Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hanunkkah Dinner and a few Stories

This year, like many years in the past, Hanukkah has come too early in the year. Hanukkah on December 2,  is too soon to recover from Thanksgiving. So my family is holding off our celebrations until later in the month. But here are some of our traditional Hanukkah recipes from last year.

Bubbe and Grandpa's Hanukkah Latkes
This recipe has been used for many many years in my family. I am lucky enough to have one of the original Temple Sisterhoods' Cookbook. I have my Bubbe's copy and I love it. This recipe is the favorite in my family.

Potato Latkes
4 large potatoes, grated
2 eggs
1 tsp salt (trust me you will need a lot more kosher salt)
dash pepper
1 teaspoon grated onion ( I use about 1/4 a cup or so depending on how sweet the onion is)
1/2 cup flour scant
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

As for oil, the cookbook recommends vegetable oil, I use olive oil and my Dad likes peanut oil. I prefer a combination of vegetable and olive it you want to go with a more flavorful oil.

Peel potatoes and grate on a fine grater or a food processor. Pour off 1/2 liquid that accumulates and add rest of  ingredients. Drop batter by 1/4 cups onto a hot, well-greased frying pan. Test the first batch latkes to see if you need less salt and to see if the center is cooked thoroughly. Fry, browning both sides. Serve hot with applesauce and sour cream.

I fry the latkes and place them on a foil and paper towel lined cookie sheet. To keep them warm while continuing to fry the remainder of the batch, I keep them in the oven at 250˚.

In my family there has always been 2 ways to serve up hot latkes. My way with applesauce and sour cream. I mouthful of crispy, hot fried with cool sweet applesauce and soft creamy sour cream. The perfect mouthful.  And my cousins way of serving hot latkes with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top.  It is up to you how you serve them, but I like my way best!

My mother's Cranberry Applesauce is really soft and full of fresh and bright flavors. I love that it has a very rich and almost decadent feeling to it and that it is one of the easiest recipes to make. This year I made it in my crock-pot.

Ellie's Cranberry Applesauce
3 lbs Golden Delicious Apples, peeled, quartered, cored, & cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1  1/2 cups apple juice
1/2 cup sugar
1  1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

Combine all ingredients in a heavy large saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until apples are tender and begin to fall apart, about 25 minutes. Cover and chill. This can be made up to 2 days ahead.

Now I made the applesauce in 2 parts, not sure if everyone would like the cranberry applesauce.  I started out with the apples, sugar and apple juice in the crock-pot on high until the juice began to boil. Then reducing the crock-pot to low I ran out to do a few errands, including picking up cranberries.  After about 4 hours, the apples were really starting to fall apart. I processed them in two batches, 1 smooth and 1 chunky. I mixed the 2 batches of  applesauce together and refrigerated the cranberry applesauce.

Using a medium pot, I mixed together 1 cup fresh cranberries, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup apple juice and brought it to a boil.  I reduced the heat to medium and let it cook, uncovered for about 20 minutes, until the cranberries were very soft and the juice was more syrupy.

I also ran the cranberries in the food processor in two batches, chunky and smooth and refrigerated them for about 1 hour.  I divided the applesauce into 2 containers and in one container I added the cranberry sauce and mixed it well.  Please taste as you do this, I really didn't need to add all of the cranberries, it was a bit tart. I sweetened it with a some of the plain applesauce.

I served both together with sour cream for the latkes. I never should have worried about the cranberry applesauce, everyone loved it!  The plain applesauce was a hit too!

Me lighting the  Hanukkah candles

 The latkes are a traditional dish for the Kaplans'. I first had it many many years ago in Sanibel Florida. My family would stay with my Bubbe and Granpa in their condo and my cousins would rent a condo in the same complex, Lighthouse Point.  It was very fun, all my cousins were 1 floor and 2 hallways away. We used to celebrate Hanukkah there, all together, crowded into a green condo. Everything inside the condo was green! We would exchange gifts, play dreidel and eat and eat and eat. Latkes, brisket, applesauce, chocolate gelt (chocolate coins).  We did this for many years, all of us in a green condo, eating, laughing, and celebrating.

Now, many years later, we all have our own lives and almost no one goes down to Sanibel Island anymore. So we transferred the party to my cousin's home in Chicago. We all try to make it to her home for what we still call...Sanibel Hanukkah Dinner. We still exchange gifts. We still celebrate Christmas by eating Chinese food and spending the day at the movies. 

Happy Hanukkah from my family to yours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. My mouth is watering for those! Yum.

    I just found your blog through the Weekend Blog Hop! Have a great weekend.

    Amanda @

  2. I too think it's too early to tackle after Thanksgiving.....but great recipes and ideas...I'll have to try for Christmas! That's a beautiful way to create some YUM! Have a nice rest of the weekend:)

  3. Hi! I found you through Follow Me Wednesday. I'm following. I'm excited to look through all your recipes. The pictures are beautiful!

  4. Love your blog!! Yes Hanukkah came too early this year, but it is never too early for those delicious Latkas! Following from the weekend blog hop.

    Swanky Baby

  5. Here from the bloghop.
    I follow you on GFC. I'd love for you to follow me back
    Tiffypoot @ (

  6. yes, perfect! thanks so much for helping me find this, Kate! I will also be trying that cranberry applesauce! My son loves the strawberry applesauce that you can get in the single serves at the store, and has since sworn off my homemade, claiming it isn't red, so this might just win him over again! Now, I really need to make Latkes! We alway do the sour cream, it's our favorite!


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