It’s Hanukkah on Sunday night which means a week filled with fried foods! Well, sort of.
The tradition of eating foods fried in oil dates back to one of the miracles connected to Hanukkah. According to the story, after defeating the Greeks, the victorious Maccabees returned to find the Temple in Jerusalem desecrated. A search of the Temple revealed only enough oil to last for one night. Miraculously, the oil lasted eight nights! From there, Jews have observed the tradition of eating fried foods, like donuts and latkes.
Of course, eating a week’s worth of fried food is not exactly what the Surgeon General recommends. I’ve gone with a theme that incorporates many fried foods, but I’ll either be baking them or using the air fryer to cut down on the amount of frying that is happening in our home. Naturally, dessert this week will be a variety of donuts (called sufganiyot in Hebrew) and maybe some other fried treats.
It’s the first night of Hanukkah, so we’re naturally starting off with latkes! I’m cheating and have some store-bought ones in the house. This is one of those foods that the kids say that they like and then don’t eat when I make them myself, so why put all the effort in? Fish sticks, cooked in the air fryer, and spinach quiche will round out the meal.
Leftovers since we still have plenty of food from Thanksgiving.
I asked the kids to give me a list of their favorite fried foods and mozzarella sticks was at the top of the list. While this hack with eggroll wrappers isn’t the same as the breaded ones you get in a restaurant, the melted gooey cheese in the middle is delicious! While calzones (or pizza turnovers) aren’t fried, they are brushed with olive oil and are a switch from our usual pizza dinner. Planning on getting creative with the fillings for the parents. Caesar salad with croutons (or at least the dressing and the croutons) was a success during Thanksgiving and I still have plenty of dressing left. Leftover challah was the source for the croutons.
Leftovers again. Did I mention that we still have food leftover from Thanksgiving weekend?
My kids love waffles. I use the mix from Kodiak cakes, doctored with a helping of cocoa powder, mashed bananas, and chocolate chips (here are more specific directions). It’s time-consuming, but the kids are pretty grateful for it. Latkes do not need to be made out of potatoes. The cheese latkes from the Spice and Spirit cookbook (everybody should have this cookbook – it’s got every standard Ashkenazi food in it) have been a staple in my life since childhood. I’m excited to try the raspberry sauce suggested in this version. And yes, the veggies are here to make me feel better about what I’m serving.
I had toyed with the idea of a Greek-themed dinner, but it seemed an odd choice for Hanukkah. Instead, we’re going Chinese since it has plenty of fried foods to make. My kids love hot and sour soup and I’m hoping to get closer to that restaurant taste. I’ll be using a vegetable broth base instead of chicken. We’ve also got plenty of leftover Chinese noodles to dump into the soup. I really do love scallion pancakes and this is a pretty easy way of making them. A Chinese-themed dinner requires egg rolls. I usually make them in the air fryer and stuff them with broccoli slaw and diced tofu. We always order sweet and sour chicken when we get Chinese food, so I’m trying it at home but swapping in turkey to deal with that pesky chicken allergy. We’ll round out the meal with sesame broccoli and fried rice in the Instant Pot.
Fried food does not really reheat well so we’re going with a classic line-up for Shabbat lunch: deli meat, cholent with kishka, potato kugel, and spinach souffle.