Hanukah Meals - On a (Time) Budget!
What can I tell you? I love my holidays as much as anyone, but sometimes I feel like I am on a budget for time, racing around town, from home to work to picking up kids and groceries. I love it, and I'm grateful for all of it. But Hanukah throws us a bit of a curve ball, when you have to do it all (It's usually a work day and a school day), have a holiday meal on the table, and then BE ABLE TO SIT DOWN AND RELAX AND ENJOY, WHILE THE CANDLES LEISURELY BURN THEIR WAY OUT! So here's the question: How does this work?
At least for me, here's the answer: STRATEGY! The Major Items of Business are:
You cannot Both Stand Up and fry latkes and Sit Down and enjoy the candles at the same time. But, you can buy frozen latkes at the Kosher store and cook them my way, and garnish them up to be just fine!
If you make the main course the night before, your whole day goes better. Some families do dairy for Hanukah, but this column addresses a meat menu.
So you can walk in the door, put down your purse, turn on the oven, put the soup on the stove to heat, and get the salad on the table. That's what'll buy you some time while the rest heats up.
And finally, the food has to be tasty, healthy, pretty and delicious or what's the point?
(c) 2008 Debby Segura. Debby Segura holds an AB in Design from UCLA. She designs dinnerware and she teaches and writes about cooking. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children. Visit her at www.debbysegura.com
Rolls (buy whole wheat dinner rolls)
Buy a dozen whole wheat dinner rolls.
Spinach Salad with Clementines and Toasted Walnuts
1/4 cup walnut or olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons clementine or orange juice
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
pinch ground cayenne pepper, cumin and garlic powder
1 12 ounce bag spinach (or equivalent amount. Please see the OU Guide to Checking Fruits, Vegetables & Berries for proper preparation)
3 clementines, peeled, segmented, and each segment cut in half
1/4 cup toasted walnut pieces
1 scallion, minced
THE NIGHT BEFORE: Make the dressing. Place in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate. Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate.
Beef & Cabbage Soup
1 28 ounce can recipe-cut tomatoes (not drained)
6 cups water
1 ½ pound beef stew meat, cut into ½" cubes
1 pound flanken (with the little rib bones left in)
2 pounds white cabbage, coarlsely shredded
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup brown sugar
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
½ cup basmati rice, optional
In a large, heavy soup pot, bring the tomatoes and water to boil. Add all remaining ingredients except the rice. Bring to a boil, and then simmer, partially covered, for 2 ½ hours. Refrigerate.
The minute you walk in the door, right after you put down your purse, preheat the oven to 425 degrees, and put the rolls on a cookie sheet. Take the salad, dressing and soup out of the refrigerator. Take the latkes and blueberries out of the freezer. And take the rolls, applesauce and rice out of the pantry. Set up the Menorah.
Put the soup on the stove, on a medium-low flame. Stir occasionally.
Put the latkes in the preheated oven and set the timer for 20 minutes.
Put a 24 ounce jar of applesauce in a small saucepan over a low flame. When it starts to simmer, add ½ cup of frozen blueberries and simmer until the blueberries have popped and the mixture is quite blue. Pour into a serving bowl.
When the 20 minute timer rings, flip the latkes and put them back in the oven. Brush the tops of the rolls with olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary, Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put them in the oven along with the latkes.
Check on the soup. It should be hot by now. If you want a thick soup, add the rice now. If not, add 1 cup boiling water with the rice, and continue to simmer the soup for 20 minutes more.
Set the table. Place the rolls in a basket. Toss the salad with the dressing and serve.
Serve the soup, too.
Take the latkes out of the oven, and serve them for dessert with a choice of Tofutti Sour Supreme, sugar or Blue Applesauce.
Have a Happy Hanukkah! Relax and watch those candles and their golden glow. Ahhhh...