There’s a whole lot of new going on! Yesterday, Isaac began his junior year at a new high school, in a new town. Tonight begins Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Later this month, Sam begins college in a new state. It’s an exciting time!
The timing this year of Rosh Hashanah and the start of school in the same week is a bit hectic, but also rather ideal to me. The vision of a lovely, fresh year stretching ahead, full of possibility, learning, fun and growth, is quite appealing. My arms are wide open!
And at the moment, my arms are hugging a new bottle of date syrup, a gift from dear friends who just returned from a family visit to Israel. When Julie gave it to me, I really did hug it – she remembers how much I love this sweet stuff. Five years ago, our families were together in Israel to celebrate Sam’s bar mitzvah and we discovered date syrup.
Date syrup is thicker than maple syrup, with the distinct flavor of dates and a rich brown color. It’s delicious over ice cream or yogurt, and when stirred into tahini it makes a marvelous dip. I’m thinking it will be a terrific vinaigrette ingredient, too. I’m also happy eating it with a spoon.
Sweet foods, such as honey, carrots, dates and apples, are traditional to eat during Rosh Hashanah. With this in mind, I brushed some chicken drumsticks with date syrup and roasted it for a simple, delicious dish. When the chicken emerged from the oven, the kitchen filled with the warm, delicious scent of dates. The drumsticks were beautifully glazed, with a sprinkling of sesame seeds for added texture and flavor. The chicken was meltingly soft, sticky and tender, with a deep caramelized taste. Perfect for a sweet holiday!
I’m looking forward to gathering our family around the table with friends to dip apples in honey (and date syrup!) and celebrate this new year. Shana tovah u’metukah! Wishing you all a good and sweet year. Happy 5774!
Chicken with Date Syrup
2 1/2 pounds chicken drumsticks
1/4 cup date syrup (date syrup, sometimes called date honey, can be found in Middle Eastern markets)
1/8 cup raw sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and pull out a rimmed baking sheet large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, date syrup and sesame seeds. Toss with your hands to coat evenly. Place the drumsticks in a single layer on the baking sheet and pop in the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the chicken is done to your liking. Serve warm with additional date syrup for drizzling.