Every year at the holidays it seems like our lives get busier and busier and so we have to find creative ways to get all our friends and family visits in during Hanukkah. This year is no different, in fact it was even busier now that we have a new baby!
So in order to fit in a visit with some of our close friends we decided to host a Hanukkah brunch -latkes for breakfast, my favorite kind!
Last year for our latke-breakfast combo we served my classic (amazing) latkes with smoked salmon and poached eggs. But this year we wanted to do something slightly different.
First, we decided to make two different kinds of latkes – my husband tried out a recipe for Balkan Potato Leek Latkes from Janna Gur’s The Book of New Israeli Food. These latkes are made by cooking, then mashing the potatoes, dipping in egg and flour and then frying them. They tasted like a mashed-potato fritter. They were good, but we decided we liked our classic shredded style latke better.
And to accompany my more traditional latkes we decided to make two different condiments: tzatziki and Amy Kritzer’s cranberry-applesauce. The cranberry applesauce was so good there wasn’t a drop left! If you are still frying up some latkes during the rest of Hanukkah I definitely recommend whipping up a batch – its very easy and doesn’t take long at all on the stove.
Last weekend the husband and I were watching Rachel Khoo’s “Little Paris Kitchen” on The Cooking Channel (sidenote: what a great show! definitely check it out) when we came across her “Croque Madame Cups,” where she butters white bread, sticks it in muffin tins and then bakes eggs (ham) and bechamel for a heavenly little egg cup. We knew at once we HAD to make them.
And thank goodness we did – they are absolutely our new favorite recipe. We did not use any kind of meat product, but you could substitute spinach, mushrooms or even smoked salmon for the ham she uses. They truly are two-bites of rich, creamy delight-fulness.
Also included on our Hanukkah brunch table? Mimosas, Israeli salad and some homemade cookies for dessert.
Hope everyone is enjoying Hanukkah, whatever time of day you serve the latkes!
My husband and I aren’t really the sit-on-a-beach-for-a-week types, so instead of a beach vaca for our honeymoon, we went skiing in Switzerland – pretty amazing! After our days on the slopes, we would get to the bottom of the mountain and hit up the bars for an apres-ski – and had for the first time Gluhwein, or more commonly known here as mulled wine.
The cloves and cinnamon add just the right amount of spice, and some sugar and orange add sweetness. Putting the cloves into the orange slices isn’t just decorative – its actually convenient so you don’t have to go fishing around for the cloves when you are ready to serve the warm, spicy drink. (This is a step, as you can see from the picture above, that I didn’t come to understand until I had made this recipe a few times…)
I will say in full disclosure that I have been known to whip up a batch of this cozy treat on a cold day, put it into a to-go mug and bring it to a pedicure. Am I allowed to say that? Regardless, it takes relaxation up a notch, and so I highly recommend.
It’s also the perfect drink to serve at a holiday gathering. You can double the batch, put it on the stove, and allow guests to serve themselves a warm mug. Wanna get fancy? Serve the hot wine in Israeli-style glass mugs like these.
Happy relaxing (and drinking)!
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2-3 cinnamon sticks
1 bottle red wine
Cut orange into slices and place cloves into the orange peel.
Heat water, sugar and cinnamon sticks in a medium-large saucepan until sugar is dissolved completely.
Add wine and bring to simmer, but don't let it boil. Continue to heat wine for 20-30 minutes. Serve in mugs and garnish with cinnamon stick and slices of orange.
I have a confession to make. I’m not proud of it but I feel compelled to share. You know how most Jewish gatherings serve the ubiquitous Assorted Cookie Platter? You know the ones I mean… Well, I confess: I hoard the multi-colored Rainbow Cookies.
I don’t intend to hoard them – in fact, I always start with just one. But I inevitably end up going back for seconds and thirds. I know… they’re called assorted cookies because you’re supposed to try several types. I just can’t help myself! I love their moist and rich almond interior, lightened by a hint of acidic apricot and then intensified by a touch of bitter chocolate. Add the fun colors and you have the perfect cookie.
When planning this year’s Hanukkah gathering, I decided the festivities wouldn’t be complete without these cookies. With just a tiny adjustment to my regular recipe, they became Rainbow Cookies á la Hanukkah. Making them is a multi-step process but, fear not, they are easy steps. Here’s the recipe:
About Joy Prevor: A food aficionado and graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Joy Dawn Prevor has served as a major gifts fundraiser and senior executive in the Jewish nonprofit sector for over 17 years.
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
8 oz almond paste
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 drops blue food coloring
12 drops blue food coloring
12 oz apricot preserves, heated and strained
12 oz high-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter three 9 X 13 baking sheet pans and line with parchment paper. Beat almond paste in stand mixer until smooth. Add butter and sugar and beat until fluffy. Add almond extract and then eggs, one at a time. Add flour and salt - only beat until combined.
Divide batter into three bowls and add 6 drops of blue food coloring to one bowl and 12 drops of blue food coloring to a second bowl – leave the third bowl plain.
Spread each batter into its own pan and bake for approximately 10 minutes and cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, place one of the blue cakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread preserves on it and place the plain cake on top. Spread preserves on plain cake and place the other blue cake on top. Freeze for 1 hour to set jam.
Spread melted chocolate on top and on sides – chill for 30 minutes to set. Flip cake onto another piece of parchment paper and spread chocolate on the other side – freeze for at least one hour. While still frozen, slice cake into 1 ½ inch logs and slice logs into individual ½ inch cookies. Allow cookies to defrost before serving
This week on our book blog Members of the Scribe, we’re hosting guest-blogger Stanley Ginsburg, author of Inside the Jewish Bakery. In his first post today, he’s asking a question that’s astounded and confounded us for years — what exactly does calling something a “Jewish bakery” mean?
I have to confess, I was stunned: no one had ever asked me that question, nor, indeed, had I ever asked it of myself. In my world, everyoneknows what a Jewish bakery is – a bakery that sells Jewish baked goods.
But here’s where it gets complicated. What exactly are “Jewish baked goods?” The ones that come first to mind – bagels, rugelach, onion rolls, challah – appear to be no-brainers, but in fact all can be traced back through their
Yiddish forebears to the gentile Central and Eastern European societies in which the Jews found themselves living at various times.
And while you’ve got Jewish bakeries on the brain (stomach), here are a few of our favorite recipes:
Happy Hanukkah! Happy eating!
Let me be clear about one thing before I go any further. I almost feel like this is confessional: I have never fried anything, and so I had absolutely no idea what to expect. This is coming from a girl who, though she loves herself a good dessert, was never, ever allowed to eat anything fried. In fact, the only way we were ever able to convince my mom to let us eat a doughnut was to tell her that it was a cinnamon bun (nevermind that it was deep fried and glazed!). Talk about pulling a fast one on her. Scarfing down those “cinnamon buns” was a blast. It felt so good. So rebellious. So child-like.
Enter the sufganiya. Many of my ice cream recipes pay homage to my childhood, but this one, ah this golden, cinnamon sugar coated bundle of goodness, reminds me so much of Hanukkah that I get giddy like a little school girl just thinking about it. Maybe if I tap my heels together three times some presents will show up at my door! Wishful thinking.
Back to these sufganiyot. The Hebrew word for sufganiya derived from the word for sponge (sfog), is supposed to describe the texture of a sufganiya which is somewhat similar to a sponge. I like to tell myself that because the texture is like a sponge (which I think is airy, not fried and fatty!) a sufganiya is completely healthy. And when injected with raspberry preserves, even healthier!
This time of year, when all I do is eat sweets, I try to refrain from thinking about how unhealthy it is and instead think about the significance of these doughnuts. On Hanukkah we eat these golden delicious sufganiyot because they are fried in oil, which helps to remind us of one of the miracles of Hanukkah.
So, to toast that small miracle, let’s chow down on some delicious Sufganiyot Ice Cream. Enjoy!
Idea created by 365scoops
Doughnuts adapted from Martha Stewart and Vanilla Ice Cream adapted from David Lebovitz. If you’re making this ice cream you should feel free to pick up some pre-made doughnuts if you want to skip a step.
For the Sufganiyot
2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (100 degrees to 110 degrees)
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, plus more for rolling
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 large eggs
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups vegetable oil, plus more for bowl
1 cup seedless raspberry jam
Additional cinnamon and sugar for dusting
For the Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
1 cup whole milk
2 cups half-and-half
3/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 Tablespoon vanilla bean paste
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Raspberry Sauce
12oz bag of frozen raspberries
1 Tablespoon raspberry vodka
3 Tablespoons sugar
For this recipe, patience is a must! This is a multi-step process but trust me, it's worth it. (Note: this recipe can be made over 2 days if you don't have an entire Sunday afternoon as I did!)
First, make the vanilla ice cream base. In a small saucepan heat together the milk, 1 cup half-and-half, sugar and the vanilla bean paste until small bubbles form around the edges.
While the mixture is warming, whisk together three egg yolks. Pour the milk mixture into the egg yolks very slowly, stirring between each pour. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure you get all the vanilla bean paste, and pour back into the saucepan. Heat until the mixture reaches 170 degrees F. If you don't have a thermometer heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spatula or a wooden spoon. Once ready, pour over a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl (it's important to strain this ice cream because inevitably small little curdles will form from heating the egg and milk, and trust me, you don't want those in your ice cream!). Once strained, slowly stir in the remaining cup of half-and-half and the vanilla extract.
Let the mixture cool completely before refrigerating for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Next, it's time to make the sufganiyot! This, my friends, is a labor of love. In a small bowl, combine yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.
Place flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the center; add eggs, yeast mixture, 1/4 cup sugar, butter, and salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir until a sticky dough forms. On a well-floured work surface, knead until dough is smooth, soft, and bounces back when poked with a finger, about 8 minutes (add more flour if necessary). Place in an oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
While the ice cream mixture is cooling, and the sufganiyot are rising, make the raspberry sauce. Pour the bag of frozen raspberries into a small saucepan, and mix until heated. The raspberries will turn to mush (which is what you want). Stir in the sugar and vodka and let the mixture heat for 2-4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Discard the seeds, and keep the smooth raspberry sauce. Set aside.
Next, it's time to form and fry the donuts. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch-round cutter or drinking glass , cut 20 rounds. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise 15 minutes.
In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat oil until a deep-frying thermometer registers 370 degrees. Using a slotted spoon, carefully slip 4 rounds into oil. Fry until golden, about 10-20 seconds on each side. Turn doughnuts over; fry until golden on other side, another 10-20 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Roll in cinnamon sugar while warm. Fry all dough, and roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
This part of the process takes a little getting used to. Inevitably your first few doughnuts will burn. Don't stress, you will have plenty more. I noticed that by the time I put 3-4 doughnuts into the hot oil, it was time to flip them, and once they were flipped, it was time to remove them! Hard to keep up with it! If the doughnuts look burnt, chances are, they're totally fine, just slightly darker than you may have wanted. Don't worry, they still taste delicious! Also, it's very important to douse the doughnuts in the cinnamon sugar immediately after frying, otherwise it won't stick.
Once you're done frying all the doughnuts you'll want to fill them with jam. Since I didn't have a pastry bag or a #4 tip I used a ziploc bag with a tiny whole cut out. I wouldn't recommend this, so if you can, head over to Michael's Craft Shop or a baking store and buy a pastry bag and a #4 tip. It's much easier!
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a #4 tip with jam. Using a wooden skewer or toothpick, make a hole in the side of each doughnut. Fit the pastry tip into a hole, pipe about 2 teaspoons jam into doughnut. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.
Now it's time for the great assembly! Pour the ice cream mixture into the base of your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. While churning, chop up 6 doughnuts into small pieces. Approximately 5 minutes before the mixture is done churning add the sufganiyot pieces and let it mix thoroughly.
Drizzle a few tablespoons of raspberry sauce on the bottom of a freezer safe container. Add a few scoops of ice cream. Cover with more raspberry sauce and repeat process until you've layered the ice cream and raspberry sauce. Drizzle a bit more raspberry sauce on top and cover. Transfer to the freezer for at least 2 hours before serving. You will have leftover raspberry sauce, which I advise saving for garnish!
When you're ready to eat, scoop 1-2 heaps of ice cream into a bowl (you'll notice there is a beautiful raspberry marble!) and drizzle with raspberry sauce on top. Enjoy!
The Verdict: Taim me'od! (very tasty!) This is a perfect treat for the holiday season. In fact, so tasty that I recommend sharing it with friends (like I did) or else you may gobble the whole thing up! Enjoy this fun take on an old classic and Happy Hanukkah!
Holidays in general are not very easy on the dieting sector, but when you think about it, nothing beats Hanukkah. Basically we have eight days in a row where its traditional to eat fried foods. And so we start the meal with fried carbs, cap it off with deep fried dough, and probably spend weeks dreading the scale.
Tradition is great, and I am all for it, but there is also a mitzvah to take care of yourself, and I think that eating healthy is way up there on the list of ways to take care of yourself. And while I am not suggesting we all boycott every form of fried food this Hanukkah, a great way to stay healthy and eat healthy is to follow one of my most important dieting tricks: combat delicious and tempting food with delicious, but healthy food.
The challenge, for me, as a perpetual dieter as well as a cook, is to come up with a recipe that is within the spirit of Hanukkah, but won’t cause a bad case of “scale fear.” I think, if I do say so myself, that I succeeded amazingly with these spinach latkes. It’s pretty sad the way spinach gets such a bad rap among vegetables. I think it’s delicious, and I let it shine in this recipe.
This recipe comes together in a frying pan, but don’t let that fool you. This latke recipe is super healthy…and yet totally delicious. Make sure to have enough on hand for the non-dieters. They might just love them as much as I do!
Miriam Pascal blogs at Tales of an Overtime Cook.
spray oil, for frying
1 large onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lb bag frozen spinach, thawed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt, to taste
additional black pepper, to taste
Prepare sauteed spinach: sautee onions in spray oil on low to medium flame until translucent. Add minced garlic and sautee an additional couple of minutes. Add thawed spinach and stir to combine. Continue to cook over low to medium flame, stirring occasionally. Cook 20-30 minutes, until spinach is heated through and fully cooked. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice.
You can make the sauteed spinach in advance, and when you are ready to make the latkes, proceed with the following instructions:
In a large mixing bowl, combine sauteed spinach, eggs, breadcrumbs, oil and salt. Heat a frying pan and spray well with spray oil. Roll some of the batter in your hands to form a ball, then press between your palms to form a (relatively thin) patty. Fry on medium flame for 2-3 minutes per side, or until light brown. I like to taste the first latke to make sure I got the spices right, then fry the rest.
Notes: When spinach fries it turns brown and may look burnt, but it isn't!
Don't flip the latkes too soon, or they will fall apart. Make sure you allow them enough time to get cooked on the bottom before flipping.
I recently told my parents that they cursed me. The way I see it, when my (probable) Irish genes collided with my (definite) Eastern European genes, I was pre-destined to have a love affair with the potato.
My parents blush and look a little embarrassed when you ask them what my first un-coached word was. Not because it was uncouth, or racy, but because my first un-coached utterance was spoken as we drove past a Burger King. Ladies and gentleman, my first word was “fry”– as in french fry.
Now, my family isn’t really into fried foods. If we have a craving for french fries or onion rings, we go out to our favorite fast food joint or restaurant. We don’t ever fry anything at home; we leave it to the professionals. But, when I was growing up, come Hanukkah we’d open all the windows (a feat in the sometimes sub-zero Ohio winters), close the doors to the bedrooms, and my dad would spend several nights frying up latke after latke.
I love my dad’s latkes. As a child (and, maybe even as an adult) I would gobble them down, often leaving my mom’s brisket (also incredible) untouched. Eventually, we just started having latke-only dinners a few times each Hanukkah.
Everyone has “the perfect” latke recipe, so I won’t attempt to prove my family’s recipe is better than yours. I will, however, share a few of our latke tips with you”
- Do not peel your potatoes
- Salt the potatoes after grating them, let them sit for about 20
mintues, then squeeze as much of the water out as possible
- Grate your onions (juice and all) directly into your squeezed-out potatoes
- Use only a little matzo meal to bind the batter, don’t let the matzo
meal overcome the potatoey-ness
- Fry the latkes in corn oil
- After you fry, pat off excess oil with paper towels
- To keep warm and crispy, place latkes on cookie racks in a 250 degree oven
Rachel Korycan lives in Washington, D.C. and is a Development Coordinator at The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.
Want some additional tricks for making latkes? Check out this video that purports to give you foolproof latke tips.
I love making latkes, and like most of us, I have my preferred ways of serving the latke. Last year I prepared Mini Dill Latkes with Lemon Creme Fraiche, which I loved for the combination of rich fried potato paired with fresh lemon and dill flavors. I haven’t settled on what to make this year, but this Potato Latke with Smoked Salmon and Soft Boiled Quail Egg is a leading contender, not only for the runny yoke, but also for the use of duck fat.
There are countless latke varieties to choose from, and some top notch Hanukkah compilations this year, so I’ve put together a few of my favorite sites to help as you prepare to put your own spin on the holiday.
The Food Network also has their own Holiday Central for Hanukkah.
Gail Simmons, who you might know from Top Chef, offers her Hanukkah Favorites on Food and Wine including her own mother’s recipe for traditional potato latkes, and this drool-inducing recipe for Sephardi style Doughnuts in Cardamom Syrup.
Here is a real Hanukkah original: Zucchini Latkes with Red Pepper Jelly and Smoked Trout for those of you looking for an adventurous alternative.
What varieties of latkes and other Hanukkah treats will you be serving up this year? We want to hear about your family’s traditions, and your twists on the classics too!
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.