Flowers!! When was the last time you got flowers for no reason – opened the door and there they were (address given on request.) But one of the things we love to do on the holidays is send a gift to a friend or family member who we unfortunately won’t be with that year that becomes a part of their holiday season, so you’re sort of there even though you’re not!
A holiday floral arrangement for the living room or as a centerpiece (and if you’re as behind in your holiday shopping as I am) – it’s a simple and beautiful gift!
Yes, they are our advertiser but we’re weird and we only take advertisers we love and the Teleflora holiday arrangements (or roses if you prefer) are spectacular, reliable, and will still GET THERE in time for Xmas!!! Click on the pic to get 20% off the Christmas bouquet of your choice!
I was never walked into a temple. Never. Not by my dad, the Jew. I thought being Jewish meant eating lox, bagel & cream cheese in a deli. Because that’s what my dad, the non-religious Jew told me. When we ate at Nate n’ Al’s, he would announce loudly as he seemed to be pointing to the food, “We’re Jews!!!”
I sang with my friend Cindy Lou Carlson in her church for the Christmas pageant. Those rehearsals alone put me in a church more times than I was ever in a temple – at least until my kids and step-kids became B’nai Mitzvah.
I’m assuming my mom was some sort of Christian, but your guess is as good as mine. She never walked us into a church and never spoke of any religion. So, there you go, two parents – one gentile, one Jewish – who offered zero religious guidance. We called ourselves half-and-half. This was pretty commonplace in Beverly Hills, though each family would often choose a side and go to temple or church. Christmas or Chanukah.
We celebrated Christmas, tree and all. Show business was up and down and some years we had big-time gifts. The trees were bigger in those years. At other times we might have skimpy trees with few gifts.
My recipe is the one my mother and now I have been making for years. I mean years and years. It came from one of my mom’s best friends Roz Katz. Mom and Roz met as co-op nursery school mothers. The Katzs still grate the potatoes by hand using the old fashioned grater that is like a grid. I’m in a hurry so I use a food processor.
– Evan Kleiman
For dinner on the first night of Hanukkah my mother always started with a romaine lettuce salad topped with scallions and Lawry's French Dressing. Then there was a brisket of beef with carrots and mushroom gravy. But the real stars of the meal were the latkes served with apple sauce and sour cream.
My mother's latke recipe was handed down from her mother: grated potatoes, eggs, flour, a little salt and pepper. She'd fry them in vegetable oil and serve them as soon as they were browned. So simple and yet the result was so soul-comforting: crispy on the outside, soft inside, with just the right amount of oil and salt. There are few dishes that are as satisfying as food and so emotionally evocative.
Like most kids, my sister, Barbara, and I waited eagerly at the table. As soon as the plate full of latkes was passed around, we emptied it. I kept count, because I didn't want her to have more than I did. They were that good. When my grandmother was in town, she and my mother made Hanukkah dinner together. Their relationship was competitive to say the least, so there was always considerable discussion about the right way to make the latkes: flour vs. matzo meal; onions or no onions. My grandmother liked to point out that she had given my mother her latkes recipe but my mom insisted that she hadn't remembered it correctly.
I’ve tried many brisket recipes and this has become a longtime favorite. The method comes from a Cooks Illustrated recipe that requires a few hours of unattended cooking, as well as advance preparation. After cooking, the brisket must stand overnight in the braising liquid that later becomes the sauce; this helps to keep the brisket moist and flavorful.
Defatting the sauce is essential. If the fat has congealed into a layer on top of the sauce, it can be easily removed while cold. Sometimes, however, fragments of solid fat are dispersed throughout the sauce; in this case, the sauce should be skimmed of fat after reheating.
If you prefer a spicy sauce, increase the amount of cayenne to 1/4 teaspoon. You will need 18-inch-wide heavy-duty foil for this recipe. If you own an electric knife, it will make easy work of slicing the cold brisket. You may substitute matzo meal or potato starch for the flour in this recipe.
Homemade, doughnuts and fritters are the absolute best. They far surpass any "donut" shop doughnuts. When I'm in the mood for doughnuts but don't have the patience to wait for dough to rise, I like to make fritters. They fulfill my craving as fast as I can fry them. Their crispy fried exterior and fluffy interior are what make them a favorite sweet treat for many people. A batch of fritters is very easy to put together and they are great for any occasion. But they make a special treat for Hanukkah, which is celebrated with fried foods like latkes and fritters.
The interesting thing about fritters is that you can find versions of them in many cultures throughout Europe, Asia, and South America. Greeks have Loukoumades, which are balls of fried dough doused in honey syrup. The French have beignets. Italians have zeppole. In Spain and Latin America there are buñuelos. In India there are gulab jamun, balls soaked in spiced sugar syrup. In the United States you can find apple fritter rings, which look just like doughnuts. I'd like to think it possible that the original recipe for fritters made its way through all the different cultures, who then adapted it to their liking.
I'm wishing a Happy Hanukkah to all of our Jewish friends. Since Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days the Jewish people celebrate with foods that include oil.
Fried foods like potato pancakes (“latkas” in Yiddish) and doughnuts (“sufganiyot” in Hebrew) are traditional Hanukkah treats because they are cooked in oil and remind the Jewish people of the miracle of the holiday. So why not an olive oil cake!! Instead of butter, oil is used to create this beautiful dessert. And best of all, no mixer is required. We also have some other great Hanukkah recipes for you to enjoy.
And the tangerine glaze…wow. I have a whole bowl of Satsumas on the counter, and they are as juicy as can be. Perfect to squeeze and bake into this cake and glaze.
On the first night of Hanukkah, I wanted to make something representative of our holiday. On the nights that we are not entertaining friends and family for dinner, we are invited to others for food and fun.
With that said, I wanted to make cookies that everyone could enjoy. I doubled the recipe and then cut out 3 1/2″ stars. After freezing the rolled dough, I cut them into shapes and froze once again (I find the cookies keep their shape when baking when I do it this way). When I was ready to bake them I sprinkled with turbinado sugar and added some white non-perils.
I had so many cookies that I decided to make cream sandwiches out of half of them. I whipped up a batch of the best white chocolate ganache. These were absolutely delicious!
My large yellow teapot never moves from my kitchen counter. The inside has never been washed as long as I have had it and the brown build-up inside it is beautifully, perfect from years of steeping Darjeeling. If only Miss Sexton could see it. She would appreciate the years of brown stain from calcification build-up on the inside and be so proud that she is the reason it’s there. The inside of my teapot looks just like Miss Sexton’s teapot and it makes me happy and proud to have known her and I appreciate how she taught me to love tea as much as her.
I didn’t always drink Darjeeling. Miss Sexton and I drank loose Red Rose tea steeped in her English bone china teapot decorated with pale blue flowers and sparkling highlights of gold. It was beautiful and she used it everyday like it reminded her of someone.
Before I met our neighbor, Miss Sexton, I drank tea alone not wanting anyone knowing how much tea I drank when I was three years old. I told my mother so often how much I loved tea she began to worry. She lecture me constantly, “you’ll stunt your growth and be short all your life,” like being short was a bad thing caused by excessive tea drinking and not genetics. I was more willing to be short then to give up drinking tea. I continued to brew my Lipton tea, buying my own boxes with my allowance, drinking it behind my closed bedroom door. I loved the bright orange color. The taste was delicate with a rainbow of flavor like nothing else and all my dolls liked it as much as me. They always asked for seconds.
Hugo Ortega's Street Food of Mexico rocks! And if you are planning a holiday cocktail party and want a break from pigs in blankets and crab cakes, this book is all you need!
One cannot be in Houston without swooning over a Hugo Ortega restaurant. Delicious evenings can be spent at the foodie delight, Backstreet Café, or his original - Hugo’s, but my favorite is Caracol – the best Coastal Mexican restaurant in the world. (See One for the Table review in archives)
Mexican street food, in this book, is not just the simple taco that comes to mind. Ortega traveled the breadth of Mexico re-discovering the local foods of his homeland, giving us delicious and unexpected recipes. Just scanning the pages of Street Food of MEXICO is a sensual treat.
I have never seen a book with more surprises: Mitchelada con camarones (Spicy Beer Cocktail with Shrimp), Salbutes con pato en recado negro (Thick Tortillas Topped with Duck in a Black Seasoning Paste), Guajolotas (Tamal Stuffed Sandwiches from Mexico City}, Ensalada de jumiles con nopales (fresh Crawfish and Cactus Salad), Camotes Poblanos (Sweet Potato Candied Rolls)… it goes on of course!
I went to storage and found my mother's recipe for Holiday Fruit Cake. A lot of people think of fruitcake as something to use for a doorstop, but this is not your average fruitcake. It's really delicious.
My mother would make it for the holidays for a handful of people, including Leonard, who loved it and looked forward to it every year.
Here's a scan of it written out in her handwriting as a 2-page pdf (which you can download here). She used a check mark instead of a quotation mark for "same as above", and medium dry cherry should be 'sherry'.)
She usually baked it in round bundt cake type pans with a hole in the middle. Leftover mix would be baked in a normal loaf pan.
Sharon Robinson is a singer, music producer and Grammy winning songwriter, as well as author of "On Tour with Leonard Cohen, photographs by Sharon Robinson" (powerHouse). Sharon’s mother, Mildred Robinson, was a well-known caterer and restauranteur in Beverly Hills during the ‘60s and ‘70s. Sharon's new Album, Caffeine, will be released in early 2015.
When I worked in a gourmet retail store as a teenager, I got a chance to try many delectable things. I sampled high quality chocolates imported from Europe, pistachios from Iran, Alice Medrich's mammoth truffles, and panforte made by Margaret Fox of Cafe Beaujolais. I'll never forget those heavy round thick loaves, wrapped in dark red or green cellophane. Thin chewy slices served with or tea or alongside cheese seemed so sophisticated. It was definitely the best fruitcake I ever tasted.
My parents made panforte too and last year I realized it would be the perfect thing to make with a surplus of candied lemon peel. My recipe uses rice flour instead of wheat flour, which means it is gluten free! If you have nuts in your freezer, and they weren't bought this season, they are probably from last season and now is a good time to finish them off.
Like the perfume of freshly squeezed orange juice or the whisps of flavor that float on the air when chicken soup is simmering, the smell of melting chocolate and almonds softens my resolve not to eat just one of what I am planning to make: chocolate rocks.
They couldn't be easier. Or more forgiving. Or more interesting to experiment with. Caramelize some whole almonds, and hide one inside. Chocolate rocks are prefect for hiding things. A raisin. A hazelnut. Dried cherries or cranberries. Minced orange peel. Before you put them in the refrigerator, sprinkle them with fleur de sel. Or roll them in grated coconut. Cinnamon dust. Star dust. Whatever you have. And the best of all is that they take just minutes to make.
by Reagan Walker
There's no better time of year to bless the ties that bind. Holidays are about traditions, and the very definition of tradition is "an inherited or customary pattern of thought, belief or action" --- those ideas and rituals, large and small, passed on from generation to generation.
For me, it just isn't Christmas without one good carol singing...Read more...
by Irena Medavoy
There are moments during the holiday season where recipes are true soul food. Instead of feeling sadness about the ones we have lost and are no longer seated at the table sharing the day with us, we can feel happiness by knowing how loved we were by recreating their favorite recipes that they would make for us.
This Russian Caviar Pie is a...Read more...
by Brenda Athanus
Here in Maine we await a "super storm" that is huge and rushing across the United States, or so they say. Six to twelve inches of snow, turning to freezing rain with high winds. Sounds like Winter weather in Maine, not too unusual. It isn't the size of the storm it's what you find to make it fun that counts and I have a plan to enjoy it! In...Read more...
Winter in Wyoming
by Laura Johnson