On Rosh Hashanah we eat four festive meals. Here’s how I organized the cooking.
I prefer not to cook in advance, as I like meat to be freshly cooked. Also, food that has been cooked and defrosted shouldn’t be refrozen, so pre-freezing causes a problem with leftovers.
Last week I baked and froze the honey cake and challah. I found that wrapping frozen challah in foil ensures that it stays crisp during defrosting. Naturally, I reuse the foil. We also shopped. I used up the honey in the baking, and my friend offered me an extra jar she got as a gift from work.
Last night I asked my kids to peel a large quantity of carrots and onions. I had already washed and dried parsley and celery. This morning I made meatballs (recipe below), matzah balls (we don’t eat them on Pesach, but like them for Rosh Hashanah because of their shape), beet salad, and rice. This afternoon we’ll polish the silver and make apple cake because my kids like those jobs, especially coring the apples. I’ll make pancakes for supper, with some cooked nectarines that needed to be used up.
Tomorrow, the morning before Rosh Hashanah, I plan to make fish, chicken, potatoes, chicken soup, carrot salad, coleslaw, and sweet potatoes. It sounds like a lot, but they are all simple recipes. If I get ambitious, I’ll make a potato kugel. I decided to do the soup tomorrow afternoon so I won’t have to worry about storing it until I have more room in the refrigerator. Since it’s yom tov and not Shabbat, I have a later deadline. In the meantime the freezer repairman says he’ll come “batzaharayim,” which means between 12 and 4 PM. Update #1: He arrived at 3PM.
My tentative menu is below. At each meal we also have wine, challah with honey, and cake.
We have guests on Monday evening, so I’ll serve more items than usual:
- Apple dipped in honey
- Fish–whole fish baked in foil with rosemary and olive oil
- Soup with matzah balls
- Meat dishes, side dishes, and salads
- Melon as appetizer
- Selection of salads and side dishes
Tuesday evening I would prefer to serve a dairy meal, but that means extra work and planning. Here is my compromise:
- New fruit: Pomegranates, oranges
- Apple with honey
- Salmon and salads. I’ll take the salmon out of the freezer on Monday afternoon, and put it up to cook Tuesday night before washing the lunch dishes. We don’t prepare for Tuesday evening until the first day of the holiday is officially over.
- Chicken soup
- For anyone who is still hungry (i.e. teenage boys), I put out chicken and potatoes.
If I still have soup and matzah balls, I’ll serve it. If I see on Tuesday evening that the meat is dwindling, I can pull something out of the freezer to cook in the morning. This has never happened. I also serve out the foods that are running low in order to make room in the refrigerator.
My meatball recipe follows. It’s flexible so feel free to experiment.
- 2 tbsp. fresh parsley
- 1 kg ground beef or turkey, or a combination
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs or matza meal (I have a large quantity of failed challah for this purpose)
- 1 tbsp. prepared mustard
- 2 onions
- 1-2 carrots
- Half a can tomato paste
In a dry food processor, chop parsley using steel knife, add carrot and chop finely. Add ground meat, eggs, crumbs, and mustard. Mix well.
Chop onions in food processor. I made the batter in a separate bowl because my processor is pareve, so I didn’t need to wash the processor bowl in between. Saute the onions for about five minutes, then add the tomato paste and whatever seasoning you like. I added some beet juice from the cooked beets–don’t tell my kids. You will probably want to dilute the sauce some; it shouldn’t be thick or sticky, nor should it be watery. I also added some cumin seeds and oregano.
When the sauce is boiling, form meatballs from the batter and drop them into the sauce. Don’t worry if some balls are above the level of the sauce, as the sauce increases during cooking, and the meatballs will cook either way. Lower the flame and cook for 30-40 minutes. To check for doneness, cut a meatball in half and check that the juices run clear.
Update #2: The repairman said the motor needed to cool off, so he will return later. He left his gauge as an eravon (guarantee).