Ready to wine down and chill? Return here each Friday to find food, movie, wine and music recommendations that are paired in a theme. Read on for an easy, no-recipe-required fabulous dinner paired with an affordable wine, some music, and a viewing suggestion. We’re here to help you sit back, wine down and chill.

Shanah Tovah Umetukah

Rosh Hashanah will begin on Sunday evening, September 29th and ends at sundown Tuesday, October 1st. This is an important Jewish holiday that starts with candle-lighting. Both devout and reformed members of the community gather with their family and friends to mark the “head of the year.” Inner renewal and atonement are the key themes of this High Holiday. The customary greeting at this time of celebration is Shanah Tovah Umetukah which translates to “a good and sweet year.”

Customs include feasts to bring people together. Many throw bread crumbs into streams or other bodies of running water to symbolize casting away their sins. On the first night of Rosh Hashanah, apples are dipped in honey to usher in a sweet year. Then, on the second night, observers eat a “new” fruit (i.e. a fruit just coming into season). Often, that new fruit is pomegranate which symbolizes fertility and has Biblical references to the Torah.

FYI, for those who cannot attend services in person, there are now several synagogues offering live service streaming options.

Barkan will light up the night

Israel is on the rise when it comes to its wines and distribution in the USA. The Barkan Classic Pinot Noir is affordable at $14 per bottle. Flavors including strawberry and black cherry light up this medium-bodied wine. Barkan Wines has its vineyards across Galilee, Mitzpe Ramon, the Jerusalem Mountains, and the Yehuda Plains. They produce more than 10 million bottles and is one of the most decorated wineries in Israel.

Pinot Noir is often regarded as a lighter red wine with fairly high acidity. Experts believe the grape originated in Burgundy, France. Sweeter aromas like cherry and hibiscus characterize this varietal making it a lovely choice for a wine down and chill event.

Sweet kabobs

Today’s wine down and chill dinner option is suitable for both observers non-observers of this High Holiday. These sweet kabobs harness the flavors of the season. Besides, we’re trying to squeeze out every last day of joyous weather and use of our grill as much as we can before the weather changes.

Five ingredients and five steps

One, pick your protein. Choose either cubed chicken or extra-firm tofu.

Two, peel then cube apples to be slightly larger than your protein chunks. Assemble kabobs using a pre-soaked wooden skewer or metal one. Alternate protein and apples.

Three, drizzle or dip kabobs in honey. Liberally spray the grill (or cookie sheet if you’re using an oven) with non-stick spray and cook until done. Note: cooking longer at a lower temperature is recommended.

Four, make some couscous, which is a Mediterranean grain that cooks up quickly. I like Near East couscous.

Five, crack open a pomegranate to harvest the seeds. Mix in with the couscous before you plate it. Drizzle with olive oil. Place a sweet kabob alongside the couscous.

Pour yourself a glass. It’s time to wine down and chill.

Not the pick you’d expect

Towards the goal of extending summer as long as we can and finding a movie that works given our theme, the clear choice is Wet Hot American Summer (2001) on Netflix or Amazon. So, you’re probably thinking, “That’s an odd choice.” Maybe so. Perhaps you weren’t aware that David Wain and Michael Showalter wrote the script for this movie based on their experiences attending Jewish summer camp. Now everyone can relax knowing that we checked the box for our theme.

If you want to keep the laughter going, you can binge-watch the 8-episode prequel, First Day of Camp on Netflix which shockingly stars the entire original cast, even though it was filmed 14 years after the original and everyone became a mega superstar. And, if you’re a sadist or just totally into it, now you can also watch the 8-episode sequel, 10 Years Later. Not surprisingly, most of the original cast is missing from the sequel: the stars like Bradley Cooper, Janeane Garofalo, Molly Shannon were MIA.

If you’re more interested in movies which honor Jewish heritage, try these or some other titles suggested here.

Raise your glass, let’s wine down and chill.

 

Cheers!