Monday, November 16, 2015

Sugar & Spice Pumpkin Seeds

Holiday traditions have always been a big deal in my family. Every year during Christmastime we always spend a day making Christmas cookies with my Oma, we always open presents from "Santa" on Christmas morning, we still do a gift hunt each Easter, and ever since I was old enough to hold an exacto knife in my hand my family has always taken the time to carve intricate pumpkins each Halloween. 
My 2015 Halloween Pumpkin Carving
Though busy schedules and different living arrangements has meant that we don't get to carve pumpkins all together as a family anymore, my sister and I have still carried on the tradition on our own, taking great care to carve our own pumpkins inspired by the ones our dad taught us to make growing up. Though the greatest delight for my sister and I was getting to spend hours dedicated to focusing on a craft (yes, carving pumpkins is the ultimate craft!), we also found joy in utilizing the slimy pumpkin seeds scraped out of the innards of the pumpkin by making Sugar & Spice Pumpkin Seeds. 
I can't even remember when I first came across Martha Stewart's recipe for Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds, but that too has now become an annual Halloween tradition thanks to its wonderful contrast of flavours and addictive appeal. I make these every single year a few days before Halloween, and even though I use sesame oil all year round, that smell of the sesame oil hitting the pan will always remind me of Halloween thanks to these delicious seeds. While Halloween brings out the worst sweet tooth in me as I find myself craving all of my favourite Halloween chocolates and candy, my Sugar & Spice Pumpkin Seeds are, dare I say, my favourite of all the Halloween treats! 

Recipe slightly adapted from Martha Stewart
1 cup pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried
4 Tbsp. white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil

  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF. On a rimmed baking sheet, evenly spread pumpkin seeds. Bake for 1-hour or until seeds are golden-brown and crisp. Stir several times during baking.
  2. In a medium bowl combine 2 Tbsp sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne pepper.
  3. In a medium non-stick skillet heat sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add pumpkin seeds and remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar. Cook while stirring until all seeds are coated in caramelized sugar. 
  4. Immediately transfer seeds into bowl of spices and toss to coat. Let cool. Store in an airtight container for about 1-week.
Listening To:

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Coconut Curry Chicken Noodle Bowl

Without a doubt in my mind I can say that noodles are the royalty of all comfort food. Oh so you think chili's and stews are the royalty of all comfort food? Well get the heck out because you're wrong! haha I kid...kind of. What makes noodles the top of the crop in terms of comfort food for myself at least is the fact that noodles can be served in so many different ways, all of which are guaranteed to be delicious and satisfying! Whether it's spaghetti and fresh from-the-garden tomato sauce or a big ol' bowl of piping hot ramen, noodles are are like that hug from your mom at the end of a really bad day...except hugs from mom don't exactly fill a hungry belly. 

When I'm in the midst of a rough week all I seem to crave are noodles, which means either whipping up a big pot of homemade pasta, or ordering Asian takeout. More often than not I find myself making pasta over ordering in as an attempt at saving money and perhaps eating ever so slightly healthier, being able to control exactly what's going into my food. Making my own Asian noodles had never been an option for me, as I was intimidated by both the ingredients and techniques from a cuisine that I had not grown up making. It's felt easy picking up recipes from cultures such as Greece, Italy, Poland, etc. having grown up around the same types of flavours and cooking techniques, but with so many unique ingredients, cooking tools, and methods in Asian cuisine I have always chosen to leave the cooking to the pros. 

With such a love for Asian cuisine, I was itching to find a great noodle dish that I could rely on to become a mid-week staple for my boyfriend and I to nip that comfort food noodle craving right in the bud! After scouring Pinterest for more than I care to admit to even myself, I found two delicious-sounding Thai noodle recipes that seemed simple to execute and featured flavours that I was familiar with, many of which I already had on hand. With a lot of skepticism, I combined the two recipes to create something that I thought may be a good start for my intro to Asian cuisine. Though I was so sure that my first attempt at Asian noodles would end up tasting very "white" and like it missing something, I was so pleasantly surprised at how my Coconut Curry Chicken Noodle Bowls turned out! Featuring that same punch of flavour found at my favourite Thai restaurants, these noodles were incredibly addictive and satisfied my craving for comforting Asian noodles. The rich coconut-infused sauce hugged every noodle and kept its intensity even upon reheating the following day! Despite my previous apprehensions over making Asian noodles, I have a newfound confidence thanks to such a successful first attempt! I am really proud of how this dish turned out and am so excited to hear what you think of it! Give it a try in your own kitchen and let me know how it went on Twitter: @thisgingerrose

  • To speed up the softening of the noodles, soak them in boiling water until softened.
Recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum and Bon Appetit
4 ounces rice noodles
1 Tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil
2 shallots, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. ginger, minced
1 Tbsp cilantro stems, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. red curry paste
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground turmeric 
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. hot chili paste (Sambal Oelek)
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, halved lengthwise
1 Tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 cup broccoli florets
1 large carrot, long slices peeled with a vegetable peeler
1 cup snow peas, trimmed
2 Tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. lightly toasted peanuts, chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges (for serving)

  1. Soak noodles in very hot water until softened. Rinse and drain. Begin this right at the start of cooking as noodles will take some time to soften. See above note for more info. 
  2. In a large saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp. oil. Add shallots, garlic, ginger, and cilantro stems and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes, or until shallot has softened and is translucent. 
  3. Add curry paste, coriander, and turmeric and stir-fry for 1-minute.
  4. Add coconut milk, sugar, chili paste, fish sauce, and soy sauce and stir. Add broth and chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25-minutes, until chicken is fork tender.
  5. Transfer chicken to a plate and shred with 2 forks. Add back to sauce.
  6. In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbso oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, broccoli, carrot, and snow peas and stir fry for 5-minutes. Add sauce, noodles, and 2 Tbso. cilantro and toss to combine. Serve in bowls topped with additional cilantro, peanuts, and a lime wedge. 
Listening To:

Friday, November 6, 2015

Cacio e Pepe

It's 6:30 pm on a Wednesday, you just got home, the fridge is empty and you're hungry. What do you do? Prior to my trip to Italy this summer I would have always answered that question by quickly replying "make Ina Garten's Agio e Olio!" but since getting to experience the epitome of simple Italian classic dishes, Cacio e Pepe, in Rome I've added a new quick and easy weeknight pasta to my repertoire! Even when it may appear that the fridge is empty and there's nothing to make, I always make sure that my cupboards and fridge are stocked just enough to be able to throw together a tasty pasta on the fly. In order to keep myself prepared come the mid-week hunger freakout I always make sure to have good quality pasta, peppercorns, olive oil, garlic, and Parmigiano-Reggiano and/or Pecorino cheese on hand. Truly, that is all you need to whip together a fantastic pasta dinner! 

Though in theory cacio e pepe is simpler than aglio e olio (there are less steps and less ingredients), it is the simplicity of ingredients and preparation that actually makes cacio e pepe trickier to master than it's olive oil sister. With only pasta water, fresh cracked pepper, butter, and cheese, the trick to mastering cacio e pepe is all about finesse in preparation and quality of ingredients. I know, quality ingredients means pricey ingredients, but it is in instances like this where the quality of your ingredients truly makes all the difference. With so few ingredients, you really have to use the best in order to get the most flavour, so make friends with your local cheesemonger (get out of the grocery store and visit a gourmet cheese shop or a farmers market for your cheese!) and get yourself a big ol' hunk of parm. In terms of finesse, the way to achieve great results with this pasta is making sure everything is prepped ahead of time, ensuring your pasta is nice and al dente (you want it to have a nice bite), and serving it all up at the exact right moment. The exact right moment is when you have just enough sauce to coat your pasta with a little bit left in the bowl. Don't second guess yourself. If you think it's done, take it off the heat right away! If you take an extra 30-seconds to consider whether your pasta is done, your sauce may have dissipated and your noodles may have over-cooked. Trust your gut! 

With such a simple recipe and such high standards after having an insanely good take on cacio e pepe at Flavio Al Velavevodetto in Rome, I still feel as though I have not perfected my cacio e pepe quite yet. Though it's always delicious and leaves me feeling satiated and comforted, my cacio e pepe is not quite as creamy as the perfect one that I had the pleasure of devouring in Rome. What is my cacio e pepe missing? I still don't have a clue, but I welcome any advice or tricks that you may have to achieving that wonderfully creamy result that I'm dreaming of. Give the dish a try and let me know how it went on Twitter: @thisgingerrose. What did you like about the recipe? Where did you struggle? I want to know! Let's chat! 

  • I like to freshly crack my peppercorns for this dish right before I make it in a mortar and pestle. I highly recommend you do the same for the best flavour!
  • Have everything prepped and in its place before you get anything going on the stove. Crack your pepper, grate your cheeses, set the table, etc. It all goes very quickly as soon as your pasta comes out of the water. 
  • I like to use Molisana dry pasta as a good-quality, yet reasonably priced pasta that I can get at the grocery store. 
Recipe slightly adapted from Bon Appetit
kosher salt
1 lb dry pasta (such as spaghetti, tonnarelli, chittara)
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and divided
2 tsp black peppercorns, freshly cracked
1 1/2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
2/3 cup Pecorino, finely grated

  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until very al dente (the pasta will continue to cook in the sauce). Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups of pasta water. 
  2. Meanwhile, in a large heavy skillet set to medium heat, toast the pepper for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add 4 Tbsp butter and melt while whisking. Whisk together in pan for 1-minute. 
  3. Add 1-cup reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5-minutes. 
  4. Add pasta and remaining butter and mix together with tongs. Reduce heat to low and add Parmigiano-Reggiano, stirring and tossing with tongs until melted. 
  5. Remove pan from heat and add pecorino. Stir and toss until cheese has melted, and the sauce has coated the pasta. Add more pasta water if the pasta seems dry. 
  6. Serve immediately in warmed pasta bowls topped with additional grated Parmigano and a drizzle of good-quality olive oil (optional).
Listening To:

Monday, November 2, 2015

How To Be A Food Hero - Freeze Leftover Wine

As my age creeps higher and higher towards the big 3-0 I've found both myself and my friends beginning to care a little bit more about what we put in our glasses. Suddenly that $9 bottle of Pinot Grigio isn't as appealing as it once was, giving my poor abused taste buds a welcome break, while my wallet inevitably takes a bit of a hit. With more of my hard-earned cash going towards sipping from the Vintages section at the LCBO, it's no longer acceptable for that little bit of wine that so often gets left over at the bottom of the wine bottle to be poured down the drain. I mean, if the wine was hardly palatable the previous evening, it sure isn't going to be very tasty after spending the night oxidizing on your kitchen counter, but with delicious wine made with care making its way into my home, I now have to take a little more care in how I treat this luxury. 

Before anyone has a chance of pouring those few last sips of wine down the drain in my home, I make a point of emptying the remains into an ice cube tray to freeze. Once frozen, I pop the wine cubes out and transfer them to a freezer bag to have on hand when needed. Not only am I rescuing precious wine that could have easily been thrown out, I am also making my life so much easier in the future when a recipe calls for a splash of red or white wine. I no longer have to open up an entire bottle just for that splash! I can simply thaw out a wine cube or two and I'm good to go! 

Listening To:
(I don't know who I have become now that I'm listening to Bieber, but this song is so damn catchy I just can't stop!)

Friday, October 30, 2015

To the lovely couple I served last Friday...

For those of you who don't know, blogging is not my full time job. In order to support myself and the passion projects that fuel my heart and my soul I am a server at an Italian restaurant. Although I work with some unbelievable people who often have me looking forward to my shifts (even if it means missing a dinner in the comfort of my home with the person I love) I can't help but beat myself up over the fact that I am still serving. It's hard to resist comparing yourself to old school mates and friends as updates continue to pop up on social media boasting their many career highs. Despite the fact that serving allows me to do what I love right now, and discover where I want to take my career, I often feel like a failure and get down on myself, feeling like I'm not contributing to anything. 

It's a rough job not having any security, control, or benefits, having to miss out on many social engagements and holidays (goodbye New Years Eve!), feeling like your schedule is opposite most of your friends and family, having people generally treat you like you're beneath them, not to mention feeling both emotionally and physically exhausted at the end of every shift. On bad days I come home on the verge of tears asking myself "why am I still doing this?" 

In the midst of an exhausting and very busy week of serving last Friday I had the pleasure of serving a couple who reminded me exactly why I do what I do. The couple, who are from a small town outside of Toronto, make a point of scheduling all of their appointments in the city on the same day so they can get them all over with and then treat themselves to a special dinner out. They told me that they hadn't yet found an Italian restaurant that they loved and could call their go-to in the city. With their obvious passion for one another and their magnetic positivity, my general manager and I set out to give them a special evening at our restaurant. I felt comfortable engaging with them as though we were old friends. They allowed me to dance around the menu, sharing with them some of my favourite tastes and smells, all the while listening eagerly and giving me their trust to take the reigns and order for them. It elated me to see such joy and enthusiasm from them as their faces lit up at each bite of a new dish or sip of wine. Their love was infectious as they affectionately looked into each others eyes, shared their food with one another, and took adorable selfies (this is coming from a non-selfie taker too!). I recognized the type of night they were having, as I've been lucky enough to have gotten a few of those special nights out at a restaurant with my boyfriend, and it felt pretty damn good to know that I was apart of making that happen.

To this couple I want to say "thank you." Thank you for making my night, and quite frankly my entire week. I haven't been able to get you off my mind. You were so lovely and generous in allowing me to take part in your your special evening. It was such a pleasure to be able to share my passion for food and hospitality with you and have you be so incredibly gracious and thankful in return. Just having the pleasure of serving such truly wonderful people put me in the greatest mood, but then you took things a step further. Your generosity extended beyond words in the form of the gratuity you left me. You could have left me anything and I would have gone home happy knowing that I got to take part in your night, but you took the opportunity to give me more than I have ever received on a bill. I wish I had expressed to you more how much that meant to me. More than just money in my pocket, you made me feel like I was contributing to something. You made me feel like what I do is worthwhile and important, and that is something I could never put a price on. I don't know if this letter will ever get back to you, but I just wanted to put my thanks out there in the world. With you both in mind I choose to continue the pattern of paying-it-forward and hope that I can have the same impact that you two did with me. Wishing you all the very best and hope to have the opportunity of serving you again in the future!



Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Guilt-Reduced Apple Pie Muffins - Part Two

Maybe I'm basic, maybe I'm a typical "white girl," or maybe there's just something incredibly infectious about indulging in the beauty of an apple orchard and pumpkin patch on a sunny fall day. 
There's no question about it, the number of photo ops at a pumpkin patch are abundant, but more than just finding the perfect Instagram shot to smack a filter onto before anxiously awaiting "likes" from the masses, I love my family's annual tradition of going to St. Andrews Scenic Acres for apple and pumpkin picking because it's just that, a tradition. My mom and I have been visiting the Milton farm for as long as I can remember, and each year as the first Fall chill permeates the air, I feel that same familiar stir to escape the bustle of the busy city and head into the country to appreciate the most striking season that our beautiful province has to offer. 
With a large bounty of Cortland apples in our bags, and a successful day of farm-photo-ops behind us, inspiration for Fall apple recipes was running high. For weeks those farm-fresh apples found their way into pies, salads, tarts, and what has been my favourite, Guilt-Reduced Apple Pie Muffins. 
You may recall in July of 2012 when I first made my Guilt-Reduced Apple Pie Muffins as a compromise to making apple pie, something I had never had much success with. I adapted a recipe for dessert-worthy muffins, giving it a healthier twist with the addition of whole wheat flour and apple sauce and reducing the amount of sugar. Though these muffins are still reminiscent of a moist apple cake, with their doughy interior and crispy crumble topping, their healthy spin make these babies perfect for a quick breakfast or snack on the go!
Side Note:
With a new fancy camera slung around my neck, I couldn't help but want to capture a new shot of the muffins to show how much I've learned and grown as a photographer in these past few years. I still have so much to learn and lots of practice to take part in, but I'm so incredibly proud of how far I've come, so much so that I couldn't help but take it personally when I recently brought my new camera out with me as I joined a group of girls for an afternoon get together. The moment I pulled out my camera (that still feels like a foreign object in my hand as I continue to learn its many intricacies) I heard a chorus of "oh so that's how she get's such good photos." Ouch. After nearly a year of working hard (yes, working) on perfecting my food photos, immersing myself in research, experimentation, note taking, and lots and lots of practice, I found it pretty offensive to have people credit my art to being a result of having an expensive piece of technology in my hand. Yes, my new camera has done wonders for my photography already, but guess what, for all these years I have been using a point and shoot and have gotten nearly the same results. I'm sure it wasn't meant as a dig, for all I know that could have been their way of complimenting me, but it felt pretty crappy. 
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup + 2 Tbsp loosely-packed brown sugar
2/3 cup apple sauce
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups shredded firm and tart apples

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Make the muffin topping by stirring together brown sugar with flour, rolled oats, melted butter, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together brown sugar, apple sauce, egg, and vanilla until smooth.
  4. In a separate large bowl whisk together all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Some of the whole grains may get caught in the sifter so just toss the remnants in with the rest of the flour after. 
  5. Stir wet mixture into dry mixture, alternating with buttermilk. Fold in shredded apples, until just combined.
  6. Evenly scoop batter into a prepared muffin tin (greased or lined with paper muffin liners) so that the batter reaches 3/4 of the way up the cup. Sprinkle topping evenly over muffins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
Listening To:

Friday, October 16, 2015

Grilled Peach & Ricotta Crepes with Bourbon Whipped Cream for fredi magazine

The day after I arrived home from my incredible trip to Italy I got right back in the kitchen and tackled my recipe for the Fall issue of fredi Magazine. With my still head swimming with all of the memories of the fantastic smells, sights, and tastes of Italy, it came as no surprise that inspiration for my latest recipe would come so easily.

With the last couple weeks of summer seemingly slipping through my freckled fingers, I wanted to create a dish that featured flavours present in both late summer and fall but presented in way to evoke the feeling of comfort that one associates with those first crisp and cool autumn days. With all of that in mind, I created a recipe and photo that I am really proud to share with you! My Grilled Peach & Ricotta Crepes with Bourbon Whipped Cream turned out wonderful, with fresh and juicy peaches as the star, nestled in a bed of creamy ricotta, and folded into a warm crepe to be topped with bourbon enhanced whipped cream. A true show stopper if I ever saw one! I highly recommend taking advantage of those last fresh Ontario peaches by creating my crepes in your own home. 

Check out my recipe on the fredi Magazine webpage and let me know what you think by tweeting me: @thisgingerrose.

Listening To:

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

How To Be A Food Hero - Make Vanilla Sugar

Working in the service industry you can't help but to see a lot of waste. With every table I clear I find myself wincing as I scrape unfinished steak, risotto, pasta, pizza and more into the garbage from customers not wanting to bother taking it home (despite my constant encouragement!). Don't get me wrong, the food at the restaurant I work at is absolutely fantastic and certainly not worthy of ending up in the trash, it's simply thoughtlessness on the part of the paying customers that results in such horrific waste. 

Seeing so much waste each time I come into work kills me, so I'm always trying to find ways of rescuing the high quality food at work so that I can sleep a little more soundly at night. Sometimes that means drinking a latte that was made by mistake (despite my minor lactose intolerance), eating the remainder of the chocolate pudding that's stuck to the inside of the piping bag, or taking home the half of baguette that was never sliced up for any diners, it all adds up in my mind! 
Last week while clearing some dishes in the kitchen at work, I saw one of our chefs scraping vanilla beans for our Tiramisu filling. Intrigued, I asked her if she does anything with the pod after scraping out the insides. After learning that they just end up in the trash, I eagerly asked her if she would mind if I took the empty pods home. Being the second most expensive spice next to saffron, I couldn't imagine tossing away those pricey beans, even without their aromatic filling. I immediately thought to make vanilla sugar with the leftover beans. By simply scraping whatever remained from the inside of the beans into some sugar, tossing in the empty pod, sealing in an airtight container, and allowing to sit for a week or two, you have successfully made vanilla sugar, perfect for adding to coffee, topping creme brûlée, or adding to other subtly-flavoured desserts!

Other Ideas:
Toss the pod into hot chocolate, dessert sauces, pastry creams, or simple syrup.

1 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean 

  1. Place sugar in a small mason jar. If using a fresh vanilla bean, slice down the centre of the bean using a pairing knife, being careful not to cut through. Using the tip of the dull end of the knife, scrape your knife along the bean to remove the aromatic filling. Add the filling to the sugar. If using an empty pot, scrape your pairing knife along the inside of the pod to remove any remaining filling and add to sugar.
  2. Add the empty vanilla bean to the sugar and seal. Shake to disperse the sugar. Allow to sit for 1-2 weeks until fragrant and ready to use. 
Listening To:

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The How To Be A Food Hero Series

Did you know that an average of 13% of all groceries purchased by Canadians ends up being thrown out, resulting in an average of $725 worth of food items ending up in the garbage each year? Being someone who has made food a significant part of my daily life, as well as someone who gets sick at the thought of food waste, those figures are staggering! 

As you may already know, I recently declared September to be a month of having zero food waste in my home. I created a system of tricks on How to Be A Food Hero that I was sure would enable me to make it all the way to October 1st without throwing out a single food item. Though I was determined to literally have zero food waste at all, inevitably I did end up having to toss some food here and there, which trust me, was not easy for me to do! It was hard not to beat myself up about not being able to fulfill my challenge, but I have to give myself credit for doing so well! I get an odd sense of pride when I think of the clever food combinations and dishes that I created in order to rescue certain food items from the trash. What I learned from my month of attempting to be a food hero is that the key to finding success is all about creating good habits and a daily routine. You have to get in the habit of looking through your fridge and cupboards each day to take inventory of what you have, and you have to take those few extra minutes each day to attempt to do some food rescuing, which can often be as simple as wrapping something up for the freezer. 

Even though I didn't achieve my goal of having zero food waste, I was so ecstatic over the incredible response I received from readers for taking on the challenge! It was so great to know that others are struggling with the same issues as I am and to know that I was actually able to provide helpful advice to aid people in reducing the amount of food waste in their own homes. With so much love for this challenge from both myself and my readers and with such a fantastic outcome to look forward to, I've decided to continue to battle with food waste and start a series on my blog entitled How To Be A Food Hero, featuring tips, tricks, and advice on how to reduce food waste in your own home. I hope that you benefit from these posts as much as myself and my wallet will! 

Listening To:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Rosh Hashanah-Inspired French Toast

Being raised with a Christian mother and a Jewish father, religion in my home was more about upholding traditions and building strong values rather than following a more traditional path that many of my friends experienced. With a powerful spirituality within myself, I never felt like I was missing out on anything not following a specific religion. My family still celebrated and participated in as many cultural holidays as we could, meaning lots of valuable family time and, as with most holidays, lots of delicious food! Though I write this on Yom Kippur, the holiday that most non-jews know of as "the fasting holiday" (I should note that Yom Kippur is actually known as the day of Atonement, as well as being the holiest day of the year), I'm going to throw things back to a week ago when we celebrated the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. 

Rosh Hashanah marks the first day of a ten day period where we are to reflect on ourselves and our actions and repent for those in which we are not proud of. The ten day period leads ups to today, Yom Kippur, where we are to spend the entirety of the day fasting and in prayer before indulging in a festive meal to break the fast (also known as the break relation to breakfast). With religion being more about building values in our home, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were understood to me through their symbols. Rosh Hashanah was always known to me as "the apples and honey holiday," as the two are traditionally eaten together to symbolize a sweet year. Yom Kippur to me was known as "the fasting holiday," as well as the holiday that I was allowed to stay home from school if I participated in the fast and took time within my day to reflect on my year, my actions, and myself. 

Though I will not be participating in the Yom Kippur fast today, I will certainly take the time to uphold the tradition of self reflection and examination. To begin the ten day holy period on Rosh Hashanah, I took a bit of an unorthodox approach to celebrating the holiday, with the symbol of apples and honey as my inspiration. To ring in the Jewish new year in the sweetest way I could think of, I whipped up a Rosh Hashanah-inspired french toast featuring, of course, apples and honey! A slice of some raisin challah (a Rosh Hashanah tradition!), a quick chop of an apple, and a little time spent caramelizing with some butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon was all I needed to take my regular french toast up a notch and make it appropriate for the Jewish New Year. As well as drizzling some local Maple Syrup on top of the warm and spongy treat, I also drizzled a little bit of honey for traditions sake. My Rosh Hashanah-inspired french toast was incredibly delicious, and a wonderful way to start this holy period of the year!

1 egg, beaten
1 tsp milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
dash of cinnamon
2 thick slices raisin challah
1 tbsp butter
maple syrup, for serving
honey, for serving
Apple Compote:
1 apple, small dice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp brown sugar
splash of water

  1. Add beaten egg to a shallow dish and add milk, vanilla extract, and dash of cinnamon and beat. Add challah slices, one at a time, and turn to coat. Allow to rest in egg mixture to soak up as much as possible.
  2. Meanwhile make apple compote. Heat a small pot to medium heat. Add apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, and splash of water and stir. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft and tender. 
  3. Heat a non-stick skillet to medium heat. Melt butter and add egg soaked challah. Brown for about 2-3 minutes on one side, then flip and brown the other side. Serve immediately topped with apple compote, maple syrup, and honey.
Listening To: