Start the new year with a clean slate &mdash and a full stomach

After fasting for 24 hours to prove that we can abstain from temptations and ask forgiveness for our wrongdoings, we welcome the sound of the shofar that signals the end of this day of awe. We leave the synagogue spiritually renewed, ready to start the new year with a clean slate. Our minds and hearts are filled with hope and renewal, and our bodies are ready to eat, drink and celebrate a break-the-fast with family and friends.

Foods served to break the fast should be light and simple restoratives, which include sweet and savory dishes. The following break-the-fast menu can be prepared in advance; in fact, the flavors are enhanced by a day or so of melding. It begins with soup, which can be sipped or spooned. Toasted or fresh bagels are accompanied by an artichoke spread that is just piquant enough after a day of fasting. The easy-to-prepare cherry noodle kugel satisfies a natural craving for something sweet and symbolizes the promise of a sweet new year.

Tomato Soup

Serves 6-8

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves minced pinch red pepper flakes

6 large tomatoes, chopped, or 2 28 oz. cans

1 Tbs. honey

1⁄2 cup rice

2 cups vegetable stock or water

salt and pepper to taste

1⁄4 cup snipped chives

In a large pot heat oil. Add onion, garlic, pepper flakes. Cook until onion is wilted, about 5 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes (and their juices). Stir in honey and rice. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring until rice is tender about 20 minutes.

Puree mixture in blender until smooth. Return to pot and stir in stock. Taste for salt and pepper. Heat and serve garnished with chives.

Artichoke-Red Pepper Spread

Serves 8

1 8 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained

2 roasted red peppers, seeded

1⁄2 cup oil-packed sundried tomatoes, drained

1 clove garlic

1⁄3 cup pitted imported black olives

1⁄4 cup fresh basil leaves

1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano

3 oz. cream cheese

12 oz. feta cheese

8 bagels, halved and toasted

Place all ingredients except cheeses and bagels in food processor and process until chopped. Add cheeses and process until it is spreading consistency. Spread on bagels.

Dried Cherry Noodle Kugel

Serves 8-12

16 oz. broad egg noodles

4 Tbs. butter, melted

1 lb. cottage cheese

1 lb. sour cream or Israeli white cheese

4 eggs, beaten

1⁄2 cup sugar

1 cup dried cherries

2 Tbs. vanilla extract

1 tsp. cinnamon

1⁄4-1⁄2 cup sugar for sprinkling.

Cook noodles in boiling water according to package direction. Drain and rinse with cold water.

In a large bowl, mix the noodles with the melted butter, cheeses, eggs, sugar, cherries and vanilla. Pour into a greased 9×13-inch pan and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for about 1 hour at 350 degrees or until the top is brown.

Louise Fiszer is a Palo Alto cooking teacher, author and the co-author of “Jewish Holiday Cooking.” Her columns alternate with those of Rebecca Ets-Hokin. Questions and recipe ideas can be sent to j. or to [email protected].