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.
The Hanukkah crown, to be worn by the person most representing the spirit of the holiday, this year would have to go to Leah Adler, the proprietor of the Milky Way, famous for being the best upscale kosher restaurant in Beverly Hills, and because it’s owner, Leah Adler, also happens to be Steven Spielberg’s mom.
Opened over 30 years ago, the Milky Way is in its second location, neatly tucked away in the Jewish strip of Pico Blvd., and is charming and inviting from the get go. The dining room is fitted with comfy red leather booths, the tables are set with white tablecloths and oversized well-framed posters of her son’s movies hang everywhere. Looking up from a yummy cheese blintz one can see a picture of ET riding in the bicycle basket or Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler. Even without several dozen family photos crammed on top of the bar, (in this case many with smiling celebrities and politicians) the place would feel like you were visiting your favorite Jewish aunt’s house for dinner.
One is awed by the life force of Leah Adler. She stands no more than five feet tall, if that, and at ninety-three is as alert as her radiant eyes are blue. She has worn her hair shorter than Mia Farrow’s ever was, forever. Short and still buttercup yellow, it frames the face of this beautiful leprechaun. Beaming her eyes directly into yours, she welcomes one to her restaurant the way she has for years, stopping at every booth to bestow a smile, she flashes her headlights and greets her guests.
From the LA Times
As a child in Hebrew school, I was taught the story of the Hanukkah miracle: When the Jews in the land of Israel defeated the foreigners, the priests seeking to rekindle the temple's eternal light found enough ritually pure oil for only one day. Miraculously that oil lasted for eight days.
Since then, Jews have been celebrating Hanukkah every year by lighting candles every day for eight days. Children in Israel play with dreidels inscribed with the first Hebrew letters of the phrase "a big miracle happened here"; in Washington, D.C., my birthplace, our dreidels had the first letters of "a big miracle happened there."
Until I lived in Israel, I associated the holiday with latkes, or potato pancakes. But when I moved there I discovered that for many Israelis, sufganiyot, or jelly doughnuts, are the favorite Hanukkah treat. I also realized that the connection of such foods to Hanukkah is the oil in which they are fried.
What we hadn't learned in Hebrew school was that the oil of the Hanukkah miracle was olive oil. In ancient Israel, olive oil was used for lighting lamps, for religious rituals and for cooking. Based on archaeological evidence, the land of Israel was an olive oil production center.
Eating potato pancakes carry many childhood memories for me, especially of summers spent with my paternal grandparents in the countryside of Hungary. I can almost clearly remember myself in the garden right outside the kitchen door, eating them as my mother brought them out, one by one, slathered with jelly or applesauce.
Popular throughout Eastern Europe, potato pancakes are also known as latkes in Yiddish, and are traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. They can be enjoyed as a sweet treat or a savory appetizer when served with sour cream. The purists like them plain, but I can eat them every which way. The key with these pancakes is to eat them as soon as they are fried because they are only as good as they are hot and fresh.
In this recipe I use a combination of shredded root vegetables, such as sunchokes from the Union Square Greenmarket, potatoes, and carrots. All provide a variety of flavor and texture. Sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes—though they're neither native to Jerusalem nor related to artichokes, are knobby ginger-like tubers with a slightly sweet and nutty flavor.
These cookies I hold near and dear to my being. When I was with my grandma, I could simply be me. I could be my sweet self, I could be my bratty self, I could be my intuitive self, and I could be my quiet self. We had a special relationship. I was the youngest of 7 grandchildren and my childhood was riddled with illness.
I was ALWAYS sick. I was hospitalized with collapsed lungs at the age of 12 and after 20 days, I was released. It was the beginning of summer and that summer, I mostly spent in the house, in bed. I went into the hospital weighing 77 pounds and came out 25 pounds lighter.
My grandma came over every day and made sure I ate. She made me all of my favorite foods; her pasta, chicken and dumplings, matzoh brie (a matzoh version of french toast), egg noodles with cottage cheese + salt (I know, it sounds gross-but it is really good), and so much more. These cookies were in our cookie jar everyday and these cookies make me happy.
As I light the menorah tonight, I will light the candles in honor of my grandma, whom I think about all the time. She gave me a gift, the gift of unconditional love.
I don’t make a lot of kugels. I don’t make them because my kids don’t really eat them and as much as I want to eat the whole tray, it would take me a month to work off the calories. My grandma used to make them all the time. What I loved most about her kugels were the left overs.
The following day, for breakfast, she would cut off a slice, put some butter in a saute pan and literally pan fry the slice of kugel. Like the kugel really needs anymore butter than it already has. Yet, it is a childhood memory that is rests comfortably on my tastes buds.
My sister-in-law, Tammy is the official kugel creator in our family. She makes them all time and her 3 kids devour it. Tonight, my kids experienced kugel for one of the first times (in the past, they have turned their noses up at it). They are kugel converts. This kugel would make anyone a convert!
I am guilty of eating seconds. It is that good!
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.
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
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!
by Nancy Ellison