Roasted Carrot & Sweet Potato Tzimmes
Do make a tzimmes out of it. Courtesy of Sterling Epicure
Makes 8 to 10 servings
active: 30 min
total: 1 hr 45 min
What is Jewish food? Since the culinary journey along the Jewish diaspora spans many regions of the world, it can be difficult to define. As Jews settled in new areas, they incorporated local ingredients and shared well-loved recipes, creating a whole new cuisine.
Take mile-high pastrami on rye, rich chocolate rugelach and shakshuka, and throw in traditional holiday foods and the rules of kashrut and you’ve got a cuisine as diverse and complex as its people. Award-winning author Amelia Saltsman takes a farm-to-table approach to Jewish food with her new cookbook “The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen.”
Seasonal cooking is actually not a new concept at all; Amelia is quick to point out that the foods of Jewish holidays are naturally seasonal. Herbs for Passover, stuffed vegetables for Sukkot, pomegranates and tzimmes for Rosh Hashanah. So it only makes sense that she divides the book into six micro-seasons.
The book begins with essential ingredients, helpful techniques and some staples in Jewish cooking: tahini sauce, schmaltz and gribenes (including a vegan version made just from onions). Her take is as fresh as her food: Duck with White Beans and Gribenes; Marinated Chickpea Salad with Tahini and Lemon Sauce; Apple, Pear and Concord Grape Galette in Rye Pastry; Roasted Chicken with Tangerines, Green Olives and Silan. Laced with Amelia’s personal anecdotes as the daughter of a Romanian mother and Iraqi father who met in the Israel army, the recipes serve as a family memoir with Jewish food history woven in. She seamlessly combines Ashkenazi and Sephardic flavors to produce new favorites.
Many of the recipes have vibrant photos, not a surprise given all the colorful ingredients she uses. Props from Amelia’s personal collection — a tablecloth from her grandmother, a cooling rack from her aunt — add another personal touch. The book is not labeled as a kosher cookbook, but the recipes do follow the rules of kashrut and many of the desserts are naturally pareve. Amelia claims her recipes will make you wonder, is this Jewish? But even if they are not the familiar matzah ball soup and brisket of your youth, you won’t question their deliciousness.
Tzimmes was actually the inspiration for The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen. Amelia shared her modern version on social media, and it quickly received a positive response. Then a few of her other modern remakes did as well. She realized people were craving light, seasonal Jewish-inspired recipes. Here is the tzimmes that started it all. You’ll notice the sugar is gone. In its place: roasted carrots, sweet potatoes and shallots with tons of citrus.