonnie recommends serving this on challah, or gourmet breads.  I decided to put on crackers, garnished with fresh chives, to make a bite sized appetizer.  I liked it.  I am actually packing some for my lunch tomorrow.  Oh, and I do think it would be excellent on challah as well.
Yemenite Chicken Soup
I am going to have to update this post later.  I have made the soup (pictures below), but I haven't actually tasted it yet because I am letting it sit overnight so I can scrape the fat off tomorrow.  Here are the pictures, I can't comment on the taste quite yet.

The Entrée:
Rib Roast with Garlic Mustard Rub
Excellent.  Just excellent.  We made it using a sirloin roast and the flavours the Garlic Mustard Rub infuse through the meat are just wonderful.  I cooked it until well done instead of medium rare, simply because I knew we would have leftovers and I like well-done meat for leftovers.  You can find the recipe here.

Country Mash
This.  Is.  Amazing.  It is so simple, essentially a mashed potato mix with white potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and carrots.  It tastes absolutely wonderful.  I could eat a lot of this.  If your kids do not like eating their vegetables, this is what you should be making!!!

Rib Roast with Garlic Mustard Rub, Country Mash, a small piece of Ratatouille Tart, and Spinach Salad
Roasted Ratatouille
This is a beautiful, colourful dish.  The eggplants, zucchini, peppers, and cherry tomatoes really create a lovely pop of colour.  What really makes this recipe, for me, is the roasted garlic.  I have to be honest and say that neither of us are huge fans of these vegetables, so I knew that serving it on its own as a vegetable side probably wouldn't work in our house.  Instead, I served it first on top of pasta and sprinkled with mozzarella.  It was good.  Then I used the leftovers to make the Ratatouille Tart that Bonnie includes in the sidebar of her book.  Essentially, it is the Roasted Ratatouille in a pie shell, topped with Swiss cheese and an egg and milk custard.  This was very good and I really enjoyed it.

A slice of Ratatouille Tart with Spinach and Orange Salad with Honey Orange Dressing

Spinach and Orange Salad with Honey Orange Dressing
Never would I have though to pair oranges with avocado as Bonnie does in this salad, but it is a great combination.  I am not a fan of citrus-y salads, so I did not think I would like this but I was wrong.  It was quite good and the citrus flavour is mild.  The dressing calls for pomegranate molasses but I did not have any on hand so I used some maple syrup instead.  The dressing is quite light and refreshing.  Again, Bonnie Stern offers up a delicious homemade dressing recipe that could easily be used to make many different salads.

Ruthie's Apple Cake
Ruthie's Apple Cake is without a doubt the best apple cake I've ever tasted.  Hands down.  I would eat this cake over apple pie any day.  Any day!!  It reminds me of a pie (it is a layer of batter, topped with loads of fresh apples, then topped off with a thin layer of batter), but it is so much better.  Truly divine.  This recipe will definitely become a staple in our house!!  I served it with French Vanilla ice cream, but if you are wanting to keep things kosher, Bonnie recommends a caramel sauce.  I will be trying that next time.

Chocolate Bark with Almonds, Ginger and Orange Peel
A simple, delicious, easy to make chocolate bark recipe.  This would be lovely to send home with guests (as Bonnie suggests in her book), or to give as gifts over the holidays.  The thing that I love about it is that you can add your own twist by using different nuts or dried fruits.  I will definitely be making this again - my grandfather absolutely loves chocolate bark so I think he might be getting a tin of this in his stocking!

Ginger Crackle Cookies
Make these cookies.  You will not regret it.  The recipe is here.
I made them extra big, because they are extra good.

Cookies, begging to be eaten!

And that is it.  I cannot say enough good things about this week's menu.  I post links to Bonnie's recipes when I can find them in places where they have been reprinted with permission.  If you are enjoying these posts, I highly recommend purchasing your own copy of Friday Night Dinners and cooking along with me.  As you can see in the pictures above, even my one year old enjoys reading Bonnie's book and adding his own notes to the recipes.  

Thank you all for reading!  See you next week...

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