Friday, September 18, 2009

Holiday Blessings

By Millicent K. Brody

I find myself feeling particularly grateful this Rosh Hashanah season. As Jews all over the world look forward to the year 5770, I can only share my heartfelt wish for a world of peace and harmony filled with good health and happiness for all.

One thing I’m very grateful for is the fact that many of my favorite markets, delicatessens, and grocery stores are not only stocking prepared Kosher and Kosher-style foods, they’re catering entire meals and ready-to-eat side dishes, making holiday entertaining a snap for myself and other busy families.

The centerpiece of every table should include a round, fresh-baked challah from a local bakery. At the Swiss Pastry Shoppe in Scotch Plains, proprietor John Cioffi has been at his huge ovens for hours and hours. Not only are his challah delicious, his rugalach are baked fresh daily. Filled with nuts, raisins, apricots, and chocolate, they’re worth the trip

A traditional holiday meal should start with appetizers of gefilte fish and chopped chicken liver. Then, of course, it’s a bowl of chicken soup with matzoh balls or noodles, or fresh vegetable soup. If you’re considering purchasing chicken soup and matzoh balls, consider taking your own soup pot to the University Diner in Union. The staff will be more than happy to ladle their steaming brew into your container. Then all you have to do is heat, serve, and enjoy.

Rosh Hashanah, entrees often feature roast chicken, brisket of beef, breast of capon, or stuffed Cornish hen. But oftentimes it’s the side dishes that really wow the guests. They could easily include potato latkes (pancakes), zucchini cup cakes, carrot souffle, a fruit compote, and a platter of freshly prepared garden vegetables.

At my house, the featured dessert is always a fresh plum cake, chocolate chip cookies, and, of course ice cream.

Suggested Places to Shop for the Jewish Holidays:

Bovella’s Pastry Shoppe, 101 E. Broad Street, Westfield

Deli-King Clark, Clarkton Shopping Center, 3090 Clarkton Dr., Clark, Linden; Deli King of Linden, 628 W. Saint Georges Ave., Linden

Fairway, Market, Fashion Center Mall, Rt. 17 North and Ridgewood Ave., Paramus

King’s Super Markets, 100 Morristown Road, Bernardsville; 450 U.S. Highway 206, Bedminster; U.S. Highway N. 22 & 513 Whitehouse; 64 Mountain Blvd., Warren, 908.226.4988

Swisse Pastry Shoppe, 1711 E. 2nd St., Scotch Plains

Shop Rite of Bound Brook, Kosher Experience, 611 Union Ave., Bound Brook and the local Shop Rite Supermarkets in your area.

University Diner, 580 North Avenue, Union

Wegman’s, 724 Route 202 S., Bridgewater; 2100 Route 70 W., Cherry Hill; 55 US Highway 9, Manalapan; 2 Centerton Rd., Mt Laurel; 1104 Highway 35, Ocean; 240 Nassau Park Blvd., Princeton; 15 Woodbridge Center Drive, Woodbridge

Whole Foods: 222, Main St., Madison; 2245 Springfield Ave., Vauxhall; 701 Broomfield Ave., Montclair; 235 Prospect Ave., West Orange.

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