Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Rosh Hashana Cook-a-thon ... Honey Cake!

I’ve spent a lot of time with my mother over the past few days – perusing her recipes, touching the recipe cards she once wrote on, and deciding which Yom Tov (holy day) dishes to prepare for the upcoming New Year celebrations.  We are forever joined by generations of tradition, and as I spend countless hours in my kitchen, recreating her delicacies, I talk with her, in my heart, sharing my excitement as each dish is completed and our home is filled with ever-familiar holiday cooking smells.

On Sunday I settled in for a cook-a-thon, making Mom’s chicken soup and tsimmes (stay tuned for an upcoming blog about Mom's Tsimmes and Norene Gilletz...2 of my favourite cooks!) and Gloria Kobrin’s mini potato kugels (check out her blog Kosher Cookbook).  Last night it was her Bubbie Lou’s currant pinwheels (I know, I’m falling hopelessly behind!) and tonight, it was Mom’s honey cake…passed down from her mother before her.  The final line on her recipe card is:
MOM’S ORIGINAL RECIPE
THE BEST

My mother loved all the holidays, and our home was always full of friends, gathered around the dining room table, feasting on her many treats…but I have told you this already in earlier entries.  Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) was special for her – it was close to many loved one’s birthdays – including her mother and brother…but none was more special to her than her son, David’s birthday.  She would combine the holiday treats with his all-time favourite – Standing Rib Roast, and serve the most amazing dinner for all to enjoy.

So, last Thursday evening, while Becca and Jack were in Hebrew School, I went to Sobey’s and met with Danny, the kindest, most patient butcher, who walked me through my menu and helped determine just how big a rib roast I needed for the second night of Rosh Hashana (this Thursday night) which also happens to be Davie’s 41st birthday.  After some deliberating and educating (of me, that is), we decided upon just the right roast.  At the checkout counter, the cashier and patron behind me began commenting on this huge piece of meat I was buying.  I said it was my brother’s birthday present, to which they burst out laughing…was I really giving him a hunk of meat for his birthday?!?!  I went on to explain that every year, for Davie’s birthday, my mother would make his favourite rib roast meal as his birthday gift.  Now that she is no longer able to make it, I have been working on perfecting her recipe so I can carry on her tradition. They stopped laughing and looked like they wanted to cry…way too much of an emotional roller coaster for a checkout line!!!!  Anyways, they loved that this tradition is being carried on, and wished my brother a happy birthday J. 

Don't my cooling cakes look like a little family?  Mommy & Daddy and 6 munchkins!  One for Davie's house for RH Night #1,  one for our house for RH Night #2, and 6 mini cakes for Dad to nosh on at his leisure!
So…here we are, approaching September 29th, a birthday shared by the World and my brother, and I am in the final stretch of my cook-a-thon…honey cakes are baking away in the oven, rib roast and chicken breasts are thawing, and I am trying to figure out what I have forgotten to make!  I wanted to share my recipes with you, and wish all who are celebrating a very Happy New Year for 5772, filled with only good things.  Shana Tova, B’Tayavon and Buon Appetito!

PS – Sara just emerged from her bedroom to announce “I smell honey cake…mmmm”….makes it all worthwhile!

Louise, Carol and (now) Naomi’s Honey Cake

Ingredients:
·         4 eggs
·         1C sugar
·         ¾C vegetable oil
·         1¼C liquid honey
·         1C coffee rich
·         1 tsp lemon juice
·         3C flour (whole wheat optional)
·         2 tsp baking soda
·         1 tsp ground nutmeg
·         1 tsp ground ginger
·         1 tsp ground cinnamon
·         1 tsp ground allspice
·         1 tsp ground cloves (if you don’t have any, add a second tsp of allspice)

Method:  Preheat oven to 350­.  Grease Bundt pan well!  Combine all ingredients (liquid separate from dry, then slowly add dry ingredients to liquids.  Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour (until golden brown and passes the "toothpick test", 35 minutes for mini bundt cakes/cupcakes.  Allow to cool for a few minutes before inverting pan onto cake plate. 

Ugggh!  Put the recipe card down on a spot of canola spray...remnants of my well greased Bundt pan!