Start new year with culinary adventures, says N.Y. restaurateur

new york (ap) | Rosh Hashanah is a fine time for all kinds of new beginnings.

One event due in the very early days of the new year is the opening of Abigael’s, a cafe in the newly expanded Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, located on lower Manhattan’s waterfront.

Abigael’s at the Museum is the latest enterprise of Jeff Nathan, executive chef and co-owner of the midtown Abigael’s on Broadway. Nathan is familiar way beyond New York, as host of public television’s kosher gourmet cooking series, “New Jewish Cuisine.” He’s also the author of the cookbook “Adventures in Jewish Cooking” (Crown, 2002, $32.50).

From his repertoire, Nathan has chosen the following recipes for home cooks to consider adding to their tables for Rosh Hashanah meals.

“You want things to be sweet for the new year,” he said in a recent interview. That goes for his tsimmes recipe, which is both traditional and updated, “and it’s prettier than most,” he added.

His recipe for Latin beef brisket, he explained, was inspired by the pulled pork barbecue cooking in such regions as North Carolina and Kansas. “With beef, it’s a totally wonderful dish.”

Since both the tsimmes and the Latin brisket recipes call for sweet potatoes, he points out, they would not be a good pairing at the same meal. Instead, he suggests making the apple-cider brisket to serve with the tsimmes, for a better balance.

By sweet potatoes, he is referring to the darker variety, which he calls “orange Louisiana yams.” He prefers them, because “I like their color, their texture and consistency — and their water content is a little less.”

Finally, the zabaglione with berries, which can be made parve, offers a sweet finale to a festival meal.

Latin Beef Brisket

With Chimichurri

Serves 6

For the chimichurri:

7 garlic cloves

4 jalapenos, seeded and coarsely chopped

7 bay leaves

11/4 cups packed flat-leafed parsley leaves

2/3 cup packed cilantro leaves

21/2 Tbs. dried oregano

11/4 cups distilled white vinegar

11/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups water

kosher salt, to taste

For the brisket:

One 3-1/2 lb., first-cut beef brisket, trimmed of excess surface fat, soaked in cold water to cover for 1 hour, drained

For sweet potatoes:

21/2 lbs. (6 medium) sweet potatoes (orange Louisiana yams)

To make the chimichurri: In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, with the machine running, drop the garlic, jalapenos and bay leaves through the feed tube to chop. Add the parsley, cilantro and oregano. Pulse to chop the leaves. With the machine running, add the vinegar and oil, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, and process until the chimichurri is smooth. Season to taste with salt.

To make the brisket: Pour 1 cup of the chimichurri into a covered container and refrigerate. Mix the remaining chimichurri and the water in a large nonreactive (stainless steel, ceramic, or glass) baking dish. Place the brisket in the dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate, occasionally turning the brisket in the chimichurri marinade, for at least 24 and up to 48 hours.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Transfer the brisket and marinade to a roasting pan or nonreactive Dutch oven. Cover and bake until very tender when pierced with a meat fork, about 3-1/2 hours. Cool slightly. Transfer the brisket to a carving board. Using two forks, pull the brisket into long shreds. Transfer to a bowl and add a few spoons of cooking liquid to keep moist. (The brisket can be prepared up to 1 day ahead, covered and refrigerated.)

Meanwhile, prepare the sweet potatoes: Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and place on a large baking sheet. Bake on another rack in the oven with the brisket (or use a second oven at 350 degrees) until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 1-1/4 hours. (Be sure to thoroughly bake the sweet potatoes. Don’t worry about darkened skin.)

Protecting your hands with a towel, split the sweet potatoes lengthwise and scoop out the flesh into a food processor fitted with the metal blade.

Puree and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a heatproof bowl, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and place in a skillet of simmering water to keep warm. (The potatoes can be cooled, peeled, mashed and cooled up to 2 hours ahead. Reheat in a covered bowl in a microwave oven.)

To make the vinaigrette: Whisk the vinegar and barbecue sauce in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil to make a thick vinaigrette.

To finish assembling brisket: Heat 2 Tbs. oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, peppers and jalapeno. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Add 2 Tbs. oil to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add half of the shredded brisket and cook without stirring until the meat is beginning to crisp, about 3 minutes. Scrape up with a metal spatula, and continue cooking until meat begins to crisp again, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the platter of vegetables. Repeat with the remaining shredded brisket, adding a little more oil if necessary.

Return all the brisket and vegetables to the skillet and mix well to heat through. Stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve as individual servings, transfer the mashed sweet potatoes to a pastry bag fitted with a large 1/2-inch star tube. For each serving, pipe a large rosette in the center of a dinner plate. Arrange the brisket and vegetables around the rosette. Drizzle the vinaigrette decoratively on the plate, and serve immediately.

For family-style serving, pass the platter of meat and vegetables and the bowl of sweet potatoes. In either case, pass the reserved chimichurri as a sauce on the side.

Root Vegetable Tsimmes

Makes 8 cups

2 Tbs. margarine

1 medium onion, chopped

1 lb. sweet potatoes (orange Louisiana yams), peeled and cut in 3/4-inch dice

4 medium carrots, sliced into

1/2 inch rounds

2 medium parsnips, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds

3/4 cup dried apricots, cut in

1/2-inch dice

3/4 cup pitted dried plums (prunes), cut in 1/2-inch dice

2 cups fresh orange juice

1/3 cup honey

grated zest of 1/2 orange

grated zest of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper Melt the margarine in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, apricots, dried plums, orange juice, honey, orange and lemon zest, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and pepper and bring to a boil.

Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. If necessary, uncover and cook until the orange juice has evaporated, about 3 minutes.

Transfer to a bowl and serve immediately. (The tsimmes can be made up to 2 days ahead, cooled, covered and refrigerated. Reheat gently before serving.)

Honey-Ginger Zabaglione Cream With Fresh Berries

Serves 6

4 cups assorted fresh berries (such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and sliced strawberries)

2 Tbs. sparkling sweet wine

2 Tbs. sugar

For the honey-ginger zabaglione cream:

6 large egg yolks

1/4 cup sparkling sweet wine, such as Moscati di Asti

1/4 cup sugar

2 Tbs. honey

1 tsp. finely minced fresh ginger (shredded on the large holes of a box grater, then minced)

1 star anise (5 or 6 points)

3/4 cup heavy cream (parve variation: Substitute 1-1/2 cups nondairy whipped topping for the whipped cream. )

To prepare the berries: Mix the berries, sparkling wine and sugar in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate to chill and allow the berries to give off some juices, at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.

To make the zabaglione cream: Using a large balloon whisk, whisk the yolks, sparkling wine, sugar, honey and ginger in a medium stainless steel bowl. Add the star anise and place over a saucepan of steadily simmering, but not boiling, water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Whisk constantly (or beat with a hand-held electric mixer on high speed) until the mixture is pale yellow and fluffy, about 7 minutes. When the whisk is lifted an inch or so above the zabaglione, the mixture should be thick enough to hold its shape on the surface for a few seconds before sinking.

Remove from heat and place the bowl in a larger bowl of ice water. Let stand until the zabaglione is completely cooled. Discard the star anise.

Whip the heavy cream in a chilled medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the zabaglione. (The mixture can be prepared up to 4 hours ahead, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated.)

When ready to serve, spoon the berries and their juices into 6 large martini glasses. Spoon the zabaglione over the berries. Optional finishing touch: If you have a culinary torch, pass the flame over the zabaglione until very lightly browned. Serve immediately.

— from

“Adventures in Jewish Cooking”