Celebrate the Festival of Lights
With My Hand-Picked Recipes
As many of you may know, I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, in a large, warm, and welcoming Jewish community. Though not Jewish myself, my neighbors always accepted me with open arms as an honorary M.O.T. (member of the tribe) and taught me a lot about the value of friendship, family bonds and being welcomed. As a bonus of being invited to many of their fabulous Holiday celebrations, I was privileged to get to know the traditional Jewish cuisine, which I absolutely love!

To inspire your own Hanukkah festivities, I’ve put together some delicious contemporary recipes covering all the classic staples. But before we get into the finer details of brisket and rugelach, I think it’s important to honor tradition, so I want to take a moment to talk about what this Holiday is all about.

Hanukkah is the celebration of a homecoming for the Jewish people. Meaning “dedication” in Hebrew, it commemorates the triumph of the ancient Jews in reclaiming their lost Temple of Jerusalem, which had been seized by Greek soldiers. As the story goes, when the Jews returned they found only one night’s supply of oil left to light the temple lamps. Miraculously, the supply lasted eight nights—exactly as long as it took for them to make more.

To show their gratitude for this miracle, the Jewish Sages established the eight-day Festival of Lights we now call Hanukkah to be a time of song, prayer, ritual, and togetherness. Whether or not you are Jewish, I think we can all celebrate the idea of a homecoming on our Spiritual paths, and of there always being enough to see us through challenging times when we remember our faith. So—enjoy this menu no matter your cultural background, and Happy Hanukkah to all of my Jewish friends!


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Holiday at the Hive

Courtesy of Liquor.com




1/2 oz Honey
3/4 oz Hot water
1 oz Grey Goose L’Orange Vodka
1/2 oz Triple sec or Grand Marnier
1/2 oz Lemon juice
1/2 oz Orange juice
1 pinch Star anise powder
Glass: Martini



Directions: Add the honey and hot water to a shaker and stir to dissolve.
Add the remaining ingredients, shake vigorously and strain into a Martini glass.
Next Recipe: Challah Bread

Challah Bread

Courtesy of The Kitchn




Makes 1 loaf (about 20 slices)
2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
4 to 4 1/2 cups (20 to 22 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) white granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk (reserve the white for the egg wash)
1/4 cup (2 ounces) neutral-flavored vegetable oil
1 cup (8 ounces) lukewarm water
Standing mixer (optional)
Large mixing bowl
Bench scraper or sharp knife
Baking sheet
Parchment paper



Directions: Add the eggs, yolk, and oil: Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs, egg yolk, and oil. Whisk these together to form a slurry, pulling in a little flour from the sides of the bowl.

Mix to form a shaggy dough: Pour the yeast mixture over the egg slurry. Mix the yeast, eggs, and flour with a long-handled spoon until you form a shaggy dough that is difficult to mix. Knead the dough for 6 to 8 minutes: With a dough hook attachment, knead the dough on low speed for 6 to 8 minutes. (Alternatively, turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand for about 10 minutes.) If the dough seems very sticky, add flour a teaspoon at a time until it feels tacky, but no longer like bubblegum. The dough has finished kneading when it is soft, smooth, and holds a ball-shape.

Let the dough rise until doubled: Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place somewhere warm. Let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Separate the dough and roll into ropes: Separate the dough into three or six equal pieces, depending on the type of braid you’d like to do. Roll each piece of dough into a long rope roughly 1-inch thick and 16 inches long. If the ropes shrink as you try to roll them, let them

rest for 5 minutes to relax the gluten and then try again.

Braid the dough: Gather the ropes and squeeze them together at the very top. If making a 3-stranded challah, braid the ropes together like braiding hair or yarn and squeeze the ends together when complete. If making a 6-stranded challah, the directions are below.

Let the challah rise: Line a baking sheet with parchment and lift the loaf on top. Sprinkle the loaf with a little flour and drape it with a clean dishcloth. Place the pan somewhere warm and away from drafts and let it rise until puffed and pillowy, about an hour.

Brush the challah with egg white: About 20 minutes before baking, heat the oven to 350°F. When ready to bake, whisk the reserved egg white with a tablespoon of water and brush it all over the challah. Be sure to get in the cracks and down the sides of the loaf.

Bake the challah: Slide the challah on its baking sheet into the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking. The challah is done when it is deeply browned and registers 190°F in the very middle with an instant-read thermometer.

Cool the challah: Let the challah cool on a cooling rack until just barely warm. Slice and eat.

Next Recipe: Chicken Liver Paté

Chicken Liver Paté

Courtesy of the Sprouting Seed




1 lb. chicken livers, trimmed of any sinew
3 slices of bacon
2 Tbsp. minced shallots
1 medium apple, cored, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt
freshly ground pepper
pinch of thyme
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
1/4 cup cognac, optional
1 1/2 cup clarified butter, preferably from grass-fed cows



Directions: In a medium skillet, sauté bacon over medium heat. Once the bacon is crisp, remove it from the skillet and set it aside. Discard all but 2 Tbsp. of the bacon grease in the skillet. Over medium heat, add shallots to your same skillet and cook until soft and translucent. Add the apple, chopped sage and thyme and cook until the apple is softened.

Add the livers to the skillet and cook for about 3-5 minutes. The livers should be brown on the outside, but a little pink in the middle. Pour in the cognac and let the mixture simmer until

most of the liquid cooks off (about 5 minutes). Then turn off the heat and let cool.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse a few times, then add the bacon to the food processor. Process the liver mixture continuously and slowly pour in the 2 Tbsp. of cream, followed by 1 cup of clarified butter. Spread the pate into ramekins and pour more clarified butter on top as a seal. Refrigerate. Best when served at room temperature, let it sit out of the fridge for about 20 minutes before serving.

Next Recipe: Matzo Ball Soup

Matzo Ball Soup

Courtesy of She Knows




Serves 4
4 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup matzo meal
8 cups chicken stock
2 carrots, sliced
3 celery stalks, sliced
2 teaspoons chopped dill



Chicken Stock
1 cooked chicken carcass and skin
3 celery stalks
2 carrots
1 parsnip
1 yellow onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
12 cups water


For chicken stock

Roughly chop celery, carrots, parsnip and onion. In a large pot, combine chicken carcass, vegetables, salt, pepper and water. (Water should cover contents of pot.)
Bring to a boil; then reduce to a simmer. Simmer over very low heat for about four hours, stirring occasionally. Strain solids and let stock sit for about 30 minutes; then skim fat off top.


For matzo ball soup
Beat eggs, oil, 1/4 cup broth and salt together. Add matzo meal and stir to combine well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. In a large pot, combine chicken stock, carrots, celery and dill. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, with wet hands, form
matzo mixture into 12 balls, using about two tablespoons per matzo ball.

When chicken stock comes to a boil, drop matzo balls into pot and reduce to a very low simmer. Cover and cook for 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

Next Recipe: Harvest Salad

Fall Harvest Salad
With Roasted Brassicas, Fingerlings, and Radishes

Courtesy of Serious Eats




Serves 6-10 as a side
5 pounds mixed brassicas, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and romanesco broccoli, cut into florets
1 3/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt
3/4 pound radishes (about 15 large radishes), 1/2 pound quartered and 1/4 pound thinly sliced on a mandoline
1 1/2 pounds sunchokes, 1 pound cut into 3/4-inch chunks and 1/2 pound peeled and sliced thinly on a mandonline
1 1/2 pounds mixed fingerling potatoes
2 sprigs rosemary
5 medium cloves garlic
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 small shallot, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup packed tarragon leaves, chopped
2 loosely packed cups picked parsley leaves
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
2 small heads frisee lettuce, cored and trimmed of damaged leaves
1 small head radicchio, halved, cored, and cut into 1-inch strips



Directions: Adjust oven rack to upper and lower middle positiona. Preheat oven to 450°F. In a large bowl, toss brassicas with 1/2 cup olive oil, season with salt, and spread in an even layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Roast, rotating sheets half way through cooking, until tender and browned, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl to cool.

When brassica are cooked, toss radish quarters with 2 tablespoons olive oil, season with salt, and arrange in an even layer on one of the now-empty rimmed baking sheets. Toss sunchoke chunks in 2 tablespoons olive oil, season with salt, and arrange in an even layer on the second rimmed baking sheet. Season all vegetables with salt. Roast radishes and sunchokes until each is tender and browned, about 35 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, put fingerling potatoes in a Dutch oven, cover with water and season generously

with salt. Add rosemary and garlic and heat over medium-high heat until barely simmering. Lower heat and cook at a very gentle simmer until potatoes can be pierced with a fork with no resistance, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly in cooking water, then drain and discard rosemary and garlic. Cut fingerlings into 1/4-inch thick coins.

Using an immersion blender or standing blender, blend cider vinegar, shallot, Dijon mustard, tarragon, and a large pinch of salt until thoroughly combined and tarragon and shallot are finely chopped. Transfer to a mixing bowl and whisk in remaining 1 cup olive oil. Season with salt, if needed.

In a large salad bowl, combine roasted brassicas, roasted radishes, and roasted sunchokes with potato slices, radish slices, sunchoke slices, parsley leaves, sunflower seeds, frisee, and radicchio. Add dressing and toss gently with clean hands until salad is evenly coated. Season with salt to taste and serve.


Ina Garten’s Spinach and
Cheddar Soufflé

Courtesy of House Beautiful




3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup scalded milk
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
1/2 cup grated aged Cheddar cheese, lightly packed
1 package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted & squeezed dry
5 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar



Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter the inside of one 6-to-8-cup soufflé dish (6 1/2 to 7 1/2 inches in diameter x 3 1/2 inches deep) and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the hot milk, nutmeg, cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, for one minute, until smooth and thick.

Off the heat, but while still hot, mix in the egg yolks. Stir in the Cheddar, the Parmesan, and the spinach, and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Put the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on low speed for one minute, on medium speed for one minute, then finally on high speed until firm, glossy peaks are formed.

Whisk one-quarter of the egg whites into the cheese sauce to lighten, and then fold in the rest. Pour into the prepared soufflé dish, then smooth the top. Draw a large circle on top with the spatula and place in the middle of the oven. Turn the temperature down to 375 degrees. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (don’t peek!) until puffed and brown. Serve immediately.


Note: To make in advance, prepare the recipe through Step 3 (adding the cheeses). You can do this up to 2 hours ahead. Keep mixture covered
at room temperature, and then proceed with the recipe just before baking.
Next Recipe: Sweet Kugel

Sweet Noodle Kugel

Courtesy of Collecting Memories




17 1/2 oz noodles
1/2 stick butter
6 eggs
17 1/2 oz) cottage cheese
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup light cream
1 cup white sugar
4 oz raisins
4 tbsp breadcrumbs
3 tbsp sugar
2 tsp cinnamon



Directions: Cook noodles according to directions (Add a splash of oil into the boiling water before cooking to prevent noodles from sticking together). Once cooked, rinse under cold water for 1 minute. Drain well.

Preheat oven to 190C / 375F. Lightly grease a deep metal square baking pan and set aside. In a small bowl, combine together the topping ingredients and set aside. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Turn off the heat and let cool slightly. Beat in the eggs, cottage

cheese, sour cream, light cream and sugar. Mix everything well. Add in the noodles and raisins and stir to combine.

Pour the mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumb/sugar mixture. Bake for approximately 1 hour. You may check the Kugel after 45-50 minutes. If the center looks a little bit runny but the edges are brown and firm, you may remove it from the oven. It will firm up while cooling. Let cool for 15 minutes before slicing. Serve warm or cold.

Next Recipe: Savory Kugel

Cheesy Potato Kugel

Courtesy of Eclectic Recipes




4 lb russet potatoes, peeled
1 large onion
2 cups small-curd cottage cheese
2 cups shredded mild Cheddar cheese
6 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
4 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste



Directions: Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray.

Shred potatoes by rubbing them across the larger holes of a box grater. In large bowl, place shredded potatoes; cover with cold water.

In separate large bowl, shred onion by rubbing across the larger holes of the box grater. Add cottage cheese, Cheddar cheese, 4 tablespoons

of the chives, the garlic, nutmeg and eggs.
Drain potatoes; rinse under running water. Drain well, using hands to press out as much excess water as possible. Add potatoes to cheese mixture in bowl; season with salt and pepper. Mix well; spoon into baking dish. Bake 1 hour or until golden brown; sprinkle with remaining chives.
Next Recipe: Potato Latke

Killer Potato Latkes

Courtesy of Food & Wine




1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
Sea salt
2 pounds baking potatoes
1 large onion, finely diced
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup matzo meal
Vegetable oil, for frying
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Applesauce, crème fraîche, smoked salmon, salmon roe and dill sprigs, for serving



Directions: In a medium saucepan, cover the Yukon Gold potatoes with cool water, season generously with salt and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and immediately pass the potatoes through a ricer into a large bowl.

Working quickly, peel and grate the baking potatoes on the large holes of a box grater into a medium bowl. Press with a clean kitchen towel to remove excess moisture. Add half of the grated potatoes to the riced potatoes.

Transfer the remaining grated potatoes to the bowl of a food processor. Add the onion and pulse until the potatoes and onions are very finely chopped. Transfer to a fine-mesh sieve and press with the back of a spoon to extract as

much liquid as possible. Add the potato-onion mixture to the large bowl. Stir in the eggs, matzo meal, white pepper and 2 teaspoons of salt.

In a large, heavy skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil until shimmering. Working in 3 batches, spoon 1/4 cup of the potato mixture into the oil for each latke; press slightly to flatten. Fry over moderate heat, turning once, until the latkes are golden and crisp on both sides, about 7 minutes. Drain the latkes on a paper towel-lined baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with salt. Serve with applesauce, crème fraîche, smoked salmon, salmon roe and dill.

The fried latkes can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours. Reheat them on a baking sheet in a 375° oven for about 5 minutes, or until warmed through and crisp.

Next Recipe: Braised Brisket

Sweet & Savory Braised Brisket

Courtesy of Lemons for Lulu




Serves 8
3 lbs beef brisket
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt, pepper
3 whole carrots, chopped
¾ lbs cipollini onions
3 cloves garlic
1 jar Rothschild Farms Organic Hot Cherry Merlot Dip (13 oz.)
1-14 oz can chicken broth
1 bunch fresh thyme



Directions: Preheat oven to 325. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or a deep skillet. Season brisket with salt and pepper and place in pan. Sear both sides of brisket for 3-4 minutes or until browned. Remove brisket from pan, set aside. Add carrots and onions to pan. Cook for 5
minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. Add garlic, merlot dip, broth and thyme sprigs to vegetables. Return brisket to pan. Cover and place in oven for 3 hours.Remove brisket to a cutting board and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Cut brisket across the grain and serve with sauce.

Baked Blintzes with
Fresh Blueberry Sauce

Courtesy of Barefoot Contessa




Serves 8-10
For the Batter
1 ¼ cups milk
2 tablespoons sour cream
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 extra-large eggs
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder



For the Filling
3 cups (24 ounces) ricotta cheese
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
2 extra-large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh Blueberry Sauce



Fresh Blueberry Sauce
¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (3 oranges)
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 half-pints fresh blueberries
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice



Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13-inch cake pan or baking dish. For the batter, place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and blend until smooth. (You can also use a blender.) Pour half the batter (about 1¾ cups) into the prepared dish and bake for 10 minutes, until set.

Meanwhile, for the filling, whisk together the ricotta, mascarpone, eggs, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt and mix until thoroughly combined. Spread the cheese filling over the baked pancake. Carefully spoon the remaining pancake batter to cover the cheese.

Return the pan to the oven and continue baking for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is lightly golden and the filling is almost set. Remove from the oven and allow to stand 10 to 15 minutes. Cut the blintzes in squares and serve warm with the fresh blueberry sauce.

For the Fresh Blueberry Sauce:

Combine the orange juice, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. When the mixture is translucent and thickened, stir in the blueberries and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, just until a few berries have burst but most are still whole. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice and cool.


Sour Cherry and Semi-Sweet
Chocolate Rugelach

with Goat Cheese Dough

Courtesy of Lemon Fire Brigade




Makes 16-18 large cookies
8 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces goat cheese
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
Filling + Topping
6 ounces (roughly 1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips or around 61% cacao pieces
8.5 ounces cherry jam or sour cherry spread
3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar (optional)
1/4 cup whole walnut halves, finely chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg
2 teaspoons water



Directions: In a large bowl beat together the butter and goat cheese until well combined. Add the flour and salt to the bowl and stir until a soft dough forms. Gather the dough in a ball and shape it into a rectangle disk. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350º with oven racks placed in the upper-middle positions. Line one 18″ by 14″ inch cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Meanwhile, place the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water on low heat. Melt the chocolate, stirring until it’s smooth, warm, and entirely melted, being careful to not let it get too hot. Stir together a 1/4 cup brown sugar, the walnuts, and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.

Place the dough onto a generously floured surface and using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a thin 25″ by 16″ inch rectangle. With a pizza cutter or knife, trim the excess cracking edges to shape straight edges.

Spoon the jam filling onto one half of the dough and spread with an offset pastry spatula to

cover the entire half surface of the dough, all the way to the edges. Finish the other half side with the melted chocolate and smooth out evenly just the same. Optional, sprinkle the chocolate side with 1/2 cup of the brown sugar evenly over the top, this will make for a less dark chocolate tasting cookie. Either divide the two filling surfaces by cutting down the middle or leave it as is in one piece. Working from the bottom edge of the dough, slowly roll the dough into a tight pinwheel until one evenly long roll is formed.

Cut about 16-18 equal slices with a serrated knife and place onto the prepared sheet tray seam-side down. Brush the cookies with an egg wash of one beaten egg with 2 teaspoons of water. Apply the cinnamon sugar-walnut topping by lightly packing it against each slice. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the jam and chocolate have set and the tops are golden brown. Some of the cherry jam will release from the rugelach while baking leaving a thin sweet tart candy-like layer around some of the cookies. Save that stuff, it’s a nice snack. Let them cool and serve.

The cookies can be stored in airtight container up to 1 week.




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