Another year, another chance for a festive Rosh Hashanah meal

Believe it or not, it’s here again, baruch HaShem—we’ve been blessed with another year, full of joy, sorrow, natural and political disasters, births, deaths, b’nai mitzvah. And here it comes — the 1st of Tishrei, 5769.

That all being said, we can celebrate our new year with a fabulous feast, as our tradition dictates. We incorporate honey and apples for sweetness, fish for fertility and long life, and pomegranates with their many seeds to represent the many mitzvahs we will perform in the new year.

There are many customs (minhagim) that are family specific. In our family, we’ve been hosting an open house every year in our garden, which is at its most beautiful in September. Some Ameri-can Jewish families have a large dinner, and serve a round challah. Sephardic Jews say prayers of hope over seven particular foods, as seven is the number that signifies luck and holiness, and is also the day of Shabbat.

I’ve chosen some recipes that use traditional components in perhaps some new and innovative ways.

Roasted Carrots and Sweet Potatoes

with Honey (Tsimmes)

Serves 8

2 lbs. large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3-inch chunks

2 lbs. carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch slices

1 cup pitted prunes or other dried fruit

1 cup orange juice

4 Tbs. honey

juice of 1 lemon

Mix together all the ingredients and place in a deep baking pan. Add enough water to cover. Roast in a preheated 350-degree oven for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve warm.

Pomegranate Honey Marinated Fish or Chicken

Serves 10-12

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup pomegranate juice

1⁄4 cup honey

1 clove garlic, through the press

1 Tbs. grated ginger root

1⁄2 small onion, thinly sliced

2 Tbs. chopped parsley

3 lbs. firm fish fillets (halibut, bass or tuna) or chicken

1⁄2 tsp. fine sea salt

1⁄2 tsp. black pepper

Mix together the oil, pomegranate juice, honey, garlic, ginger, onion and parsley. Place the fish or chicken in a non-metallic dish, and pour the marinade over it. Marinate for 4-12 hours.

Remove the fish or chicken from the marinade, pat dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grill, or roast the fish or chicken meat to the desired degree of doneness. Fish can be roasted in a preheated 400-degree oven for 10-20 minutes, chicken 20 to 30. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Mango and Pistachio Mousse

Serves 8

1⁄2 cup honey

1 egg

3 egg yolks

4 oz. unsalted butter, melted

1 cup heavy cream, whipped

1 cup finely chopped mango

1⁄4 cup finely chopped pistachios

Heat the honey to boiling. Beat together the egg and egg yolks. Beat into the boiling honey, and continue beating until the eggs have cooled, and become thick and pale. Pour in the melted butter. Fold in the whipped cream, then the chopped mango and pistachios. Pour into 8 ramekins. Serve well chilled.

Rebecca Ets-Hokin is a certified culinary professional. Visit her Web site at She can be reached at [email protected].