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A SWEET NEW YEAR ROSH HASHANA GETS A STYLISH UPDATE.

Byline: Natalie Haughton Food Editor

When it comes to Rosh Hashana, Laura Frankel, chef and founder of Shallots Bistro in Skokie, Ill., tosses aside traditional fare like brisket and tsimmes.

Instead, she wows guests with contemporary creations including Pomegranate-Glazed Chicken, Standing Rib Roast With Porcini Mushroom Crust and Mushroom-Onion Ragout, Braised Veal Shanks With Moroccan Spices and Mango Gremolata, Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque, Crunchy Apple and Fennel Salad, Baked Apples With Dates and Apricots, and more.

All are among the 150 recipes in her new cookbook ``Jewish Cooking for All Seasons'' (Wiley; $34.95). Some are simplified versions of her restaurant selections, while others were developed solely for the book. All are organized seasonally and designed for today's home cooks. Just as you dress according to the seasons, it makes sense to cook that way, too, says the music teacher-turned chef and foodie.

Kosher symbols

The recipes follow kashrut guidelines and each is earmarked with symbols denoting how it fits into a kosher meal -- meat, dairy or pareve.

``Rosh Hashana, the two-day celebration of the new year (which begins at sundown Friday), is a festive holiday associated with lots and lots of eating,'' says Frankel, adding that there are no hard-and-fast rules of what you must eat.

Typically, however, dishes such as apples dipped in honey, stuffed dates or honey cake, are eaten throughout the meal to signify hopes for a sweet year, notes Joan Zoloth, author of ``Jewish Holiday Treats'' (Chronicle Books). Challah is shaped into a circle or round to symbolize hope for a well-rounded year. Pomegranates are also often served. ``Each seed of the pomegranate, a biblical fruit, symbolizes a good deed to be done in the new year. In fact, some say that the fruit contains 613 seeds -- the same number of commandments in the Torah,'' she adds.

``To me, Rosh Hashana is a time of rebirth, reflection and personal evaluation of the last year and the year ahead,'' says Frankel, who celebrates with family and close friends. ``I'm fanatical about menu details and schedules.'' She'll be serving big dinners on both Friday and Saturday night this year, along with lunch on Saturday.

Whether cooking at home or in her restaurant, Frankel believes in using the freshest and finest ingredients to create updated, innovative and delicious kosher dishes.

``Accept no substitutes, and don't put up with compromised food. If a favorite dessert recipe calls for butter and cream, don't substitute nondairy whipped topping and margarine. No amount of kitchen time and added ingredients will ever make them taste great.

``In my kitchens, I'm not just the chef or mom (to three sons ages 12 to 19); I am an artist, sculptor and visionary every time I make a dish. It's a great feeling.''

Global inspiration

These days, her repertoire extends far beyond traditional Jewish fare as many know it. ``I look to the Mediterranean, the Middle East, the small towns of Italy, southern France and Mexico, and many other regions for inspiration. My father cooked food from all over the world, long before it was fashionable,'' adds the Illinois native.

Cooking kosher (she didn't grow up in a kosher household but has kept kosher for 13 years, and her restaurant is strictly kosher) doesn't limit her, she says, adding that her food is very approachable.

There is a whole world of spices, herbs, grains, fruits and chocolate out there, and she uses them to make wine sauces, soups, stocks and desserts. Her restaurant serves meat and no dairy dishes.

``I love the pomegranate chicken. I like the tang that pomegranate (in vogue now) gives food -- causing the flavor to linger on your palate. The chicken glaze has a very lacquery, beautiful look from the pomegranate molasses.'' Make the sauce in advance, if desired, and keep refrigerated, but bake the chicken just prior to serving. Garnish with pomegranate seeds for an attractive presentation.

The braised veal shanks are a hearty fall dish and an apropos festive centerpiece dish for Rosh Hashana, too. Slow-cooked in wine sauce for flavor and tenderness, it can be made a day ahead; refrigerate and strain off the fat. Cover and reheat in a slow oven before serving.

Natalie Haughton, (818) 713-3692

natalie.haughton@dailynews.com

BRAISED VEAL SHANKS WITH MOROCCAN SPICES AND MANGO ``GREMOLATA''

1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick

1 whole clove

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

2 tablespoons fennel seeds

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon chili flakes

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

6 meaty veal shanks (about 6 pounds total), have your butcher tie them for you

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil

2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut on the bias into 1-inch pieces

1 large fennel bulb, trimmed

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup pitted Kalamata olives

1 (14- to 15-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 cup dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc

2 cups dark chicken stock OR veal stock

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Gremolata

Grind cinnamon, clove, coriander, fennel, cumin and chili flakes in a spice grinder and mix with flour. Season veal shanks with salt and pepper.

Heat a large Dutch oven or large, deep, covered ovenproof saute pan over medium heat. Lightly coat bottom of pan with olive oil. Dredge flat sides of veal shanks in flour mixture. Sear meat on all sides until golden brown and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Remove veal and set aside.

Brown leeks, carrots, fennel and garlic in batches (adding more oil if necessary) until all vegetables are browned (be careful not to overbrown the garlic). Add a spoonful of oil to pan and add tomato paste, stirring and scraping pan until tomato paste is fragrant and visibly darkened, about 3 minutes. Stir in olives, chopped tomatoes, wine and stock and season with salt and pepper. Return veal and vegetables to pan. Cover pan and transfer it to a preheated 275-degree oven. Braise veal about 2 hours, until meat is very soft. To serve, spoon 1 shank on each plate and top with a spoonful of vegetables and sauce. Sprinkle with Gremolata and serve with cooked bulgur.

Makes 6 servings

GREMOLATA: Place grated zest of 1 lemon, cut into strips, 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, 3 garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a food processor or blender. Process until the mixture resembles a coarse paste. Transfer to a small bowl, toss with 1/4 cup finely diced ripe mango and season with kosher salt and pepper to taste.

From ``Jewish Cooking for All Seasons: Fresh, Flavorful Kosher Recipes for Holidays and Every Day,'' by Laura Frankel.

POMEGRANATE-GLAZED CHICKEN

CHICKEN:

2 chickens, about 4 pounds EACH, cut by your butcher into 6 pieces each, on the bone

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil

GLAZE:

Olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 medum shallot, finely chopped

1/2 cup pomegranate molasses (available at Middle Eastern markets)

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/4 cup dark chicken stock

GARNISH:

Fresh pomegranate seeds, chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

For Chicken, season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat a large, deep saute pan over medium-high heat and lightly coat bottom of pan with olive oil. Brown chicken pieces on all sides, in batches, without crowding. When pieces are well browned (the drumsticks and thighs will take longer than the breast and wing pieces), transfer white and dark meat pieces to 2 separate baking dishes.

To make Glaze, heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat and lightly coat bottom of pan with olive oil. Add garlic and shallot and saute until lightly browned. Add pomegranate molasses, brown sugar, tomato paste and stock. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, until well combined and glaze has thickened, about 10 minutes. Brush chicken pieces with Glaze, reserving some. Roast in a preheated 350-degree oven until cooked through, about 30 to 35 minutes for white meat and about 45 minutes for dark meat. Brush chicken with more Glaze halfway through cooking and again when it is removed from oven.

Serve chicken with Bulgur Pilaf With Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts, sprinkled with your choice of garnishes.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

From ``Jewish Cooking for All Seasons: Fresh, Flavorful Kosher Recipes for Holidays and Every Day,'' by Laura Frankel.

ROASTED PINEAPPLE WITH PINEAPPLE SORBET

Seeds scraped from 1 split vanilla bean

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light rum OR apple juice

1 whole large pineapple, peeled

Pineapple Sorbet

Heat vanilla bean seeds, sugars and rum in a large, ovenproof saute pan over medium-low heat, stirring, until sugars are completely dissolved. Add pineapple to pan and cook pineapple, gently turning several times, until thoroughly coated with rum mixture. When pineapple has become fragrant and is starting to give off its natural juices, about 15 minutes, transfer pan to a preheated 300-degree oven.

Roast pineapple, basting frequently with pan juices, until deep golden brown and fragrant, about 30 minutes.

Carefully remove the pineapple from pan and set aside to cool slightly. Return the pan to low heat on top of stove and simmer the roasting juices until thick and syrupy.

When pineapple is cool enough to handle, cut it into 4 wedges and cut out the tough core from each piece. Serve with Pineapple Sorbet and drizzle with reduced syrup.

Makes 4 servings

PINEAPPLE SORBET: Puree 4 cubed fresh pineapple OR drained unsweetened canned pineapple, 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar and seeds scraped from 1/2 of a vanilla bean OR 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a food processor or blender. Let mixture stand several minutes to allow sugar to dissolve. Chill completely.

Process sorbet mixture in an ice cream machine, following manufacturer's instructions. Transfer sorbet to a covered container and freeze until hard, at least 4 hours or overnight. Sorbet can be made up to 4 days ahead and kept frozen. If it is begins to separate, melt it and reprocess in your ice cream machine. Makes about 1 1/2 pints.

From ``Jewish Cooking for All Seasons: Fresh, Flavorful Kosher Recipes for Holidays and Every Day,'' by Laura Frankel.

ARANCINI DI FARRO

1/2 pound farro (about 2 cups -- purchase at health food stores or Italian markets)

4 to 6 cups water OR vegetable stock

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus extra for sprinkling, if desired

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

3 large eggs

2 cups fresh, untoasted bread crumbs

Extra-virgin olive oil

Rinse farro under running water to remove any loose husks. Place farro in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt and boil 15 minutes. Reduce heat, cover pan and cook farro until tender, thick and creamy (a wooden spoon should almost stand up in it), about 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. If farro seems too hard, add remaining water and continue cooking until done.

Remove pan from heat. Place farro in a shallow dish and stir in Parmesan cheese. Cover dish and refrigerate the farro until completely cold.

Place ricotta cheese in a bowl, add parsley and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Scoop the farro with a tablespoon and roll into a small ball. With your finger, push a small indentation into the ball. Spoon a small amount of ricotta cheese mixture into the farro, and close opening by rolling the ball between your palms. Set aside and continue until all farro is used.

Beat eggs in a large, shallow plate. Place bread crumbs, seasoned with salt and pepper, in another shallow plate. Place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and heat about 2 inches oil in it to approximately 350 degrees F.

Dip a farro ball into eggs, then roll bread crumbs. Place ball on a separate plate. When you have coated 6 to 8 balls, place them in hot oil and fry until golden brown. Remove balls to a plate lined with paper towels. Continue coating and frying the rest of the balls. Sprinkle arancini with more chopped parsley, if desired, before serving warm or at room temperature.

Makes 8 servings

From ``Jewish Cooking for All Seasons: Fresh, Flavorful Kosher Recipes for Holidays and Every Day,'' by Laura Frankel.

ISRAELI SALAD

4 tomatoes, diced

1/2 English cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 small yellow OR red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh parsley

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a bowl, mix together all ingredients until blended. Served chilled or at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings

From ``Jewish Holiday Treats,'' by Joan Zoloth.

CHOOSING THE WINE

When it comes to a special wine to serve for Rosh Hashana celebrations, Joan Zoloth, director of the wine studies program at the Culinary Institute of America, Greystone, St. Helena, recommends 2004 Covenant cabernet sauvignon, a hand-crafted kosher California wine by Jeff Morgan and Leslie Rudd, or their newest release, a 2004 Red Sea cabernet sauvignon. Both are excellent, says Zoloth.

For more info, go to www.covenantwines.com.

-- N.H.

THE GAME PLAN

If you're cooking for the holiday, plan your menu now, if you haven't already. Write out a grocery shopping list and pick up the items needed.

Jot down a schedule (outlining timing for prep, cooking, setting tables, etc.) and stick to it. Pace yourself so you're not freaking out at the last minute, notes Laura Frankel.

On Thursday, make all the side dishes, if possible -- and other items as feasible.

If you're hosting a meal, decide if you want to take shortcuts or make everything from scratch. You can buy challah, sponge cake, honey cake, sorbets and other items, if desired. You have to decide where to draw the line. You can also ask good friends and relatives to bring items to lessen your workload. If you keep kosher, be sure to read labels.

-- N.H.

CAPTION(S):

5 photos, 2 boxes

Photo:

(1 -- cover -- color) Rosh Hashana

Contemporary ways to welcome the Jewish new year

(2 -- color) ARANCINI DI FARRO

(3 -- color) ROASTED PINEAPPLE WITH PINEAPPLE SORBET

(4 -- color) BRAISED VEAL SHANKS WITH MOROCCAN SPICES AND MANGO ``GREMOLATA''

Photo by Ben Fink from ``Jewish Cooking for All Seasons: Fresh, Flavorful Kosher Recipies for Holidays and Every Day,'' Wiley

Photo by Lisa Hubbard from ``Jewish Holiday Treats: Recipes and Crafts for the Whole Family,'' Chronicle Books

(5 -- color) ISRAELI SALAD

Box:

(1) CHOOSING THE WINE (see text)

(2) THE GAME PLAN (see text)
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Sep 19, 2006
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