What is Hanukkah?
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days in December. During this holiday, the Jewish community celebrates the rededication of the Temple by the Maccabees in 165 B.C after being desecrated by the Syrians.
Beef Brisket and latkes
- 4 large garlic cloves, smashed
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, needles stripped from the stem and chopped
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 (4 pound) beef brisket, first-cut
- Coarsely ground black pepper
- 4 large carrots, cut in 3-inch chunks
- 3 celery stalks, cut in 3-inch chunks
- 4 large red onions, halved
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 1 (16-ounce) can whole tomatoes, hand-crushed
- 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (optional)
Crispy Potato Pancakes (Latkes):
- 4 medium russet potatoes, peeled
- 2 medium onions
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup finely chopped chives
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- On a cutting board, mash the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of salt together with the flat side of a knife into a paste. Add the rosemary and continue to mash until incorporated. Put the garlic-rosemary paste in a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil; stir to combine.
- Season both sides of the brisket with a fair amount of kosher salt and ground black pepper. Place a large roasting pan or Dutch oven over medium-high flame and coat with the remaining olive oil. Put the brisket in the roasting pan and sear to form a nice brown crust on both sides. Lay the vegetables all around the brisket and pour the rosemary paste over the whole thing. Add wine and tomatoes; toss in parsley and bay leaves. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and transfer to the oven. Bake for about 3 to 4 hours, basting every 30 minutes with pan juices, until beef is fork-tender.
- Remove the brisket to a cutting board and let it rest for 15 minutes. Scoop the vegetables out of the roasting pan and onto a platter, cover to keep warm. Pour out some of the excess fat, and put the roasting pan with pan juices on the stove over med-high heat. Boil and stir for 5 minutes until the sauce is reduced by 1/2. (If you want a thicker sauce, mix 1 tablespoon of flour with 2 tablespoons of wine or water and blend into the gravy).
- Slice the brisket across the grain (the muscle lines) at a slight diagonal. Serve with potato pancakes.
Crispy Potato Pancakes (Latkes):
Yield: about 20 (4-inch) pancakes
- Using a box grater or food processor, coarsely grate the potatoes and onions. Put the grated potatoes and onions together in cheesecloth or a tea towel and twist it to squeeze out excess liquid. Put the dried potatoes and onions in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the egg whites and chives to bind the mixture together.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and coat with 1/4-inch of oil. For each pancake, take about 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture and drop into the hot oil; gently flatten with a spatula so they fry up thin and crispy. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden. Remove to paper towels to drain; season with salt while the potato pancakes are still hot. Continue frying, adding more oil as needed, until all of the mixture is used up. Serve immediately with applesauce, if desired.
What is Kwanzaa?
Kwanzaa takes place over the last week of December and is a holiday when the African American communities celebrate their heritage with food and exchanging gifts.
Original recipe yields 4 servings
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
- 2 teaspoons of curry powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 (2 to 3 pound) whole chicken, bones and skin removed, cut into pieces
- 1 (14 ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion, garlic, and a bay leaf, and saute until onion is lightly browned. Mix tomatoes, curry powder, and salt into the skillet, and continue cooking for about 5 minutes. Mix in the chicken, and cook 15 to 20 minutes, until no longer pink and juices run clear.
- Reduce skillet heat to low. Stirring constantly, gradually blend in the coconut milk over a period of about 10 minutes. Mix in lemon juice just before serving.