Here are some great holiday treats for everyone looking to celebrate the Festival of Lights. Hanukkah is a great time to share food with friends and family, and I have received dozens of e-mails asking for some great recipes, so here you go. I should tell you, the potato pancakes are so good that posting this recipe alone is a mitzvah of the highest order. Bubbelah, you should always trust me with this stuff. The chopped liver is the version I have been making for years and have named it after my grandmother who always made me a to-die-for chopped-liver dish every holiday.
Sephardic Eggplant Salad
3 large eggplants at 2–1/2 lbs.
2 T. olive oil
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 c. flat parsley leaves
2 t. dried oregano
4 chopped scallions
2 T. lemon juice
2 large garlic cloves
2 T. salt packed capers, refreshed and drained
2 ripe, diced, skinless, seedless tomatoes
6 pita bread discs cut in 1/8s and toasted
Brush the eggplant with the tablespoons of olive oil, and broil on a baking sheet for 25–30 minutes, turning often until skin blackens and eggplant is cooked.
Let it cool. Peel and chop meats, and reserve to a colander to drip off the excess liquids.
Place the oregano, scallions, garlic, and half the parsley in a food processor, and pulse until well processed. Fold into the drained eggplant, season with the oil, lemon, and vinegar.
Add the tomatoes.
Chop the remaining parsley and capers, and fold into the salad.
Season with salt and pepper, and serve with toasted or grilled pita.
Henriette’s Chopped Chicken Liver
2 lbs. fresh chicken livers
1/4 c. rendered chicken fat (schmaltz)
1 t. minced parsley
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 large yellow onion, minced
1 box matzo
Drain, and pat dry the livers.
Sauté onions in 1 T. schmaltz over medium heat until lightly caramelized (just past beige). Reserve.
Fry livers to medium (pink) in 1 T. schmaltz in the same pan over medium high heat.
Grind the liver and onions through a food mill by hand, or pulse in a food processor.
Add the parsley, grate the eggs, and fold in those as well. Add remaining schmaltz, or more, to taste. Season with salt and pepper.
Chill the chopped livers.
Serve with the matzo.
3 large russet (Idaho-style, baking) potatoes
3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cooked, and diced
2 eggs, beaten
2 t. sea salt
1/2 t. ground white pepper
1/2 c. matzo meal
1 large yellow onion, grated
2 c. applesauce
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. crème fraiche
1/2 lb. sliced, smoked salmon (I like the Ducktrap line.)
Oil for frying
Peel and grate the Russet potatoes. Rinse with cold water, and drain, gently pressing to relieve excess moisture. Mix half the potatoes with the mashed potatoes. Pulse the other half of the grated potatoes with the onions in the work bowl or food processor to form a paste. Do not over work.
Combine the two mixtures; season with the salt, pepper, eggs, and matzo meal.
Heat enough vegetable oil, in a large skillet over medium heat, to come up the sides of the pan 1/4 an inch.
When oil is 350 degrees, or a small pinch of batter instantly sizzles when dropped in, fry small 2- to 3-inch sized patties in batches until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towel.
Serve as a side dish or as a snack or appetizer. I think it is great to serve them with applesauce, sour cream, smoked salmon, and other treats on the side.
1 lb. extra-wide egg noodles
4 c. cottage cheese
3 c. milk
2/3 c. melted butter
1 T. cinnamon
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 t. salt
1–1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. minced, dried apricots
1/2 c. sliced almonds
Cook, drain, and cool noodles.
Combine all the ingredients, reserving the almonds, brown sugar, and 1 t. of the cinnamon for sprinkling on the top of the casserole.
Butter a large pan or 2 small brownie pans.
Sprinkle kugel with the reserved ingredients, and bake at 350 degrees for 50–60 minutes until set and golden brown. Serves10–12
Stuffed Cabbage with Veal, Currants, and Pistachios
3 lbs. ground veal
1–1/2 c. matzo meal or bread crumbs
1/2 c. currants
1/2 c. plain yogurt
1/2 c. minced parsley
2 T. ground cumin
2 cloves of minced garlic
1/3 c. toasted pine nuts
1 minced onion
1 lb. cooked, chopped spinach, drained very, very well
3 large heads Savoy cabbage, cleaned, leaves blanched and cooled
Combine all the ingredients except the cabbage. Roll 3 oz. of this stuffing mixture into the cabbage leaves, burrito style. Place all of the rolls 1/2 inch apart into 2 ovenproof dishes. Reserve.
24 oz. diced tomatoes in juice
4 T. minced, preserved lemons
2 minced cloves of garlic
1 t. saffron
1 c. white wine
2 minced shallots
6 leaves basil
2 diced carrots
2 pinches of chili flakes
1/2 c. orange juice
1 T. ground celery seed
1/2 c. toasted pistachios
2 T. butter
Place the butter in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the shallots, lemon, garlic, carrots, and saffron, and sauté until glassy. Add the wine, and simmer to reduce by half. Add the herbs, spices, and tomato with the juices. Simmer for 15–20 minutes until almost dry.
Divide over the cabbage rolls, and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Uncover, and bake for 10 more minutes.