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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on,
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Archive for Rosh Hashanah

TIP OF THE DAY: Apples & Honey

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Apples and honey, a Jewish New Year tradition, are a delicious snack or
simple dessert on any day.


Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. One of the holiday traditions is dipping an apple in honey. But the tradition can be enjoyed year-round by anyone looking for a tasty snack or a simple dessert.

All you need are honey and apples. Slice the apples and serve them with a dish of honey.

TIP: While a bowl of honey lets more than one person dip at a time, a Honey Bear squeeze bottle or other squeeze bottle (with a dispensing tip) is much neater!


Apples are sweet, honey is even sweeter. Combine the two and it’s symbolic of a [hopefully] ultra-sweet new year.

The apple symbolizes the Garden of Eden, which according to the Torah has the scent of an apple orchard, and in Kabbalah is called “the holy apple orchard.”


So whether or not you’re celebrating anything today, pick up some crisp apples and honey, slice and dip. If you aren’t already familiar with this combination, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to put them together!

There’s generic honey—a blend of inexpensive honeys from around the world, blended to a common denominator for American supermarket purchases.

And then there’s varietal honey: single-source honey, such as Black Sage, Clover, Orange Blossom, Raspbery and Sage. There are hundreds of varieties, each made from the nectar of a different flower, bush or tree.

Each varietal honey has a distinct flavor; thus, and each pairs well with specific foods. Check out our food and honey pairings.

Consider these pairing tips from Rowan Jacobsen, an apple grower and author of Apples of Uncommon Character:

  • Gala apples with orange blossom honey
  • Granny Smith and other tart green apples with basswood honey
  • Honeycrisp apples with wildflower honey
  • Pink Lady or SweeTango apples with avocado honey
  • Pippin apples with apple blossom honey
  • Russet apples with tupelo honey
    Here’s the full article.

    Happy New Year to those who celebrate, and enjoy those apples and honey, to those who don’t.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Kugel

    The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah*, begins tomorrow night at sundown*. A traditional part of the dinner is kugel (KOO-gull), a casserole-like baked pudding that is served as part of the main course.

    The traditional versions in Jewish households are noodle pudding (lokshen kugel), made with egg noodles and raisins; and potato kugel; but mixed vegetable kugels have become very popular in recent decades.

    In our family’s tradition of excess, Nana always made a noodle kugel and a potato-carrot kugel. We always looked forward to them—especially the sweet noodle kugel—and always requested the crispiest† piece. Nana’s noodle pudding recipe is below.


    “Kugel” is a word from Middle High German meaning sphere, globe or ball. The Yiddish name likely originated as a reference to the first versions, baked in round pans to a puffed-up shape. (Today, kugels are often baked in square or rectangular pans.)

    According to Wikipedia, the first kugels were savory casseroles made from bread and flour. Some 800 years ago, German cooks replaced the bread and flour with noodles or farfel (pellet-shaped pasta like orzo).


    Vegetable Kugel

    A slice of vegetable kugel, made with carrot, onion, potato and zucchini. Photo courtesy Good Eggs | SF.

    Eventually eggs were incorporated. The addition of cottage cheese and milk created a custard-like consistency that is common in today’s dessert kugels.

    Polish Jews added raisins, cinnamon and cottage cheese to their noodle kugels. Jews in different communities developed their own flavors. In Jerusalem, the kugel of choice is a caramelized sugar and black pepper noodle kugel. Here’s a detailed history of kugel.

    *Rosh Hashanah literally means “head of the year.” Because of the nature of the Jewish calendar, the date differs each year.

    †Bake a noodle kugel for a few extra minutes and the top noodles get crisper.


    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/noodle kugel kitchendaily 230

    Cholesterol conscious? This noodle kugel omits the egg yolks. Recipe courtesy Kitchen
    Daily. Here’s their recipe.



    As with casseroles, there are as many types of kugel as there are cooks who conceive them. You may even have enjoyed kugel without knowing it: Baked rice pudding is a kugel (rice kugel). Carrot pudding is a kugel.

    Savory kugels are most often potato kugels, but broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cheese, spinach, yellow squash and zucchini have become popular (usually with a touch of onion). Like cauliflower and mushrooms? Put them in your kugel. Here’s a link to many savory kugel recipes.

    Sweet kugels are made with apples, butternut squash, cherries, corn, dried fruits, peaches, pineapple, rhubarb, sweet potatoes and more. You can use any fruit you fancy, from lychee to mango. Check out these sweet kugel recipes.

    There are flourless Passover kugel recipes that adapt of all of these.




  • 1/2 pound wide egg noodles
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 16 ounces small curd cottage cheese
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins (substitute dried cherries or cranberries)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 dashes salt
  • Optional: slivered almonds‡

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F.

    2. BOIL the noodles in salted water for 4 minutes; then drain. Combine the noodles with the other ingredients (except the almonds) in a large mixing bowl

    3. POUR into a greased baking pan, 9″ by 13″ baking dish (substitute 9″ by 9″ square pan). Sprinkle the optional almonds over the top. Bake until the custard is set and the top is golden brown, about 30 to 45 minutes.
    Enjoy the leftover kugel for breakfast, cold or warmed.
    ‡Some people add a can of crushed pineapple. Nana would geschrei!



    RECIPE: The Best Baklava


    A winning baklava recipe. Photo courtesy
    Food 52.


    We admit to an enthusiasm for baklava. Good baklava—made with quality honey—is one of the world’s great pastries. Here’s the history of baklava, an ancient pastry that dates to the 8th century B.C.E.

    This recipe was the runner up in a contest held by Food52 for the California Walnut Board.

    “This is my mom’s recipe,” says CookbookChick, who submitted the recipe. “I don’t know where she got the idea for her ‘secret ingredient,’ but it produces the best baklava ever. [Mom is Mrs. Z, credited below.]

    “If you like baklava but can’t get past the cloying sweetness, this is the one to try: You will never go back or be satisfied with the stuff you get in Greek restaurants again.”

    Honey and apples is a Rosh Hashanah tradition, a wish for a sweet new year. The Jewish New Year begins next Thursday; some sweet, honeyed baklava would not be out of place. Try this recipe, courtesy of Food52 for the California Walnut Board.


    Ingredients For 24 Pieces

    For The Baklava Syrup

  • 1/2 cup mild honey
  • 1-1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
    For The Baklava

  • 1 cup graham crackers, finely crushed (the secret ingredient!)
  • 1-1/2 pounds walnuts
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 pound butter, melted and clarified*
  • 1 pound filo dough
  • 24 whole cloves
    *To clarify, melt the butter, skim off the milk solids and pour off the clear yellow butter. Discard the white solids in the bottom of the pan.



    1. COMBINE all the syrup ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 10 to 20 minutes, just until a thin syrup is formed. Allow to cool to room temperature while you build the baklava.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F.

    3. CRUSH the graham crackers into fine crumbs. You can do this (a) by putting them in a sealed plastic bag and pounding them with a meat tenderizer, (b) rolling with a rolling pin, or (c) pulverizing in a food processor.

    4. GRIND the nuts finely with a manual nut grinder (preferable) or in a food processor. With the latter, take care not to grind too far, or you will have nut butter.

    5. COMBINE the graham cracker crumbs, nuts, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl.



    California walnuts. Photo courtesy Murray’s Cheese.


    6. LAY out the filo dough on a clean kitchen towel. Lay another towel on top of the filo to help prevent it from drying out.

    7. BUILD the baklava in an 8 x 8-inch square pan. Layer 6 to 8 sheets of filo in the bottom of the pan, brushing each sheet lightly with butter before adding the next (a silicone basting brush makes it easy). Many Greek cooks, including Mrs. Z, simply drizzle the butter from a teaspoon; or you can use a traditional boar bristle pastry brush.

    8. SPRINKLE the nut mixture in a thin layer over the filo dough. Cover with 3 to 4 more sheets, each brushed lightly with butter. Repeat until the nut mixture is completely used up. Cover with 6 to 8 filo sheet, brushing each layer lightly with butter.

    9. REFRIGERATE the uncooked baklava for an hour or two until the butter solidifies. Then, before baking, cut with a sharp knife into small squares or diamond shapes. If you want the traditional diamond shapes, start with a corner-to-corner diagonal cut. Stick a whole clove into the center of each piece.

    10. BAKE at 350°F for no longer than one hour, until it becomes a light golden brown. If the baklava dries out, it is ruined.

    11. REMOVE from the oven and immediately pour the room temperature syrup evenly over the hot pastry. The rule is hot pastry, cool syrup or you’ll get a soggy dessert! Start with about half of the syrup, letting the pastry absorb it (you may not use it all).

    Serving idea: Nestle each piece in a pretty paper cupcake cup or foil cupcake cup and present on a platter.



    ROSH HASHANAH: Classic Tzimmes Recipe

    The Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah is celebrated this year from the evening of Wednesday, September 4th through the evening of Friday, September 6th (in the Hebrew calendar, the year is year 5774.

    European (Ashkenazic) Jews have a feast that traditionally includes:

  • Gefilte fish appetizer
  • Chicken soup
  • Brisket or roast chicken
  • Carrot and sweet potato tzimmes
  • Potato kugel or other potato dish
  • A vegetable side
  • Fruit compote
  • Honey cake

    Tzimmes, a carrot-sweet potato dish. Photo courtesy


    Everyone can enjoy the Jewish New Year with this tzimmes (TSIH-mess) recipe. Tzimmes, which means “light meal” in Yiddish, is a sweetened combination of vegetables, usually carrots and potatoes. Meat can be included, and dried prunes are often added.

    Tzimmes is is stewed or baked in a casserole. The result is a side dish that will appeal to all people with a sweet tooth.

    Here, the classic recipe is dressed up by Dole with dried cranberries, in addition to the conventional chopped dates.


    Moist and delicious dates from California.
    Photo © Bard Valley Medjool Date Growers.




  • 1 package (16 ounces) baby carrots or 1 pound regular carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Spray 2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

    2. HEAT a large saucepan of water to boiling; add sweet potatoes and carrots and reduce heat to medium. Cook 15 minutes or until slightly tender, drain in colander and set aside.

    3. STIR together dates, cranberries and walnuts in large bowl. Add cooled sweet potato and carrots, orange juice, honey, lemon juice, cinnamon, cumin and salt. Gently stir until evenly coated.

    4. TRANSFER mixture to prepared dish; cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes, basting with pan juices half way through cooking.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Organic Honey From Whole Foods Markets

    September is National Honey Month, a good reason to focus on our favorite ways to use honey.

    Even if you’re not Jewish, you can start this week with a Rosh Hashanah tradition:

    Celebrate the Jewish New Year with a traditional snack of apples and honey. The custom ushers in a sweet new year.

    We never thought to dip apples and honey until we were invited to our neighbors’ home one Rosh Hashanah 10 years ago. It’s become a favorite treat.

    TIP: Instead of placing the honey into a small dish for dipping, as in the photo, think of hollowing out a large apple and placing it, filled with honey, in the center of a plate of apple slices.

    We recently discovered that there’s a special prayer to recite before the honey and apples are consumed. THE NIBBLE doesn’t publish religious content, but we were so charmed by the thought of a prayer of thanks for honey and apples that we couldn’t resist:


    Honey and apples are a Rosh Hashanah tradition. Photo courtesy


  • Recite the first part of the prayer: Blessed are you Lord, our God, Ruler of the world, Creator of the fruit of the tree. (In Hebrew: Baruch atah Ado-nai, Ehlo-haynu melech Ha-olam, Borai p’ree ha’aritz.)
  • Take a bite of an apple slice dipped in honey.
  • Recite the second part of the prayer: May it be Your will, Adonai, our God and the God of our forefathers, that You renew for us a good and sweet year. (In Hebrew: Y’hee ratzon mee-l’fanekha, Adonai Elohaynu v’elohey avoteynu sh’tichadeish aleinu shanah tovah um’tuqah.
  • Enjoy the rest of the apples and honey.

    The new 365 Organic Mountain Forest Honey
    line. Photo courtesy Whole Foods Market.



    Just in time for fall apple-dipping, Whole Foods Market has introduced 365 Everyday Value Mountain Forest Honey, U.S. Grade A in four varieties:

  • Light Amber
  • Amber
  • Raw Honey
  • White Raw Honey
    Organic honey is made from the nectar of plants in fields that have not been treated with chemical pesticide. The fields must be pesticide-free for 20 miles in every direction of the beehives.


    In addition to organic certification, the honeys are also Whole Trade, a certification similar to Fair Trade. It ensures that the products were produced in a way that ensures fair prices to producers, safe and healthy working conditions for farm workers and environmentally-friendly production. (More about Fair Trade and similar certifying organizations).


    Try honey in these delicious recipes from Whole Foods:

  • Honey Lime Salmon Kabobs
  • Honey Mustard Coleslaw
  • Baklava With Honey Syrup

    Here’s everything you need to know about honey: types, storing and using, pairing, trivia, history, and more recipes.

    Have a sweet September.



    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Flavored Challah Bread

    Chocolate-stuffed babka and olive-
    stuffed challah from Motzi. Photo by
    Sue Ding | THE NIBBLE.


    Challah was the type of bread tithed to priests* in ancient Israeli temples. A portion of the challah loaf was sanctified and the rest was consumed. Challah became the customary bread to serve with Sabbath and holiday meals.

    Motzi has updated the traditional plain challah by stuffing it with delicious things: sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, olives, pumpkin and chocolate (not all in one loaf, of course).

    With the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, commencing on Wednesday, September 28th, it’s a perfect time to try these delicious stuffed challahs, or send them as gifts (just $5.00 a loaf).

    When we sat down to try our order, we never dreamed that five loaves of bread would disappear so quickly.

    Fortunately, the products freeze well, so on our next order, we paced ourselves.

  • Read the full review.
  • Discover a world of delicious bread types in our Bread Glossary.

    The line is certified kosher by OU.
    *Where were the rabbis? Long before rabbis were in charge of Jewish congregations, priests were in charge of the temples. The roots of Judaism date back to the Bronze Age (3300 to 1200 B.C.E.). Rabbinic Judaism (today’s Judaism) developed during the 3rd to 6th centuries C.E., after the codification of the Talmud (the central text of Judaism that covers customs, ethics, history, law and philosophy). “Rabbi” means “teacher of the Talmud.”



    COOKING VIDEO: Challah Bread Recipe


    Challah, the traditional Jewish bread, dates to ancient Israel.

    The word itself refers to a tithe of bread that was given to the priests, who had no income. A portion of the dough was sanctified, and the remainder was used for ordinary consumption.

    It became customary to serve challah with all Sabbath and holiday meals. Before cutting the bread, a blessing for the food (a motzi) is recited.

    Challah arrived in America with Jewish immigrants. The word is pronounced CHAH-luh, with a guttural ch as in the German word ach (here’s an audio pronunciation).

  • Read our review of Motzi Challah, delicious flavored challah. Our favorite, Sundried Tomato Challah, is an irresistable challah-pizza fusion.
  • Try this delicious honey challah recipe, in addition to the recipe in the video. Most commercial challah is parve, so it can be eaten with meat and other non-dairy foods. Both of these recipes use butter, which gives the challah an even lovelier flavor.



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