Tag: hanukkah

Spanakopita Bourekas

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

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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Sabich Latkes

As a food blogger, one of the questions I often get asked is what my favorite dish is. If they want to know my most popular dish, that ones easy. But my favorite? It’s like asking me who my favorite child is. Can a mom really have a favorite child?! But now, NOW I can answer that question. Sabich latkes, hands down, is my favorite dish of all time. Does that tell you something?

Sabich is a classic Israeli sandwich consisting of pita stuffed with fried eggplant, hardboiled egg, Israeli salad, tahini and amba (a pickled mango condiment). Since amba is not readily available to everyone, I decided to pickle some onions instead, and I added my new favorite Mina harissa for some spice. The combo is so ridiculously incredible that you’re going to want to eat the leftovers for breakfast, and then lunch, and maybe dinner too.

The best part of sabich, is that you can switch things up if you wish – add some hummus, Israeli pickles, schug, or go gourmand with a poached egg for a truly sophisticated bite.

Related Recipes:

falafel latkes with harissa tahini
roasted eggplant with Israeli salad
sous vide stuffed eggplant with pistachio dukkah and tamarind tahini

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Jelly Ring Donuts

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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{Falatkes} Falafel Latkes with Harissa Tahini

There really is no outdoing my poutine latkes from last year. The latkes went so viral, that I cooked them up for the Wall Street Journal and did a latke segment for The Meredith Vieira Show. HuffPost Canada went gaga over them and the rest is history.

I’m not one to rest on my laurels so I had to really blow it out of the water this year. It’s a good thing I had an entire year to think about it! I knew I wanted to go in the Israeli direction, because my food has been really influenced by the amazing flavors and spices of Israeli culture and cuisine. And what’s more quintessentially Israeli than falafel?

When falafel latkes, or as I coined them, FALATKES, came to me, I was beyond excited at the prospect of creating a beanless falafel dish! I prepared my batter, scooped it in the sizzling oil and my brain went crazy. Was I smelling latkes or was I smelling falafel?! I was smelling both!!

And then I took a bite of their crispy goodness and Oh. Em. Gee. I was eating potato latkes. And I was eating falafel. {MINDBLOWN} Poutine latkes – outdone.

If Chanukah wasn’t my favorite holiday before, it is now! Not only was I born on the fifth night, but I got married on my birthday and as I celebrate my 35th birthday, along with my 13th wedding Anniversary, I will be munching on this deeelicious fried goodness. It’s going to be a very happy birthday indeed!

Now, when you create the ultimate Chanukah latke, you have to top it with the ultimate sauce. Tahini is my jam so I made it my favorite way – with delicious spicy harissa mixed in for a deep, rich and spicy flavor. I am legit obsessed with Mina harissa that I tasted at Kosherfest just a couple of weeks ago. It’s spicy, but it’s also kind of sweet, which is never something I expected to find in a harissa. It’s got such a homey small-batch flavor, I just want to slather it on everything! And don’t even get me started on their shakshuka sauce. I can’t wait to create some amazing recipes with it!

If you’re a fan of harissa, don’t forget to try my harissa whipped feta with za’atar eggplant chips. They’re perfect for Chanukah, when it’s traditional to eat dairy foods. You can even fry up the za’atar chips to really get into the Chanukah mood. My confetti latkes with harissa sour cream are another favorite and if you want to go healthy, definitely go for my cauliflower nachos with harissa cheddar sauce. Told you I love harissa. Of course, if you’re looking for other fun Chanukah recipes, don’t forget to check out my Chanukah category, as well as the Chanukah section in my new RECIPE INDEX!  You’ll find amazing appetizers and desserts that are perfect for you Chanukah party.

In the meantime, here are some great tips for making the ultimate crispy latkes!

1- Make sure to squeeze out as much liquid as possible out of your potatoes and onions using a cheesecloth or kitchen towel.
2- Use little-to-no flour to bind the mixture. The potatoes natural starch is usually enough to keep it together.
2- When the batter sits, it tends to get liquidy, so make sure to squeeze out as much moisture as possible before frying.
3- Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop out your batter. Pack the batter into the cup and place in the hot oil. Use the bottom of the cup to press down on the latkes, creating crisy, lacy edges.
4- Remove your latkes from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain, but immediately remove to a rack so the latkes stay nice and crisp.

Happy Frying!


This post was sponsored by Mina. All opinions are my own. View Mina’s amazing assortment of harissa and shakshuka sauce here or follow on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

Related Recipes:

confetti latkes with harissa sour cream
harissa whipped feta with za’atar eggplant chips
cauliflower nachos with harissa cheddar sauce
falafel burgers

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