With Rosh Hashanah nearly here, I will be cooking vegetarian dishes for the holiday. It gives me a chance to cook new items for my family. The traditional dishes don't thrill me. Someone else always prepares these anyway, so I can be creative.

It is customary to eat sweet foods on Rosh Hashanah to symbolize a sweet new year. They also symbolize that the new year will be filled with good fortune and health. Apples, carrots, honey and dried fruits along with other sweet ingredients are traditionally used in Jewish New Year dishes.

I use traditional ingredients, but then I go my own way. Here are two recipes that I've tried recently and will be serving during the High Holy Days.

Steve Petusevsky is a freelance writer in Coral Springs. If you have questions for him, write Vegetarian Today, Sun Sentinel, 200 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL. 33301-2293. Or send an e-mail with your full name, address and telephone number to dhartz@SunSentinel.com with "Vegetarian Today" in the subject line. Personal replies are not possible.