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Rosh Hashanah begins this Sunday at sundown, September 16, 2012.
It's a holiday with sweet & serious food for both the body & the soul. So I'm offering up a little of both in this post.
Since so many of you have asked me to post some of my favorite plant-strong holiday recipes I started looking through what I've made since I first started blogging in 2008.
Here's my first Rosh Hashanah post, and one of my favorites, from 2009, Transforming Traditions - Rice, Beans, & Squash and When Friends Become Family. I'd have to "transform" those early recipes to make them plant-strong--ditching the oil & the cheese. But, it's doable.
This year, I'm celebrating the holidays at home, with friends. My kids will be doing the same in Washington, DC & St. Louis. We'll have to wait until Thanksgiving to all be together again.
Sometimes you just have to transform the traditional. Holiday fare doesn't always have to be brisket and matzoh ball soup.
Holidays can't always be celebrated with your family. You can transform humble fare like rice, beans and squash into something truly spectacular.
And if your family lives out-of-town, your friends can be transformed into family.
"Find a way to be grateful for what you do have."
-Transforming Traditions, HHLL Oct. 8, 2009-
First Comes the Reflection Part - Food for the Soul
Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur are kind of like "report card time" for grown-ups. Like a cosmic "Employee Evaluation"--but we have to grade ourselves. And who's comfortable doing that?
In fancy words, it's the season of self-examination of one's spiritual, physical, interpersonal and communal responsibilities.
So, another year's gone by, and how am I doing as a wife, mom, grandmother, sister, friend, sister-in-law, employee, neighbor, acquaintance? Have I done a single thing to make life better for someone else? Gee, I sure hope so. But, goodness knows, I've fallen short. Many times.
And then comes the really tough squirmy part, when we're supposed to think about who we may have knowingly or unknowingly hurt, offended, embarrassed, wronged, disappointed, been unavailable for, slighted, ignored, cheated or worse--and then take responsibility for any wrongdoings by asking that person(s) for forgiveness.
Uhh, that's a whole lot easier said than done, right? Sure, it's not so hard to come up with a whole laundry list of where we messed up or fell short. But, it's a whole other ballgame to actually ask someone for forgiveness. It's just not something most of us are used to doing. How awkward. How difficult. How uncomfortable & embarrassing.
I can’t stand to fly
I’m not that naive
I’m just out to find
The better part of me
-Superman, Five for Fighting-
The cure of the soul begins with a sense of embarrassment, embarrassment at our pettiness, prejudices, envy, and conceit; embarrassment at the profanation of life.
-Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel-
So, in the spirit of Rosh Hashanah reflection, I'm sharing two brilliant & charming animations that certainly got my head into the Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur mood. I thank Hanan Harchol for his creativity & brilliance. He's simply adorable--as you'll soon see. And I thank Krista Tippitt of "On Being" for introducing me to Harchol's work a month ago.
Honestly, making apologies, fixing our mistakes, becoming a better person, & forgiving each other--it's all non-denominational stuff.
Doesn't matter if you're an atheist, agnostic, humanist, Muslim, Hindu, Catholic, Jew, Buddhist, Bahai, Protestant--whatever. We're all in this world together!
Repair by Hanan Harchol
If you don't see the video on your screen, click here
Forgiveness by Hanan Harchol
If you do not see the video on your screen, click here
Now Comes the Recipe Part - Food & Nourishment for the Body
Triple Rice Salad with Dried Fruits and Nuts
This a a long-time family favorite of mine and a crowd-pleaser for meat-eaters & vegans alike. It's a room temperature main dish salad with brown, wild, & basmati rice, that's chock full of dried fruit, pecans (sure, substitute walnuts), & fragrant fresh herbs, like mint, basil, & parsley. Mmmm. What an original combo!
And then comes the secret ingredient that turns it into a main dish: Grilled Field Roast Apple Sage Sausages.
It's all dressed in a garlicky, lemony creamy cashew dressing.
No, it's not low-fat, nor is it Esselstyn-approved, but, it's a special holiday dish that everyone will love. At least I hope so. Click here for the recipe--I recently revised it.
This soup is a subtle-tasting creamy pale green delight, made with fennel, leeks, spinach & vegetable broth. My friend Dick, a talented cook, has been making this soup for years. This is a no-oil version of a 1997 Bon Appetit Passover recipe. It's always a holiday favorite & is so much better with matza balls than plain old "chicken" broth.
Dr. J's version of matza balls are just perfect--and the only kind of no-oil & no-egg matza balls that don't fall apart. Follow her directions EXACTLY.
This is a thick, hearty, easy-to-make mushroom barley soup that I've been making for over 20 years, long before I started eating plant-based. I still have the yellow, faded newspaper clipping it comes from. Perfect for Rosh Hashanah.
"Enlightened" Rockin' Roasted Rosemary Potatoes
Rockin' Roasted Rosemary Potatoes - my family couldn't get enough of these & I've made them at least five times since last Thanksgiving. No-oil & amazing! A crazy crunchy coating made with a little vodka, vermouth, grainy Dijon mustard, garlic, horseradish, caraway seed, smoked paprika, & hot pepper. OMG you're going to LOVE these!
Kale Waldorf Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Honey Crisp Apples, Cranberries/Raisins in a Creamy Dressing (photo by Whole Foods)
Kale Waldorf Salad with Honey Crisp Apples, Toasted Walnuts, Cranberries, Raisins & a Creamy Dressing - a unanimous hit, and I've made this multiple times. I have never liked raw kale salad before I tasted this version. But, you HAVE to use lacinato or dinosaur kale--and honey crisp apples. Blog buddy, Lani, gifted me with this favorite holiday salad recipe of hers--found on the Whole Food website. I, of course, "enlightened" it.
Your Rosh Hashanah "Brisket" Substitute - Sweet & Spicy Glazed Meatless Loaf - Simply Scrumptious
This "feeds-a-crowd traditional brisket substitute" is really Susan Voisin's Meatless Loaf (of Fat-Free Vegan fame), and it's glazed with Ellen Allard's Maple Sauce. We all enjoyed it last Thanksgiving--but, it will definitely work for Rosh Hashanah or Erev Yom Kippur. I've also made Ellen's "Meatless Loaf" many times--and it's every bit as delicious as Susan's. My co-worker, Mary, had a hankering for meat loaf this weekend, & just happened to bring Susan's Meatless Loaf leftovers into work yesterday---and trust me on this one--this recipe is a winner. You can use Susan's Mushroom Gravy recipe --or use left-over roasted triple mushroom soup as gravy. Delicious.
Cathy Fisher's Tu-No Salad for Breaking the Fast - Serve It on Alvarado Sprouted Bagels or Crisp Breads
Double the Tu-No Recipe If You're Having a Crowd
I'm hosting a Break Fast at my house, and I definitely plan to make a double batch of Cathy Fisher's Tu-No Salad. I'm thinking of having bagels, sliced tomatoes, and avocado slices to go with it.
If I make something more than 5 times you better believe it's good! My St. Louis kids love Tu-No & even my non-tuna-eating son in DC loves Tu-No--which says a lot!
My gal pals loved it on our "into the woods" get-away. The Lab Rat loves it. And a plant-based pediatrician I know says it's now her favorite "bring-to-work-sandwich". If you haven't tried it, it's high time you did. I use real garlic & add 2 TBS of capers to it--but try it with dill, too. The kelp granules/powder really makes it! The recipe is here: http://www.straightupfood.com/blog/2011/04/15/tu-no-salad-wraps/
Blueberry Peach Cobbler ala Cathy Fisher (My Slight Tweaks)
A Serving of Blueberry Peach Cobbler
The perfect dessert ending for Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur--Blueberry Peach Cobbler. Hmm, I guess you could try this with apples, too! It's the end of the summer, and the last of the summer fruits. This is made with neither sugar or fat, yet it's sweet with a just-right crumbly oat crust. You can find my slightly tweaked version of Cathy Fisher's cobbler here.
So there you have it! Just a few suggestions for your upcoming holiday meals, with a few of my favorite recipes. It's always hard to choose.
Whether you're celebrating the New Year now--or in January--may you all have a Happy, Healthy, Sweet New Year.
I would love to hear what you're making for the holidays!