A few more weeks to go, and Hanukkah is almost upon us. I am sure some people might feel uncomfortable with the Americanization of our holiday. But for me, I say when in Rome…get festive with the best of ‘em.
Every year when the holiday catalogs arrive, I scour the pages for white, blue and silver decorations that could be appropriate for a Jewish celebration. And in recent years, its been great to see so many mainstream stores featuring Hanukkah themed adornments, decorative dreidels and affordable menorahs.
I’ve picked out a few of my favorite, modern takes on Hanukkah. Hope you find some creative ideas that strike your fancy!
As a fan of simple table settings, I love these bright blue votive candle holders, paired with these silver cloth napkins . I have also had my eye on these starlight pewter candleholders, or these modern silver place-card holders both of which could be paired nicely with pillar candles, and crisp linens. Some fun Hanukkah gelt wouldn’t be a bad touch either.
If you’re looking for a bit more sparkle, check out these beautiful photos and ideas from HGTV on “Hosting a Sparkling Blue and White Hanukkah Celebration.”
Apartment Therapy has some great ideas for your Modern Hanukkah Tables. And if you’d like to re-create the Martha Stewart look (and you’re not the crafty type), why not pick up this Manzanita Candelabra from West Elm.
Blowout Party has some very creative ideas not only for Fabulous Hanukkah Decor and Desserts but also for a blue and white themed Hanukkah Dessert Party, which you might try as an alternative to a more traditional latkes and apple sauce menu. And while we are on the topic of Hanukkah-themed desserts, check out these adorable Eight Nights of Lights Cupcakes – they are sure to wow your guests!
We’d love to hear about your great finds and bright ideas for how you will celebrate and decorate this Hanukkah!
Black Friday is behind us, but the holiday season is now in full swing. If you’re like me, then you are probably eager to cross off those names from your gift-giving list.
I come from a family of foodies, as well as being married to a guy who loves to cook, so I am always looking for creative gifts they will love (and that might benefit my stomach). Here are some of my suggestions for the coming season:
For the Baker
This is one of my favorite gifts to give to a fellow baker – a handy Measuring Magnet for the fridge to provide instantaneous equivalents which helps avoid those panicking moments of, “so 32 ounces is how many cups?”
Know someone who wants to try out their own sufganiyot? A friend in Israel shared with me that infusing your own doughy treats is all the rage this year. Chef Central has a great Solid/Liquid Flavor Infuser that can be used either for injecting some jam into your Hanukkah doughnuts, and can also add some serious flavor to your chicken or turkey.
For the “Brooklynese” Lover
Friends bought us this “creamuh” and “suguh” set awhile ago, and we just love it! What a clever gift for people who love to entertain, and who also love some good New York Jewish pronunciation. Whenever we set this out for coffee or tea, it is sure to elicit an amused response from guests.
For the ‘Lil Chefs
Your ‘lil chefs will want to be properly outfitted for their cooking adventures – so how about these kids’ aprons from Williams Sonoma, such as this Cupcake Apron, or a Personalized Apron with your mini foodie’s name on it.
For the Fromage Foodie
If your loved one loves pungent cheeses the way I do, they are likely to get a kick out of this Stinky Cheese Knife from Etsy, which I came across in Time Out New York’s Holiday Gift Guide 2011. To go along with this novelty knife, I love this Slate Cheese Board from Uncommon Goods.
For the Wine lover
As reported to me by a fellow food and wine lover, for the first time, DuBoef is now making a kosher beaujolais! Beajolais Nouveau is a special wine with a special tradition behind it, so for those of you who have never tried it, this is a unique gift for that wine lover in your life. While you won’t need a decanter for the beaujolais, this Riedel Cornetto Wine Decanter is another unique gift for your vino aficionado.
For the Meat Lover
Are your favorite foodie’s boring burgers getting you down? Try this Stuffed Hamburger Press for the meat lover in your life. And think that the only thing you can stuff a burger with is cheese? Think again! Try stuffing burgers with mushrooms or jalapenos.
For the Enviro-Conscience Foodie
I love this Bike Chain Bottle Opener, made from recycled bike chains! What a unique gift for anyone who loves the environment, and loves to drink.
For the “I Don’t Cook” Friend
I love this Take-Out Menu Organizer, which is a great gift for anyone who wants to reduce clutter, not just the kitchen avoiders.
I know everyone is getting ramped up for Thanksgiving, but I can’t help thinking about th day after Thanksgiving–erev Shabbat! With Thanksgiving falling every year on a Thursday, it can start to feel like a 3 day long holiday when you tack Shabbat on top of it. Here are a few ideas to help ease your workload, and also keep your family’s attention even the day after Thanksgiving.
What to do with all that leftover stuffing? (I mean, besides eat it…) Why not try these Stuffing Stuffed Mushrooms. If you are serving them with a meat meal, just leave out the provolone cheese.
Turkey Noodle Soup is a favorite in the Sarna household every year. My dad loves making turkey stock from the leftover Turkey carcass and bits, and this is a tradition I have gladly carried forward – every year my mother-in-law saves the two Turkey carcasses from her dinner for my cooking pleasure. If you want to try the linked recipe from Real Mom Kitchen, just swap the butter in the soup for olive oil.
What about Turkey Pot Pie? You can swap out the butter for margarine, and buy a pre-made pie crust from the freezer section of your supermarket.
Sick of all the savory Thanksgiving food? Try a sweet breakfast spin with these Cranberry Pancakes.
And lastly, why not try some gourmet Thanksgiving Turkey sandwiches for a satisfying Shabbat lunch. Here is my recommended version:
Leftover challah, cut into thick slices
Turkey breast meat
Spread one slice of challah with garlic herb mayo, and the other slice of challah with cranberry sauce.
Layer turkey slices, stuffing and arugula.
It’s been a rough year for the bagel. This summer, despite a tremendous outcry from New Yorkers, and New York bagel lovers alike, H&H Bagels’ Upper West Side location closed its doors. As a resident Upper West Side New Yorker, I can admit, this was a sad blow. I have fond memories of picking up Scottish salmon and sable from Zabar’s, and then picking up some hot, crusty bagels next door at H&H.I have less fond memories of working out at the gym above H&H, and smelling the delicious bagels wafting from below. Not exactly ideal weight loss motivation.
But, it’s not all doom and gloom where bagels are concerned. Here in New York, a specialty bagel shop opened called Vic’s Bagel Bar, featuring gourmet spreads and quality bagels. Coolest part about this shop? You can mix your own cream cheese spread, a la Coldstone Creamery, but for bagels.
Any other bagel related blows out there? We hope not, but let us know!
When I was a kid and it was my turn to set the table I usually forgot to put out napkins. Then when we sat down to eat my mom would look at her plate and say, “Well I don’t know about you, but I’m a messy eater.” And that was the cue to go get napkins. (Ironically, my mom was not at all a messy eater, but she was good at making her point.)
As an adult, I have to admit that I am an appallingly messy eater. If you give me paper napkins, I end up needing at least three per meal. It’s a problem. But there’s a solution!
Cloth napkins, people. You need them. I swear on all things greasy and delicious, using cloth napkins will make your life so much better. They work better as napkins. They’re usually bigger. You won’t feel bad about killing trees every time you wipe chocolate off your face. They can be pretty. You can put them in fun napkin rings.
Yes yes, I know that you will have to wash them. It’s true. But even after a big meal, we’re talking 8-10 napkins. That’s like two shirts. Really, not a big deal (and I say this as someone with a very small washer/dryer). Plus, you can use one cloth napkin all week. Unless you are eating something super messy that can hardly be contained with a cloth napkin (I can’t even think what this would be) a dirty cloth napkin will still be good enough to use for a whole week of meals.
You can get napkins for cheap at TJ Maxx, Target, Marshalls, and Bed Bath and Beyond. Or get nicer ones on etsy. Use them forever, and everyone will think you are so posh. (You are!)
Another week, and it’s time for another round of recipe ideas for Shabbat.
As my dear friend and fellow tweeter Aimee Weiss points out, ’tis the season for some spiked apple cider! Why not start out your meal with some hot cider with rum, honey and your favorite spices. You can also make a German favorite called Gluhwein (pronounced gloo-vine), which is a hot mulled wine with oranges, cloves, allspice and cinnamon. I can’t get enough of this stuff!
I’ve been eyeing this recipe for Bucatini with Cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts for weeks in this month’s copy of Food and Wine. If you are serving a meat meal, just leave off the parmesan cheese! A perfect hearty and healthful dish for this time of year.
Shabbat Shalom, and happy eating!
The Awl has an interesting post up about a cookbook called Political Pot Luck: A Collection of Recipes from Men Only, published in 1959 by the Peninsular Publishing Company in Tallahassee. The recipes range from sounding pretty good, to sounding obscenely sexist. There’s some good spoon bread, some racist turkey, and a “recipe” for chicken that will make your blood boil.
It got me thinking about Israeli politicians—is there a cookbook of their recipes? I vaguely remembered reading that Golda Meir loved to spend time in her kitchen. Are her recipes available for aspiring politicians and chefs? Turns out…not so much. She was kind of private with her gefilte fish recipe, and mostly drank coffee and smoked a lot. But I did find an article that gives her recipe for “Kibbutz Breakfast.” It doesn’t look particularly exciting to me, but it’s still kind of cool.
Incidentally, it’s hard to google search for recipes by Israeli politicians, because when you search “[Name of Israeli Politician] recipe” you get lots of hits that say “[Name of Israeli Politician]’s plan is a recipe for disaster.” Doesn’t matter which politician you use, they all are apparently recipes for disaster.
For the dressing:
3 tsp lemon juice
3 tsp oil
1 tsp mayonnaise
Salt and black pepper to taste
Head of lettuce,
1 green pepper
3 green onions
1 hard boiled egg
Chop up the green onion and tear the lettuce.
Grate the carrots and the egg and chop up the rest of the vegetables into small pieces.
Put them all in a large salad bowl.
Whip up the dressing ingredients and pour on the salad before serving. Toss gently.
Each year the holiday season brings joy, stress, and increased eating as we get overloaded with Thanksgiving leftovers, and shlep from family dinners to other eating-centric, obligatory gatherings. And what – we’re supposed to just sip seltzer water in the corner!?
I don’t enjoy having to watch what I eat, or reducing the amount of butter (or oil) I cook with, but I do like quality recipes that don’t sacrifice on flavor. I have put together a few of my favorites, but more importantly, I want to hear about yours.
For our November cookbook giveaway, we want to hear about your favorite, lightened-up dishes! Post your recipes below and the most interesting, holiday-themed (lite) recipe will win a copy of Susie Fishbein’s Kosher By Design Lightens Up. I am counting on your creativity to help us all get through this holiday season without having to buy a new wardrobe!
Nosher-recommended lighter side recipes:
Crispy Baked ‘Fried’ Chicken (you can use soymilk with 1 Tablespoon of vinegar where this recipe calls for buttermilk)
Each week here at The Nosher we’ll be compiling some recipe ideas to serve for your Shabbat Dinner. This week I put together a few of my Fall favorite recipes.
My husband and I love to make this super simple roasted brussel sprouts with mushrooms as a rich and easy side dish. Its perfect for this time of year, especially served alongside your favorite roast chicken.
This is actually one of my own recipes, and I must admit, a real crowd-pleaser. It’s incredibly simple to make, and super creamy. Try my Sweet n Spicy Sweet Potato Soup.
For a cider flavor infused chicken dish, why not serve up this Apple Cider Brined Chicken. While Robert Irvine says to brine for at least 30 minutes, I recommend brining the chicken overnight to ensure maximum flavor and moistness.
For dessert (or even breakfast on Saturday morning) try this delectable looking Spiced Pumpkin Crumb Cake. I am drooling just looking at this one.
Happy cooking, and Shabbat Shalom!
Looking for some truly unique ideas to serve for Thanksgiving? I’ve had my eyes peeled for weeks looking for treats to wow.
Another innovative idea comes from the Queen of Butter herself, Paula Deen with these Sweet Potato Balls. Instead of the classic Thanksgiving dish of sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows, Paula’s recipe is an inside out version with gooey marshmallow in the middle.
And to finish off the meal, how about some homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream as an alternative to Pumpkin Pie! If you don’t have an ice cream maker, or just don’t feel like making ice cream (really, can’t blame you) just run to the store and pick some up such as Edy’s Pumpkin Ice Cream.
Have you found or made any inspiring, wow-factor dishes for Thanksgiving? We would love to hear about them!