It was a wonderful holiday filled with family and twinkling candles and rich delicious foods. Tonight I had big plans; knishes, blintzes, or chopped liver with gribnes, perhaps. Alas, my tummy was craving something much more simple. A little something from my childhood, a classic from the Catskills of my grandparents days. Slice a banana, add a bissel (little) sour cream, sprinkle on some cinnamon & sugar and the dish is done. Serve with a steaming cup of Sweet Touch Nee Tea. Maybe a cracker or two…
Happy Hanukkah to all and to all a good night!
Applesauce is part of many Hanukkah meals so I made a few batches during apple picking season to tuck away for the holidays. I freeze my applesauce in small containers so I can always thaw just as much as I need.
This year we picked Golden Russets and Roxbury Russets at Kimball Fruit Farm and these old varieties of apples made the most amazingly full-flavored apple sauce. I also mixed some raspberry puree (from berries picked at Wright -Locke Farm in Winchester) into one of the batches for a rose-colored sauce with a tart and fruity twist.
My applesauce is made with peeled and cored apples, cut into chunks. It is cooked slowly with water, a cinnamon stick, and a little sugar.
I will leave it to you to decide if I am the best stepmother ever or the worst. As we rushed through the supermarket to buy more potatoes for latkes, I suggested to my stepdaughter that I could make Chicken Schnitzel (one of her favorite dishes) for our Hanukkah supper. Since it is traditional to eat fried foods it would make as good a holiday meal as the latkes.
“Yes” she cried “latkes and fried chicken for dinner!” I had meant that I would serve one or the other along with perhaps some steamed brocoli or a nice green salad but somehow we ended up gleefully leaving the market with chicken and potatoes, but not another vegetable in sight. I proceeded to make my family the Jewish holiday equivalent of a KFC Double Down for dinner. Healthy it was not, but as a once a year treat, this dinner was a winner!
1 pound of chicken cutlets or about 4 pieces
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning mix
dash of paprika, salt & pepper
oil for frying
Pound the cutlets between sheets of wax paper
Mix the paprika, salt & pepper into flour
Mix breadcrumbs with cheese and Italian seasoning
Beat eggs with milk
Dredge each cutlet in flour and then dip in egg mixture and then into breadcrumbs
Heat about 1/2″ of oil in large frying pan
Fry the cutlets until golden brown on both sides and cooked through
Serve with latkes and lots of homemade apple sauce
If you are serving a kosher-style meal, substitute water for milk and replace the cheese with more breadcrumbs.
Part of my large collection of Hanukkah decorations includes a group children’s holiday books. None of them were mine from childhood but rather simply caught my eye through my adult years. One had cute mice baking rugelach, another a tiny real draidel suspended from a ribbon but my favorite is a book called Papa’s Latkes by Jane Breskin Zalben. Most of the books center around the mama or bubbie making holiday treats but in Zalben’s book about a family of Jewish bears, it is the papa who makes the latkes for Hanukkah. The story always made me smile because growing up my papa also was in charge of making the latkes.
My Papa’s Latkes
Potatoes (how many? A LOT!)
Onion (How much? Not too much!)
Matzoh meal (a handful but Papa’s hand not mine)
Eggs (2-3 depends on how many potatoes we used-see above)
pinch of baking powder (Uh Oh that was supposed to be a family secret)
Get out the biggest bowl you have. Not that one it is too small.
Find the grater that you only use this time of year.
Grate most of the potatoes on the coarse part and the rest on the fine part and all of the onion on the fine part.
At some point you will grate a bit of knuckle; this is part of the holiday joy.
Squeeze all of the liquid out of the potatoes but keep the liquid in a bowl
Make a huge magillah out of reserving the potato starch and then forget and dump it all down the drain
Beat the eggs and add them along with the matzoh meal and salt and pepper
Mix with a big wodden spoon that is half stained pink from stirring borcht
Heat oil in two huge frying pans and fry latkes until crisp and golden
Mazel Tov! Now we can eat already…
On the third night of Hanukkah it is also Shabbat and the perfect time slow things down a bit and have a relaxing family supper. After all of the rich food I have been making, I thought it would be nice to lighten things up tonight.
I often make pan seared or poached salmon with sparkling apple cider but we had a little bit of local hard cider (West County Cider from Western MA ) left from Thanksgiving so my husband Mark suggested we try using it. Although the result was terrific, the cider was so good in the glass, I think that in the future I would reserve it for drinking. To accompany the salmon I made Tangerine & Honey Glazed Carrot Coins (recipe below) which are a traditional Hanukkah treat but I used these glorious rainbow carrots grown by Kimball Fruit Farms and Blue Heron Farm. I found many colors of carrots at the indoor farmers markets this past winter, so keep an eye out for them when the markets open in January. Jasmine rice with Hen of the Woods and Chanterelle mushrooms sauteed in wine and miso broth rounded out our holiday meal.
Tangerine & Honey Glazed Rainbow Carrots
1 pound of carrots peeled and cut into “coins”
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons fresh tangerine juice (or orange juice)
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of ground cardamom
salt to taste
Toasted seasame seeds
Melt butter in a skillet
Add carrots and saute until just barely tender
Turn up heat to medium high
Add juice, honey, and spices
Cook until tendar and well glazed
Sprinkle with salt and seasame seeds
Happy Chanukkah! I love the holidays with family and friends and festive foods, what is not to like. For each night of Chanukkah, I am going to post a recipe which is either an old childhood favorite or a new dish or sometimes a little of both as in tonight’s recipe Blue Cheese Matzoh Latkes.
When I was a kid we started out making matzoh latkes during Passover but I loved them so much that I asked my parents to make them during Chanukkah in addition to the platters full of potato latkes we fried up for the holiday. They are a bit plain so I thought the salty tang of blue cheese would be a nice addition and they turned out delicious. I used Great Hill blue cheese and served them with homemade Golden Russet applesauce for a nice local food start to Chanukkah.
1/3 cup+2 tablespoons matzoh meal
1 egg separated
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons cumbled mild blue cheese
pinch of ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
Mix matzoh meal, egg yolk, milk, pepper, & cheese together
Chill for about 30 minutes
Beat the egg white until it forms soft peaks
Fold egg white into matzoh mixture
Heat about 1/2 inch of oil in frying pan
Fry latkes until golden and crisp
Serve hot with applesauce
Just before Rosh Hashonna I ate something that changed my view of Jewish Holiday food. At an event called Beyond Bubbies Kitchen, Chef Ming Tsai made brisket pot stickers. Biting into one of these tender little dumplings was like having all of the flavors of the holiday one tiny delicious package. It had me begging for more (sneaking into line for seconds) but it also started me thinking about including more of the Asian flavors that my family loves in some of our traditional holiday fare.
For many years, as soon as Hanukkah started, I made batches of Sufganiyot, the little jelly donuts popular during the holidays. Along with piles of traditional latkes, vegetable tsimmis , and cranberry rugulach, these were my holiday standards. Not this year! A quick trip to HMart and we had everything we needed for the experiment in East-West Hanukkah happiness.
I used my standard donut recipe and made small donut hole sized treats, we then filled them with red bean paste and rolled them in ginger sugar. I wanted to take some pictures but they just kept disappearing even while very warm from the fryer. Finally I kicked my family out of the kitchen, catured the image and then ate the evidence. The recipe is below if you want to try something new for the holidays. Happy Hanukkah!
Red Bean and Ginger Sufganiyot
1 cup Milk
1/2 cup Water
2 Tbs Butter
3 1/2 cups Flour
1 Tbs Rapid Rise Yeast
2 Tbs Sugar
1/2 tsp dried lemon peel (optional)
oil for frying
Prepared Red Bean Paste for filling
Ginger Sugar (see below)
Heat the milk, butter, and water until very warm
Mix yeast, sugar, lemon peel, and one cup flour in a large bowl or mixer
Add the warm milk mixture to the flour mixture
Add additional flour to make a soft dough
Knead the dough adding flour as needed to make it soft but not sticky
Allow to rise until doubled
Pull off small pieces (about 1 inch) and roll into balls
Allow to rest for about 10 minutes
Fry in small batches until golden brown
Cool slightly then roll in ginger sugar
Using a pastry bag, fill with red bean paste
1/2 cup Sugar
2-3 pieces of Crystalized Ginger
Place in a food processor and process until fine