It’s Hanukkah Tonight


It’s not too late to plan a special Hanukkah meal with proven recipes from the Shomrei kitchen.

Food for Hanukkah has traditionally been fried in oil to recall the miracle of the small cruse of oil lasting eight days. Today’s more health conscious diets preclude eating a lot of fried food so here’s a “Kosher Southern-Style” oven fried chicken recipe courtesy of Jamie Geller (

Breaded-Chicken-57c6405f5f9b5855e587142cOven Fried Chicken (serves 4)
4 chicken leg quarters
1 Tablespoon chicken seasoning
2 tablespoons mayonnaise-light preferred
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard or to taste
3/4 cup panko crumbs
Non-stick cooking spray

1.Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with non-stick spray.
2. Pull skin off chicken, cut off excess fat, and place chicken in prepared pan.
3. Rub chicken season into the chicken.
4. Mix mayonnaise and mustard until blended and spread over chicken, coating all sides.
5. Coat both sides of chicken with panko and arrange in prepared pan
6. Spray chicken with non-stick cooking spray
7. Bake uncovered for about an hour. Chicken should be brown and crunchy. Serve immediately.

NOTES: The original recipe calls for a 3 1/2 pound chicken cut into 8 pieces and seasoned breadcrumbs. I prefer legs and thighs and panko.
You can substitute olive oil for the mayonnaise.
If you like highly seasoned chicken, add more seasoning.
The chicken is good cold, too, although it won’t be crunchy after being refrigerated.
This technique works for fish fillets such as cod also.

A good seasonal vegetable is the following dish which features easily available Brussels sprouts and butternut squash. It’s perfect for Thanksgiving or Sukkot, too.

roasted-brussels-sprouts-and-squash-with-dried-cranberries-and-dijon-vinaigrette-4Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash with Dried Cranberries and Dijon Vinaigrette (serves 4)
1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch chunks
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced in half lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + 1 teaspoon
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup dried cranberries

For the Vinaigrette
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pinches of kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450. Place squash chunks and Brussel sprouts halves in a large bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and toss to distribute oil evenly. Using your hands is the best way to toss the vegetables.
2. Sprinkle the vegetables with the salt and pepper and toss again. Spread the vegetables evenly on a large baking sheet preferable with the Brussels sprouts cut side down.
3. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables are softened, tossing gently one or twice during roasting.
4. Scatter cranberries onto baking sheet during the last 5 minutes of roasting time.
5. Remove pan from oven and toss vegetables with the remaining oil. Cool slightly.
6. In a small bowl whisk together Dijon mustard and rice wine vinegar. Slowly pour in the oil, whisking until the ingredients are emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
7. Put vegetables in a large bowl or serving platter. Pour on Dijon dressing and toss gently until vegetables are lightly dressed. Serve warm, lukewarm or cold.

NOTES: Buy precut squash to save time. Cut the large chunks into the size the recipe requires.
This recipe is very easy to double but make sure to also double the dressing.
If made ahead, this can be reheated at 350 for 10-15 minutes and then dressed.

What’s Hanukkah without potato latkes? This food column has featured latke recipes several times. Here’s a link to John Lasiter’s famous Hanukkah Party Latkes.
Here’s another version of easy-to-make latkes.

latkeClassic Hash Brown Potato Latkes
1 pound defrosted hash brown potatoes
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 large eggs
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Canola oil for frying

1. Mix all ingredients except oil in a large bowl.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet until hot. Working in batches, drop large spoonfuls of potato mixture into the oil.
3. Fry, turning once, until golden brown on both sides.
4. Serve warm with apple sauce or sour cream
NOTES: Make these southwest style by using southwest style hash browns and serve with salsa. Or come up with your own variation.
An elegant way to serve latkes is to top them with a slice of smoked salmon, a dab of creme fraiche , and dill, chives, capers or caviar.
A cookie or ice cream scoop ensures equal sized latkes.

No festive meal is complete without dessert. The following cake, first cousin to sour cream or Jewish coffee cake, is known by many names: Jewish apple cake, Rosh Hashanah apple cake, Polish apple cake, or Hanukkah apple cake. Often served at Hanukkah because it uses oil instead of butter, it also suitable for serving with a meat meal. I’ve combined a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Joan Nathan’s French-Jewish cookbook, Quiches, Kugels and Couscous with a recipe from Jewish Cooking for Dummies.

imagesHanukkah Apple Cake
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2-3 large apples, a mixture of sweet and tart
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (use a Microplane for the best results)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil and flour an 8 inch square pan.
2. Mix cinnamon with 2 tablespoons brown sugar.
3. Pare apples and cut them into small chunks.
4. Beat eggs lightly in mixer. Add white sugar and rest of brown sugar and beat at medium until the eggs are light colors. Add oil and beat to blend.
5. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add about half of flour mixture to batter. Blend at low speed, scraping down sides a few times.
6. Add orange juice, orange zest and vanilla. Beat to blend.
7. Add remaining flour and beat at low speed. Then beat in wants at low speed.
8. Spoon about 1/3 of batter into pan and spread evenly. Top with apples and rest of batter.
9. Sprinkle reserved sugar, cinnamon mixture on top of cake. Sprinkle on some demarra sugar for extra crunch.
10. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a cake tester or knife comes out dry.
11. Cook in pan on rack for 20 minutes and then turn out onto a rack. Let cool.

NOTES: Reading through directions first and assembling measured ingredients ahead of time, makes assembling this cake very easy.
Double the ingredients for a 9 x13 pan and bake for about 60-75 minutes.
Delicious warm or cool with some ice cream – Trader Joe’s makes a tasty parve vanilla ice cream.

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