Honey, sometimes life stings. Wherever we choose to live and work or study, whoever we choose to associate with, however we budget our time and money, there will always be a mix of advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes we get to choose between the good and the better; others times, we pick the lesser of two evils.
The most popular traditional Rosh Hashanah food today is an apple dipped in honey. One reason the sweet apple was chosen over other fruits is a reference to the love between G-d and the Jewish people in the Song of Songs (2:3): “Like an apple among the trees of the forest…and its fruit is sweet on my palate.” Dipping the sweet apple in honey shows that we want a doubly sweet year. Honey is unique in a number of ways. It is kosher even though it is produced by a non-kosher animal. The sweetness of honey is stronger than the sweetness of regular granulated sugar, but when it is eaten in a large amount, it can have a bitter aftertaste. For this reason, some follow the tradition of dipping challah and apples in sugar instead of honey. Too much sweetness is bitter. Without the bad, we wouldn’t appreciate the good as much. When we recognize the bee’s sting, we are even more grateful for our honey.
I like to use honey sparingly, for glazes and dressings. A little bit goes a long way. This way, you get the maximum flavor with minimum use. (It’s the same principal my parents used to explain how Kix cereal could taste sweet and have lower sugar content than higher-sugar cereals.) According to the National Honey Board, it takes 4.4 million bees to produce one kilogram of honey. No wonder it’s so expensive.
This roasted vegetable dish includes three traditional Rosh Hashanah foods in addition to honey. When we eat beets, we asked for our enemies to be removed. When we eat carrots, we asked for a good decree; as a bonus, carrot circles look like coins. I use both orange and yellow carrots to give this dish maximum color. Roasting the vegetables preserves more of their natural flavor than boiling. The honey glaze gives it a beautiful shine and jewel-like pomegranate seeds (that we should be full of mitzvot) used for garnish really make it look like a bowl of treasure.
Wishing you a sweet year!
Honey-Glazed Roasted Carrots and Beets
Yield: About 3 cups
3 cups peeled, cubed beets
2 cups orange and yellow carrots, peeled and sliced in circles
2-3 T olive oil, divided
2-3 T honey, divided
2 teaspoons dried ginger, divided
1 T lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
pomegranate seeds, for garnish
- Put on an apron. You are going to be working with beets. I know some people who actually feed beets to their toddlers. I am not one of them, as I am in charge of both cooking and laundry in my house.
- Peel and cuts beets and carrots. Put into a medium-sized bowl.
- In a small bowl or jar, combine oil, honey, and ginger. Pour half off to save for later. Add garlic and lemon juice. Mix, whisk, or shake to combine.
- Pour glaze over the vegetables and toss to coat.
- Spread the beets and carrots in a single layer in a roasting pan or baking dish, lined with parchment paper for easy clean-up. (Beets, remember?)
- Bake in an oven pre-heated to 350F/180C for 30-40 minutes.
- Once the roasted vegetables have cooled, dress them with the reserved honey-oil mixture. Garnish with pomegranate seeds. Serve at room temperature.