We’re halfway through Chanukah and the donut fatigue has set in! But don’t you worry – I gotchyu!!
First on the list, is definitely my pizza dough zeppole. It’s so easy, you don’t even need a recipe! I rolled out some pizza dough (Trader Joes!), then cut it into roughly square shapes, then deep fried until golden. I dusted half in powdered sugar and served with raspberry jam, and rolled the other half in cinnamon sugar and served with caramel. You’re welcome!
These cheese pancakes can also be called latkes, so you get your latke and “jelly donut” in one fix! Recipe here!
Fritters are always a winner, and this all-purpose batter can be used for anything from apples to persimmon (pictured), or Oreos to candy bars!
All-Purpose Deep-Fried-Anything Batter:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups milk
Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the wet to the dry and stir until smooth. Dip (almost) anything in the batter, shake off excess, and deep fry!
Yes! You are looking at JELLY DONUT NACHOS and they are a REVELATION!! So. So. Good. Fry up some wonton wrappers and dust in powdered sugar. Drizzle with jam. You’re welcome!
These jelly donut linzer cookies are SO. SO. GOOD. Get the recipe here!
These beer battered pumpkin rings are so fun! Get the recipe here!
What’s your favorite non-donut Chanukah treat? Share it with me! Post a Comment
If there’s anything my blog is known for, it’s probably my drunken hasselback salami. Clearly people like the stuff. They like to hang it, they like to dry it, and man do they like to eat it!
If I’m ever in need of a fun recipe idea, I can just stick salami in there somewhere and chances are, it will go viral. My salami babka from last year was such a hit that Abeles & Heymann decided to print it on their actual packaging and, come on, how many of you have NOT tried the hasselback version, even the stores are selling it now! What is it with Jews and salami?
Well, I don’t know, but I’ll tell you this – I’m knee deep in cookbook editing and when I realized that Chanukah was just a few days away, I knew I had to come up with a latke recipe, and pronto. I’ve always got A&H salami in the fridge, and when I opened the door for some inspiration, it hit me. Why not add it to my potato latkes for some seriously salty delicious flavor? I decided to try grating it in my food processor so I could incorporate the salami in fully, and it processed really well! The result is a super fun take on a traditional latke that you will truly enjoy.
Unlike other traditional Jewish foods, I find that people are really purists about their latkes. They don’t want to sub sweet potatoes for potatoes, they’re not interested in the healthier baked versions, no. They want crispy, fried potato latkes that leave your fingers all greasy and your house and clothes smelling like Chanukah.
So here’s the thing: these latkes are a fun twist on the traditional, but they still respect the humble potato latke and they taste pretty classic too, except for some hints of salami.
And if you’re wondering why there’s a carrot in my frying pan, it’s the most brilliant frying hack ever! Somehow the carrot soaks up all the gunk in the oil and it keeps your oil clean throughout frying. You must give it a try!
4 large russet potatoes, peeled
1 small white onion, grated
7oz. Abeles & Heymann salami (see note)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons matza meal
2 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
spicy honey mustard aioli, for serving (recipe follows) pickled onions, optional
Using the shredding blade of your food processor, grate the potatoes and onion and place in a bowl of water to prevent browning. Cut the salami into chunks and grate in the food processor.
Drain the potatoes and place into a large piece of cheesecloth. Wrap it tightly and squeeze out as much juice as possible into a large mixing bowl. Let the juice sit for a bit so the potato starch settles to the bottom. Slowly pour the liquid out of the bowl (into the sink), leaving the potato starch in the bowl. Add grated salami, eggs, matza meal, salt and pepper to the starch and stir to combine. Mix in the grated potatoes and onions. Heat oil in a skillet and fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
TIP: Use 1/4 cup measuring cup to portion out the latkes. This makes the latkes the same size. When you scoop out the batter into the pan, use the flat underside of the measuring cup to press down on the latke and spread it out. This creates super crispy edges.
NOTE: 7oz. yields a very mild salami flavor, for a more pronounced salami taste, use the entire 14oz. package.
Yield: approximately 15 medium latkes.
Spicy Honey Mustard Aioli:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp yellow mustard
2 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or, to taste
Food boards are all the rage right now and I’ve been drooling all over them! You can find cheese boards that spread out for miles, charcuterie boards at restaurants and smoked fish boards at cafes.
I recently set up a charcuterie board for my husband’s birthday, and cheese boards are a regular appetizer at my Chanukah and Shavuot meals, so this year, I decided to do something a little different.
Thanks to the Jewish food trend, old world favorites are making a comeback, along with herring, smoked fish and of course, bagels. I was inspired by some of the foodie posts I’ve seen, noshing at the newly opened Russ & Daughters at The Jewish Museum, as well as Lox at The Museum of Jewish Heritage. Who knew smoked fish would ever be in fashion?!
I’ve also been reading The Gefilte Manifesto by Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alern of The Gefilteria, who’s well-researched book highlights the history and process of so many old world Jewish foods. Their book is a mix of both classic recipes and modern interpretations, many of which I had never even heard of (Kvass, anyone?). The book is a real eye opener into Jewish food history and I highly recommend it!
Speaking of the trend towards Jewish food, I have to mention that, while it’s amazing to see all these books and restaurants popularizing Jewish foods, it’s painful to see that the “kosher” concept is all but ignored. Over the past several months, I was invited to two separate events which featured the history of Kosher food – one of which was a book talk and tasting discussing the journey of kosher food through the modern food system, and yet, ironically, the food served was not actually kosher. Another such event payed homage to Jewish culture and cuisine and yet was not either kosher. I get it, believe me, not everyone who is Jewish keeps kosher. But if an organization or a museum is putting together an event that is specifically about the history of KOSHER food, how can they serve food that is NONkosher??
This is something that bothers me to my core. And not because if I go to these events, I won’t have what to eat. It’s because the very act of serving nonkosher food dismisses one of the basic principles of Jewish food. As Michael Solomov, the Israeli chef, writes in his cookbook, Zahav, “Plenty of Israelis eat treyf these days….But at Zahav, and in this book, we choose to honor the spirit of a few fundamental rules of kosher cooking…..The reason is simple: Kosher rules help define the boundaries of Israeli cuisine.”
Now I’m not judging anyone who doesn’t keep kosher. To each his own. But as we celebrate Chanukah, I’m reminded of the Hellenists, who stripped themselves of their Jewishness to become like their cultured Greek neighbors and friends. Jewish food is more than just a cultural thing. Kosher is part of it’s history and tradition. Dismissing the kosher aspect is both disrespectful and historically inaccurate. The very reason that many traditional Jewish foods exist today, is due to the need that our ancestors had to follow the kosher guidelines. I would love to see that acknowledged in the world of Jewish cuisine.
So, now that I finally got that off my chest, lets get back to the food, shall we? Nothing makes me think of old world Jewish food more than smoked fish. (Herring too, but I won’t go near that stuff!). In honor of Chanukah, I decided to share my take on an endless fish spread with some gourmet toppings. I hope it inspires you to put out a board of your own.
How to Build a Fish Board
assorted smoked fish
fish pate and/or caviar
sourdough, bagels and/or crackers
green and black olives
pickles or cornichons
savory chutney or jam
pickled onions (recipe follows)
dijon and whole grain mustard
good quality olive oil
Start by picking a focal point. I used the largest piece of smoked salmon. Place it on a cutting board. Add an assortment of ingredients around the salmon, spreading out in sections. You can repeat the same items more than once on another side of the board. Use an assortment of small bowls and jars to place your condiments and smaller toppings.
Quick Pickled Onions
1 small red onion, sliced into thin half rings
1 cup rice vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp kosher salt
Bring the vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a boil. Remove from the heat. Add onions and set aside to cool.
It’s mashup time! I think my favorite part of being a food blogger is being able to play around with recipes and coming up with my own twists on things. I love mashing things up. What’s a mashup? Well, it’s when I take a traditional food and I fuse it with another cuisine or concept to create a hybrid sort of recipe. It would probably be easier if I showed you.
Take these pecan pie lace cookies that I made for Thanksgivukkah back in 2013 (gosh, was that really three whole years ago?!). Since Thanksgiving and Chanukah came out on the same night (which only happens in a gazillion years btw), I decided to fuse a Thanksgiving concept: pecan pie, with a traditional Jewish pastry: lace cookies, or, florentines. Florentines are traditionally made with almonds, but I used pecans, and to up the Chanukah ante, I drizzled the cookies with Chanukah symbols and filled them with raspberry jam. That, my friends, is a mashup.
Of course I’ve got plenty of other Chanukah mashups on the blog, like these poutine latkes, a twist on the classic Canadian dish of gravy and cheese smothered french fries (yes, I went there). Then there was my falafel latkes, or falatkes, a fusion of the Israeli staple and the classic potato latke, which I took to another level with the sabich. And finally, the droolworthy donut milkshake and potato latke funnel cakes that have been blowing up feeds everywhere. Told you I loved mashups :)
So Chanukah is upon us, and I really wanted to mashup a Greek staple with a typical Jewish food. Traditional spanakopita is a spinach feta pie made with a filo (or phyllo) crust. Filo is notoriously difficult to work with, since it is paper thin and tears easily, so I decided to turn the pie into the perfect hand-held appetizer: bourekas. With lots of Chanukah parties on our calendar, this makes a great finger food for the table!
Bourekas are a family favorite and not just because they are uber delicious, with all the flaky layers of buttery dough. It’s because they are so. freakin. easy. Truth be told, I was originally going to make spanakopita rugelach, but I’ve been feeling out of sorts this week and the idea of working on a savory cheese dough was just off the table. So I thought about what I could use to make these super easy and semi-homemade, and I went to that beloved ingredient that makes party planning so much easier – the puff pastry. Oh how I love thee.
I’m all about finger food at my Chanukah party, so I hope this post gave you some “food for thought” for your Chanukah menu planning! For more great Chanukah recipes, check out the index!
Happy Chanukah! Happy Chrismukkah! Happy Donut Day! And yes, Happy Birthday and Anniversary to me!! (I was born and got married on the 5th night!)
1 pkg mini puff pastry squares, thawed
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed
7 oz. feta cheese
1 shallot, minced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 eggs, divided
sesame seeds, for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic and saute under fragrant. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the spinach and add it to the skillet. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper and saute until heated through. Set aside to cool.
Once the mixture has cooled, add the feta, one egg and lemon juice. Place a tablespoon of filling onto each puff pastry square and fold closed, pressing the dough so that it sticks together without any openings.
Mix the remaining egg with a tablespoon of water and brush on the puff pastry. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until puffed and golden.
VARIATION: for a creamier filling, add some ricotta to the mixture. You can also add some fresh herbs, such as dill, parsley or mint, or a mixer.
FREEZER OPTION: These bourekas can be prepared in advance and frozen before baking. To bake, put the frozen bourekas on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees until puffed and golden.
Yay!!!!! Chanukah, the festival of donuts, potato latkes and all things fried is upon us, and I couldn’t be happier!! I was lucky enough to be born on the festival of fattening foods…uh…I mean….lights, so all the more reason to allow myself to really s.p.l.u.r.g.e.
I even got married on my birthday so between my anniversary, my birthday, and the holiday, it’s an eight day food fest with no restrictions. I’m not a big fryer during the year so when Chanukah comes around, I break out the gallon-sized canola oil and get to it.
I love all the donut making and latke topping, but I especially love to make other fun fried food that I don’t get around to enjoying otherwise. Like fried oreos, fried ice cream and funnel cakes! I also go savory with fried lasagna strips, zucchini chips and even beer battered salami! When I said I go all out, I meant it! (just ask my scale after the eight days are up!)
I’ve had some really fun latke ideas over the past few years, including my poutine latkes that landed me on the front page of The Wall Street Journal and my viral falafel latkes which turned into the ultimate sabich. I had to up the ante this year, and and what better way than fusing two of my favorite Chanukah indulgences – latkes and funnel cakes!
If you’ve never had a funnel cake, I’m sorry. It’s basically a thick pancake dough that’s piped into hot oil for a crispy sweet fried dough that gets covered in powdered sugar. It’s. so. good. I decided to go savory with the same concept by incorporating mashed potatoes and ranch seasoning into the dough. It was a really good idea. Just try it and you’ll see!
The potato dough takes a little getting used to, so I suggest practicing with a few mini cakes at first. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll be banging out potato latke funnel cakes like no-ones business! Just try not to eat the whole batch before your company arrives. They’re especially good straight out of the fryer!
This recipe was actually my first time working with ranch seasoning and I am hooked! Where has this addictive stuff been my entire life? Potatoes and ranch make such a perfect pairing, I can’t believe I’ve been eating chips without it until now.
If you can’t get your hands on one of these packets, just season up your potatoes to taste with the spices of your choice. My Greek yogurt ranch dip can give you some ideas!
I’m working on some other fun Chanukah recipes including a donut that you can drink (you’ll see!) and a super addictive twist on pb&j. Chanukah here we come!
What are your favorite deep fried foods to make for the holiday? I’d love to hear! Share them with me in the comments below.
In the meantime, get your stretchy skirts ready and stack up on that canola oil. You’re gonna need it!
Oh, and do yourself a favor and set your scale back 5 lbs, will you?
Potato Latke Funnel Cakes
2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped (3 large potatoes)
1/2 cup milk
3 tbsp flour
1 packet Lipton ranch seasoning, divided
salt and pepper, to taste
canola oil, for frying
1 1/2 cups sour cream or Greek yogurt
grated parmesan cheese, for garnish
Cook the potatoes in a pot of salted water until fork-tender. Drain well and add to a bowl. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or puree with a food mill. Add egg, milk, flour and 1 tbsp of the ranch seasoning (reserve the remainder for the dip). Mix the batter until all the ingredients are incorporated and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a skillet to 350 degrees. Fill a Ziploc or piping bag with mashed potatoes and pipe the batter into the hot oil in an overlapping spiral. Fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Make sure not the flip the funnel cakes until they have fully crisped up. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Dust with parmesan cheese and serve hot.
For the dip, add the remainder of the seasoning packet to the sour cream and mix to incorporate. Serve with potato latke funnel cakes.
This post was sponsored by Lipton Kosher. All opinions are my own.