It’s no secret that for the first and only time in our lifetime, the Jewish Holiday of Hanukkah will fall during the Thanksgiving festivities.
So, this year in our family, instead of having a Thanksgiving dinner celebration (with all the trimmings), and then a family Hanukkah party–we call it a Latke (potato pancake) party–a few weeks later, we are combining the celebrations into one giant dinner with about 25 people.
With the many different branches of our family, we have so many dining options. A few years ago, I decided we would always have OUR Thanksgiving dinner on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. That way, everyone is free to celebrate on Thursday with other parts of their family, and there is no rushing from place to place to fit in all the obligatory appearances.
So, my big decision each year is not which Thanksgiving event to attend, but which green vegetable to make.
Of course, we have roasted turkey. Our friends from France bring fresh lobster. We have mashed potatoes, and a big green salad. My niece brings a cranberry Jello mold and I make homemade gravy and cranberry relish. And that’s when the fun begins for me!
Two years ago, I noticed that no one was eating the stuffing. Too many carbs, I think. So I didn’t make any last year, and nobody missed it. Same goes with the rolls. I know this is probably heresy for some of you, but it never hurts to change things up a bit.
To go with the spirit of changing things up, each year I try a new green vegetable. As you can imagine, this is my favorite part.
One year, I made a Cold Asparagus Salad. The halved grape tomatoes and vinaigrette dressing gave it great eye appeal, and every bit was eaten. I’m happy to report that there were no leftovers.
Then, a friend gave me the recipe for Creamed Spinach which I dutifully served for a few years.
Then Brussels Sprouts came into vogue. For the past two years, I have made an old Gourmet Magazine recipe I found on Epicurious. Honestly, the first year I made this recipe (which I doubled), we ran out! So last year, I doubled the recipe again and we barely had enough. Roasted/steamed in the oven with pancetta (or bacon) makes Brussels Sprouts taste fantastic to even the pickiest of eaters.
This year, I am searching for a new recipe. I am positive that I will make something with Kale. After all, that is the “vegetable darling” of the year. If you have a favorite cooked Kale recipe, please share it with me in the comment section.
With all this talk about Thanksgiving, you’re probably wondering what we’ll be doing to commemorate Hanukkah during our dinner. Well, of course we will be making Fried Potato Latkes. It’s a family affair! My two daughters spend the morning grating potatoes and onions. Then my husband Garry’s job is to fry them. My favorite and most trusted recipe comes from my long time friend, Joan Nathan who is the quintessential authority on all Jewish cooking. You can also purchase Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Cookbook.
Enjoy the holidays!