January 19, 2019

Rosh Hashanah Dessert: Caramelized Apples for Dummies

Sometimes I enter into the Jewish New Year without intention, and just use it as an excuse to eat a nice meal with family and friends. But this year, I can fully feel that a huge shift is happening.

This year, Rosh Hashanah falls on the exact moment that we are pushing “PRINT” on my cookbook. A book that I have dreamt about writing since I was just 20 years old and first went to Italy, before I had even learned to cook

Aside from recipes, Meal and a Spiel contains lots of stories and wisdom that I have learned along the way. I feel as though I am giving birth, on some level. It’s like I’ve been on a spiritual odyssey that is finally coming to fruition. So this Rosh Hashanah, I will celebrate!

And I want you to celebrate too. Please join me in recognizing all passages that you have taken in the last year, whether big or small. We have all grown in certain ways, important ways. Honor yourself. You deserve it.

Caramelized Apples for Dummies

And honor the journey of others with this dessert made of caramelized apples and honey. It’s easy enough for “dummies.” Not that you are a dummy, but I just got back from Burning Man and have been editing like a crazy person, so let’s just say I, too, can use a recipe that only requires a minimal percentage of brain power.

I send you all lots of love and sweetness, whether you are celebrating the holiday or not.


P.S. The process to actually make thousands of copies of this beautiful, nearly-500-page-book with a dark denim cover and a gold-gilded title and ship it back stateside, takes a couple months. But lest you worry, it will be back in time for winter holiday gift-giving!

Caramelized Apples for Dummies

Serves 4 to 8

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
​​​​​​​4 apples, halved and cored
​​​​​​​1 large or two small oranges
​​​​​​​1 Tablespoon raw honey
​​​​​​​2 cinnamon sticks
​​​​​​​2 bay leaves
​​​​​​​Ice cream or mascarpone cheese, optional


Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Place an oven-safe or cast iron enamel pan over medium heat, and let it get hot for five minutes.

Melt the butter in the pan and lay each half apple flesh-side down. Let this side brown liberally until a dark golden, 7 to 10 minutes.

Use a paring knife to cut 3 to 4 large pieces of rind from the orange, and squeeze the juice into a small mixing bowl. Gently whisk the honey in with the juice until it’s almost incorporated, and pour on top of the apples.

Add the cinnamon, bay leaves, and orange rinds to the pan, and transfer to the oven for 15 to 30 minutes (I have found that the time will vary greatly depending on the apples). You want them nice and soft to the touch.

Serve with any extra pan juices, and top with your favorite ice cream or a dollop of mascarpone cheese.

Tuna Garbanzo Bean and Sumac Salad

I know I’ve said this before, but it’s time to say it again: necessity is the mother of invention. This Tuna Garbanzo Bean and Sumac Salad recipe is something that I invented when I absolutely thought I had nothing to eat in the house. What I did have was a couple of cans of Costco tuna, waaay up in my pantry along with a can of garbanzo beans. And in my fridge, I found wilted dill and parsley from last week’s Passover cooking class. I had a couple of lemons, because if I don’t have lemons, then I’m really a slacker. And truth be told, the only reason I had red cabbage was because InstaCart delivered the wrong thing. 

Tuna garbanzo bean and sumac salad

But there’s nothing I would change about this salad, and I think it’s perfect for a potluck, a buffet, or a family-style lunch. Or to feed your employees while you work (which is why it was so urgent that I found something to eat in my house.) 

If you’ve never zested a lemon, you can do it with a microplane. It adds a pop of Italian summer to the salad. Sumac is a Middle Eastern spice that has a tangy taste that’s delicious on all kinds of salads. Good to keep in the house. And there you have it! 

Tuna Garbanzo Bean and Sumac Salad

  • 1 can of organic garbanzo beans
  • 2 7oz cans of olive oil packed tuna (I get Italian tuna from Costco)
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/8 cup of fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/8 cup of fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • a handful of red cabbage, chopped VERY THINLY
  • juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of sumac
  • salt & freshly ground pepper to taste – the amount of salt you need will depend on whether or not your beans are salted, and how salty your tuna is.

1. Put it all together in a large bowl, and mix thoroughly!