Thanksgivvukah Is Almost Here! Author Jamie Geller Shares 3 Great Recipes from ‘Joy of Kosher’

Thanksgivvukah is almost here! As many know, Hanukah and Thanksgiving coincide this year, and popular author and TV personality Jamie Geller is here to help with her book Joy of Kosher: Fast, Fresh Family Recipes. She’s all about delicious holiday recipes that do double-duty. Think Cranberry Chestnut Challah Stuffing; Rice Salad with Toasted Nuts, Apples and Onion Dressing; Latkes with Caviar and Cream; Whiskey-Glazed Whole Roasted Turkey; Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese; Kiddie Candy Bark (that can be made into gelt coins); Cardamom-Scented Chanukah Cookie and Sea-Salted Soft Challah Pretzel Rolls. (Check out some great Thanksgiving crafts from Parents, too!)

Geller hasn’t always been kosher. She was raised on take-out and didn’t gravitate to her heritage until her mid-20s. When she married her husband, she was dubbed the Bride Who Knew Nothing–that’s how clueless she was about cooking. Joining his family meant celebrating more than 100 traditional Jewish holiday meals annually, complete with six-course homemade kosher dinners for the immediate and extended family. Determined to show everyone that she had what it takes and spurred to confront her culinary clumsiness, Geller didn’t just learn how to cook—she founded the Kosher Media Network and created cookbooks, magazines, a popular website and even a television show.

In Joy of Kosher, Geller wants everyone to know that if she can put really good food on the table, anyone can. There is no slaving in the kitchen (no rabbi required!) and cooking kosher is really not as tedious or complicated as one might think. Here are a 3 to get you started this week–Cardamom-Scented Chanukah Cookies, Cranberry Chestnut Challah Stuffing and Latkes with Caviar and Cream.

 

 

Cardamom-Scented Chanukah Cookies
Kosher Status: Dairy • Prep: 10 minutes • Chill: 30 minutes • Bake: 12 minutes • Cool: 10 minutes •
Total: 1 hour, 2 minutes • Yield: About twenty-four 2-inch cookies

 ”I feel like a good mom when I bake with my kids, especially for the holidays. Just a touch of cardamom transforms these bland little cookies into something super special.”

1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Blue sugar or sprinkles, for decorating 

1. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and ginger in a small bowl. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg and orange juice and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated.
2. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly flour your work surface.
4. Flour your rolling pin and cookie cutters. Roll out the dough on the work surface. Cut into desired shapes and place them on the prepared baking sheets. Reroll the scraps as needed. Bake until the edges are just golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool 2 minutes on the baking sheet, then move to a wire rack.
5. Place the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and whisk until a smooth, thick, but pourable consistency is reached. Drizzle the frosting on the cookies and decorate them with blue sugar or sprinkles.

Make It Pareve: These are so easy to make nondairy: just sub in margarine for butter. Because it’s traditional to eat dairy delicacies on Chanukah, and I rarely have occasion to make dairy desserts, I seized the opportunity to use butter in this recipe. But it’s a great quick cookie recipe and shouldn’t be relegated to Chanukah—just use cookie cutters that are not holiday themed.

Pair It: Al fasi Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc
Some of the most complex wines are dessert wines, with a wide array of aromas. Sip this one alongside your cookies and enjoy the fruity, spicy sensation.

Dress it up: Our go‑to Chanukah activity is cookie decorating. The kids love to pile on mountains of sprinkles, fluff, licorice, chocolate chips, mustard, and glue. (I threw those last two in to see if you’re listening. If you’re like Hubby, you’d be nodding and going, “Fine, fine.”) And when our cousins Samara and Ilana come over to create their masterpieces, our humble cookies become candidates for the Kids’ Cookie Hall of Fame. But we grown-ups deserve our day, too, so I recently added this slightly more refined chocolate ganache version to the mix. I mean, how many rainbow sprinkles can a person eat?

Cardamom-Scented Chanukah Cookies
Kosher Status: Dairy • Prep: 10 minutes • Chill: 30 minutes • Bake: 12 minutes • Cool: 10 minutes •
Total: 1 hour, 2 minutes • Yield: About twenty-four 2-inch cookies

 ”I feel like a good mom when I bake with my kids, especially for the holidays. Just a touch of cardamom transforms these bland little cookies into something super special.”

11⁄2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Blue sugar or sprinkles, for decorating 

1. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and ginger in a small bowl. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg and orange juice and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated.
2. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly flour your work surface.
4. Flour your rolling pin and cookie cutters. Roll out the dough to on the work surface. Cut into desired shapes and place them on the prepared baking sheets. Reroll the scraps as needed. Bake until the edges are just golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool 2 minutes on the baking sheet, then move to a wire rack.
5. Place the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and whisk until a smooth, thick, but pourable consistency is reached. Drizzle the frosting on the cookies and decorate them with blue sugar or sprinkles.

Make It Pareve: These are so easy to make nondairy: just sub in margarine for butter. \

Pair It: Al fasi Late Harvest Sauvignon B lanc
Some of the most complex wines are dessert wines, with a wide array of aromas. Sip this one alongside your cookies and enjoy the fruity, spicy sensation.

Dress It Up:
• Black and White Chocolate–Dipped
Chanukah Cookies •

Cranberry Chestnut Challah Stuffing
Kosher Status: Meat • Prep: 10 minutes • Cook: 50 minutes • Total: 1 hour • Yield: 8 to 10 servings

 ”In the dead of winter, my folks would drive us up to New York City from Philly. We’d catch a few Broadway shows and shop like crazy. We snacked on little bags of hot roasted chestnuts bought from a street vendor wearing fingerless gloves. The aroma of fresh roasted chestnuts in winter is my New York. So when I noticed bagged roasted and shelled chestnuts in a store recently—wham! I instantly saw Times Square . . . snow . . . funny gloves. There was no snow and no hot aroma when I opened the bag, but once baked in the oven with my stuffing, they were divine.”

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 cup roasted and peeled chestnuts, quartered
1 cup dried cranberries
1⁄4 cup finely chopped fresh sage or
1 tablespoon dried
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons dried
8 cups 1⁄2-inch cubes white or whole wheat challah
2 cups chicken broth, such as
Manischewitz All Natural Chicken Broth
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or ovenproof saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute the onions and celery until softened and the onion is translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the chestnuts, cranberries, sage, and parsley and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in the challah, chicken broth, salt, and pepper. Remove from the heat. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until lightly browned, 10 minutes more.

Quick Tips: You can find bags of roasted and peeled chestnuts in the snack aisle at the supermarket. This recipe doesn’t require day-old or stale bread, although it’s a great use for any leftovers on hand. Challah, hot dog and hamburger buns, even sandwich bread—use it all out, mix ’n’ match it, cube it, and make stuffing or Spiced Apple Challah Kugel (page 94).

Make It Pareve: Use vegetable broth in place of chicken broth.

Make It a Meal: Serve with Sour Mash Whiskey–Glazed Whole Roasted Turkey (page 168).

Pair It: Weinstock Red by W. A robust red wine would overwhelm this dish, so go for the soft fruity flavors in Red by W to complement the red berry flavors of the stuffing.

Latkes with Caviar and Cream

  • 4 large russet potatoes (about 21⁄2 pounds)
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1⁄4 cup fine cornmeal or matzoh meal
  • 11⁄4 cups crème frâiche or sour cream
  • Caviar, for garnish

1. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Peel the potatoes, cut them into quarters lengthwise, and place them in the bowl of cold water to prevent browning.
2. Combine the eggs, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; set aside.
3. Heat about 1 inch of the canola oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.
4. Put the onion and potatoes in a food processor and pulse until pureed. Transfer the mixture to the large bowl with the eggs. Add the cornmeal and mix to combine.
5. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
6. Using a ¼ cup measuring cup, scoop up the potato mixture and carefully drop it into the hot oil. Use the back of the measuring cup to flatten the latke. Fill the pan with as many latkes as you can, but do not let them touch. Do not overcrowd your pan, or the latkes will be soggy instead of crispy. Fry until golden brown and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Drain on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining batter.
7. To keep the latkes warm and crispy once fried, spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in a 200°F oven until ready to serve.
8. To serve, place the latkes on a large serving tray and garnish each with a generous tablespoon of crème fraiche and caviar.

Quick Tip: ”I can’t say it enough times. Remember, don’t overcrowd your pan when frying. Make sure the latkes aren’t touching and there is room around each for the edges to crisp. That’s the perfect latke: soft, fluffy, and creamy on the inside with crispy edges.”

Dress It Down:

• Sweet Cinnamon Latkes •

“My friend Anita’s grandmother used to make her latkes with a pinch of cinnamon. Full disclosure: When she mentioned her grandma’s sweet secret, I snagged it for this book. For a sweeter version, omit the onion and the pepper, reduce the salt to a pinch, and add 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and 3 tablespoons sugar. Mix 1 cup sour cream with ¼ cup maple syrup and serve it on the side.

Pair It: Drappier Brut Champagne (Carte Blanch e or Carte d ’Or)
This dish deserves bubbly . . . splurge here and go for the champagne.

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