Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Jewish New Year Dinner Recap

A few weeks have passed since the Rosh Hashanah dinner at our house, but the tastes and smells of that evening still linger. This year, I enlisted the help of my brother in law Saar in helping me cook, since the little dude rapidly growing inside me, is slowing me down a bit these days. There aren't many people I like to invite to cook in my kitchen, I am a bit territorial when it comes to this part of the house. But when it comes to Saar, it is a different story.

Over the years he's managed to work his way in to my heart, and I can honestly say he is probably the only person I can tolerate cooking with and near (my husband is always welcome as well of course). Tolerate is actually the wrong word as I do truly enjoy cooking with Saar. He is undeniably one of the favorite and best cooks I know. He's super creative, adventurous with flavors and really knows his stuff. His dishes are always innovative and he manages to put his own twist on even the most basic dishes in a way that blows your mind. And I have now realized that he is somewhat of my muse/cheerleader in the kitchen!
Saar's Chickens Prepped for the Grill
For this particular dinner, Saar was responsible for the chicken dish, mashed potatoes, and a salad. And oh boy did he deliver! These were no ordinary chicken, potato and salad dishes. He made chickens so fine they blew my mind. Watching him prepare these girls for the grill was nothing short of brilliance. He made love to those chickens by rubbing them with a mixture of butter, fresh parsley, fresh thyme, garlic, lemon and a touch of honey, and then grilled them on the BBQ until they were moist perfection.
One of Saar's Succulent Beauties straight off the grill

Mashed Potatoes with Herbs and Olive Oil
The olive oil, herbed mashed potatoes were a flavor explosion all their own. And the salad, which started out as a traditional Israeli tomato, cucumber, onion, dressed in lemon juice and oil, thanks to Saar morphed into something else entirely. This is where his Muse like qualities came in to play. He said "Scratch that, boring, lets make something up"! I hesitated at first, but quickly found myself happily playing along.

Our Special Salad!
He asked for Bulgur (a cracked wheat type grain often used in Middle Eastern Dishes such as tabbouleh), I did not have it, but Red Quinoa was on hand so off we went. Cucumber, tomatoes, garbanzo beans, a little red onion, and dressing of lemon, garlic, olive oil. By this point I was so excited, I suggested we add we add a little anchovy paste, which brought a hint of the perfect salty, sweet impact to the dressing. The end result was tangy, unique and fresh flavors that went very well with the rest of the meal. Even my two year old niece Sophia (granted her palate is somewhat of an anomaly in the family) couldn't get enough!

I was on Brisket Duty this year and it came out incredibly tender and flavourful. Again thanks to Saar who suggested I add a little brown sugar to the brisket sauce when I was reducing it at the end of cooking. This gave it such a luscious punch in flavor and the sweetness came through ever so nicely. The meat was tender and juicy and turns out I was worried about making brisket for no reason.
Brisket with Carrots, Onions, Celery, Herbs, Garlic,
Red wine and Brown Sugar.

 I was a bit afraid to approach brisket after hearing all those scary "be careful to not turn your brisket in to shoe leather" stories. Thankfully mine was not the case. We had an incredible dinner and aside from the traditional apples and honey, enjoyed a rich chocolate fudge cake in honor of my daughter's 5th Birthday which happened to fall on the eve of Rosh Hashanah! I have a feeling this will be a tasty year after such a delicious start.
Lia's Chocolate Fudge Cake

Lia post chocolate cake, being lifted by her Dad on the right
and uncle Tamir and Chef Saar on the left

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