Enthralled by stories of Sephardic Jeweled Rice from Syria and Lebanon and Russian Apple Cake (first prepared to honor the wife of Tsar Alexander I), ChezHelvetica traveled the virtual globe for unparalleled sweetness and fragrance for the High Holidays. These days of introspection cascaded into Harvest Moonlight and the Equinox, with glorious Fall bounty and colors now embracing us. Apples and Honey with Challah always open Rosh Hashanah with wishes for a sweet New Year. On this occasion, the Apples were from the Rheingold Garden in Tam Valley, used also for the Apple Cake. The House of Bagels served as my house of worship, on Rosh Hashanah for the Round Challah and then a second time on Yom Kippur for Lox and Bagels. Standing in line for half an hour on the Day of Atonement seemed like the perfect place to be, surrounded by some wearing yarmulkes clipped to their hair. Homemade Chicken Soup and Sweet Pickles with Onions accompanied the intoxicating Jeweled Rice – spiced with Paprika, Tumeric, Cumin and Lemon Zest and studded with dried Apricots, Figs, Cherries and Pistachios. Pomegranate seeds crowned the delicious dish. A wonderful Apricot and Raspberry Macaroon Tart delivered the inscription for another year in the Book of Life!
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Never before has The Festival of Lights seemed more important or necessary. ChezHelvetica celebrated Chanukah amidst some of the worst crises of health and democracy in our history with humor and a tight grip on the beauty and tradition of this holiday. Note the Toilet Paper Menorah, a nod to Covid, towering over a childhood brass menorah holding the first night’s candle. Lox from The House of Bagels and Chives topped crispy Latkes, an excellent recipe found on the CUESA website from Evan Bloom. Delicious Applesauce made with a Cinnamon Stick, Meyer Lemon and Gala Apples, and luscious Sour Cream accompanied the savory Latkes. With thoughts of the Maccabees and their victory over oppression and a Signature Reserve Russian River Chardonnay, happiness embraced our dinner. Jewish Stars decorated the table – on a candle from dear neighbors, a blue and white ceramic box from sister Abby and a delicious blue and white frosted cookie. This Butter Cookie from the HOB Bakery and Loacker Hazelnut Quadratini bestowed the concluding sweetness on our celebration. As we commemorate the rededication (of the second temple in Jerusalem in 164 BCE) and miracle of the oil that lasted eight days, may miracles abound for us all! A shot in the arm?!
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