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Hanukkah

Can the Plony family get ready for an unexpected Hanukkah visit with only an hour’s notice? 

Hanukkah is a joyous time of year – full of light, fun, and cool new projects.

The Latkatini - A Hanukkah Cocktail

By: 
Tina Wasserman

I originally created horseradish vodka to serve with gefilte fish at my Passover seder.  Thinking about what this flavor evokes in Jewish cuisine and thinking about the foods we customarily eat for Hanukkah, I created this Hanukkah cocktail.  The Latkatini mirrors the ingredients in latkes with applesauce, and the milk stands in for sour cream.  All that’s missing is the onion!

Chag urim sameach, Happy Festival of Lights!

Ingredients: 
.......................................................................
LATKATINIS:
½ cup sugar
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon rosewater
3/4 cup unfiltered apple juice or cider
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2-3 tablespoons plain or horseradish potato vodka (recipe below)
1/3 cup milk or milk substitute
¼ cup Hungry Man mashed potato flakes
1 cup of ice
Baharat or cinnamon for garnish
.......................................................................
HORSERADISH VODKA
4-inch piece of horseradish
2 cups potato vodka
Directions: 

Vodka Latkatinis

  1. To make the rosewater simple syrup, combine the sugar and water in a 1-quart saucepan.  Bring to a boil and stir once or twice until the liquid is clear. Boil for 1 minute, remove from heat and stir in the rosewater. Pour into a clean jar and store in the refrigerator until needed.  
  2. Combine 1 tablespoon of the rosewater simple syrup with the next five ingredients in a blender. Blend until combined. Let mixture rest for a minute or two to allow the potato flakes to hydrate.
  3. Add the ice to the blender and blend on high until ice is totally incorporated. If necessary add a little more apple juice for desired consistency.Pour into martini glasses and sprinkle with some baharat or cinnamon as a garnish.

Horseradish Vodka

  1. Peel a 4-inch piece of horseradish. Rinse.
  2. Using a vegetable peeler or a julienne peeler/shredder, shred about ¼ cup.
  3. Place shredded horseradish in a quart jar and add at least 2 cups of potato vodka (I prefer Titos).
  4. Let the jar of infused vodka sit on your counter for at least two days but preferably four.
  5. Refrigerate with the horseradish until needed.
Tina's Tidbits: 
  • Rosewater simple syrup will last for months in the refrigerator.

The Bloody Maccabeet - A Hanukkah Cocktail

By: 
Tina Wasserman

I originally created horseradish vodka to serve with gefilte fish at my Passover seder.  Thinking about what this flavor evokes in Jewish cuisine and thinking about the foods we customarily eat for Hanukkah, I created this colorful and delicious Hanukkah cocktail. 

Chag urim sameach, Happy Festival of Lights!

Ingredients: 
............................................................................
BLOODY MACCABEET:
15 ounce can Julienne beets
1 ½ cups tomato juice
3-4 tablespoons honey (according to taste)
Juice from 2 medium limes
½-3/4 cup horseradish-flavored potato vodka (recipe below)
Zatar
............................................................................
HORSERADISH VODKA:
4-inch piece of horseradish
2 cups potato vodka
............................................................................
Directions: 

Bloody Maccabeet

  1. Place the contents of the can in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Add the tomato juice, honey, lime juice, and vodka to the blender and blend well.
  3. Pour into 4-6 highball glasses over ice.
  4. Garnish with zatar and serve.

Horseradish Vodka

  1. Peel a 4-inch piece of horseradish. Rinse.
  2. Using a vegetable peeler or a julienne peeler/shredder, shred about ¼ cup.
  3. Place shredded horseradish in a quart jar and add at least 2 cups of potato vodka (I prefer Titos).
  4. Let the jar of infused vodka sit on your counter for at least two days but preferably four.
  5. Refrigerate with the horseradish until needed.
Tina's Tidbits: 
  •  I often serve a shot of this vodka at my Passover seder with the gefilte fish.  Mini “Maccabeet” shots could be served as well!

Peanut Butter Gelt Cookies

By: 
Deborah R. Prinz

This easy recipe incorporates and maintains the shape of the gelt on top of the cookie. Not only is the cookie delicious with the chocolate, it also highlights the gelt.

Ingredients: 
1 cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth; do not use old-fashioned or freshly ground)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
Approximately 35 chocolate Hanukkah gelt (preferably organic, fair trade)
Directions: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets.
  2. Beat the peanut butter, sugar, and egg together.
  3. Shape the dough in rounds with flat tops the size of the gelt.
  4. Bake for about 12 minutes.
  5. Remove the cookies from the oven, cool slightly on the pan, then gently press one piece of gelt into the center of each cookie.
  6. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
     

Reprinted with permission from On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao (2nd Edition) by Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz.

Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz speaks about chocolate and Jews around the world. The newly released 2nd Edition of her book, On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao, (Jewish Lights) contains 25 historical and contemporary recipes. She is co-curator of the exhibit, “Semi[te] Sweet: On Jews and Chocolate” at Temple Emanu-El’s Herbert and Eileen Bernard Museum of Judaica, NYC, on display through February 25, 2018. She blogs at The Forward, The Huffington Post and onthechocolatetrail.org. The book is used in adult study, classroom settings, book clubs and chocolate tastings.

Latkes with Gravlax

By: 
Michael Solomonov

Chef Michael Solomonov was a featured speaker at the Union for Reform Judaism's 2017 Biennial in Boston, December 2017.

It seems weird to admit that I had to work at a northern Italian restaurant to learn how to make great latkes (sorry, Mom). The trick is to use pure potato. There is more than enough starch in the potatoes to bind the latkes without using egg or flour (which make them less crispy and more dense). Potatoes can handle much more salt than seems reasonable, so make sure to taste your mixture (or fry off a small test latke) before you cook up a bland batch. Starchy things like to stick to the pan, so let the latkes cook undisturbed for a few minutes and the crust will set up and release on its own. A cast iron pan is ideal; but if you’re scared, a nonstick skillet is foolproof. I make one big latke here, but you can make many small ones, too.

Pairing cured salmon with latkes is almost a cliché, but for good reason. Gravlax is elegant and super simple to make. The hardest part is actually slicing it into thin ribbons. I’ve found that freezing it for just 15 minutes makes the slicing much easier. Use a long sharp knife held at a very shallow angle to the surface of the gravlax and draw the knife through it from heel to tip. Placing the flat open palm of your other hand on the surface of the fish will ensure a thin, even slice.

Ingredients: 
.................................................................
GRAVLAX
¼ cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup chopped fresh dill
1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, skin and pin bones removed
.................................................................
LATKE
2 russet potatoes, peeled and shredded (about 3½ cups)
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
Canola oil, for frying
.................................................................
Sour cream, for serving
Minced fresh chives, for serving
Directions: 

For the Gravlax

  1. Combine the salt, sugar, and dill in a small bowl.
  2. Lay a large sheet of plastic wrap in a baking dish and sprinkle half the salt-sugar mixture down the center.
  3. Put the salmon on top of the salt sugar mixture and cover with the rest of the salt-sugar mixture. Wrap the salmon tightly in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for 48 hours to cure, turning the fish over a few times.
  4. Rinse the excess salt-sugar mixture off the salmon and thinly slice to serve. Refrigerated, gravlax will keep for a week. 

For the Latke

  1. Toss the potatoes with the salt and wring them out in a clean towel to remove excess water.
  2. Put ¼ inch oil in a large skillet. Spoon the potatoes into the cold oil in the pan in a single layer and flatten with the back of a spatula. Turn the heat to medium and cook the latke undisturbed until a deep golden crust forms on the bottom, about 15 minutes, pressing occasionally with the spatula.
  3. Flip the latke onto a plate and add more oil to the skillet. Slide the latke back into the hot skillet, uncooked side down. Cook on the second side until deep golden brown, about 8 more minutes. 
  • Slice the latke into wedges, top with gravlax slices, sour cream, and chives, and serve.

    Excerpted with permission from ZAHAV by Michael Solomonov. Copyright © 2015 by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook. Photography © 2015 by Mike Persico. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

    Chef Michael Solomonov was born in Israel and grew up in Pittsburgh. He and Steven Cook are the co-owners of CookNSolo Restaurants, home to some of Philadelphia's most distinctive culinary concepts, including Zahav, Federal Donuts, Abe Fisher, Dizengoff, Rooster Soup Co., and Goldie. They are a combined four-time James Beard Award Winners, including the 2016 "Best International Cookbook" and "Book of the Year" awards for their first cookbook, Zahav, and a 2011 "Best Chef Mid-Atlantic" win for Solomonov and who in May, was named the 2017 JBF's "Outstanding Chef".

Vegan Baked Potato Latkes

By: 
Mark Reinfeld

No Hanukkah meal would be complete without latkes, or potato pancakes. Of Eastern European origin and traditionally made with eggs, we use ground flaxseeds to hold everything together. Please see below for a few of the many variations that are possible. Take a break from spinning the dreidel and serve with vegan sour cream or apple sauce.

Learn more about Jewish veganism.

Ingredients: 
LATKES
1 large russet potato, peeled and grated (2 cups)
1/4 cup minced yellow onion
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon white spelt flour
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds mixed with 3 tablespoons water
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 teaspoon paprika (optional; try smoked)
....................................
VEGAN SOUR CREAM
3/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (Vegenaise or homemade)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh dill, or a pinch of dried dill (optional)
Directions: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Oil a baking sheet well. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. You can speed this process up by using the grater attachment on a food processor for the potatoes.
  2. Scoop about 1/4 cup of the mixture for each latke onto the prepared baking sheet. Flatten to about 1/4 inch thick. Bake for 8 minutes.
  3. Flip the pancakes and bake until golden brown, about 8 minutes, before serving.
  4. Combine the vegan sour cream ingredients in a small bowl and stir well.

​Variations

So many are possible!

  • Make smaller latkes by using 2 tablespoons instead of 1/4 cup of the batter for each pancake.
  • Replace 1 cup of grated potato with grated sweet potato or yam.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of minced fresh dill, parsley, or basil.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped green onion.
  • Add 1 pressed or minced garlic clove and 1/2 teaspoon of seeded and diced chile pepper.
  • Add 1/2 cup of peeled and grated parsnip or carrot.
  • Create Italian latkes by adding 1 tablespoon of Italian spice mix.
  • Go Mexican by adding 1 tablespoon of minced fresh cilantro and 1 teaspoon each of chile powder and ground cumin.
  • Add 1/2 cup of grated vegan cheddar or mozzarella-style cheese for an over-the-top latke experience.
  • For a gluten-free version, replace the spelt flour with brown rice flour.

If You Have More Time

  • Allow the batter to sit for at least 10 minutes before shaping the pancakes and baking.
  • For traditional latkes, you can fry the pancakes in a liberal amount of oil. Cook until both sides are golden brown, about 5 minutes, pressing down with a spatula and flipping occasionally to ensure even coating. Place on a paper towel after frying, to absorb some of the oil.

Mark Reinfeld is a multi-award winning chef and author of seven books, including the best selling 30 Minute Vegan series and his latest book, Healing the Vegan Way. Mark has over 20 years of experience preparing creative vegan and raw cuisine. Since 2012, he has served as the Executive Chef for the North American Vegetarian Society's Summerfest. He has offered consulting services for clients such as Google, Whole Foods, and Bon Appetit Management. Mark was the founding chef of The Blossoming Lotus Restaurant, voted "Best Restaurant on Kaua'i."

With eight nights to celebrate, Hanukkah is a wonderful holiday for families to enjoy together – especially if there are teens in the house or in your extended family.

Hanukkah recounts the story of a great miracle and a great triumph, offering parents a wonderful opportunity to teach children to celebrate the miracles in their own lives as well as to be the light in someone else’s darkness.

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