Monday, November 18, 2013

A Few Recipes That'll Work for Thanksgiving and Chanukah

Supermarket centerpiece: roses, and mint from the produce department

Here's a link to last week's newspaper column:

I was lucky to spend a half  hour last Thursday talking to Ellen Thurston and Tom DePietro during their afternoon program on WGXC.  I took  an intermission from my usual monthly appearance, when I feature a single item of food , "How to Build a Pantry, One Ingredient at a Time" - and instead talked about the delicious confluence of two joyous holidays; Thanksgiving, and the first day of Chanukah.  This happy collision in time will not occur again for thousands of years.  Thanksgiving is always on the 4th Thursday of November, and because the Hebrew calendar is two weeks shorter than the one we use, the Gregorian calendar, you can only imagine the numerical combinations that need to click into place in order for us to celebrate a feast to give thanks for our country, and one to give thanks for  oil that lit the temple lamp, on the same day, again.

During my radio chat I spoke about many recipes that are holiday-interchangeable and mentioned that I would post some of them on this blog.


Pancakes are latkes - Latkes are pancakes.  Latkes are the emblematic Chanukah food.  Chanukah, the festival of Lights is the celebration of  oil (!!!) that seemed only to be enough to light the temple for one day after it was destroyed by invading Syrians more than 2,000 years ago - but, instead, it lasted for 8 days. As a reminder of the miracle, part of Chanukah celebrations include food that have been cooked in oil.  No food is more popular than potato latkes.
Crisp and savory - they accompany other dishes perfectly.   Latkes are classically made with starchy white potatoes.  Their starch helps to hold the pancakes together.  I experimented for a bit to come up with a recipe that would hold non-starchy sweet potatoes together.  It's important that the pancakes are flattened so that they can cook all the way through.  Make them a bit larger if you like.  A platter piled high with these crunchy, sweet, salty and herbaceous latkes will be just the right addition to your holiday table.

makes about 50 2-inch pancakes
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
1 onion, grated
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh sage
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups corn oil
1.    In a large bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, onion, sage, eggs, flour, salt, and cayenne.  Stir with a wooden spoon to thoroughly blend.
2.   In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the corn oil.  When the butter starts to brown, begin to cook the pancakes:  Put a scant 1/4 cup of the mixture into the palm of your hand and flatten, forming a small 2-inch disk.  Fry up to 5 pancakes at a time in the skillet.  (The butter adds a nice flavor to the pancakes, but will also create foam. Five pancakes will all you'll be able to see at a time.)  Use a butter spreader (which acts as mini spatula) to flip the little pancakes and fry for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side, or until brown and crisp.  Remove to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.  Keep warm on a serving platter in a 200 degrees F. oven until all the mixture is cooked.  Serve hot with  sour cream and cranberry sauce, or applesauce.


I developed this recipe for Bon Appetit magazine over 10 years ago.   The popularity of pomegranate products has considerably increased since this recipe was published.  It seems downright timely.

Serves 6 - 8

6 cups water
1 celery stalk, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 carrot, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
 1 onion, coarsely chopped
4 fresh parsley sprigs
1 11- to 12- pound turkey; neck, heart, and gizzard reserved
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 lemon, quartered
1 onion, quartered
10 fresh mint sprigs
3 tablespoon chilled, unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1.   Combine the water, celery, carrot, onion, parsley, and reserved neck, heart and gizzard in a saucepan.   Simmer over medium heat.  Simmer until giblet broth is reduced to 3 3/4 cups, about 1 hour.  Strain; discard solids.
2.   Position rack in bottom third of oven and heat to 400 degrees F.   Rinse turkey inside and out and pat dry.   Whisk orange juice, pomegranate molasses, salt and red pepper flakes in a small bowl to blend for glaze.   Place turkey on rack in a heavy large roasting pan.  Starting at neck end, carefully slide hand between skin and breasts, thighs, and legs to loosen skin.  Using a pastry brush or hand, apply a thin coat of pomegranate glaze over meat under skin.  Stuff main cavity with lemon, quartered onion, and mint.  Tuck wing tips under; tie legs together loosely.  Brush turkey with some of remaining glaze.
3.  Roast turkey 20 minutes.  Pour 1 cup giblet broth into the pan; brush turkey with glaze.   Roast 20 minutes; brush with glaze.  Roast 20 minutes.  Add 1 cup broth to pan, brush with glaze, and cover turkey loosely with foil.   Roast 20 minutes.  Brush with glaze and reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.   Continue to roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh registers 175 degrees F., brushing with glaze every 20 minutes, about 1 hour 10 minutes longer, about 2 1/2 hours total.
4.   Transfer turkey to a platter.  Tent loosely with foil.  Let stand 30 minutes (internal temperature will increase 5 to 10 degrees).
Meanwhile, tilt roasting pan and spoon fat from surface of juices.  Add 1 cup giblet broth to pan.   Place pan over 2 burners.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, scraping up browned bits.   Add chilled butter and simmer until gravy is smooth, whisking.  Season with salt and pepper.  serve turkey with gravy.


This recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, "Classic Italian Jewish Cooking"  (Ecco, 2005).   Author, Edda Servi Machlin says, "Riso coll'uvetta is an ancient Venetian dish prepared mainly during Chanukah.  It has an interesting taste, but is not for every palate."
I like it very ,and I like how it contrasts with savory dishes.

Serves 6

 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 cups short-grain rice
1/2 cup dark, seedless raisins
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups hot broth or water
black pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Add the garlic, parsley, and rice.   Cook over high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the garlic begins to discolor.  Add the raisins and salt.  Add the hot broth or water, 1/4 cup at a time, and continue to cook, uncovered , over high heat until the rice is done, about 15 minutes in all.  Taste for salt and pepper and add if necessary.  Serve hot or at room temperature.


Just waiting to be made into tasty treats.  The tomatoes were picked green about a month ago.  I think I'll try them out soon.  Maybe on toast with sliced avocadoes?

No comments:

Post a Comment