This year, in something that will not occur again for 70,000 years – yes, 70,000 years – the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah coincides with the American holiday of Thanksgiving. Some clever person coined a new term for this: Thanksgivukkah. According to Maggie Duwe, Kirkwood resident and Kirkwood Human Rights Commission member, this is a once-in-a-lifetime mashup that will not occur again until the year 79811.
“The eight-day Hanukkah festival begins at sundown on Nov. 27, the evening before Thanksgiving,” Maggie said. “A savvy marketing specialist named the phenomenon Thanksgivukkah which led to merchandise like the menurkey candelabra, the brain child of a child.”
Maggie also unearthed some great recipes for co-celebrations: “The BuzzFeed staff came up with inspired recipes, including Potato Latkes with Cranberry Applesauce, Challah-Apple Stuffing, and Pecan Pie Rugelach. Latkes, of course, are a natural way to link American and Jewish cuisines.” (See below for the recipes.) “In The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition by Julieanna Hever a holiday favorite is stuffed acorn squash. Looking pretty and tasting great, this is a nice addition to a traditional or vegan Thanksgiving dinner — and it just occurred to us that acorn squash kind of looks like the spinning tops known as dreidels, so you’ve got Hanukkah covered, too!”
POTATO LATKES WITH CRANBERRY APPLESAUCE
Potato Latke Recipe: Makes 10-15 latkes
2 ½ cups diced* onions, divided
1 large egg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 pounds Russet potatoes
Vegetable oil (for frying)
Sour cream, Garnish
Cranberry Applesauce, Garnish (link below)
*To dice means to chop into roughly ¼-inch cubes.
Special Equipment: Food processor with grating attachment, Deep-fry thermometer
PREPARATION: Line a colander with a smooth kitchen towel or cheesecloth. In a large mixing bowl, combine half of the diced onion (1 ¼ cups), egg, flour, salt, and baking powder, and mix with a rubber spatula just to combine.
Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes, working quickly so that the potatoes don’t brown. Using the grater attachment of a food processor, grate potatoes and remaining 1 ¼ cup diced onion. Pour the potato-onion mixture out into the towel or cheesecloth set over the colander, wrap the towel around the mixture, and wring out as much liquid as possible. The potatoes should release at least 1 cup of liquid. Discard liquid.
Add dry potato mixture to the egg/flour mixture, making sure to scrape all potato starch off of the towel and into the mixing bowl. Stir until batter is combined and sticky.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Set a wire racks inside a baking sheet and place it on the counter next to your stovetop.
Heat ½ cup vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Oil should be hot but not smoking, about 375°F. For each latke, take about ¼ cup of batter and flatten it in your palms to about a 2-inch disk. As you do this, squeeze out excess liquid, then place the disk into the oil with a heatproof spatula. Cook latkes about 4 minutes each side, until golden brown. Cook in batches of 4-5 latkes. Between batches, use a slotted spoon to strain any leftover bits of potato mixture out of the oil. Add more oil as needed, making sure to let the oil reheat before dropping the next potato mixture in. Transfer fried latkes to the baking rack, and place in the oven for about 8 minutes, until crispy and deep brown.
Garnish with sour cream and cranberry applesauce. CRANBERRY APPLESAUCE: Click here to go to the recipe
2 1-lb loaves challah
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
2 cups diced celery
2 cups diced onion
2 cups peeled and diced Granny Smith apples
8 sprigs thyme, leaves picked and finely chopped
3 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
6 sprigs marjoram, leaves picked and finely chopped
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
freshly ground pepper, to taste
Note: To dice means to chop into roughly ¼-inch cubes.
Special Equipment: Aluminum Foil, 9×13-inch baking dish
PREPARATION: Cut challah into 1-inch cubes and let cubes sit out in a bowl or on a baking tray, uncovered, for at least six hours to make them stale. Alternatively, you can dry bread in a 250°F oven by laying cubes in a single layer on baking sheets and baking for about 30 minutes, or until bread is dry but not toasted (it should not start to brown at all).
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large saute pan, melt butter over medium-low heat, then add onions and celery. Add three teaspoons of salt and ground pepper to taste, and cook until onions are soft, about 8 minutes. Add apples and herbs and cook until apples are soft, about 5 minutes more.
In a large bowl, combine challah cubes, cooked vegetables in butter, and chicken broth. Mix until the bread is saturated with liquid, and everything is evenly mixed. Press stuffing into a 9×13-inch baking dish and cover with foil. Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes, then remove the foil, raise your oven to 450°F, and cook stuffing uncovered for another 10-15 minutes, or until the top starts to brown slightly.
Cool 10 minutes, then serve.
PECAN PIE RUGELA
Makes 32 cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 8 pieces
½ cup cream cheese (4 oz), cut into 4 pieces
2 cups shelled pecan halves
¼ cup unsalted butter (½ stick), cut into 4 pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup corn syrup
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
Special equipment: Electric hand mixer, Plastic wrap, 2 cookie sheets, Parchment paper, Rolling pin, Pizza cutter (not essential)
Dough: Let butter and cream cheese sit out at room temperature for 10 minutes, so that they are still cool but slightly soft. Combine flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, mix on a low speed just until combined. Scatter butter and cream cheese pieces over the top of the flour mixture, and beat on medium speed until dough is the texture of cottage cheese, still slightly crumbly. Use your hands to divide the dough into 2 equal pieces, then roll each piece into a ball. Flatten each ball into a disk about 1 inch thick and 4 inches in diameter, then wrap each one separately in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours, up to 1 day.
Filling: Using a knife, finely chop pecans and put in a medium mixing bowl. (Do NOT do chop the nuts in a food processor. You want the pecans to be chopped but still coarse, and a food processor will turn them into nut butter.)
In a small saucepan over medium heat, brown the butter by adding all 4 pieces at once and constantly stirring with a heatproof spatula until completely melted. Continue to stir or swirl the pan as butter starts to bubble and foam. When the foam subsides slightly and butter turns a light brown color, take it off the heat immediately and add the it to the chopped pecans. Add vanilla extract, corn syrup, and brown sugar, and mix with a rubber spatula just until combined.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Beat egg yolk with the tablespoon of water and set aside.
When dough is chilled, unwrap one disk onto a lightly floured surface, and roll with a rolling pin into a 12-inch circle. It is important to have an even, symmetrical circle, so trim any excess. If dough gets too soft during rolling, lay it on one of the lined baking sheets and put it in the freezer for 5 minutes, until slightly chilled. Once the dough is rolled out, sprinkle half of the pecan mixture on top of the dough, all the way to the edges of the circle, making sure the mixture is evenly distributed. With a pizza cutter (or a knife), cut dough into 16 equal slices. Roll each slice from the outside in (starting the wide end and rolling towards the point), placing each roll onto the cookie sheet as you go. Repeat this process with the other disk of dough.
Use a pastry brush to coat the top of each cookie with the egg-water mixture. Bake rugelach for 20 minutes until golden, turning the cookie sheet halfway through baking.
Cool completely before serving.