Rosh Hashana at the Okin House!

September 22, 2010 at 3:11 pm 1 comment

Rosh Hashana at my house is always a family affair; everyone has their specific tasks and knows just how to do it. (Even our guests have specific assignments: Audrey makes the kugel, Jimmy carves the turkey, Leslie makes sure that there is challah with and without raisins) My mom started the soup, brisket and desserts in advance, but it’s always a race against the clock to see if we will be done on time for the guests.

The downstairs freezer is packed!

Almost everything on the Rosh Hashanah menu is something that we’ve been making for years, so there are very few recipes to consult. The one thing we use a recipe for is dessert –even though we all know exactly how to make it we like to check the measurements.

This recipe card is very well used — and perfect with just about any fruit.

This year our “big change” was swapping the green beans with almonds with grilled asparagus. (It’s only taken my mom 3 years to remember that Swedish Fred is allergic to all nuts!)

Daisy wonders, Do Jews ever eat Chinese for Rosh Hashana or is that strictly a Christmas tradition?

5 pounds of onions!

While my dad, sister and I are at services, my mom and husband start in the kitchen. Eric’s main task is to keep my mom on schedule! Once the turkey goes in the oven, its time to peel potatoes & chop onions.

Carrots, sweet potatoes (peeled & chopped by Eric), apricots,

lemon and whole sticks of cinnamon go in the pot for tzimmes.

The “traditional'” new year’s pizza!

After morning services, its tradition for us to stop at Luigi’s for pizza. This way we aren’t tempted to “eat the profits” or spoil our appetite with something too heavy.

My jobs: chop the vegetables, make the stuffing and mushroom gravy

(Yup, a little ginger is the secret ingredient!)


Stirring up the mushrooms and shallots for the gravy is one of my favorite activities. Probably because I just love to stir and mix — basically, play with my food!

My sister’s job is to make the matzo balls.

My mom likes to add some “color” so there is carrot and parsley confetti in the mix. It is a family tradition to use my mother’s Grandma Candy’s brown bowl. (It also gets used for charoset at Passover.)

Mom always makes a “model matzo ball” so that they are uniform in size.

It doesn’t look like there is enough room in the pot for all of the matzo balls, but they are super light and fluffy.

And just in case we don’t have enough soup, mom’s got another pot started!

A lot of the talk in the kitchen sounds like this, “Where’d you put the….” Here my parents are looking for various ingredients in the pantry cabinet and the refrigerator.


Check out the ancient spices on that spice rack. I swear that red food coloring was used to make Raggedy Anne’s hair red on my first birthday cake!


Daisy thinks things are smelling good in the kitchen.


A peek into the oven shows that the turkey is browning nicely, but could use a little basting.

Onions and cucumbers get sliced paper thin (without a mandolin!) for quick summer pickles.


Gefilte fish on a plate of salad. (Seems to be tomatoes missing from this picture! An oversight!) Eric and I have a nice little deal worked out: he gets my gefilte fish and I get his olives. This way everyone is happy.

Audrey knows that Jordana and I don’t like raisins, so she makes a raisin-free kugel just for us! Thanks Audrey!

Thanks to Eric’s time management skills, almost all of the food is ready when our guests arrive. Even more impressive, the table is set and everyone is showered and presentable!


Apples (macs for my sister, granny smith for me) and honey for a sweet New Year!


Tashlich on the bridge

Before the meal is served, we say the blessings. Jerilyn lights the candles; Jason blesses the wine and Jordana and I each cut a challah (one with raisins, one without. Are you sensing a theme here?)

Soup’s on!


Now that the turkey has cooled a bit (and everyone is ravenous) Jimmy carves the turkey.

Daisy stands by to make sure that all of the turkey goes onto the platter — and perhaps hopes that something accidentally falls to the floor.

Then everyone traipses back into the kitchen to bring in the food.

Eric stands by to help serve. I think the table looks a little barren, but there is plenty to eat.


Looks like everyone is enjoying dinner.

Eric asked my mother to cut back on the desserts. Usually there are at least 2 honey cakes, a fruit torte, something chocolate.

Plum torte. According to Jordana, the plums were pretty tart and needed some extra sugar. Remind me to tell you about the sugar-free cranberry sauce another time.

My dad goes crazy for the chocolate covered cherry flavored marshmallow twists!

He’s also very fond of teglich. Hard dough in syrup with maraschino cherries. I don’t get it.

Hours later, its time to clean up. Thank goodness my parents have replaced their dishwasher (after 3 attempts).

Jerry & my dad rinse and load the dishwasher.

The refrigerator is all packed up with leftovers from the meal.

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Amina Harris: A New Take on Honey Cake! Over at the JMM blog we talk about: Lunch!

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Electric Switch  |  December 1, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    i always visit food blogs because i always like to do some home cooked meals -,;

    Reply

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