I feel like I've been preparing for Rosh Hashanah for the past seven months. Although it probably feels like it takes that long to prepare all of the meals, what I mean is that in March, deciding to start on a new adventure, deciding to really look at and evaluate life and work towards growing every day (whether in courage, knowledge or happiness), has helped to make this Rosh Hashanah one of my most meaningful. The quote, "nothing makes you more productive than the last minute," could certainly apply to me. In terms of papers in University, getting that last Challah into the oven on Erev Shabbos or taking a minute to evaluate before the Yomim Noraim, last minute is usually my go-time. While I may still rush to get the Challah done and now last minute papers have been replaced by final lesson plan tweaks on the way to teach, evaluating where I am has taken a prioritized place in my life everyday.
With all of this introspection, Rosh Hashanah already carries with it an abundance of extra meaning for me this year. However, what has made it even more incredible is the excitement and curiosity I have seen so acutely displayed in the past week or so, while teaching my toddler class. The sheer awe in the presence of a shofar or the excitement of picking apples to dip in honey, has made Rosh Hashanah seem so much more of a tangible experience than merely a day that creeps up after the long leisurely days of summer have passed. I didn't have the Jewish day school experience, so getting to prepare Shana Tova cards and learning songs about the New Year, have elicited as much excitement in me as it has in my students. This year Rosh Hashanah isn't merely a Chag. This year Rosh Hashanah is a day where I hope to experience the awe felt by a two year old and the introspection and evaluation I've been working up to for so many months now.
Having already mentioned my tendency to procrastinate, it should come as no surprise that I have only just finished planning my menu (or this version of it at least) and won't even get around to grocery shopping until Thursday. Yes, I am leaving myself one evening, Motzei Shabbos and Sunday to cook for Rosh Hashanah.
What can I say, I'm still learning.
And I love a challenge!
When this month's Kosher Connection Link Up instructed the use of honey in a recipe, I jumped at the chance to bake something that could help usher me into the company of all those who have been sharing their Rosh Hashanah menus for the past few weeks - to which, all I've had to contribute as of yet has been... oh what's the word... Panic. Yes, sheer panic.
Honey is an ingredient I use year round, and almost daily. I add it to sauces for chicken, it's an ingredient in most of my noodle recipes and honey on a fresh croissant is one awesome snack. Having said that, there's just something different about it when the Chaggim roll around. Its flavor seems almost enhanced and comforting, a true testament to its presence during this time of year. This recipe has three elements and each feature honey as a main ingredient. It binds, connects and enhances on each level, respectively, without being overly sweet! I prepared this in ramekins, but it would also be great in mason jars, where each layer would be granted greater visibility!
In classic Itsy Bitsy Balebusta fashion, I've prepared a recipe for you that will help get you into all of those apple and honey baking conversations, with only small bowls to prep, barely any clean up and individual desserts all served up before you even have the chance to check Facebook or Twitter again and become more overwhelmed at everyone else's ever growing, "finished cooking" list!
Enjoy, be sure to check out the other posts in this month's Link Up and don't worry - someway, somehow all of this cooking is going to get done (...right??).
Wishing you and your loved ones a year full of the very best of health, happiness, and growth, and that you have the strength and courage needed to really look within and go forward!
Shana Tova Umetukah!
Honey, Honey, Honey! (Yields 2 Ramekins)
2 tsp confectioners sugar
1 tbsp honey
4 tsp pareve cream cheese
2 tsp honey
dash of cinnamon
1/4 cup oats
1 tbsp brown sugar
dash of cinnamon
honey to bind
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Chop the apple into small pieces and place into a medium sized bowl. Sprinkle confectioners sugar over the apples and drizzle with honey.
In a separate bowl, whip cream cheese. Add honey and cinnamon.
Divide apple mixture into the two ramekins. Fill in gaps with the cream cheese mixture.
In the same bowl used to prepared the cream cheese mixture, add the oats, brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix to combine. Add enough honey to bind the mixture and ensure it isn't dry.
Drop the crumble topping by the spoonful over top of the mixture in the ramekin. Using the back of the spoon, spread evenly, coating & covering the mixture underneath.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.