chanukah recipes

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Crispy Rice Latkes

Friday, November 23rd, 2018

Call ’em crispy rice latkes, call ’em snap crackle and pop cakes, call ’em crispy crack or even tahdig – just do yourself a favor and make them, ok??

These leftover sushi rice cakes were a total afterthought the morning after a make-your-own-sushi-roll for dinner night. I usually just stir fry my leftover rice and top it with a runny egg for breakfast the next morning but this time, I decided to crisp it up into what basically turned into a crack cake. It’s tahdig on steroids and solves the soggy latke problem, because even hours later, the latkes remained super crispy.

I think my biggest problem was what to top them with but I solved it pretty fast because runny eggs are my jam, especially when they are jammy soft boiled ones. But honestly, the options are endless. Lox and creme fraiche if you’re feeling fancy. Caviar if you really want to take it over the top. Some tuna tartare if you want to go Asian, or some sesame pulled beef if you’re feeling meaty.

And if you really want to be fancy, mix the scallions INTO the rice before frying. Or add any fillings of your choice. ENDLESS. OPTIONS.

Chanukah has been so good to me. It gave me life (I was born on the 5th night), and it celebrates my Anniversary (I got married on my birthday). I’ve always felt a special connection to the holiday of fried food, donuts and wine + cheese and I secretly wonder if it’s one of the reasons I was born with the foodie gene!

This Chanukah is especially momentous because I get to share the holiday with so many of my fans and followers at my local book signings in Williams Sonoma and Bloomingdales! I could not be more excited to share some of my favorite Chanukah recipes in some of my favorite stores. I am feeling so. very. blessed. Thank you all for making this year so special to me!

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Chanukah!

Other Latke Recipes:

salami potato latkes
sabich latkes
falatkes (falafel latkes)
poutine latkes
confetti latkes
butternut squash latkes
cheese latkes

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Salami Potato Latkes

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

If there’s anything my blog is known for, it’s probably my drunken hasselback salami. Clearly people like the stuff. They like to hang it, they like to dry it, and man do they like to eat it!


If I’m ever in need of a fun recipe idea, I can just stick salami in there somewhere and chances are, it will go viral. My salami babka from last year was such a hit that Abeles & Heymann decided to print it on their actual packaging and, come on, how many of you have NOT tried the hasselback version, even the stores are selling it now! What is it with Jews and salami?


Well, I don’t know, but I’ll tell you this – I’m knee deep in cookbook editing and when I realized that Chanukah was just a few days away, I knew I had to come up with a latke recipe, and pronto. I’ve always got A&H salami in the fridge, and when I opened the door for some inspiration, it hit me. Why not add it to my potato latkes for some seriously salty delicious flavor? I decided to try grating it in my food processor so I could incorporate the salami in fully, and it processed really well! The result is a super fun take on a traditional latke that you will truly enjoy.

Unlike other traditional Jewish foods, I find that people are really purists about their latkes. They don’t want to sub sweet potatoes for potatoes, they’re not interested in the healthier baked versions, no. They want crispy, fried potato latkes that leave your fingers all greasy and your house and clothes smelling like Chanukah.

So here’s the thing: these latkes are a fun twist on the traditional, but they still respect the humble potato latke and they taste pretty classic too, except for some hints of salami.

And if you’re wondering why there’s a carrot in my frying pan, it’s the most brilliant frying hack ever! Somehow the carrot soaks up all the gunk in the oil and it keeps your oil clean throughout frying. You must give it a try!

Happy Chanukah and of course, happy frying!

This post is sponsored by Abeles & Heymann.
Follow them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

Other Latke Recipes:

sabich latkes
falafel latkes
poutine latkes
confetti latkes with harissa sour cream
butternut squash latkes
cheese latkes with raspberry sauce

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Spanakopita Bourekas

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

It’s mashup time! I think my favorite part of being a food blogger is being able to play around with recipes and coming up with my own twists on things. I love mashing things up. What’s a mashup? Well, it’s when I take a traditional food and I fuse it with another cuisine or concept to create a hybrid sort of recipe. It would probably be easier if I showed you.

Take these pecan pie lace cookies that I made for Thanksgivukkah back in 2013 (gosh, was that really three whole years ago?!). Since Thanksgiving and Chanukah came out on the same night (which only happens in a gazillion years btw), I decided to fuse a Thanksgiving concept: pecan pie, with a traditional Jewish pastry: lace cookies, or, florentines. Florentines are traditionally made with almonds, but I used pecans, and to up the Chanukah ante, I drizzled the cookies with Chanukah symbols and filled them with raspberry jam. That, my friends, is a mashup.

Of course I’ve got plenty of other Chanukah mashups on the blog, like these poutine latkes, a twist on the classic Canadian dish of gravy and cheese smothered french fries (yes, I went there). Then there was my falafel latkes, or falatkes, a fusion of the Israeli staple and the classic potato latke, which I took to another level with the sabich. And finally, the droolworthy donut milkshake and potato latke funnel cakes that have been blowing up feeds everywhere. Told you I loved mashups :)

So Chanukah is upon us, and I really wanted to mashup a Greek staple with a typical Jewish food. Traditional spanakopita is a spinach feta pie made with a filo (or phyllo) crust. Filo is notoriously difficult to work with, since it is paper thin and tears easily, so I decided to turn the pie into the perfect hand-held appetizer: bourekas. With lots of Chanukah parties on our calendar, this makes a great finger food for the table!

Bourekas are a family favorite and not just because they are uber delicious, with all the flaky layers of buttery dough. It’s because they are so. freakin. easy. Truth be told, I was originally going to make spanakopita rugelach, but I’ve been feeling out of sorts this week and the idea of working on a savory cheese dough was just off the table. So I thought about what I could use to make these super easy and semi-homemade, and I went to that beloved ingredient that makes party planning so much easier – the puff pastry. Oh how I love thee.

I always keep puff pastry in the freezer because it makes the most impressive danish pastry in no time, it’s a must-have for my kids favorite deli roll, it makes an easy topping for pot pie, and the quickest impressive fruit tart. I also love it for cream horns, pinwheels, bite-size bundles, and even hamantaschen!

I’m all about finger food at my Chanukah party, so I hope this post gave you some “food for thought” for your Chanukah menu planning! For more great Chanukah recipes, check out the index!

Happy Chanukah! Happy Chrismukkah! Happy Donut Day! And yes, Happy Birthday and Anniversary to me!! (I was born and got married on the 5th night!)

Related Recipes:

spinach papardelle with feta and fried poached egg
harissa whipped feta with zaatar eggplant chips
summer tomato feta salad
roasted eggplant parmesan with feta
spinach and spaghetti squash shakshuka

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Potato Latke Funnel Cakes

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

Yay!!!!! Chanukah, the festival of donuts, potato latkes and all things fried is upon us, and I couldn’t be happier!! I was lucky enough to be born on the festival of fattening foods…uh…I mean….lights, so all the more reason to allow myself to really s.p.l.u.r.g.e.

I even got married on my birthday so between my anniversary, my birthday, and the holiday, it’s an eight day food fest with no restrictions. I’m not a big fryer during the year so when Chanukah comes around, I break out the gallon-sized canola oil and get to it.

I love all the donut making and latke topping, but I especially love to make other fun fried food that I don’t get around to enjoying otherwise. Like fried oreos, fried ice cream and funnel cakes! I also go savory with fried lasagna stripszucchini chips and even beer battered salami! When I said I go all out, I meant it! (just ask my scale after the eight days are up!)

I’ve had some really fun latke ideas over the past few years, including my poutine latkes that landed me on the front page of The Wall Street Journal and my viral falafel latkes which turned into the ultimate sabich. I had to up the ante this year, and and what better way than fusing two of my favorite Chanukah indulgences – latkes and funnel cakes!

If you’ve never had a funnel cake, I’m sorry. It’s basically a thick pancake dough that’s piped into hot oil for a crispy sweet fried dough that gets covered in powdered sugar. It’s. so. good. I decided to go savory with the same concept by incorporating mashed potatoes and ranch seasoning into the dough. It was a really good idea. Just try it and you’ll see!

The potato dough takes a little getting used to, so I suggest practicing with a few mini cakes at first. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll be banging out potato latke funnel cakes like no-ones business! Just try not to eat the whole batch before your company arrives. They’re especially good straight out of the fryer!

This recipe was actually my first time working with ranch seasoning and I am hooked! Where has this addictive stuff been my entire life? Potatoes and ranch make such a perfect pairing, I can’t believe I’ve been eating chips without it until now.

If you can’t get your hands on one of these packets, just season up your potatoes to taste with the spices of your choice. My Greek yogurt ranch dip can give you some ideas!

I’m working on some other fun Chanukah recipes including a donut that you can drink (you’ll see!) and a super addictive twist on pb&j. Chanukah here we come!

What are your favorite deep fried foods to make for the holiday? I’d love to hear! Share them with me in the comments below.

In the meantime, get your stretchy skirts ready and stack up on that canola oil. You’re gonna need it!

Oh, and do yourself a favor and set your scale back 5 lbs, will you?


This post was sponsored by Lipton Kosher. All opinions are my own. 

Related Recipes:

sabich latkes
falafel latkes
poutine latkes
confetti latkes
butternut squash latkes

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Jelly Ring Donuts

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

No need to rub your eyes, you’ve read that right. I’ve made JELLY. RING. DONUTS. I know they look like jelly rings. But these right here ^^^ are raspberry jelly infused baked chocolate donuts that taste EXACTLY like the candy. It’s a Chanukah miracle!

It all started with my husband’s birthday. He was turning 36 and his office put together a little surprise party. Apparently, they heard that I’m a “Chef”, so they asked me to bake something. Little did they know, I don’t do birthday cakes, but I decided to come up with something fun anyway.

JELLY RINGS are my husband’s all time favorite treat, so I decided to create jelly ring cupcakes. I baked up my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe and I filled them with raspberry donut jelly and topped them with chocolate frosting stuffed with a jelly ring. I even piped them and everything!

But I’m not a baker. So even though I carefully packed up those babies in foil pans and stuffed them in the corner of my trunk with a prayer, lets just say they did not make it in one piece. The frosting, which I had piled on high, did a little birthday jiggle with each turn of my car, and by the time I excitedly opened my birthday surprise, I was not looking very cheffy (understatement).

Everyone was nice enough to eat them anyway, and the consensus was: they might look like a poop emoji, but they taste like JELLY RINGS! Luckily, I had a few cupcakes set aside at home for my kids, so I was able to show my husband what his birthday cupcakes were supposed to look like. I posted a pic on Instagram and apparently my husband is not the only guy to love jelly rings. Lots of people asked for the recipe, so I decided I’d post it.

Fast forward a couple of days and I got an email from my blogger friends who wanted to do a Virtual Chanukah Party like last year. They had decided on a donut theme and I was in! When I thought about what donuts to make, I realized that I could turn my jelly ring cupcakes into donuts and have them not only taste like jelly rings, but look like them too. GENIUS right?!

So I set out to test the perfect baked chocolate donut. Something chocolaty and moist, but without that pudding-texture of the Hershey’s recipe. It took three tries but I finally hit the nail on the head. I used my handy dandy syringe to infuse the donuts with raspberry donut jelly, and I dipped it in melted chocolate. The results were beyond my expectations! The donuts look practically identical to jelly rings, and THEY TASTE EXACTLY LIKE THEM too! Seriously people. Jelly rings in donut form. So much YESSSSS!

Now I’m not the only one who blew it out of the water with my donut creation. Check out these awesome recipes from our VIRTUAL CHANUKAH DONUT PARTY!

Savory Hatch Chili and Cheddar Donuts from LittleFerraroKitchen
Savory Sufganiyot Hanukkah Doughnuts with Chopped Liver Mousse & Manischewitz Glaze from WhatJewWannaEat
Cake Donut Bread Pudding with Vanilla Glaze from KitchenTested
Deep Fried Brownie Fritters from OvertimeCook

We’ve also got a special Chanukah giveaway package that’s happening exclusively on Instagram, so head on over to enter!


This post is sponsored by California Gourmet Chocolate Chips. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.   View the list of over 300 stores that carry the brand here).

Related Recipes:

pecan pie lace cookies with raspberry jam and chocolate drizzle
cheese latkes with raspberry sauce
candy mosaic Chanukah tray

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Beer Battered Pumpkin Rings

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

I seem to create trends for myself when it comes to the holidays. Of course every Chanukah there’s a latke, and every Purim, a hamantasch. But it’s more than that. Every Succot, I post a different type of mechshie (a Syrian stuffed vegetable dish), every Purim, I do something else with salami. And it seems, every Chanukah, I post something with gourds (different varieties of pumpkin).

It wasn’t really on purpose, and I didn’t even realize it until I made these! First there was my amazing zucchini parmesan chips, then my Thanksgivukkah pumpkin ricotta cheese latkes with cranberry syrup (you MUST make these for Chanukah morning, they’re insanely good!), and finally my gluten free butternut squash latkes with ginger applesauce and curried sour cream.

This year, I’m continuing the trend using delicata squash – a small mild-flavored squash with an edible peel (you gotta love the no-peeling!). To make the most of my fried pumpkin idea, I decided to coat the squash in pumpkin beer batter. If you’ve never tried a pumpkin ale, it’s got a hint of pumpkin flavor from vine ripened pumpkin and harvest spices. It’s definitely up there with one of my favorite drinks, as well as one of my favorite batter ingredients!

What beer does for tempura batter is truly amazing. You can google it, of course, but  basically the foam, alcohol and carbon dioxide in the beer cause a chemical reaction when it hits the hot oil. It results in an incredibly crisp and light batter. And who doesn’t love a light and crispy coating?

It’s Chanukah after all, so exploring the best type of batter for deep frying is exactly the sort of research we should be doing! Fried latkes and donuts are all good, but there’s nothing like a deep fried oreo, some tempura-fried veggies or sweet and delicious apple fritter rings.

Traditionally, beer batter is used more in savory dishes, but I love to shake things up, so I added a little sugar and some more pumpkin spices, to really bring out the pumpkin flavor. What you get is an ultra-crunchy light coating that pair perfectly with what’s inside….delicata squash.

The only thing better than the pumpkin beer batter is what I put on top! Some cinnamon-scented powdered sugar! And to really take it to the next level, I created a maple GREEK yogurt dipping sauce – as an ode to the Chanukah miracle!

Now when you look at these beer battered pumpkin rings – what do you see? Come on, you all know you’re thinking of it…DONUTS! I love that these look just like the traditional fried Chanukah dessert, yet they’re something else entirely! How fun is that?!

And when you top ’em off with the thick Greek yogurt sauce, it looks just like frosting. And believe me when I tell you – this sauce is probably the best frosting you’ll ever taste! It’s even good for you – so how’s that for deguiltifying the whole beer-battered deep fried rings thing. They’ve even got squash inside, so you’re technically just eating veggies with greek yogurt, right? ;)

To get the recipe for my Beer Battered Pumpkin Rings with Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce, head on over to my guest post on THE NOSHER!

Other Fried Chanukah Recipes:

zucchini parmesan chips
confetti latkes with harissa sour cream
gluten free butternut squash latkes
corned beef arancini
french fried chicken nuggets
spinach falafel burgers

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Poutine Latkes

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

I could NOT be more excited about today’s recipe because it’s all about one of my favorite things….POUTINE! If you’ve never heard of it, it’s because it’s a Canadian specialty, and you probably have never had a chance to try it in the U.S. When I visited Montreal recently with my family, I tried poutine again for the first time in years, and I just wanted to keep going back for more!

Traditional Poutine is made with french fries and cheese curds which are smothered in gravy. Of course kosher poutine is a bit of a challenge, because A. kosher cheese curds are not available in the U.S. and B. it’s hard to create a rich gravy without using stock and drippings. Alas, I have mastered the art of KOSHER POUTINE and I couldn’t be more ecstatic!!


First, the cheese curds. Cheese curds are the solid parts of soured milk, and are sometimes referred to as squeaky cheese. I had the brilliant idea to pull apart shreds of fresh mozzarella, and they did the perfect job of resembling the curds, both in look and texture. I think they work wonderfully as a sub for the traditional.


Now onto the gravy! How do you get a truly rich gravy without much work, and without drippings? You turn to UMAMI flavors like soy sauce and parmesan. They give the gravy that depth of flavor that you can’t get in a vegan recipe. Of course this makes the gravy dairy, but your poutine is smothered in fresh mozzarella cheese curds anyway, so the more the merrier!


Actually, the dairy part of this is what really got me thinking about turning it into a Chanukah recipe. Dairy is customarily eaten on Chanukah to remember the bravery of Yehudit, a young widower who lived in Bethulia in the land of Judea. To save Jerusalem from a paralyzing siege and approaching enemy troops, Yehudit seduced a Greek general into a drunken slumber by feeding him salty cheese and quenching his thirst with strong wine. As the general slept, she beheaded him with a sword. After finding that their general had been killed, the Greek army fled in disarray.


There’s no doubt that smothering potato latkes (mini or otherwise) in cheese curds and gravy might put us all in drunken slumber, but trust me when I tell you, it’s worth it. Even if you need to take a nap afterwards!


This post was sponsored by Natural & Kosher Cheese. Follow them on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, or via their Blog

Other Chanukah Recipes:

confetti latkes with harissa sour cream 
gluten free butternut squash latkes
cheese latkes with raspberry sauce
fried zucchini parmesan chips

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Confetti Latkes with Harissa Sour Cream

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013


True story. I’m somewhere late into my 9th month of pregnancy and a little something called Braxton Hicks comes to pay me a visit. If you’re not familiar, Braxton Hicks are false labor pains that feel almost like the real thing. They play with your head, make your think you’re going into labor, and sometimes even have you rushing to the hospital. Which is exactly what happened.


It’s amazing how no matter how many kids you have, you completely forget how it all goes down at the end. I suppose that memory lapse is natures way of protecting procreation. I mean, what woman in their right mind would want to go through labor ever again?


So there I was, pulling up to Mount Sinai Hospital when I caught site of a farmer’s market at the corner. Now let me explain what it’s like for a farm-fresh-veggie-loving-foodie like me to stumble upon a farmer’s market. It’s enough to stop me dead in my tracks and have me all but forget about my contractions. “I think they’re going away,” I muster to my husband as I eye the rainbow carrots in the corner crate. “Oh no you’re not!” he counters. “I promise I’ll take you to every farmer’s market in town once you have this baby!”


A couple of hours and plenty of false labor pains later, I’m back at the same corner picking farm-fresh produce.I score the most amazing purple kohlrabi, beets, carrots, baby turnips, breakfast radishes and little sugar pumpkins. The Braxton Hicks are behind me and I’m dreaming up all types of recipes as I head home on the FDR.


With farm fresh bounty in hand, this recipe practically wrote itself. I combined the kohlrabi (which is white inside, by the way), carrots and beets with some fresh beet greens to create beautiful jewel-toned latkes, that are even tastier than they are colorful. In fact, my husband brought a pan of the crispy-fried latkes to a business meeting and they were gone in seconds. He came home with rave reviews and a generous offer to take me back to the farmers market!


Other latke recipes:

pumpkin ricotta cheese latkes with cranberry maple syrup
gluten free butternut squash latkes
cheese latkes with raspberry sauce
gefilte fish latkes
snacker-crusted salmon cakes

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Pumpkin Ricotta Pancakes with Cranberry Syrup

Monday, November 4th, 2013


I bet you didn’t think it could get any better than good old pumpkin pancakes. How about pumpkin ricotta pancakes with some cranberry maple syrup to top it off? Thanksgiving heaven, wouldn’t you say? This is fair warning: you might want to get yourself some tissues. There’s going to be some drool involved.


I love pancakes. Any flavor suits my fancy. Blueberry corn and Speculoos Spiced are favorites, but gimme some cheese and I call ’em latkes. These old cheese latkes with raspberry sauce were my idea of a deconstructed donut. This year, I decided to get into the Thanksgivukkah spirit with some pumpkin flavored pancakes with a generous dose of ricotta and autumn spices. Whip ’em up on Chanukah or Thanksgiving morning – better yet – lunch, or even dinner (I am not beyond eating pancakes for dinner)…


I’m gonna go all Pioneer-Woman on you and throw in some extra photos for your drooling pleasure. I don’t know what was better, getting to eat these, or photographing them. They almost look too good to eat, don’t they?


Go ahead, dig in. These babies won’t last long…


Now open up WIDE, there’s a mouthful of flavor on that fork…


Be generous. Slather on that buttery goodness…

Nothing goes together quite like pumpkin and cranberries – two fall favorites that complement each other like yin and yang. There’s also no better topping for pancakes than pure sweet maple syrup. Why not combine the  two to make cranberry maple syrup over pumpkinlicious pancakes – a perfect pairing for the autumn holidays!

Related Posts:

cheese latkes with raspberry sauce
healthy baked pumpkin oatmeal
pumpkin banana bread

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Gluten Free Butternut Squash Latkes

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Latkes. We can’t seem to get enough of their crispy, fried goodness! I don’t know about you, but I can eat latkes all Chanukah long. As long as I switch up the flavors, I’m good. Butternut squash latkes has become a family favorite in our home. They’re light, mildly sweet, and lend themselves well to all sorts of seasonings. We like them best straight up – good old butternut squash, onion, egg and some simple salt seasoning, but feel free to spruce them up with curry, paprika, cumin, or your favorites.

Because I prefer to prepare these gluten free latkes with simple flavors, I spice up the garnishes instead. Ginger applesauce and curried sour cream are the perfect complements to the butternut squash. Top them off with some scallions for latke perfection on a plate.

What are some of your favorite latke varieties? I’d love to hear! Share them in the comments below!

1 year ago: cheese latkes with raspberry sauce
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