Tonight is the last night of Hanukkah. Sigh. This has been such an exciting year to celebrate. But between Thanksgiving, the long holiday weekend and eight nights of latkes and sufganiyot, my stomach is sure ready to move on to lighter fare.
I’ve put together some of my favorite healthful eating ideas to help you detox from the eating debuachery of the past week. Got a great a recipe to get our eating on track? Post below and let us know!
Don’t forget dessert: Strawberry Lemon Granita
The day I moved into my very first apartment was an important day for me. I was starting my senior year in college, and for what seemed like the first time, I was taking a leap towards independence. Sure, I moved halfway across the country to go to school where I knew only a couple people, but living on campus, there’s a certain safety net in place to catch (and comfort) the students if they fall.
I remember taking great care to choose an apartment within my budget, and carefully selecting my roommates. We plotted and planned how we’d decorate, and made memories building our ready-to-assemble furniture from our favorite Swedish retailer. Not surprising, the part of apartment living I was most excited about was that I would finally have a kitchen of my own. While my roommates concentrated on finding art to decorate our walls and the perfect rug to tie the room together, I focused on stocking our kitchen with our favorite foods and the tools with which to cook them. I found mismatched sets of pots and pans at my local discount store, and piece by piece, built our little kitchen into a functional one our friends begged to come and borrow. It was nothing fancy, but it worked for us. Granted, we could never invite more than four people for dinner, because that was how many plates we had, but we made it work.
My mom noticed my efforts, and took it upon herself to stock our little kitchen with its crowning jewel: a tostonera. A tostonera is a device specifically designed to smash chunks of fried green plantains into crisp, golden coins, called tostones. And the fact that my mom was gifting me a tostonera was a really big deal, because this served as an informal invitation to join the culinary ranks of the matriarchs in the family.
Just about every Cuban person who cooks has a tostonera, and now, I did too. I was so excited to put my tostonera to use, and at the first Hanukkah party of the season, I surprised my friends with a new treat. I figured that in many ways, Cubans use plantain bananas the way Americans use potatoes, so swapping traditional potato latkes with savory tostones seemed like a natural choice.
As my friends oohed and aahed while they crunched their way through the small plate of tostones, I smiled with delight, because I knew I was on my way to earning my culinary stripes.
This Hanukkah, if you’re looking for something outside the traditional latke box, take a cue from the Cuban cookbook, and serve tostones alongside your festive meal. And if your mother hasn’t gifted you with a tostonera, fear not. You can achieve similar results with the bottom of a frying pan.
Vegetable oil for frying
2 green (under ripe) plantain bananas
Kosher salt to taste
In a large frying pan, pour in enough vegetable oil to fill the pan about halfway, and place over medium to high heat.
Remove the peel from the plantains, and discard. Chop the pulp into rounds of about 1-1½ inch thickness.
To test the oil temperature, carefully place a small piece of plantain into the oil. If the oil bubbles around the plantain, it is ready. If it doesn't, continue heating the oil until it does.
Once the oil is ready, carefully drop the plantain rounds into the oil, and fry for two minutes before flipping and frying for two minutes on the other side.
Remove the plantains from the oil, and using either a tostonera or a frying pan and a flat surface, smash the rounds until they flatten.
Return the now-flattened plantain rounds to the oil, and fry until golden and crisp, about two more minutes.
Remove the plantains from the oil, and immediately place on a platter lined with paper towel to catch any unnecessary oil.
Sprinkle with kosher salt while the plantains are still hot, and serve.
Noshers! Here are our Hanukkah gift picks for a happy and healthy holiday around the table.
Quality olive oil is key to all tasty recipes—especially latkes! We love Baja Precious Extra Virgin Olive Oil ($9.99): it’s fragrant, beautiful, and BPA-free. Put that in your menorah and burn it.
What is Hanukkah without gelt? Exactly! Get your gelt on with these Belgian Hanukkah Milk Chocolate Gold Gelt Coins ($21.99).
Do you strive to be a balaboosta? (That’s Yiddish for “perfect homemaker.”) Well, the Balaboosta Cookbook features 140 delicious Mediterranean recipes and will put you well on your way!
Are latkes and knishes ever in your hunger wishes? If so, this “Latkes & Knishes Are My Wishes” ($19.99) is adorable and all black, so you can get it as oil-drenched as you’d like!
This Star of David Bundt Pan ($28.27) makes a festive Hanukkah cake with limited effort!
You can’t be more prepared for serving up latkes this Hanukkah with this Stainless Steel Hanukkah Latke Server ($8.95).
Let’s Nosh! ($6.29) is the perfect book of easy and satisfying Jewish comfort foods, from bagels to latkes and everything in between. Your family will be very pleased with these snacks.
You weren’t just going to line up those naked bottles of wine and call it a party, were you? We didn’t think so. These Happy Hanukkah Wine Charms ($35) look pretty cute around any (glass) neck.
These Hanukkah Menorah Kitchen Towels ($9.40) come in sets of three and will bring some easy festivity to your home (and cleanup!).
We hope this guide makes it easy for you to pick out all the gifts for the nosher in you and your family! Happy Thanksgivukkah 2013 to you!
Wondering what to do with all your leftover gelt after making the DIY Thanksgivukkah table runner? I’ve got the perfect pie recipe to use up those chocolates!
Both decadent and delicious, this Bourbon Pecan and Gelt Pie is the perfect way to end your Thanksgivukkah meal this holiday season. To create this recipe, I combined a classic pecan pie with some chocolate gelt candy and then added a touch of Bourbon for a little something extra.
Just like Thanksgivukkah itself, everyone is sure to love it!
For the crust:
2 cups of flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2/3 cup cold shortening
7 Tbsp milk. Almond milk is a great non-dairy alternative.
For the filling:
1/3 cup melted butter or margarine
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
½ tsp salt
1-2 Tbsp bourbon
20-25 pieces of gelt—enough to cover the bottom of the crust. (You can order pareve gelt online.)
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup halved pecans
To make the crust:
Whisk together flour, salt and sugar. Cut shortening into the flour mixture until it is almost incorporated.
Add milk and mix until just combined. You do not want to over mix here, or the crust will be rubbery. Form a large ball with the dough and place in the middle of a flat surface covered with flour.
With a rolling pin, roll the dough out until it is about 2 inches larger than the upside down pie plate. Once it is big enough, flip the pie plate back over and lay the dough in the plate lightly pushing it to the bottom and the sides.
With a fork, poke a few holes in the bottom of the crust and push the sides of the crust into the side of the plate. Then, to make the lip of the pie look fancy, use the fork to make marks in the dough on the lip of the plate (picture shown) and rip off any excess dough. Set aside for filling.
Note: You can also use the extra dough to make decorations. Roll out the extra dough and cut out any shape you want – here I used a turkey. With a fork, mix 1 egg and 1 Tbsp of water. Lightly brush a small amount of the eff mixture over the cut out and then sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375 until golden brown (about 2-5 minutes depending on how big your cut out is).
To make the filling and assemble pie:
Mix melted butter or margarine and corn syrup together until it has a glossy look. Add salt and sugar and mix until it is completely integrated into the mixture. Mix in eggs and bourbon until the entire mixture is a pale yellow color (no darker yellow egg streaks). Set aside.
Start filling the crust by placing the unwrapped gelt at the bottom of the pie crust. Add both chopped and halved pecans. Then add filling mixture.
Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. The edges of the crust should be a golden brown and the filling should be completely congealed.
I am so excited Hanukkah and Thanksgiving decided to team up this year and give us the ultimate holiday: Thanksgivukkah! And since this holiday will not happen again for another 70,000 years, we decided to really do it up. We set up a beautiful table inspired by the traditions of both holidays, and gave you some DIY’s so you can bring this Thanksgivukkah spirit to your own home.
DIY STEPS FOR HANUKKAH GELT TABLE RUNNER
1.& 2. Staple together cardstock to create a base. We used 3 pieces of 11×14 cardstock, but you can customize the size of the paper and the length of the base for your own table. Carefully unwrap all gelt – you will need both wrapper pieces intact.
3.Fold down all edges flat against the underside [silver side] of the wrapper.
4. Separate the designs into two piles, matching like with like. Using pieces from one pile, lay down a row of wrappers from edge to edge of cardstock. With a hot glue gun, attach the row to cardstock. Lay a second row over the first using pieces from the other pile.
5.Continue to scallop the rows, alternating designs.
6. Place along center of table, and voila! You have your very own gelt table runner.
DIY STEPS FOR METALLIC FEATHER PLACE CARDS
1.Lay feathers out along bottom of a cardboard box. Using painter’s tape, cover about 2/3 of each feather completely. Tape just below the exposed feather tip at an angle for an artistic flair.
2. Coat the exposed tips of the feathers with metallic spray paint.
3. Allow to dry fully before gently peeling off painters tape.
4. Thread name cards* with craft wire, cut into approximately 6 inch pieces.
5.Align name card at base of feather.
6. Wrap entire length of wire around base to secure name card to feather, then place atop the dish or plate at each setting.
*We printed our name cards, but you can write guests’ names on cardstock of any size.
The Nosher and Jewniverse have teamed up to present the most exciting autumn raffle of 2013: The Ultimate Thanksgivukkah Menurkey Giveaway!
Enter to win the grand prize item that’s got the internet in a tizzy: the Menurkey ($58), the inimitable menorah shaped like a turkey. How better to celebrate the never-to-be-repeated overlap of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving than with this “amazing conversation starter, an objet d’art, a functioning menorah and the perfect centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table?”
The only other way we can think of is by cooking up a storm. And runners-up can do just that with one of the year’s gorgeous new Jewish and Israeli cookbooks: The New Jewish Table ($35), Cook In Israel ($35), Balaboosta ($29.95), and Joy of Kosher ($30).
U.S. addresses only, sorry folks! Happy Thanksgivukkah season to you!
Is there anything more enticing than a perfectly fried, crispy potato latke? Served with apple sauce, sour cream or my own favorite combo: creme fraiche and smoked salmon. Look at these crispy, golden gems. Makes me drool a little just thinking about breaking out the oil.
But there is so much more than the basic latke, as delicious as it may be. So if you have been hankering for something different to serve for your Hanukkah (or even Thanksgivukkah) celebration next month, I’ve got you covered.
I have been scouring the internet and other blogs for the most creative, crazy latke combos that exist. And here they are in all their awesome glory. You’re welcome.
Thanksgivukah is taking over: the menurkey (turkey + menorah) is the coveted item of the season and the interwebs are exploding with recipes, decorating ideas and kitschy paraphernalia to celebrate this “once in an eternity” event.
Not being one to turn up my nose at a Jewish fad, I set out to come up with my own perfect Thanksgivukah recipe.
I didn’t want to come up with some turkey-topped latke or cranberry Manischewitz sangria (although those are good ideas too). I wanted to think a bit sweet, since dessert is always my go-to. Pumpkin pie is my favorite traditional Thanksgiving dessert. But yet again, my mind kept straying to something slightly different. I thought…jelly doughnut…cranberry relish…it seemed almost too obvious.
Cranberry relish-filled sufganiyot might not be the right dessert to serve right after a big Thanksgiving meal, since they really need to be fried fresh. But they are a perfect Thanksgiving brunch option. Or even a great activity for your family the day after since you can use up that leftover cranberry relish!
If you make a chunky relish like this
then just puree the leftovers to use as the doughnut filling. If your relish is already smooth, then one less step!
Another tip: when filling the doughnuts it might seem like you are over-stuffing with relish, but you will want to make sure you are not skimping on the filling. When you insert the wooden skewer, wiggle it around a bit in the middle to create a relish-ready cavern. And don’t try to be too delicate with the piping bag – get it in there and squeeze away.
For the cranberry relish:
12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
½ cup fresh orange juice
1 Tbsp grated orange zest
1 cup sugar
1 tsp corn starch
For the dough:
2 Tbsp dry yeast
½ cup lukewarm water
¼ cup plus 1 tsp sugar
2 ½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter, softened
Vegetable oil for frying
Special equipment: wooden skewer, piping bag, round piping tip
To make the relish: Add cranberries, orange juice, orange zest and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a low boil and continue to simmer for around 5 minutes. Add corn starch and stir vigorously. Cook another 5 minutes or until cranberries have completely softened.
Remove from heat. Place cover on pot and let the cranberries sit for another 5 minutes.
Allow the cranberries to cool slightly.
Place cranberry mixture into food processor fitted with a blade. Pulse until completely smooth. Chill.
To make the dough: In a small bowl combine yeast and warm water. Sprinkle sugar on top and mix lightly. Allow to sit until foamy, around 10 minutes.
When yeast mixture is ready, in a large bowl combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, eggs, butter and yeast mixture using a wooden spoon until a sticky dough forms.
On a floured surface knead dough until it is smooth, shiny and bounces back when touched, around 8-10 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl and allow to rise 1 ½-2 hours, or until doubled in size.
To assemble: On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch-round cutter or glass, cut rounds. You may have to roll out dough a few times. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise another 20-25 minutes.
Heat oil in a pot on medium heat until a thermometer measures 370 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, raise the heat to low-medium heat and test one of the doughnuts. If the oil immediately starts bubbling and the doughnut begins browning, it is the right temperature. If it doesn’t bubble at all, heat needs to be higher. If the oil splatters or the doughnut starts browning too quickly, heat needs to be turned down.
In a pyrex dish or large plate, combine around 2 cups of sugar with orange zest and combine lightly with a fork.
Using a slotted spoon, place 3-4 doughnuts into the oil. Allow to fry on each side around 40 seconds or until golden brown. Remove from oil and place onto a plate lined with paper towel. Once excess oil has been removed, roll in sugar-zest mixture while doughnuts are still warm so that the sugar sticks.
When all the doughnuts have been fried and sugared, begin to fill the doughnuts. Place the cranberry relish in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 20-30 seconds, just to soften slightly.
Fill pastry bag with a few heaping tablespoons of cranberry relish. If you don’t have a tip, you can just snip the corner of the pastry bag with a scissor.
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.
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.