Red Meat and Potatoes, Followed by Chocolate.

Everyone has their own minhag, or tradition, for a high holiday feast. What favorite foods do you enjoy to ring in the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah? For many, the two-day festival’s culinary delights aren’t limited to apples, honey and round challah (though, I admit, these are some of my favorite gastronomic traditions).

I also look forward hearty meat or chicken dishes, such as seven-hour braised brisket, served alongside seasonal vegetables and salads, like a a big bowl roasted zucchini with fresh basil.  Of course, a decadent and fabulous dessert must (always, always!) make an appearance. Usually, our family enjoys an apple cake or lekach (honey cake), but this year I am considering throwing something glacé, rich and chocolatey into the mix – for an extra sweet new year, if no other reason! Almost flourless, fudgey brownies, studded with salty, crunchy pecans and rich, dark chocolate morsels are a consistent favorite of family, friends – and me. Leftover brownies freeze beautifully. Unfortunately, this method of preservations has not prevented a certain Kitchen Goddess from her nightly brownie à la mode.

Featured below are three recipes that are tried-and-true. They are straightforward and comforting – yet upscale and sure to impress your guests. As always, each dish is approached by my little munchkins, who have the most “discerning” and “refined” palettes – and are never, ever picky.

Read: My kids know what they like and what they don’t – and may be a little picky… just sometimesB’tayavon!

Enjoy past and present Curls and Carrots recipes via the New Mexico Jewish Link publication.




Roasted Zucchini

Serves 4-6. Feel free to double recipe for a crowd.

Recipe inspired by the American Pi: Recipes from Atlanta’s Paideia School Cookbook


2 Tablespoons garlic-infused olive oil

2 Tablespoons butter or Earth Balance (dairy-free) Buttery Sticks

3 medium zucchini, cut into one-inch slices

1 pound baby portabella mushrooms, quartered

1/2 cup freshly chopped basil

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan, about 2 ounces (optional)

salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400•F.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir into the olive oil. Toss the zucchini and mushrooms to coat.
  3. Place the vegetables, side-by-side, on a foil-lined cookie sheet.
  4. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, basil and parmesan cheese.
  5. Roast for ten to fifteen minutes, until light golden and tender-crisp.
  6. Remove to a platter and serve warm.

DSC_3727DSC_3722 DSC_3725DSC_3729DSC_3713


Seven Hour Braised Brisket

Serves 10-12

Loosely based on Patricia Wells’ recipe for “Seven Hour Leg of Lamb”


6 medium yellow onions, quartered

6 carrots, peeled and quartered

1 whole head of garlic, about ten cloves, peeled and halved

6 bay leaves

1 bunch of fresh thyme

1 bunch fresh oregano

1 bunch fresh rosemary

2, 3-pound each brisket, chuck or beef tender fillets

2, standard 750 mL bottles of dry white wine, such as pinot grigio

5 pounds large, red potatoes, quartered

5 large heirloom tomatoes, chopped into large chunks.

Salt and pepper, to taste

Fresh, chopped parsley or chives (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 300•F.
  • Season the meat well with salt and pepper. Sear meat on all sides in a very hot skillet.
  • Layer the onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, oregano and thyme on the bottom of a very large roasting pan. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Nestle the meat in the vegetables.
  • Pour the two bottles of wine over the meat and vegetables. Cover tightly with a lid or foil. After three and a half hours, flip the two large pieces of meat over. Cook for at least seven hours, or longer, basting occasionally.
  • Cook until the meat is tender and falling off the bone and the juice has mostly evaporated. You want some juice to serve with the meat but not so much that the dish is “soupy” in consistency.
  • Shred the meat and place it on a large serving platter. Remove the sticks from the rosemary, thyme and oregano. Serve the vegetables on a separate platter. Sprinkle fresh parsley or chives over both platters.
  • Retain any juices in a gravy boat to be served along side the dish.






Almost Flourless Brownies

Makes 24-32 squares.

These elegant brownies are inspired by Katharine Hepburn’s original recipe.


4 ounces, one entire package, unsweetened chocolate, chopped

2 sticks salted butter or Earth Balance (dairy-free) Buttery Sticks

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups white, granulated sugar

4 large eggs

2 Tablespoons espresso or very strong coffee

2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups roasted Georgia pecans, chopped

2 cups 60% dark chocolate chips

1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 325•F and line a 9×13 glass Pyrex pan with buttered parchment paper. Allow the parchment paper to hang over the sides of the pan.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter over low-heat, using a double boiler. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the chocolate-butter mixture and the sugar, vanilla, eggs and espresso.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk the cocoa powder, flour, chocolate chips, pecans and salt.
  5. Mix the ingredients of the medium bowl into the large bowl, just until completely combined.
  6. Place the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, just until the brownies are set and a toothpick inserted two-inches from the side of the pan comes out clean. Do not over-bake.
  7. Allow pan to cool completely on a wire rack, then remove the brownies from the pan using the sides of the parchment paper to lift.
  8. Cut into 24-32 squares and serve.

©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, (2013-2014), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.


44 thoughts on “Red Meat and Potatoes, Followed by Chocolate.

  1. It all looks great! We always have brisket (which I make, but don’t eat), pumpkin-yellow split pea soup, homemade challah, and noodle kugel. And apple cake. The vegetables and salads vary. It’s one of my favorite meals with all sorts of great stuff for those who eat meat and those who don’t. But I usually make something chocolate, too. 😉

  2. Unsweetened chocolate? Is that similar to our 85% dark chocolate, do you reckon. I think I’ve read that you don’t do percentages with chocolate over there. Anyway, gotta try those brownies. Especially if Katharine made them! As for the brisket, that sounds amazing.

      1. Thought I’d let you know that I baked a version, albeit loosely based, on the original recipe that I found on Saveur. Partly as I needed to use walnuts instead. I do love pecans, but they’re hideously expensive here! Anyway, for the first batch of brownies I’ve ever made they’ve turned out so, so well. Although, I should’ve made a pot of coffee to go with your idea of adding that. Are these brownies meant to be fudgy, though? Not that I care. As they’re too delicious as they are! Oh, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen 100% chocolate – certainly not where I live! Most of the chocolate here is rubbish.

  3. Shanna every dish looks so scrumptious! I just finished dinner and I am craving a brownie right now. I don’t have any, so I will have to come up with another dessert for now. Thank you for the recipes!

  4. Wow. That brisket looks unbelievable. I”m totally making that this year if i’m not at someone else’s house 🙂 And the brownies…yum!

  5. Hi Shanna, Everything looks delicious! I’m cooking dinner right now however I don’t have a dessert planned. One of your brownies would be perfect.

  6. Lots of recipes in one post, Shanna. They all look great. I am intrigued by the brisket braised in white wine, as red wine is more common for braising beef. I guess it makes it more elegant!

  7. It looks like a perfect menu for a celebration. I’m sometimes not a very chocolate person, but the brownies with the strawberries, I just melt 😉

  8. These dishes looks so GREAT Shanna 😀 Looking at the pictures makes us hungry and wanna try all of them. And especially one particular dish…you will probably know by now which one hihihi Have a nice weekend! xx

  9. so many recipes in one post Shanna! They look all delicious… brownies are my fav! Take care…I’ve been thinking about you lately, hoping you’re doing well. Xoxo Cris

  10. I’ve just come back to my blog reading habit after a month dealing with the moving of the blog. You do have a flair for yummy dishes. I could have a pair of each right now.
    Take care and enjoy your week, dear Shanna. I hope you’re doing well.

  11. Wow that was a lot of delicious food. I probably would have started with the almost flour-less brownie. It looks flawless and tasty. And the meat..two whole bottles of wine and cooked to perfection for 7 hours. I wonder what it tasted like. It must have been falling off the bone and the wine must have been fully absorbed. Thanks for sharing. I hope all is well with all your family. Best wishes!

  12. The first two dishes look amazing but those brownies wiped everything else from my mind! Wow! They must have been awe-inspiringly delicious! And you definitely now how to dress them up 😉

  13. Your zucchinis have found found a fan here with me, Shanna :). I love roasted veggies and when they’re coupled with garlic, they’re the best! I’ve missed you.

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