Archive for the 'Chanukah' Category

Sufganiyot in Style


Chanukah in Israel is truly something to behold. The words Chanukah
Sameach or Happy Chanukah can be found printed on food packages, store
windows, and even in pixilated letters on the front of buses. There is
generally a happy festive air about but it is the sufganiyah or the
jelly doughnut that really makes it worth being in this country on
this holiday.

Bubbe Wendy’s Hanukkah Latkes (Fancy Wendy’s Hash Browns)

Thanks so much to our friends at Jewcy for sharing this really funny holiday post they put together with Erik of Fancy Fast Food, a super fun new food blog that performs “extreme makeovers of actual fast food items purchased at popular fast food restaurants.”

fancy latkes

Hey everybody, it’s Hanukkah! It’s Chanuka! No matter how you spell it, it’s time for the Jewish festival of lights — eight crazy nights of dreidels gone wild, a time when latkes are as abundant as old yentas around a mahjongg table. But you don’t need to be Jewish to partake in Hanukkah traditions, particularly the gastronomic treat of latkes (or lattkes). No matter how you spell it, “latkes” is Yiddish for fried pancakes, typically of the potato variety — making it oddly similar to McDonald’s hash browns. However, Bubbe Wendy has guilted us into using her Fancy Fast Food recipe (“If you just want to use McDonald’s hash browns, then I guess that’s fine by me…”), so here goes. Oy…

Sweet Potato Latkes

Cross-posted from Edible Torah

The best Jewish food recipe I ever found came to me not at a friends house, or at a cooking seminar, or while leafing through old cookbooks at my Bubbe’s house (which is where all my friends get them). No, I got my best recipe when I was covered in dust and spackle at 10:00 at night, halfway through a project to finish my basement.

Before I provide details (or the recipe), there are a few things about me that I would like to clarify:

Chag Sameach


We took this last year, looking out through our front window on our front yard under two feet of snow. For all you folks who get snow regularly in winter, this was an epic storm for Portlanders, the most snow we had in the city in 40 years. This year there’s no snow on the first night of Chanukah, but it’s plenty cold. Wherever you are, whatever weather you’ve got, chag sameach!

Yid.Dish: Homemade Applesauce

Homemade applesauce

It’s latke season, which also means it’s time to buy applesauce, dig out the applesauce you made in the fall, or make some from scratch now. This simple recipe fills up the house with a delicious aroma of cinnamon, and can easily be frozen in plastic or glass freezer containers to enjoy throughout the winter. Add a bit to your buttery sweet potato latkes,  parsnip carrot latkes, or spicy potato latkes; or have some plain as a snack – it’s delicious with granola or walnuts mixed it!

Great Idea: Parsnip Carrot Latkes

Here’s a colorful seasonal alternative to traditional potato latkes:

Take your favorite latke recipe and substitute an equal amount of shredded parsnips and carrots for the potatoes (if you want them to be even more colorful, you can also add shredded zucchini, if you don’t mind that zucchini isn’t seasonal this time of year for most of us). The result is a lighter, more flavorful latke, and the parsnips and carrots make for a sweeter, more complex flavor than traditional potato latkes. Not to mention you can pretend you’re eating healthier because you’re eating veggie latkes instead of all those carbs (just forget about the whole fried in oil part). Chag sameach!



Holiday accommodations span far wider than hotels and motels.

Whether a host, guest, family member, friend, neighbor, colleague, or otherwise, the holidays are a time when we are all brought together under many circumstances, and required to deal with each other in ways unlike most other days. It brings out the best and worst in everyone.  For me, it often feels like these decisions define me. I have always struggled in balancing truth with tact, and tend to be either far too blunt and direct or completely spineless. And of course I also struggle with wanting so very much to accommodate without compromising my principles or even identity.

An example from my own experience. One Passover, a couple showed up, stoned, and presented me with a cake. Not exactly the Elijah I was expecting. And this was a real, Italian bakery, flour and butter laden, gorgeous cake. I had no idea what to do. Part of me was humiliated, because they know I am observant. Part of me was terrified not to be a gracious host, or to spoil the otherwise wonderful occasion. Part of me (a really big part of me) wanted to slap them silly. So what did I do? I put it out on a non-Passover plate and kicked myself for the rest of the holiday. Not my greatest moment.

Yid.Dish: Aviva Allen’s Spicy Potato Latkes

Organic Kosher Cookbook

If you are looking for a Chanukah gift for a foodie (say… yourself!), or some new recipes for any of the Jewish holidays, then there’s a new book out that will be of help. Aviva Allen, author of the 2007 The Organic Kosher Cookbook, has just released a Holiday Edition. Ms. Allen provided me with a free copy for this interview and review.

Yid.Dish: Buttery Sweet Potato Latkes with Walnuts and Sage

Exotic Latkes! Nutrient-rich sweet potatoes and omega 3-packed walnuts plus frying in heart-healthy olive oil make these much healthier than regular latkes. An ice cream scoop makes latkes uniform in size and shape.  Frying in butter as well as oil adds an optional extra touch of miracle. Happy Hanukah!

Serves: 4 as a main course, more as an appetizer, easily multiplied
Total Time: 45 minutes (including chopping)

Culture in the Cucina: Dec 13

Jewish-style fried artichoke

Calling all New Yorkers!  If you’re around on Sunday, December 13th at 2pm, join me at this fun Jewish food event!

How Rome’s Jews are Cooking up the Past and Future

While Jews have lived in Italy since the 2nd century BCE and are credited with popularizing staple ingredients like eggplant, fennel and pumpkin, the notion of an “Italian Jewish cuisine” is difficult to define. Still, a handful of traditional dishes – like Carciofi alla Guidia (deep fried artichokes) and Pizza Ebraica (a fruit cake-like dessert) – have managed to endure over time.

Food writer, Leah Koenig, will discuss how certain traditional recipes have attained iconic status in Italy’s oldest and largest Jewish center, Rome. She will also explore how today’s urban Jews relate to their culinary heritage. New York’s Jews have their bagels, knish and egg creams. What dishes do Italians turn to when they need a nosh, and how do these foods connect them to their past and their future?  *Bonus! Italian Jewish Chanukah recipes and tips on where to find Jewish Italian food in NYC.

EVENT DETAILS and more photos of Rome’s delicious food culture below the jump…

Yid.Dish: Gelt-Ridden Mexican Hot Chocolate

Sunspire drops

Not everyone suffers from this problem, but I personally have leftover holiday candy. Mine is a half bag of Sunspire chocolate drops, which I bought as dreidel game “gelt.” It turns out you don’t need an entire 10-ounce bag of M&M wannabes to play a good game of dreidel, and being one of the only women on the planet who does not require frequent intake of chocolate (some kind of hormonal imbalance, I’m sure), I had these things sitting around for the past two weeks.

I did notice them sitting there and I did think about snacking on them. Somehow, though, I couldn’t get into the idea of crunching down on the sugary candy shells and the room temperature chocolate inside.

8 Hanukkah Gift, Party & Tzedakah Ideas You Can Sink Your Teeth Into


While I’m having trouble wrapping my head around the fact that Hanukkah is here again (time really flew since last year’s latke fry), I do have an assortment of gift, party, and tzedakah ideas in mind for this year’s Festival of Lights.  Here are eight suggestions—one for each night.

Seasons’ Greetings and Eatings


(x-posted from Lilith)

We’ve made it to the final stretch of the “holiday season” (read: the inclusive euphemism for Christmas and New Year’s Eve). Despite Nigel’s insistence that, “no one says Merry Christmas in America” (he’s from England where supposedly everyone says Merry Christmas as if they have a tic), the holidays – and particularly Christmas – can literally be felt, regardless of one’s religious beliefs.

This phenomenon holds particularly true with food. No matter that Chanukah celebrations peaked half a month ago – holiday food is ubiquitous. From late November through New Year’s Eve, red-and-green wrapped chocolates seem to pop up out of nowhere. Alcohol, cookies, pie, and heavily salted snacks also take on “how-did-that-get-into-my-hand?” properties. And whether you spent Christmas dinner with friends or celebrated the “Jewish way” with Chinese food and a movie, holiday foods have a tendency to find their way, often in excess, into our mouths.

The Grinch Who Stole the Latkes

GrinchA cute poem by Rabbi Ed Feinstein, hat tip to Danya at Jewschool for this:

Oh the Jews of old Jewville, just loved holidays,
And kept them religiously, in all of their ways.

On Rosh Hashana, they ate apples and honey
Then came to the Temple, all dressed in Armani.

On holy Yom Kippur, they prayed and they fasted
Through rabbis’ long sermons, they kvetched but they lasted;
Till Neila was over, and proclaimed Cantor Fox:
“Go home and break fast, on bagels and lox!”