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Symbolic New Year Foods
Source :
Kabocha Pumpkin Challah

Besides the occasional pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, I didn’t grow up eating a lot of pumpkin-flavored dishes. Instead, the women in my Japanese American family made stewed kabocha at this time of year. Whenever I see kabocha at the store, it takes me back to the delicious aroma of sweet kabocha stewed with soy sauce...

When I got to college and started cooking for myself, I tried my hand at the pumpkin soups, pies and baked goods I’d see in magazines at this time of year. Each time, I felt disappointed by the relatively mellow and mild flavor. Even the shade of orange was mellow and mild. 

This year, I decided to make a kabocha challah for fall Shabbat dinners. The color is beautifully vibrant and the flavor has more depth and is more complex (savory and sweet at the same time!) than that of its sugar pumpkin cousin. You’ll have extra puréed kabocha and can use it to make this kabocha soup.

Makes: 2 large challahs
Total Cooking time: 5 hours
Active Cooking time: 1.5 hours

Tools Needed:
Kitchen Aid Mixer with whisk and dough hook attachments*
Large mixing bowl
Food processor or immersion blender
Candy thermometer
Plastic wrap
Pastry scraper
Cookie sheet
Parchment paper
Small bowl
Small whisk
Pastry brush
*can be made without Kitchen Aid mixer

2 packages active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
1/3 cup white cane sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
6 egg yolks, at room temperature
2/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups kabocha squash puree
8 cups bread flour

Egg Wash:
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tablespoon water

3 tablespoons everything bagel mix
3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
3 tablespoons black sesame seeds

Take 9 eggs out of the refrigerator. 

To make the kabocha purée, boil a big pot of water with a generous dash of salt. While the water is boiling, cut and seed the kabocha, removing the bottom and stem (if it has one). Cut it into about 2” squares and cut the green skin away, discarding it. Place the kabocha squares into the pot of boiling water and turn the heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, checking with a fork to see if it’s finished cooking. It should be easily pierced through the middle without much resistance, but not fall apart. Purée in a food processor or with immersion blender. Reserve 2 cups for the challah.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, pour 1/2 cup of the lukewarm water into a large mixing bowl.
Using a candy thermometer, check to make sure it is about 110°F. Pour in the two packets of
dry yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar (from the 1/3 cup) into the bowl. Stir gently to dissolve
everything into the water. Set the bowl aside for 15 minutes. 

Your yeast mixture should look foamy at the end of the 15 minutes. If it does not, you need to get new yeast and start over or your challah will not rise. Better to find out now, rather than later!

Now that your yeast is activated, add the remaining lukewarm water to the bowl, then the
remainder of the sugar, egg, 6 egg yolks, honey, oil, salt and spices. Whisk on medium speed.

Once everything is evenly incorporated, add your kabocha puree and keep whisking.

Once the mixture is smooth, thick, and bright orange, change out your whisk for a dough hook. 

Add each cup of flour slowly on low speed. With a rubber spatula, scrape the bottom and sides
down with each addition. When you’re on the 7th or 8th cup, the dough will become too
thick for your mixer. At this point, you can start to knead with your hands. When you’re done,
the dough should be smooth and stretchy but not super sticky. If you need to, add a bit more
flour until you reach this consistency.

Oil the entire inside of a large mixing bowl with vegetable oil. Place dough in this bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. I like to put my dough in my oven (but not turn it on).

After 1 hour, punch the dough back down to remove the air and let it rise again for another

After another hour, punch the dough down again and knead it into a smooth ball on a floured
countertop. Cut the ball in half with a pastry scraper. 

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat the egg yolks and water in a small
bowl with a small whisk.

Now it’s time for braiding! There are many different ways to braid challah, and I prefer the look of the 4-strand braid because it’s simple but still looks impressive! I like to use Tori Avey’s 4-Strand Braided Challah tutorial.

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Using a pastry brush, generously apply egg wash to each of your challahs. Generously sprinkle them with everything bagel mix, black and white sesame seeds in sections (see photo). Alternatively, you can also just season it generously with everything bagel mix and let them rise for 30 more minutes. 

Bake challah for 40 minutes, but set your timer for 30 minutes. At this point, check on your
challah to see if it needs to be rotated. If it’s browning quite quickly, you may need to cover it
with foil for the remainder of the cooking time. Shabbat Shalom!

Symbolic New Year Foods
Source :
Lime in Chicken Soup by Rebecca Lehrer

Lime in Chicken Soup

Rebecca Lehrer, co-founder & CEO of the Mash-Up Americans, introduces this twist on a classic: My whole life I thought that putting lime and cilantro in chicken soup was a Jewish thing. Because lime and cilantro are super common in Germany and Poland, right? It turns out that it is Salvadoran. I only realized this a couple of years ago when I was with my family at a marketplace in San Salvador. We ordered chicken soup, lime came with it, and then basically my brain exploded. All I knew is that my Mami did it this way. So while it may not be traditionally Jewish it’s certainly my Mash-Up Jewish tradition!

1 whole chicken
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (more depending on your cilantro preference)
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
6 cloves of garlic whole or quartered, your choice
1 cup of rice (optional)
3 Bay Leaves
1 tablespoon of salt + more to taste
20 black peppercorns
5 allspice berries
4 limes, cut in half
2 large potatoes (or 6 small potatoes), chopped to 1/2 inch cubes
2 medium onions, chopped to 1/2 inch cubes
2 carrots, chopped to 1/2 inch cubes
4 stalks celery, chopped to 1/2 inch cubes
2 guisquiles (chayote), chopped to 1/2 inch cubes
3 small zucchini or yellow squash, chopped to 1/2 inch cubes
1 turnip, chopped to 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 lb of green beans (ejotes), cut in half
Good substitutes: corn, cabbage, yucca root

Put the whole chicken (with giblets, if that’s your thing) and all chopped vegetables in a large pot. Add salt + bay leaves, peppercorns, allspice berries, garlic, cilantro and parsley. Cover with water. Bring to a boil.  
Bring down to a gentle simmer and add rice (optional). Cook for 1.5 hours at gentle simmer, adding water as needed to keep everything covered. After 1.5 hours chicken should fall apart with touch of a spoon.  Break chicken apart in the pot.  Leave the bones, people can pick them out of their bowls. Salt and pepper to taste.
The longer you cook it, the better it gets, but it can be served after 1.5 hours. Serve with half a lime, and pass more sliced limes and thick Salvadoran tortillas.
Let your soul be satisfied. Enjoy!

Rebecca Lehrer of the Mash-Up Americans:

Symbolic New Year Foods
Source :

By Shannon Sarna for The Nosher

When you think of pumpkin and spices, your mind likely jumps to pumpkin pie spices like ginger, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. But did you know that pumpkin and curry also pair perfectly?

A quick google search for pumpkin curry will reveal an array of recipes such as pumpkin curry empanadas (does someone want to make these for me?), pumpkin curry with chickpeas and slow cooker vegan pumpkin curry. If you have never cooked with curry before, this is a great introduction, since it really combines the familiar flavors of pumpkin and corn with the slightly exotic taste of curry. You will wonder why it’s taken you so long to combine these delicious flavors.


1 small onion

2 garlic cloves

olive oil

1 Tbsp curry powder

1 cup fresh or frozen corn

3 cups pumpkin puree (fresh preferably, but canned is fine too)

1 quart vegetable or chicken stock

1 1/2 cups coconut milk

salt and pepper


1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onion and corn and saute until onions are translucent, and corn looks plump and yellow. Add curry powder and garlic and continue cooking another 2-3 minutes, until curry is toasted and fragrant.

2. De-glaze the pot with 1/2 cup vegetable broth, scraping bottom of pan until all bits have been cleaned off. Add pumpkin puree and continue to stir until smooth and heated through. Add vegetable broth.

3. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes. Add coconut milk and salt and pepper to taste.

Symbolic New Year Foods
Source :
Quick Gyoza Kreplach (Dumpling Soup) for Sukkot

This year, the autumnal equinox took place the day before, the Feast of Booths (Sukkot) in Judaism. We’re commanded to eat outside in the sukkah for eight days; soaking up the last bit of the golden summer sunshine while dining alfresco. This is a commandment I can easily get behind!

There aren’t many traditional foods eaten over Sukkot, though chicken soup, kugel and challah are mainstays on my Ashkenazi Jewish husband’s family’s holiday table. Other than that, Sukkot menus are designed around harvest-related produce.

To start, I’m making a comforting bowl of chicken kreplach (dumpling) soup. I’ve read that kreplach is a symbolic new year food in some Jewish communities, because the filling is sealed in the noodle like judgement is sealed in the Book of Life on Yom Kippur. But my first thought as a Japanese American Jew was: “It sounds like gyoza soup!”

The word gyoza comes from the Chinese word jiaozi, a kind of stuffed dumpling. In my gyoza kreplach soup, the inside of the dumpling is Japanese in flavor though I’ve swapped the ground pork for ground chicken. The soup on the other hand, is a standard European-style chicken broth.

Kreplach soup has been known to be very time-consuming. My addition of store-bought gyoza wrappers cuts the time more than in half, so you can spend more time outside with your family and friends.

Serves: 8 (2 gyoza/person)

Total Prep Time: 30 minutes (not including broth, if you like to make your own)

Total Cook Time: 10 minutes (not including broth)


  • 1 lb ground chicken thigh meat (highly recommend thigh over breast meat for this)
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 2 finely chopped green onions, ends removed
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and grated ginger
  • 1 finely minced garlic clove
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3-1/2” diameter round gyoza wrappers
  • Small bowl of water for sealing the gyoza
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into Japanese rangiri (chopping technique) pieces
  • Dill for garnish
  • 6 cups chicken broth


  1. Mix first seven ingredients together in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. Bring chicken broth to a boil over medium heat, (while you begin assembling the gyoza) then lower it to a low simmer.
  3. Place about 1 ounce of the meat filling in the center of a gyoza wrapper. Seal the outside edges with water completely seal into a triangle shape (see below image). Make sure there are no holes in the seal so the filling doesn’t seep out.
  4. Place carrots in broth, simmer for five minutes.
  5. Place each gyoza carefully in the broth, making sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Turn up the heat to medium low and allow the dumplings to cook for five minutes, or until the filling feels firm.
  6. Serve each guest equal amounts of carrots and two gyoza each.
  7. Garnish with dill and serve immediately.

**Be careful not to let the gyoza sit in the soup too long. The wrappers are quite delicate and can start to break down if they are left too long in the broth.

Symbolic New Year Foods
Source : Reform Judaism:

Moroccan-Inspired Vegetable Couscous
By Tina Wasserman

This Moroccan-inspired dish is a perfect way to reap the bounty of wonderful vegetables available during the Sukkot season. It also makes a beautiful, edible centerpiece for your dinner table in the sukkah.

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium onion, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 carrots, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
3/4 cup dark raisins
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 1/2 cups of vegetable stock, divided use
1 small (1 pound) eggplant, sliced into 1-inch cubes
2 yellow crookneck squash, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
2 small zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds, or 1 cup asparagus cut into 1-inch lengths
4 ounces of mushrooms (any type), caps cut into quarters (portabellas cut into 1-inch cubes)
1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained
4 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup fine couscous
1 or more Tablespoons of finely minced parsley for garnish


1. Heat a large frying pan or 4-quart saucepan for 30 seconds, add the olive oil, and heat for 15 seconds. Sauté the garlic and onion until lightly golden. Do not allow the garlic to brown.
2. Add the carrots, tomato sauce, raisins, salt, cumin, and 1 cup of the stock. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the carrots are crisp tender--thoroughly cooked but firm and not mushy.
3. Add the zucchini and the eggplant and cook for 10 minutes. Spoon in the crookneck squash or asparagus pieces, mushrooms, and chickpeas and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 10 minutes until all the vegetables are tender.
4. In a large saucepan, heat the remaining 1 1/2 cups of stock along with the butter or margarine. Add the couscous. Cover, remove from the heat, and allow the pan to sit for 5 minutes.
5. To serve, spoon the couscous into the center of a large rimmed dish, and surround with the cooked vegetables. Pour the sauce evenly over all, and sprinkle with a little parsley for garnish.

Additional Notes
- Always heat your sauté pan before adding oil. This prevents the oil from adhering to the pan and the food from sticking to the oil.
- When cooking vegetables, always add in first those that require more cooking time.
- The fins of portabella mushrooms will blacken foods. Before adding a portabella to any recipe, scrape the fins off its underside with a spoon and use only the remaining mushroom cap.

Recipe from Reform Judaism

Symbolic New Year Foods
Source :
Beef and Barley Stuffed Cabbages with Lentil Variation

Source: The Gefilteria

Stuffing cabbage is best around the table with loved ones. A tight wrap is the goal, with a uniform amount of filling in each leaf. Slowly braise these cabbage rolls in a mushroom stock, until the cabbage is soft enough to slice with a spoon. For the sauce? We turn to dried porcini mushrooms and some white wine. You can find dried porcinis in most specialty stores in the US, if you haven’t smuggled them back by the pound from Poland (ahem). This simple sauce is hardly a reflection of difficult times; in fact, we see it as a new path forward, a Polish and Jewish future we can all get behind.

Keep in mind that the filling and sauce in this recipe can be loosely interpreted, based on what you have at home. Substitute rice instead of barley, try a different kind of lentil, skip the sauce altogether. Lean into the shtetl mindset and cook with your kishkes, but leave a couple of hours since this slightly epic recipe is no quick weeknight meal. But it’s ideal for this moment of elongated days at home.


  • 1 large head cabbage
  • 4-5 quarts vegetable or mushroom stock, for cooking barley, braising the cabbage rolls, and cooking lentils (if making vegetarian filling)


  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 small onions (diced)
  • 1 pound mixed mushroom (cleaned and roughly chopped)
  • 1 cup dried french lentils (1 cup dried lentils yields 2 cups when cooked)
  • ¼ cup dried pearl barley (1/4 cup dried barley yields ⅔ cup when cooked)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp matzo meal or breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • hearty pinch of pepper


  • ¼ cup pearl barley
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions (diced)
  • 1 pound mixed mushroom (cleaned and roughly chopped)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
  • Hearty pinch of ground black pepper


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 small onions
  • ⅓ cup white wine
  • 1 ½ ounces dried mushrooms (hydrated in 1 cup boiling water)
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon, for serving


  1. Prep Cabbage Leaves
    Bring a large soup pot of salted water to a boil. Chop off the core. Place the cabbage in the boiling water. After a moment, the outer leaves will become loose and translucent. Using tongs, remove the translucent outer leaves and set aside. Repeat again and again, continually peeling off the outer leaves, being careful to keep the leaves from ripping. When leaves are slightly cooled, use a paring knife to trim off the toughest part of the leaf, which will make them easier to fold later.

  2. Prep Fillings
    The process begins the same whether you’re making the meat or lentil filling: combine 1 cup stock and ¼ cup pearl barley in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on very low heat until the barley is cooked but still al dente, about 25 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Meanwhile, saute onions in oil in a large frying pan until they are caramel in color. Remove onions and set aside. In the same pan, adding extra oil if needed, saute mushrooms until shrunken and browned adding salt along the way. Set sauteed mushrooms aside.

    If you are making the beef filling, use the same skillet to brown the ground beef. Heat skillet over medium heat and stir the meat until it is cooked through, adding more salt and pepper throughout. For the lentil filling, use a separate pot to combine the lentils with 2 cups of stock. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until lentils are cooked through. Once ingredients are all assembled, combine cooked barley, onions, mushrooms and either the beef or lentils. Stir in the egg, bread crumbs and fresh herbs.

  3. Assemble, Cook
    Lay a leaf flat and scoop a scant ½ cup of the filling into the center. Fold up the “bottom” of the leaf (where the core was attached) and lift it over the filling, about halfway up the cabbage leaf. While holding down the first fold with one hand, use the other to take the left side of the leaf and lay it over the first fold. Roll the leaf all the way to the right side and keep it tight. The top of the roll will be untucked. Push it down into the roll, forcing the top into the opening with your thumb or forefinger, which will form a tight little bundle. As you finish them, place the rolls into the baking dish. Pack them tightly, in a single later and pour in enough stock to cover the rolls. Cover the baking dish and braise for 2 to 2 ½ hours. Stuffed cabbage is ready when the rolls feel completely soft when pressed with a finger (careful, they’re hot). Remove from the oven.

  4. Prep Sauce:
    While stuffed cabbage is baking, heat a small pan and add oil. Saute the onions until they are translucent and beginning to turn caramel in color. Pour in the wine, quickly stirring up the onions with a wooden spoon to scrape up all the bits. Add a couple pinches of salt, and let the onions cook in the wine until most of it is absorbed. Add the dried mushrooms and the hydrating water, again leaving the broth to cook down for a few moments until about half of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and blend mixture in a blender or with an immersion blender. Stir in sherry vinegar, adjust salt and pepper.

  5. Serve:
    Serve immediately or prepare up to 2 days in advance and reheat in the oven before serving. Serve the cabbage rolls hot, on a bed of sauce, garnished with a generous dose of chopped parsley and dill and a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Symbolic New Year Foods
Source :

By Shannon Sarna for The Nosher


4 lbs sweet potatoes
2 lb Russet potatoes
1 lb pitted prunes
1 lb baby carrots, or whole carrots cut into 1 inch pieces
3 lbs flanken
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice


  1. Place one or two pieces of flanken on the bottom of the casserole. Scatter half of the sweet potatoes, white potatoes, prunes and carrots over the meat.
  2. Sprinkle half the brown sugar and lemon juice over this layer. Place the remaining flanken on top and cover with all remaining ingredients.
  3. Fill the casserole with water until the ingredients are barely covered. Bring to a boil on top of the stove and then reduce heat to a simmer.
  4. Cover casserole. Simmer ingredients for 90 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
  5. Carefully, remove meat, potatoes, carrots and prunes from the gravy. Arrange them in an oven to table serving dish. Pour gravy in another container. Place both in fridge overnight.
  6. The next day, preheat oven to 375°F. Remove casserole and container of gravy from fridge. With a slotted spoon, remove the thick layer of fat that will have formed over night. Taste gravy. Add more brown sugar and/or lemon juice depending on your taste. Pour gravy over meat and vegetables.
  7. Place casserole in oven and bake for 2-3 hours uncovered. Baste constantly until gravy has thickened and glazed the Tzimmis. If the top layer begins to brown too much, cover the casserole lightly with foil and continue to cook.
  8. Serve hot. This recipe can be cooled completely and frozen.
Symbolic New Year Foods
Source :

By Shannon Sarna for The Nosher

Burekas are an easy appetizer to throw together using store-bought puff pastry. If you don’t like ground lamb, substitute ground beef. You can also make a vegetarian version by using tofu or feta cheese with the squash. You can make burekas ahead, freezing them once they are assembled, but before the egg wash.

Before the holiday or when ready to bake, glaze with egg wash and pop in the oven per directions below. They also reheat well in the oven at a low temperature and can even be served at room temperature.

2 sheets store-bought puff pastry, left to thaw at room temperature around 30 minutes
½ lb ground lamb
2 cups cooked pureed or mashed butternut squash (can also use sweet potato or frozen butternut squash)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp cinnamon
Pinch red pepper flakes
¼ tsp salt
1 egg beaten for glaze
Sesame seeds, nigella seeds or poppy seeds (optional)

1. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté onion until translucent. Add spices to pan and cook until toasted, around 1 minute. Add ground lamb and cook until no longer pink, breaking up into small pieces with a wooden spoon as you cook. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
2. Combine butternut squash and lamb mixture in a medium bowl.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
4. Roll out each sheet of puff pastry. Cut each sheet into 9 even squares. Using a rolling pin, roll out each square slightly.
5. Scoop one heaping tablespoon into the corner of each square. Fold puff pastry over filling, forming a triangle.
6. Using the tines of a fork, crimp the edges.
7. Repeat with second sheet of puff pastry.
8. Brush each bureka with beaten egg. Top with sesame seeds, nigella seeds or poppy seeds if desired.
9. Bake 18-22 minutes, until golden on top.

Symbolic New Year Foods
Source :
Stuffed Vegetables Recipes for Sukkot

Sukkot is a harvest holiday, which means it’s all about the food. (Really!) While there aren’t necessarily specific foods we eat during the holiday, many dishes revolve around fruits and vegetables with a harvest theme, including vegetables that are stuffed. And, let’s be honest, stuffed foods are just, well, fun! Here are 11 recipes that will keep you, ahem, stuffed, this season.

From your traditional stuffed cabbage to stuffed cabbage and artichokes, meat filllings to veggie, this delicious collection of stuffed vegetable recipes from Jewish Boston has something for everyone!

Symbolic New Year Foods
Source : Reform Judaism

All the good taste of pumpkin pie without the crust! It can be made with nondairy creamer for a  pareve  dessert that can easily be transported outside to the sukkah during Sukkot.

Makes 6 servings


2 teaspoons unflavored kosher gelatin

2 tablespoons dark rum

1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg yolk

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Pinch of allspice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup heavy cream or nondairy whipped topping mix


  1. Sprinkle the gelatin over the rum in a small glass custard cup and let it soften for a few minutes.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients except the heavy cream in a medium bowl.
  3. Place the custard cup with the rum and gelatin in a frying pan that contains 1/2 inch of simmering water. Stir the rum mixture until the gelatin is dissolved.
  4. Whisk the hot gelatin mixture into the pumpkin mixture until thoroughly combined.
  5. Whip the cream in a small bowl until it forms soft peaks and fold it carefully into the pumpkin mixture.
  6. Spoon into six 4-ounce ramekins and refrigerate until set, about 3–4 hours.

Additional Notes:

  • Soaking the gelatin in the rum helps it swell so that when it is warm it will melt and be evenly distributed in the mousse.
  • If a frozen, pre-whipped dairy or pareve topping is available, you may substitute 2 cups of that already whipped product for the 1 cup of whipping cream, however, the taste will be slightly different. 

Source: Reform Judaism 

Symbolic New Year Foods
Source :
Sparkling Etrog Jam Cocktail

Sukkot, the Jewish harvest festival (Feast of Booths or Tabernacles) has begun! Sukkot is traditionally an agricultural festival held in part to celebrate the harvest season. 

During this time, many Jews around the world build a sukkah, a temporary, hut-like structure with a roof of fronds. It is symbolic of the homes that Jews lived while wandering in the wilderness after the exodus from Egypt. Like the wedding chuppah, the temporary structure of the sukkah reminds us that life is fragile. After some serious atoning on Yom Kippur, Sukkot is a time for us to be with family and community, in thanksgiving for all that we have. Some Jews share meals and even sleep under the chuppah during this eight day festival!

While we have yet to construct our own sukkah this year I wanted to create a celebratory Sukkot cocktail. Etrog (citron) is the fruit most associated with this holiday, and we happen to have an etrog tree in our backyard! A single, kosher (blessed) etrog from Israel typically can run from anywhere between $30-$100. Since they are grown for ceremonial use, they are laden with pesticides so it's not safe to cook with them.

If you don't happen to have access to fresh, "organic" etrogs like us, I recommend using organic Meyer lemons for this simple jam cocktail. Or, if you don't have time to make jam there's nothing wrong with purchasing a beautiful jar of organic citrus marmalade! 

If used strictly in the cocktails, the recipe below can serve up to 75. However, it can also be used with a dollop of ricotta on toast. The sparkling wine can be swapped out for soda water for mocktails.

1 etrog or two Meyer lemons

Rinse the fruit and cut it lengthwise, then in half again lengthwise. Remove seeds. Slice thinly and weigh it. Write down the weight in a safe place. Soak the fruit overnight in water and make sure to fully cover it.

Strain the water from the fruit the next day. Place it in a medium heavy-bottomed pan with equal amounts sugar (written down the day before) and 3/4 the amount of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat for one hour. Check on it regularly until it takes on a jam-like appearance. 

To check if it's ready, place a small plate in the freezer for a few minutes. Drop a tiny spoonful of the mixture onto the cold plate, then place it back in the freezer for five minutes. This will zap the heat from the jam. Using your finger, move the jam- it should wrinkle a bit and appear thickened. If not, simmer for a bit longer until ready. 

*Makes one cocktail

1 teaspoon etrog or other citrus jam
2 sprigs of thyme
1 glass of chilled sparkling wine

Place jam in the base of a Champagne flute, add thyme sprigs fill to the top with sparkling wine. Stir well with a cocktail stirrer. 
Enjoy and Chag Sameach!

Symbolic New Year Foods
Source :
Lemon Etrog Cupcakes for Sukkot

Sukkot Lemon “Etrog” Cupcakes 
By Micah Siva

This recipe for Sukkot Lemon “Etrog” Cupcakes is a fun way to learn about the harvest holiday’s etrog and lulav. They’re designed to be made with young children, but we’re sure just about everyone will enjoy making or eating them.

Sukkot celebrates a bountiful harvest, and we celebrate by spending time with loved ones in a sukkah, a 3-walled shelter with a roof traditionally made of natural materials, like leaves, bamboo and branches. During Sukkot, we say blessings over an Etrog (citron) a lulav (palm fronds), myrtle and willow (learn all about why here). Sukkot is a fun and interactive family holiday whether or not you’re an experienced sukkah-builder or it’s your first time celebrating. You can spend time making an outdoor structure with a branch and thatched roof, decorate it with family-friendly crafts and enjoy meals as a family inside.

This year, enjoy these citrusy “etrog” cupcakes with a sprig of rosemary on top, symbolizing the lulav and lemon zest for the etrog. Take this opportunity to learn about these symbols as a family. And while everything is perfectly edible, your littles may prefer picking the pretty toppings off before digging in!

We’ve outlined sample tasks that children aged 18 months and up can help get involved with, but every child is different, so feel free to adapt it to whatever works best for your family. 

Makes 12 cupcakes


  • 1 ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 stick, ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Zest of 2 lemons 
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Frosting (if you and your family love icing, feel free to double this recipe!)

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 ½ cup icing sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon zest, plus some for garnish
  • Fresh rosemary, to garnish

Visit 18Doors for instructions on baking.

Symbolic New Year Foods
Source : Carmel Tanaka -
Jewpanese Maple KaboChallah

Recipe by Carmel Tanaka. Photo credit:  Lauren Schreiber Sasaki of Jewish& 

At the ripe old age of 27, I learned to bake my first challah. My teacher was none other than the late Robbie McConnell, former Publisher of the Montreal Gazette. Using his recipe as the foundation for my challah, join me in adding kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), courtesy of the one and only Kristin Eriko Posner of Nourish Co., and a splash of 100% “True North strong and free” maple syrup! My friend and fellow member of the Jewpanese tribe Lauren Schreiber Sasaki of Jewish& took this vibrant yet delicate dough that celebrates my multiple identities and gave it her own little extra zazz by making them pumpkin shaped, inspired by Rebekah Lowin. May the Jewpanese community cooking continue to grow! Chag Sukkot Sameach :)

Ingredient List

Maple syrup
Neutral-flavoured oil (i.e. corn, grape seed, etc.)
Kosher salt
Unbleached all-purpose flour
Poppy seeds, black or white sesame seeds (preferably already toasted, can be found in Asian supermarkets)
Maldon sea salt flakes


Kabocha Purée

1. Cut kabocha in half
2. Scoop out seeds
3. Brush with oil
4. Bake at 350 F until soft when you can poke your fork through easily and when you see it begin to caramelize around the edges. 
5. Let cool. 
6. Scoop out 1 cup’s worth of the orange flesh into a food processor. It’s easier to add part of the egg mixture so that it blends more smoothly. Make sure kabocha has cooled, otherwise you’ll cook the egg!
7. Snack on the rest of the roasted kabocha while you prepare the following!

Chef’s note: If you are unable to find kabocha in your local grocer, you may substitute with another gourd of your choice, sweet potato, chestnuts or even canned pumpkin - be prepared to add more flour to compensate for added moisture.

Robbie’s Challah:

7/8 cup warm water
1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup or a combination of the two)
1 tbsp yeast
3 large eggs, warmed (add a 4th egg if adding 1 cup of kabocha purée)
1/4 cup oil (neutral-flavoured oil is best; olive oil is OK, but the bread will maintain some of its taste)
1 tbsp kosher salt
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (add roughly 1-1.5 more cups of flour to compensate for the 1 cup of kabocha purée and extra egg, humidity in the air, etc.!)


1. Heat the water kettle, and pour boiling water to warm up the bowl of your food mixer.
2. Warm up your eggs in a warm water bath.
3. Lightly coat the measuring cup with oil, then fill with honey/maple syrup (easier to get every last drop of it if it has an oil coating!).
4. In that same food mixer, stir honey/maple syrup into water (mix well).
5. Add yeast; let sit until yeast is dissolved and starting to work.
6. Roughly beat the eggs and add to bowl (or add to kabocha purée), reserving enough egg for a wash.
7. Add oil, salt and flour.
8. Mix until dough is shaggy and still a little moist, adding small amounts of flour or water if necessary. (Likely more flour, if you are adding kabocha and more egg).
9. Cover dough and let rise for two hours. (If your oven has a bread proof setting, mazal tov! If you don’t, heat your oven to 200 F when you are getting all of your ingredients onto the counter and turn it off once you’re about to start mixing, otherwise you can cook your dough while it’s rising.)
10. Turn dough out onto a floured counter or sheet of parchment paper (bigger is better so you have room to work – you can always trim the paper before the loaf goes into the oven).
11. Braid the loaf. For 6 strands, check out this video (higher quality, it’s Jamie Geller!) or this video (better instruction and viewing for learning). To turn into little pumpkin challahs, check out this blogpost.
12. Cover loaf with a slightly damp-ish cloth and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
13. Set oven for 350 F. If you’re using a baking stone, put it in now to preheat; if it’s a baking sheet, 5 minutes before baking time is enough.
14. When the bread has risen, add a few drops of water to the reserved egg and brush the wash onto the entire surface of the loaf. 
15. Sprinkle on poppy seeds, black or white sesame seeds and some Maldon sea salt flakes for extra crunch, then slide the bread into the oven, using a cutting board or other flat surface as a transfer vehicle if necessary.
16. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Cool, admire, bless and enjoy!


Carmel Tanaka (pronouns: she/her) is a queer Jewpanese woman of colour from Vancouver, BC, Canada and a Community Engagement professional. Her mother is Ashkenazi Israeli and her father is Japanese Canadian. She founded JQT Vancouver, (pronounced "J-Cutie") Vancouver's Jewish queer trans nonprofit, Genocide Prevention BC and was recently named one of Be'chol Lashon's 7 LGBTQ+ Jews of Color you should know. She also spearheads a monthly Zoom call for Jewpanese and their families from all over the world, so if you know any Jewpanese people in your life, please get in touch and we’ll connect you!