Saturday, October 1, 2011

Rosh HaShanah Recap

Happy New Year! It is now officially 5772 and we are in the midst of the countdown to Yom Kippur (more on that to come).

Well, I kept up with my southern-themed feast as planned and have been happily eating leftovers of barbecued brisket and greens for the past two days.

Additions to the plan:

Signature Cocktail

I adapted a cocktail recipe from Saveur in honor of the new year. It is a gingery, cold, apple cider concoction spiked with bourbon. I'm a big fan of the rum-spiked hot cider in the fall season, but this was something special and lovely. It needs a festive name though: any nominations?

(photo by Todd Coleman)

1 cup sugar
2 tbsp. whole cloves, crushed
1 3″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cinnamon stick
3 oz. apple cider
1½ oz. bourbon
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Apple slice, to garnish

1. Boil 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Remove from heat; stir in sugar, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon; let sit for 1 hour. Strain and chill syrup.

2. Mix ¾ oz. ginger syrup, cider, bourbon, and juice in a shaker with ice; shake to chill. Strain into a martini glass; garnish with apple.

The Man (which I will be referring to my partner as until I come up with a snappy enough code name) and I went apple picking today with the girls and two dear friends. We loaded up the car with Cortlands and Honey Crisps (and fry cakes) and the world smelled of cider the whole ride home.

Pull-Apart Challah

A revelation. For years I made challah with a recipe from a cookbook writer I love. And for years, it came out awful. It was very tasty, but somehow it never cooked through in the right places. One day, I thought, maybe it's not me. Maybe it's actually the recipe. So a few months ago, I switched it up and adapted a 1976 Sweet Challah recipe from the New York Times. I used half whole wheat flour instead and substituted honey for the sugar, but otherwise followed it. I'm not sure if it's the substitutions, but the challah came out a bit hard to braid and ultimately less aesthetically pleasing. However, totally delicious and perfect texture.

On Wednesday, however, I decided to jump on the "pull-apart challah" bandwagon that's sweeping the nation. What has been taking me so long? Lightly oil a cake pan, roll the challah into a small, evenly sized balls (some do twelve for the twelve tribes of Israel), throw it into the pan, let rise, brush w/egg wash and voila! Beautiful challah. I stupidly did not photograph it (am still getting the hang of this blogging thing), but it came out perfect (the recipe above makes two).

A sweet and happy start to the New Year was had in the Culinary Converter's household. How was your meal?

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