Rosh Hashanah begins on Sunday night .It is a new year full of old recipes, lovingly passed down for generations. Sometimes, though, it pays to add a touch of the new . Nothing livens up a holiday meal than a new spin that guests and family will love.
Both Melissa Clark and David Tanis realized this and made it the center of their respective columns in today's New York Times Food section. Ms. Clark decided to make a roast chicken with plums for her menu and column A Good Appetite. which is a spin on serving something sweet for the New Year. This ensures tht the upcoming twelve months will be sweet .This can be cloying if done wrong. There has to be a balance as sweet and savory play off each other. For this Ms. Clark uses a roast chicken flavored with red sumac a , spice popular in Middle Eastern and Greek cooking. This is not derived from the tree but is a tart, bright red berry that is dried and ground up into a powder.Ms. Clark uses it as part of a garlicky rub for the chicken. She roasts two in a large roasting pan with a rack, the kind used for roasting Thanksgiving turkeys. Cooking underneath, and absorbing the sumac infused drippings are the plums, cut up to make a kind of chutney. Cinnamon is added to the rub and the plums to tie it all together. It's a perfect way of adding sweetness without it being too overwhelming.
David Tanis also contributes a family favorite in his A City Kitchen column. It's his Aunt Edith's apple kuchen ,It is an easy bake with the recipe similar to a coffee cake.It's a quickly made batter too, topped with any kind of fruit , sprinkled with sugar and then baked,Mr Tanis tweaked the recipe by adding candied ginger and a touch of honey to the batter and giving the cake a honey glaze. New crop apples give it texture and fruitness. Home bakers could sub in pears, another fall fruitjust coming into ripeness.,, for the apple and the ginger can be nixed for a milder tasting cake. The honey glaze can be kept and for a more fallish taste, try wildflower honey. It is a bit richer than other cakes thanks to the three whole eggs along with a stick of butter however it is a holiday cake so it can be indulgent. Margarine could be subbed in but then the cake loses its' rich buttery flavor. The apples and honey are a spin on a Rosh Hashanah tradition of dipping slices in a bowl of honey to ensure a sweet year.
The new year is a time for honoring traditions and new hopes. These recipes are like that, a combination of the old embracing the new. They are a delicious way of welcoming in Rosh Hashanah.