For the chosen few, Hanukkah (or Chanukah, depending on your preference) is upon us. Sure, if you ask a highly observant Jew the holiday is not all that much of a big deal, but because it occurs in such close proximity to Christmas…well sure as hell we will make it a big deal. But Hanukkah food is usually somewhat predictable and, while robust with nostalgia and family recipes, it sometimes lacks the vitality and imagination that the holiday might need.
Here are a few amazing recipes and resources to make the remainder of your Hanukkah feedings delicious and memorable:
Potato Pancakes (or Latkes):
Everyone has their own idea about what makes a good Latke and how best to cook it. Some people are butter advocates, whereas others only cook in oil. Some use russet potatoes, and others throw in some zucchini and maybe a parsnip. One thing I have found is that experimentation is worth the effort. Here is a somewhat highly unorthodox Pumpkin Latke recipe (courtesy of Serious Eats) that promises to raise some interest around the dinner table (click here for link)
This is one of those muscular comfort food dishes – the kind of thing the (Jewish) doctor orders when holiday nerves are at their peak. It is a time-honored Jewish legacy dish that, every so often, gets a revamp and a remodel. But personally, you can’t really mess with the simplicity of caramelized onions, buckwheat groats, and farfalle pasta. While it sounds basic and boring, it is nothing of the sort. Here is a fairly straightforward interpretation (courtesy of the Sassy Radish).
Sufganiyot are essentially jelly doughnuts dressed up for the holidays. They have their origins in Israel, but can be made to reflect whatever culture of taste you may have – and, if made right, they are profoundly good. Here is a recipe (courtesy of Chow.com) for really indulgent Apple Cider Sufganiyot with Salted Caramel. For sure this is a dessert that takes some doing, but is ultimately worth the labor.
And if you don’t have a Jewish grandmother to foist recipes on you, there are so many cookbooks out there to take her place. One of my favorite new holy land cookbooks making the rounds right now is Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem (2012, Ten Speed Press). It is a loving tour through much of the amazing cuisine of the Middle East, with the city of Jerusalem as a starting point.
What are some of your favorite Hanukah recipes and traditions?