On Rosh Hashana, we eat various symbolic foods – simanim -- as omens for the new year. Through them we express our desires for a sweet new year and to be inscribed in the book of life. While each item can be eaten raw, making unique dishes incorporating those makes each siman a little more special and may bring a greater focus to the activity. The following are just a sampling of the possibilities. For more recipes, please visit www.gourmetkoshercooking.com.

Carrot Soup

12 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, diced
3 boxes Imagine pareve chicken soup
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes

Combine all ingredients in a large soup bowl and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about ½ hour until carrots are soft. Allow soup to cool slightly and then purée with hand immersion blender until smooth.

Date Bread

1 cup chopped pitted dates
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup strong coffee
2 tablespoons margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup small pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan. Combine dates and baking soda. Pour boiling coffee over and let sit. Cream together the margarine, sugar and egg. Mix in the vanilla and flour. Stir in the nuts and the date mixture. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour. Let stand for 5 -10 minutes before removing from pan. Cool on wire rack.

Pumpkin Tarts

1 (8-ounce) package tofutti cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup non-dairy creamer
¼ cup margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger
12 pre-made tart shells

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place tart shells on a cookie sheet. Beat tofutti cream cheese until whipped. Beat in pumpkin and sugar. Add the eggs, creamer and margarine and continue beating until well combined. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon and ginger. Pour filling into tart shells and bake for about 50 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack to cool.

Roasted Beets

2 bunches of beets, washed and sliced as thin as possible
olive oil
kosher salt

Line a low rimmed cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with aluminum foil. Spray the foil with non stick cooking spray. Put sliced beets in a single layer on the pan (you may need two pans). Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle the beets with olive oil and toss the oil and beets together. Roast in the oven until the beets are soft and a little crisp on the edges (the peel will come right off). Sprinkle generously with kosher salt.

New Year’s Coleslaw

1-1/2 packages cole slaw mix
¼ cup candied pecan pieces
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds

Dressing:

1 cup canola oil
2/3 cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon pepper

Combine and shake to mix well.

Combine all salad ingredients including mandarin oranges if desired. Toss with about ½ cup of the dressing and serve.