Jewish Cooking

Last week was the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.  Here is a short explanation for those of you who don’t know what it is:

Known in the Torah as ha hag (the festival), Sukkot represents the last of the three harvest festivals in the Jewish calendar. The Hebrew word sukkōt is the plural of sukkah, “booth or tabernacle“, which is a walled structure covered with flora, such as tree branches or bamboo shoots. The sukkah is intended as a reminiscence of the type of fragile dwellings in which the ancient Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of wandering in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt. Throughout the holiday the sukkah becomes the primary living area of one’s home. All meals are eaten inside the sukkah and many sleep there as well. On each day of the holiday, members of the household recite a blessing over the lulav and etrog.

Traditional Sukkot foods are often rolled or stuffed, symbolizing the abundance of the holiday harvest, and prepared as casseroles, which are easily transported from the kitchen to the sukkah.

We decided to make stuffed cabbage, stuffed grape leaves and apple pastry “roses.”

The stuffed cabbage was delicious. We used a nutty red rice, but any kind of rice will do.

1 cabbage head
olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 cans crushed tomatoes (28 oz. each)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
½ cup brown sugar
1 lemon
2 cups rice/wild rice/brown rice
raisins/dried cranberries
parsley
salt, pepper

  1. Core cabbage and blanch for 10 minutes in boiling salted water. Remove, cool, and separate large leaves. Chop small leaves.
  2. In a large pot, sauté the chopped onions in oil until translucent.
  3. Remove half of the onions and place in a large bowl.
  4. To the pot add the chopped cabbage leaves and 2 chopped cloves of garlic. Saute until cabbage is wilted and starting to brown. Then add the crushed tomatoes, brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Then turn down the heat to low.
  5. While the sauce is cooking, mix together the sautéed onions, rice, chopped parsley, raisins or dried cranberries, salt, pepper, and a bit of oil. (To cut cooking time, half cook the rice before hand)
  6. Take one cabbage leaf and put a heading tablespoon of rice filling near the bottom. Fold ends of cabbage leaves to the center and roll securely but not too tightly as the mixture will expand due to the rice. Continue preparing the rest of the leaves in this way.
  7. Gently place stuffed cabbage rolls into a deep baking dish. Pour sauce over rolls.
  8. Bake at 350˚ for 45 minutes covered, and another 10-15 minutes uncovered.

The apple roses were unbelievably beautiful and easy! They’re great to make when having company, or of course, on any regular night!

1 package frozen puff pastry
8 large apples
5 cups water
5 T sugar
½ lemon
margarine/butter
brown sugar
cinnamon
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

  1. Defrost puff pastry a day ahead in the refrigerator.
  2. Cut apple into thin slices of half-moons.
  3. Bring 5 cups of water, 5 T sugar and juice from ½ lemon to a boil. Add apple slices into the water and cook for 2-3 minutes. Take apple slices out of water, drain and let cool.
  4. After apples are cool, roll out first piece of puff pastry until it’s thin, but not so thin that it will tear. You want to get long skinny rectangles.
  5. Schmeer a little butter/margarine on each strip and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.
  6. Place a few apple slices on the rectangle slightly overlapping, rounded sides just hanging over the top edge.
  7. Roll up the pastry and apple, and place into a greased muffin pan. Continue with the rest of the dough and apples.
  8. Bake at 350˚ for 20-30 minutes, until golden.
  9. In the meantime, cook 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar over low heat to create a syrup. When the pastry comes out of the oven, spoon a few tablespoons of syrup over every “rose”

It was my first time making them, and I think they look pretty professional!

I hope you enjoy making these sukkot treats and sharing them with family and friends.

3 responses to “Jewish Cooking

  1. Hi Edie,
    Great blog, I am excited about trying the stuffed cabbage.
    Susan

  2. Edie,
    Your blog is great. Did you see the NY Times article about the sukkahs in Union Square?

    http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2010/09/16/arts/design/0917-sukkah-slideshow-12.html

    David

Let me know how the recipe turned out for you!