With 8 whole days of Chanukah looming ahead, here are some holiday ideas for you to try out. They are great for Chanukah parties or get-togethers with family and friends, or even just a quiet night with your own, after the candles have been lit…
Greek Dairy Squash Souffle Pie
- 4 eggs or 5 egg whites
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup lowfat cottage cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon parsley flakes
- 1¼ cups white or whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 medium sized green zucchini, scrubbed, unpeeled and sliced into thin rounds
- 1 medium sized yellow zucchini, prepared same as above
- 1 red pepper, sliced thinly
- 1 small red Spanish onion, sliced into thin rounds
- 8 green pitted olives, halved or sliced
- 1 large, firm tomato, sliced
- ½ cup tofu, shredded, optional
- ½ cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Prepare a deep round 9 or 10 inch pan or deep pie plate by spraying it with some olive oil spray. Set aside.
- Mix together the eggs, olive oil, cottage cheese, salt, pepper, parsley flakes until smooth. Add in the flour and baking powder and mix so that there are no lumps. Add in the zucchinis, pepper, onion, olives and optional tofu and mix just to incorporate them. Pour this mixture into the prepared round deep pan.
- Arrange the tomato slices all over the top of the pie and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the shredded cheese to the top of the pie. Return to the oven for another 5 to 8 minutes until the cheese is bubbly.
And here’s a classic Chanukah treat, I’ve been doing this one for years. Only once a year though; the oil frying is just too much otherwise!
No-Hole Chanukah Sufganiyot
- 4½ cups flour
- ½ cup (100 g) margarine or butter
- ½ cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 30 grams fresh yeast (the kind that comes in the refrigerator section and looks like small balls) OR 1.5 oz dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- Place the flour and salt into a bowl; cut in the margarine/butter until crumbly. Add in the eggs. Make a well in the center and add the water, sugar and the yeast. Cover and let the dough rise for 10 minutes. Mix and knead in the bowl until it becomes a dough. Cover the dough and let rise for 30 minutes. Mix again
This looks like a very small amount of dough but in reality it makes quite a lot of sufganiyot (a.k.a. doughnuts). Since sufganiyot cannot be frozen and are only good eaten right away, unless you are expecting a tremendous crowd, it does not pay to double this recipe. And that’s from me, who almost always doubles or triples everything I make!
- Roll out a section of the dough so that it is thin, but not transparent. Then press a round glass gently into half of the dough, but do not cut them out yet. In the center of each round, add the fillings of your choice; you can be creative, they don’t all have to be jelly. I especially like to use caramel, the real dairy kind. After all, if you’re going to waste calories on a doughnut, you may as well go all the way and do it right! Some other ideas are chocolate chips, chocolate spread, and of course, jelly.
- Gently fold over the other side of the dough over your little bumps and circles. Take the glass you used in the first step, press it down firmly around each bump (ie, your filling) and twist while cutting it out. This will seal the filling into the center of each sufgania.
- Keep doing this until they are all filled and twisted shut. Leave them to rise on the counter or on a piece of parchment paper for 30-40 minutes, until they look puffed up.
- Meanwhile, fill a pot with oil until halfway full. (Yes, I know it is a lot of oil, probably more than you’ve seen at once ever in your own home!) GREAT TIP before beginning to fry the doughnuts: put a piece of carrot into the oil; it will keep the oil from burning and ruining your doughnuts as you keep frying. Fry the doughnuts in the hot oil about 3-4 minutes per side until each side is golden brown; flip them over to do the other side as well. Remove the doughnuts with a slotted spoon onto a plate lined with paper towels to drain. After it cools down for about 5 minutes, sprinkle each one with powdered sugar and bite in!
I made the next recipe for supper the other night, thinking that it is for sure healthier than pancakes and if I serve it with a vegetable soup then that’s a pretty decent meal for my little troupe. And it went over really well. Even my pickiest eater ate it happily. So now, I will share it with you…
Buttermilk Banana Bread
- 6 Tablespoons canola oil
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 4 small very ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
- ¾ cup/6 oz. (200 ml) buttermilk (one container ‘leben’ in Israel)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- Small pinch of salt
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour (you can use white flour if you don’t have this, but it’s healthier, and, in my opinion, tastier, with the whole wheat pastry flour)
- ½ cup finely-chopped walnuts
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon-sugar mix
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Prepare 2 small loaf pans (about 7-8 inches) by spraying them with oil spray.
- Mix together the oil, light brown sugar and eggs. Add in the mashed bananas and buttermilk and mix to ensure it is not lumpy. Add in everything else in the order listed and beat it for a minute or two so that it will be smooth. This can be done by hand with a hand beater or with a hand mixer set to medium speed. Pour this out into two small loaf pans. Sprinkle the 1 T. of cinnamon-sugar mix over the loaves.
- Bake for 45 minutes, until dark brown on top and it tests clean but still moist in the center.
Delicious! The buttermilk helps these loaves maintain their moist texture and it is firm enough to slice and serve immediately. They also freeze well for later use. I cut what was leftover into individual servings, bagged them in small freezer bags, and had them for school snacks for a week afterwards.
What would Chanukah be without those old time favorites, latkes? Here are two different ways to serve this much loved oldie, and perhaps even a way to cut down on the amount of oil in a typical latke:
Potato Latke Kugelettes
This same recipe/ratio can be used for both ideas.
- 5 potatoes, peeled
- 1 large onion or two small ones
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 Tablespoon flour (If you want or need them to be gluten free, leave out the flour. It still works fine.)
- Small amount of canola oil
- 12 cups muffin tin, sprayed very very well with baking oil spray
- Prepare your muffin tin. In addition, add a small amount, about a teaspoon, of canola oil to each muffin cup. Preheat your oven to 375°F (200°C).
- In a food processor fitted with the sharp “S” blade, puree the onions completely until liquidy. Add the eggs and puree one more minute. Change the blade to the shredding device. Shred the potatoes onto the onion mixture. Pour out into a large bowl and add the salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Spoon this mixture into your waiting muffin pan, directly into the pan, no paper cups are used here.
- Slide the pan into your hot oven and let it sizzle and bake until it is golden brown on both the top and sides.
Now you have individual potato latke “kugelettes” without standing on top of a hot frying pan or stovetop! If you sprayed your muffin trays well, they should just pop right out. If the don’t, release them after they’ve cooled off a bit with a spoon, gently.
They even serve great Friday night. After baking one or two pans worth of them, let them cool—they come out easier this way. If you need to loosen them forcefully, use a plastic spoon so you won’t scrape your muffin pans. Then, place the kugelettes into a 9×13 pan, one next to the other. Slide them into a hot oven about 20 minutes before Shabbos and let them reheat, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Afterwards, cover then loosely and turn off the oven. Leave them there until the meal. They won’t be quite as crispy as if you would have eaten them directly from the pan, but they are still quite good and will get eaten up down to the last bit.
Another “lite” idea for regular latkes is to make them in the oven. It’s a lot easier and faster than frying them, plus there is a lot less oil involved. Layer a baking tray with baking paper, then spray the baking paper with an oil spray. Spoon individual latkes onto the tray and slide them into a preheated oven 375° F (200° C) and let them sizzle until golden. If you feel a need you may flip them halfway through in order to make both sides of the latke crunchy.
Enjoy and have a great Chanukah—and for a really unique Chanukah gift, see my website and newest book www.Tasteofchallah.com!
All the best, Tamar Ansh
Tamar Ansh is an author, freelance recipe developer, and food columnist. Her articles have appeared in Jewish publications worldwide. She has published 4 books so far which include: Splitting the Sea (Targum Press), inspirational stories on finding one’s soul-mate; Let’s Say Amen!, an illustrated children’s book about the holiness of Amen (Feldheim Publishers); her first cookbook, A Taste of Tradition (Feldheim Publishers) which is both gluten free and kosher for Passover. Her most recent book is called A Taste of Challah (Feldheim Publishers, 2007). It is a photographic guide to baking and shaping beautiful challahs, and includes many other healthy and interesting bread types as well. Visit www.TasteofChallah.com to see all her books online, as well as lots of fun tips, forums and other recipes. She occasionally accepts speaking engagements overseas and lives in Jerusalem with her family.
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.