We at the AJT share some of our favorite Chanukah and holiday recipes. Our recommendations range from traditional dishes to festive drinks.
My Grandmother’s Latkes
By Michael Morris
The key to making old world tasting potato latkes is using matzo meal instead of flour, generously. I fry my latkes in cast iron, but I think a hot nonstick pan works just as well. One of the reasons I use cast iron, I fry them on my outdoor grill – less splatter and my house doesn’t smell like a giant latke for a week. One more tip, I use thick-skinned Idaho style potatoes and I do not peel them. The skin adds a hearty flavor.
4 small or 3 medium or 2 large potatoes (more skin, more flavor)
1 large onion (I like onion, but you can use a smaller onion to suit your taste)
¾ to 1 cup matzo meal
Salt, to taste (I use a full teaspoon)
Vegetable oil or Smart Balance
My grandmother used a meat grinder for the potatoes and onions. I chop my potatoes and onions, coarse, in a Cuisinart. If the potato mix becomes watery, drain or soak some of the water out. Mix in the eggs, salt and enough matzo meal to make the mix stiff, but still fluid. As the potato mix sits, it may become a little more watery at this point, so just add more matzo meal. I fry silver dollar-size latkes and make them fairly crisp, but I know many people that like them a little more hearty.
Ladinsky’s Matzah Crunch
By Kaylene Ladinsky
4 sheets unsalted non-egg matzah
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
One 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
Coarse sea salt
Walnut or peanut pieces (optional)
Preheat oven to 250 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place matzah in an even layer on baking sheet and set aside. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add brown sugar and immediately reduce temperature to low. Cook, stirring and adjusting heat as necessary until sugar has completely dissolved and begins to bubble.
Drizzle toffee over matzah and spread to cover using a spatula. Optional: Sprinkle desired amount of nuts onto the matzah.
Bake toffee/nut-covered matzah until toffee has a rich, shiny sheen, 10 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Tent matzah with aluminum foil (to allow the chips to melt) and let stand 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove foil tent and spread melted chocolate over matzah to cover; sprinkle with sea salt. Transfer matzah to refrigerator and let chill at least 2 hours. Break chilled matzah into pieces and serve.
Matzah will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days at room temperature.
Tarragon Tuna and Pasta Bake (aka Tuna Noodle Casserole)
Submitted by Roni Robbins
This tuna noodle casserole is my go-to recipe when I need to prepare a meal for someone or bring a dish to a party. It’s easy to prepare, warm and comforting. Plus, it seems to be appreciated, especially in the winter, and can be a side dish or a meal in itself.
8 ounces dry pasta
1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons dried tarragon
½ teaspoon ground pepper
3 cans tuna
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 F. Cook pasta and then drain. Mix soup, milk, tarragon and pepper. Add tuna and pasta. Put in a prepared 13-by-9 dish. Sprinkle with cheese and paprika. Bake about 30 minutes or until heated through.
For a healthier recipe, you can also use reduced-fat soup and lowfat milk and only use ¼ cup of Parmesan. You can also add fresh mushrooms and other vegetables for added flavor and top with Corn Flakes. Enjoy!
Hungarian Zucchini Squash with Dill (Tokfozelek)
Submitted by Michal Bonell
This is a delicious alternative sauce for latkes my mother use to make.
6 zucchini squash
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup white vinegar
3 sprigs fresh dill
1 very small onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon flour
1 3/4 tablespoons sugar
Wash and peel the zucchini. Use a large-holed grater to shred the zucchini.
Put zucchini shreds in a small bowl. Add salt, vinegar and dill. Stir, then cover and chill (overnight if possible).
Place zucchini in a pot, then barely cover it with water. Add the onion slices, stir it, and cook. When the zucchini changes to a creamier color, it is done. Pour out the cooking liquid into a large container. Don’t throw it away yet, you might need it.
In a small bowl, mix the sour cream and flour.
Add the sour cream to the drained zucchini while stirring to avoid clumps. If too thick, thin it out by adding 1 tablespoon of sour cream, then one tablespoon of the cooking liquid that you set aside. Repeat until the desired consistency is achieved.
Next, add the sugar and remove the larger chunks of dill. Serve as a dip with latkes.
Submitted by Brenda Gelfand
This is a good dish for company and to go with latkes.
1 pound chicken breast, thinly sliced (about 4 pieces)
All-purpose flour, for coating
Tuscanini sea salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
½ cup oil
½ cup Baron Herzog Chenin Blanc or other white wine
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
¼ cup capers, rinsed
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Thin the sliced chicken breast by pounding between two pieces of plastic wrap. Season each side with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour, shaking off excess.
In a large skillet, heat ¼ cup of oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil sizzles, add 2 chicken breasts and fry until golden brown, about 3 or 4 minutes per side. Transfer them to a plate and add the remaining oil to the skillet. Fry the next two pieces of chicken until golden brown. Transfer to a plate.
Add the wine, lemon juice, lemon zest and capers to the pan. Bring to a boil and reduce the sauce by a third.
To serve, place the chicken on a serving dish or plate, pour the sauce over it, and garnish with parsley.
Note: This recipe works just as well with up to 1½ pounds of chicken. If you’re cooking for a larger crowd, increase the rest of the ingredients to match.
Recipe by: Sina Mizrahi
Source: Relish by Bina Magazine reprinted by kosher.com
By Sheri Okun
Hello Dollies have been a favorite in my family, and my nickname as a child was Dolly. I remember making these scrumptious treats with my mother for Thanksgiving, Chanukah and other holidays, and still do this with her, and my daughter.
Graham crackers (one sleeve or two cups crushed)
½ to ¾ cup butter melted or non-stick spray
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup shredded coconut
One can sweetened condensed milk
Chopped walnuts or pecans, if desired
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Crush the graham crackers in a ziplock bag. Usually one sleeve of graham crackers is enough. Melt butter on the stove or on low in the microwave. Mix the graham cracker crumbs with melted butter in a middle-sized bowl until evenly moistened. Press mixture into the bottom of the greased 9-by-9 or 9-by-13 baking dish.
Pour half of the can of sweetened condensed milk over the graham cracker crust and sprinkle chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, (chopped pecans or walnuts), and coconut into the crust. Drizzle remaining ½ can of condensed milk over the top.
Bake in the preheated oven until coconut edges are golden brown. Cool, cut into squares and serve.
Submitted by Lilli Jennison
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3/4 cup milk
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 shots of dark rum
Powdered sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 300 F. Grease Bundt pan well. Whisk the eggs.
In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar. Beat in the egg, lemon juice, lemon rind, 1 shot of rum and milk.
In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Beat into the creamed mixture. Place batter into the prepared pan.
Bake 1 ½ hours or until cake tests done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. As soon as you remove the cake from the oven, sprinkle the top evenly with the 1 shot of rum.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar if you like.
Source: Budget Savvy Diva, www.budgetsavvydiva.com
By Eddie Samuels
2 oz. bourbon or rye
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Hot water (about ½ cup)
Lemon twist or wedge, star anise pod and
cinnamon stick (for garnish)
Heat water in saucepan or kettle until boiling. Let cool about 2 minutes.
In a mug, combine whiskey, honey and lemon juice and stir thoroughly to dissolve honey. Top with hot water and stir to combine. Garnish with star anise, cinnamon and lemon.
Jen’s Holiday Cheer
By Jen Evans
2 ounces vodka
1 ounce Kahlua
2 ounces heavy cream or
½ ounce chocolate syrup
A piece of your favorite
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and pour into your favorite holiday glass.
Top with a piece of your favorite chocolate on a fun toothpick for your garnish.
By Martine Tartour
As Chanukah foods are deep-fried in oil, symbolizing the oil from the menorah used in the Temple, one of the Sephardic favorite recipe is fricassés, salted doughnuts filled with tuna, eggs, potatoes and of course, olive oil. Delicious!
Servings: 15 fricassés
4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking power
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk
Vegetable oil for frying
Combine flour, egg, sugar, baking powder and salt, and mix. Add milk slowly until all ingredients are combined.
Transfer dough onto a well-floured surface and knead gently until it forms a cohesive ball. If dough is too sticky, continue to work in flour until it is manageable.
Leave to rest dough for 1 hour, then knead it again.
Break off about 15 pieces of dough and roll them into smooth and tiny balls.
Fill a medium-size saucepan 2 inches deep with oil over medium-high heat. Heat oil to 350 F. When your oil has reached the temperature, very carefully fry your fricassés.
2 cooked potatoes
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 can tuna in oil
Black olives, chopped
When your fricassés are cold, open them, and stuff them with your ingredients.
Bunuelos (Sepharadic Chanukah donuts)
By Martine Tartour
My mother’s family is Sephardic from Istanbul. My grandmother used to speak Ladino, and cooked bunuelos for Chanukah. Certainly a recipe coming not only from Spain because you can find bunuelos in Columbia or Mexico, where they are cooked for Christmas.
Servings: 12 small bunuelos
1 cup corn starch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch each sugar, salt and pepper
2 tablespoons milk
Vegetable oil for frying
Mix all the ingredients (except the oil) thoroughly until the dough is homogenous and soft. Make the dough into golf ball-size or slightly larger balls, being careful not to squish the dough. Fry them in oil at 350 F.
Roll them in sugar. Serve with honey or marmalade on the side as a dip.
By Bob Bahr
For those looking for latkes with a minimum of oil and calories that come along with them, try making them in a waffle iron. Then top them with an imaginative combination of sweet and savory toppings, starting with smoked salmon and a dollop of sour cream or fig jam with a thin carrot slice.
2 cups shredded potato
1/2 cup minced onion
1 large egg, beaten
Salt and pepper
Mix potato, onion and salt in a bowl. Move to a sieve and let drain for about 15 minutes. Then squeeze any extra moisture out of the mixture. The drier the shredded potatoes, the crispier the latke. Add your egg and pepper, mixing to coat.
Heat your waffle iron (put on high if there is an option). Coat the iron with nonstick olive oil spray, then add two tablespoons of the mixture. Close the lid and let cook for about 6 to 8 minutes or until they’re golden brown. Give another quick spray with olive oil to finish.