So Ya’ll Know I’m Jewish right?

No really, I’m Jewish…. You may remember this article from last year’s Washington Post about cooking with my friends/family the Jaffe’s of North Potomac, Maryland:

They are expecting me soon–so I have to make this quick….

This year I am equally committed to bringing heirlooms to the table and happily mixing up African/African American and Diaspora Jewish customs at the table…so I wanted to share some recipes I prepared last year while cooking each month at the Union Square Greenmarket to help you make the Rosh Hoshanah-Yom Kippur-Sukkos-Shemini Atzeret–Simchas Torah season brighter.

Honey and Spice Chicken

This is as Black-Jewish as you can get…Senegal meets Sepharad….

1 5-6 pound roasting chicken, preferably free range..

For the Nokos–a Wolof umami mixture:
2 tablespoons of powdered kosher chicken bullion–may be meat or pareve (non-meat or dairy)
3 cloves of garlic–minced
1 small or medium sized onion–minced
1 green chili–serrano or fish pepper (my favorite heirloom) are great, or ancho etc.–minced
1 tablespoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons of oil

Mix everything together well into a paste…

Aromatics for stuffing–a play on Rawf–a Wolof fish stuffing:
3-4 bell peppers–diced–use a lot of colors–green, red, purple, yellow, orange, let your year be filled with color
1 green chili–again fish, serrano, ancho, etc. chopped
1 large red onion–diced
3 scallions–chopped
a sprig of thyme
a handful of fresh flat leafed parsley
a bay leaf

2 onions, cut into chunks
2 bell peppers cut into chunks
2-3 large carrots cut into chunks
2 leeks cut into chunks
8 whole garlic cloves
4 sweet potatoes–vary the colors–white, yellow, purple, orange..–quartered and halved
6 tablespoons of oil
teaspoon of kosher salt
teaspoon of black pepper

Wildflower or clover honey…1/4-1/2 cup

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

1.  Remove the chicken giblets–well!  Rinse the chicken inside and out.  Remove any  pin feathers and pat the outside dry.

2. Rub the chicken inside and out with the Nokos-style paste. Let sit for several hours in the refrigerator, covered.

3.  Remove and place on plate…Place the Rawf style aromatics inside the chicken Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.

4.  Place the vegetables in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper and oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

5.  Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh. Drizzle the honey on top of the chicken and roast about ten minutes to glaze.  Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes, allow chicken to rest. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.  Reserve some honey to drizzle over the platter of food.

Herbed Green Cabbage and Apple Braise


  • 1 teaspoon olive or sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 head green cabbage, cored and chopped
  • 2 large tart apples – peeled, cored and thickly sliced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock, or as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley, dill or


  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven.
  2. Stir the onion into the pot, season with salt and pepper, and cook and stir over medium-high heat until onion is translucent. Add the maple syrup, then stir in the vinegar.  Scrape up the bottom well and add the cabbage, stirring well to combine.
  3. Cook, uncovered, until cabbage is reduced and starts to soften, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in apples, vegetable stock, and thyme. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and cook for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more stock as needed, and continue cooking until the cabbage is soft, but not falling apart.Finish off with fresh parsley or dill.

Sour Apple Slaw

1 head of green cabbage, thinly shredded
1/2 tablespoon of sea salt
2 green onions
2 tablespoon of maple syrup
4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of mustard
3 cups of crisp spinach leaves, thinly sliced into strips
1 teaspoon of tarragon leaves minced
1 teaspoon of flat leaf parsley leaves minced
3 Granny Smith or any green late summer tangy apple…cored, peeled and grated thinly
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, freshly ground

Toss the cabbage and salt in a colander and let wilt between 30 minutes and one hour.  Plunge cabbage into ice cold water, and drain and pat dry.  Mix all ingredients together for slaw.

Three Sisters Stir Fry
(Inspired by the Lenni Lenape of New York)  Use this one for Sukkot

6 ears of corn, kernels scraped
2 cups of sliced string beans–straight down the bean
2 cups of thinly sliced summer squash–of any type
6 tablespoons of sunflower or light olive oil
2-3 tablespoons of chopped garlic scapes or chives or wild garlic bulbs or ramps (cut down if using ramps)
and a few pinches of a fresh herb of your choice—think parsley, sage, rosemary or tarragon which go great with corn…
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
kosher salt to taste
pepper to taste (optional)

Cut and prepare all vegetables ahead of time.  Heat the oil in the pan until just hot and throw in your garlic scapes of chives, summarily add the squash, then beans then corn and your pinches of fresh herbs.  Stir fry for about 8-10 minutes and season with maple syrup and salt and pepper to taste.

Corn Salad

A simple, Southern inspired corn salad.

6 ears of corn, with the kernels sliced off the ear
2-3 fresh heirloom tomatoes, cubed
2-3 chopped green onions
6-7 pods of sliced fresh okra (optional if available)
1 small hot pepper (1/4 tsp finely chopped)
a chopped bunch of parsley
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of cider vinegar
maple syrup or sugar to taste
kosher salt to taste
pepper to taste

Combine vegetables and sprinkle with a little salt to release the natural juices.  Whisk together the oil and vinegar and sweetening agent, and finish with salt and pepper–let sit for 30 minutes to an hour chilled before serving.

The Southern/African American tradition and the Sephardic tradition I became a part of both have a tradition of special good luck foods for the New Year.  In the case of Rosh Hoshanah, legumes like black eyed peas or string beans or beet or other leafy greens are eaten to inspire people to do more good deeds, follow more of the commandments, have protection from enemies and over all have mazal–or “luck.”

Now Grammy (that was my maternal Grandmother) and my Mom taught me how to cook collards and black eyed peas but this recipe is not quite what I grew up with.  My Dad of course, loves them with hot sauce LOL–something that goes all the way back to pre-colonial Africa—I’ve found records from the 17th century attesting to that…

I’m cooking up something new to give this blog some direction and focus in 5772. I hope that G-d gives us all a good year, a time of prosperity and security, safety and provision, health and happiness–people of all backgrounds, beliefs and unbelief, colors, shapes, sizes, orientations, classes, creeds, abilities and opinions.  We need each other. Omayn.

Cash Collards

5 cups of collard greens or kale, washed, stemmed and cut into thin strips
4 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled, smashed and chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 small fresh fish pepper diced (optional)
olive oil–4 tbsp
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
1 cup of fresh winter vegetable stock (easy–cook collard stems, onion, garlic, carrot, turnip, parsnip and herbs with a few pinches of salt for several hours until a complex rich broth emerges)
oregano or marjoram or parsley-2 tbsp freshly chopped

Heat olive oil and toss in garlic and onion in a large skillet and saute until translucent.  Toss in crushed pepper and add thin collard strips one handful at a time, cook each cup for 2-3 minutes at a time, when all have been added and have cooked down add the cup of fresh vegetable stock and cook for about ten to fifteen minutes.  Top with freshly chopped herbs and serve over rice or with black-eyed or other cowpeas.

Now for dessert:  I found this Challah French Toast Bread Pudding by Michael Natkin on his blog Herbivoracious…good Lord–right after my heart…  Remember if you keep kosher to serve before the chicken or however long you wait after eating meat…I follow the Dutch custom–sue me… 

Have a sweet year in 5772!

– Show quoted text –

1 comment on “Welcome 5772! Happy Rosh Hoshanah

  1. Hi Michael,

    I’m not sure you remember me – it has been quite awhile since I spoke with you. I still would like you to come out to Sully and cook in our kitchen. You have gotten so famous I’m not sure you want to come out here. Please let me know what you have been up to and how you feel about coming to Sully. Thanks, Tammy!


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