Although the food is not the essence of the holiday, it's not quite secondary either. Everything the Jewish people does, we do with consciousness, and the same applies to eating. We don't just eat festive meals on Chanukah; we eat foods made with oil to connect us to the jar of oil that burned miraculously for eight days. We may eat dairy to remind us of the meal that Yehudis fed to the General Holfernes before killing him (he was the bad guy so we're still able to enjoy that meal!).
So in that spirit here is a Chanukah menu suggestions. It is a meat meal so you are spared the gory allusions and the oil is used for frying the latkes but you must have a million recipes for those...Enjoy! (For more Chanukah recipes, please visit http://www.gourmetkoshercooking.com)
1 5 pound shoulder roast
2 tablespoons oil (I guess this counts for Chanukah also)
4 onions, sliced
4 carrots, cut into large chunks
4 stalks celery, cut into large pieces
8 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup red wine
2 cups chicken stock
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sear shoulder roast in oil until all parts are brown and place in large roasting pan. Briefly sauté the onions, carrots, celery and garlic, and then pour over the roast. Add the wine and chicken stock and cover with heavy duty foil. Bake for 3 to 4 hours. Let stand about ½ hour before slicing.
This is delicious and healthy – no sugar added. My kids love to have this all year round when they come home from school.
10 apples (Granny Smith and any others you have lying around), cut into chunks
2 pears, cut into chunks
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ cup water
Place all ingredients in a large stockpot over a low to medium flame. Simmer for about 2 hours until apples are soft, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from flame and mash with a potato masher. Store in refrigerator.
Broccoli-Mushroom Noodle Kugel
1 (32 ounce) bag frozen broccoli, defrosted
1 (32 ounce) box Portobello mushroom soup
1 (14 ounce) can, mushroom pieces, drained
2 (10 ounce) bags egg noodles, cooked and drained
½ cup Panko or other bread crumbs
2 tablespoons margarine, broken up into small pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first 5 ingredients and mix well. Pour into 9 x 13-inch pan. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and dot with margarine. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Pretty Pomegranate and Mandarin Orange Salad
1 head romaine, cut or ripped into small pieces
½ red onion, diced (optional – I'm not a big raw onion fan but I know others are)
½ cup silvered almonds or cashew pieces, toasted
1 avocado, diced
1 small can mandarin oranges, drained
Seeds of one pomegranate
1 cup oil
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk together dressing and toss with all salad ingredients.
These are the traditional cut-out cookies. You can use special Chanukah-theme cookie cutters (menorahs, dreidels), aleph-beis cookie cutters or the shapes of your choice.
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream together the margarine and sugar. Beat in eggs, orange juice and vanilla. Reduce speed and mix in flour and baking powder. Form a ball and wrap in plastic. Chill for 1 to 2 hours. Roll out dough to about ¼-inch thickness. Cut out cookie shapes and place on greased cookie sheets. Decorate with sprinkles (this is where the kids come in). Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly browned, watching carefully to make sure they don't burn.
There is no particular Chanukah connection to these brownies but I figure if it's chocolate it's always good!
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine, softened
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 cups sugar
1 cups flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square pan.
Melt margarine and chocolate together over low heat. Cool to lukewarm and stir in sugar. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs; then fold in the cooled chocolate mixture. Fold in flour until just incorporated, being careful not to over-mix. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Do not over-bake.