Rushing to Prepare for Rosh Hashanah

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Sunday evening at sundown will mark the beginning of Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year 5773. Despite lofty aspirations to have all menu planning, shopping and some cooking completed early, I will be rushing around at the last minute to prepare for our annual gathering.

With that in mind, I thought it possible that some of you, with the busy school year underway, might be in the same situation. So in order to get my brain (and yours) engaged in the process, I offer you some recipes, tips, and tricks to make your last minute rush to prepare a little less frantic.

Braising Brisket

Rosh Hashanah

If brisket is front and center in your Rosh Hashanah menu, then both of my posts on brisket are tried and true methods that will not disappoint hungry, temple-weary eaters. And remember, brisket can be prepared several days in advance or even be frozen.

For another take on brisket, check out this interesting post by Melissa Clark in the New York Times about a second more tender cut of brisket called deckle that she discovered. It sounds like a great recipe as well:

Roasting Chicken

Rosh HashanahRather serve chicken? Try this simple, unique recipe from the 2009 issue of BonAppetit using roasted grapes and shallots with a whole chicken. I have prepared this many times with both chicken pieces and a whole chicken. The flavor of the grapes, shallots and thyme mingled with the chicken juices is intoxicating. And this past Sunday at the farmer’s market, grapes were still front and center, clearly still in season (at least in California) so it would be easy to obtain the necessary ingredients.


Vegetarian Options

Carol Sacks of the blog InMediasRecipe suggested I consider a grain-based dish to satisfy @dormantchef ‘s new no-meat diet and any other guests who also favor a vegetarian meal. Her version of a Melissa Clark Cook This Now recipe of Bulgur with Roasted Squash and Apples might be the perfect choice for an evening marked by the sweetness of apples and honey.


Thx to Carol Sacks of InMedias Recipe for the photo!

Apples and Honey

Rosh HashanahSpeaking of which, apples and honey is the simplest of appetizers or desserts to offer but why not add some interest by trying a new variety of apple from the farmer’s market or even a local raw honey in a flavor you’ve never tried before. Still just as simple to serve but perhaps a chance to experience some flavors and textures you’ve never had before.



Round Challah

Rosh HashanahIf you aspire to bake your own, I’ve made Marcy Goldman’s Bread Machine Challah from her book A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking a few times with great success. She also has a recipe for Sweet Round Raisin Challah that I found on

But if baking is just not realistic, Trader Joe’s usually carries some excellent challah and if you check other local stores like Whole Foods or your nearest bakery, you might find they are carrying the special round loaves as well.

Sweet Kugels

Rosh hashanahTraditional sweet noodle kugels with or without cheese (depending on your desire to keep the meal strictly kosher) are always a welcome side dish, especially for any picky kid eaters in the mix. Our friends always make a striking version using peaches, instead of the oft-used apple. It is both beautiful to look at as well as stunning to eat. The surprise of the peach in contrast to the expected sweet, chewy, and creamy cheese and noodle mixture is a welcome complement to the dish. Though I have yet to extract the exact recipe from them, here is one I found that sounds like a reasonable facsimile (except substitute fresh peaches for the canned ones)

And another kugel suggestion – this one in from a reader I met in my comments section – it uses pears but could just as easily incorporate apples or peaches. It’s a pear noodle kugel from Mindy Trotta, a blogger based on the east coast – Thanks Mindy!


Rosh HashanahLast year’s gathering was a wonderland of dessert choices. The classic choice is a honey cake or an apple cake. But think about short cuts – poached apples (which will be this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe) would be an easy make ahead option. Or throw together an apple strudel by using puff pastry – a quick and easy way to prepare a hot-out-of-the-oven dessert without much advanced preparation.


I hope these ideas turn your rush into Rosh Hashanah into a calmer, peaceful, sweet start to the new year. What’s your best tip for preparing for a family gathering on short notice?

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28 Responses to Rushing to Prepare for Rosh Hashanah

  1. November 10, 2015 at 2:17 am #

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on How Can I Get A Personal Bank
    Loan. Regards

  2. mindy trotta September 16, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    OMG!! Would never be so presumptuous as to imply you qualify! (In fact, our audience is really 30 and up…is that better? 🙂 ) Planning on posting a Yom Kippur post. Watch for my Tweet about it!

    • Beth September 16, 2012 at 10:10 am #

      You’re not presumptuous. I’m just being honest – looking at the big 50 next year and that is just all there is to it! Can’t wait to see your Yom Kippur post Mindy!

  3. Hannah September 15, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    What a terrific selection of recipes and ideas! Thank you for sharing. Our brisket is in the oven and I’m not feeling as rushed as I have in past years…we’ll see tomorrow, though! Wishing you and your family a sweet, healthy new year!

    • Beth September 16, 2012 at 8:27 am #

      Thanks Hannah. I’m impressed that your brisket is already done. Actually I’m jealous. But I will get there… Happy New Year to you and yours as well.

  4. mindy trotta September 14, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    Thanks for your kind reply, Beth! Not sure how I found you..probably via a mutual Tweeter. But I’m glad I did! My company is web-based. I do not have a brick and mortar, and since I relocated to Cambridge, it’s been put on the back burner (although I still do take orders). I am currently writing and editing for You can find more of my writing–food and otherwise–on that site. Happy New Year to you! I hope we can be in touch again.

    • Beth September 16, 2012 at 8:25 am #

      I added a link to your pear kugel to my post! Better after 50? I almost resemble that comment. Give me a few more months!

  5. mindy trotta September 13, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    Everything sounds absolutely delish! Cannot wait to make the Brisket with dried fruit. If you’d like to have a noodle kugel recipe that uses fruit, I posted one on my blog last Hanukkah. I used pears but you could certainly substitute peaches. I’ll trade you the kugel recipe for the brisket recipe!

    • Beth September 14, 2012 at 9:51 am #

      Mindy – I’m curious how you found my blog because I am so happy that you did! I love your blog – just added it to my reader and I’ll add your kugel link to my article. I will be in the Cambridge – Boston area in November – will look up your business if time allows.

      Making connections is what I love the MOST about social media and blogging. Let’s chat some more!

  6. Teresa September 13, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    Great round up of recipes, Beth. Have a wonderful New Year celebration!

    • Beth September 16, 2012 at 8:12 am #

      Thanks Teresa – this week’s FFWD recipe was perfect timing for me and wow was that poaching liquid yummy!

  7. Lizthechef September 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    Most of my close friends have been Jewish and it always feels like my new year as well. Have a lovely celebration! Nice collection of recipes – clever idea to help before a holiday. Can’t wait to see what you come up with at Thanksgiving!

    • Beth September 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

      I love that it feels like your New Year! The more the merrier. It’s all really just a way to mark time and remember what’s most important – family and friends!

      I always host Thanksgiving so I’ll start working on that post now! (oh but that would be like planning ahead wouldn’t it?)

  8. sandy corman September 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    all looks great. What are you doing for dinner before going to Temple Sunday evening?

    • Beth September 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

      Coming to your house for dinner?? I have no idea – that’s still several days away 🙂

      • Beth September 13, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

        P.S. Just kidding!

  9. Renee September 13, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    Thanks so much for posting the brisket recipes!! And, I’m planning on sharing the chicken recipe with my mom. Wishing you a sweet New Year!

    • Beth September 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

      You too Renee! I’ll miss you (and your desserts) at our gathering 🙂

  10. yummychunklet September 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    Yum! Brisket!

    • Beth September 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

      I know – right?

  11. Lana September 13, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    I really do not need a Jewish holiday to try your Grandma’s brisket (I have it bookmarked:)
    I try to educate my girls via food, and the recipes for Rosh Hashanah really appeal to me (especially paired with the notion of a new beginning:)
    I found a recipe for roasted chicken with grapes somewhere recently, but I’ll make the one you recommend, as it is tried and true. I also bought leaks to make the Sephardic leak fritters.
    I wish you and your family Happy New Year and look forward to seeing you pretty soon:)

    • Beth September 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

      Leek fritters! That sounds fantastic. Wish you could come up for our celebration. But soon enough we will be together – I can’t wait. Here’s to new beginnings and a happy, healthy, and sweet New Year!

  12. Carol Sacks September 13, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    Terrific post, Beth! So many great ideas. And, thank you again for including my bulgur dish.

    • Beth September 13, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

      You’re welcome – thanks for the recipe and photo and all of your inspired ideas.


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