Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Chanukah!

One of my closest friends just sent me a virtual card.

Happy Chanukah everyone!

This pictures also really epitomizes the party I had today - the Jew"ish" Chanukah celebration.

From 10am-10pm I sat down for 30 minutes in total. I have no idea if my kids ate. Thanks to all the squeals of laughter I know the kids had a great time. All the adults told me they had a great time. The part started at 4pm with people coming in in waves. The last family left at 9:15pm.

The matzoh ball soup was the big winner of the night. I made about 30 matzoh balls and they were going in like 10 minutes! I should have quadrupled the batch. Three separate people told me that they were the best that they had ever had. The balls were light and fluffy and had almost an air-like quality to them.

My favorite part of the evening was when all of the kids lit about 15 menorahs in unison and said the prayers all together. My friend read the prayer and had everyone follow along. Not all the kids were Jewish but everyone lit the candles and said the words. It was a magical sight to see. I was so busy I didn't take ANY pictures, but others did and as soon as they email me I will post them here. All in all a very fun night.

A couple of high lights:

*My friends daughter got her hair singed by the candles. My friend took it in stride and was happy she didn't have to go to the ER.

*The same friends daughters (they are Asian) were the ones who wanted to play dreidel the most.

*One of the moms commented to me, "Wow! You're cooking the latkes now, while we're here. If it was me, I would have made them in the morning so that I could enjoy this time with my guests". To which I replied, "Um, they are better fresh and hot". And no I didn't add "BEYATCH" to the end of that even though I REALLY wanted to! There always has to be one, right????

I was going to take pictures of all the food but again I had no time. But trust me, it looked amazing. And tasted really good!

Here are the recipes:

Oprah's Pomegranate Martini
Recipe courtesy of Oprah Winfrey

Ingredients:
Serves 2
1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice
2 ounces Absolute Citron vodka or white tequila
1 ounce Cointreau liquor
Cup of ice
Splash of sparkling water (optional)
Squeeze of lemon (optional)
Shake ingredients in a shaker and put in chilled martini glasses. Put pomegranate fruit into glass as garnish.

Latkes
Serving Size : 8

Ingredients:
3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
1 medium onion
1/3 cup matzah meal -- or unbleached white flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil spray (or 2 tablespoons olive oil)

Serve with: non-fat or low-fat sour cream and applesauce

Peel the potatoes and onion and coarsely grate in a food processor fitted with a shredding disk or on a box grater.
Grab handfuls of the grated vegetables and squeeze tightly between your fingers to wring out as much liquid as possible.
Transfer the grated vegetables to a mixing bowl and stir in the matzah meal, baking powder, eggs, and plenty of salt and pepper. (The latkes should be highly seasoned.)
Spray the frying pan with oil (or drizzle the oil on it and spread with a wooden spoon).
Spoon small mounds of potato mixture onto the pan to form 2-1/2 inch pancakes, leaving 1 inch between each.
Fry the latkes in the oven until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes per side, turning once with a spatula. (When you turn the latkes, try to flip them onto spots on the baking sheet that still have oil.)
Transfer to plates or a platter and serve immediately with sour cream and/or applesauce.


MATZO BALLS
Ingredients:
4 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup chicken fat (reserved from broth, if available) or pareve kosher-for-Passover margarine, melted, cooled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2/3 cup unsalted matzo meal

Stir egg yolks and next 4 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Beat egg whites in another medium bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold whites into yolk mixture alternately with matzo meal in 3 additions each. Cover and chill until cold and firm, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Drop cold matzo mixture by generous tablespoonfuls onto sheet of plastic. Using moistened hands, shape into balls (each about 1 1/4 inches in diameter). Drop matzo balls into boiling water. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered until cooked through, turning matzo balls over after 15 minutes, about 35 minutes total. Using slotted spoon, transfer matzo balls to dish, arranging in single layer. (Can be made ahead. Let stand up to 2 hours or cover and refrigerate up to 1 day. Simmer in salted water until heated through, about 10 minutes, and drain before serving.)

Jugged Chicken
Ingredients:
1 3-1/2 pound chicken (use thighs and drumsticks)
2 T unsalted butter
1 jar pearl onions (in canned vegetable aisle)
4 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
8 oz prosciutto, chopped
2/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup Port
1/3 cup brandy
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 T Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Rub chicken with butter and season inside and out with salt and pepper. Transfer chicken to large, heavy, deep casserole. Combine onions and all remaining ingredients in large bowl. Pour over chicken. Cover and bake until chicken is done, about 55 minutes. Serve in bowls with crusty bread.

**I don't always have Brandy on hand, and in cases like that, I just add extra of the other alcohol, and it still tastes great.

Makes 16.

Arugula Salad with Beets
Source: Light Basics Cookbook by Martha Rose Shulman
Makes 4 Servings

For the Salad:
4 small to medium-size or 2 large beets, red, yellow or a combination
6 ounces arugula, washed and dried
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, slivered, or goat cheese or blue cheese, crumbled (about ¼ cup) (optional)

For the Dressing:
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or sherry vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 small garlic clove, peeled and minced or pressed
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, or 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt or low-fat buttermilk

1. Roast the beets if they are uncooked. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Cut away the leaves by slicing across the top end, just below the stems (save the leaves for another purpose). Trim away the root and scrub the beets under warm water with a vegetable brush. Place in a baking dish and add about ¼ inch of water. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the beets. Test for doneness by sticking a knife into the beet; it should slide right through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
2. When the beets are cool, it will be easy to slip their skins off. Skin and cut in half lengthwise, then slice the beets very thin or cut into small wedges. Transfer to a salad bowl with the arugula.
3. Stir together the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice or sherry vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, and optional mustard. Whisk in the olive oil or olive oil and yogurt or buttermilk. Thin out the dressing if desired with about a tablespoon of water.
4. Just before serving, toss the arugula and beets with the dressing and the optional cheese.

Per serving: 13.9 gm total fat; 1.8 gm sat fat; 156 calories; 7.6 gm carbohydrates; 2.0 gm protein

BRISKET

4 LBS BRISKET (WITH FAT ON TOP) OR I BUY THIS MEAT AT COSTCO (SUBSTITUTE FOR
BRISKET).
CUT A POCKET IN THE BRISKET (HORIZONTALLY)
RUB THE MEET WITH GARLIC (FRESHLY SQUEEZED), SALT, PEPPER
POUR A BOTTLE OF BEER OVER IT
COVER WITH FOIL
BAKE AT 300 DEGREES FOR 6 HOURS

TAKE OUT OF THE OVEN AND CUT UP INTO CHUNKS. SPRINKLE WITH GINGER, CINNAMON
AND POUR B-BQUE SAUCE OVER IT (ABOUT 3/4 OF A BOTTLE). BAKE ANOTHER 2
HOURS.

TAKE OUT OF THE OVEN AND CUT INTO SMALL PIECES. POUR 1/2 OF A SMALL BOTTLE
OF HONEY OVER. BAKE 1 MORE HOUR.

Cranberry Broccoli Salad
Posted by Cate
Ingredients:
1-1/4 cups fresh cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup sugar
4 cups broccoli florets
4 cups coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage with carrots)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
6 slices of bacon, crisp-cooked, drained and crumbled (I double the amount of bacon)
Dressing:
1 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

In a small bowl, combine the fresh cranberries and sugar; cover and chill in fridge until serving time (berries will juice out). In a large bowl, combine broccoli, shredded cabbage, walnuts, raisins and onion. To make dressing, combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over the salad and mix. Chill covered at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Just before serving, gently fold in bacon and cranberry mixture.

I also had a bunch of different hummus, pate, cold cuts, cheeses, brie, pickled vegetables, etc...

I had hot chocolate going in the crockpot for the kids, with baileys on the side for the adults.

Friends brought/bought desserts.

If I forgot something I will post tomorrow. OK - I am brain dead! I will go to work tomorrow morning to recover. Can I wear slippers to work?

14 comments:

kel said...

sounds like an awesome party! I love me some baileys hot chocolate!!!

Vodka Mom said...

wait, did you say Martini?

Loved the post, and the recipes. I always love collecting great recipes from my bloggy friends!!!

Blogging Under the Influence said...

Tsk tsk to that rude mom!

The party sounds like fun!

Joanna said...

Yuum, love the recipes!

Janna said...

Wow, sounds like quite a party! Glad it turned out well... that Mom was probably just upset because your party was better than hers!

April said...

Happy Chanukah!

Annette Piper said...

Sounds like a great time was had by all (well, almost all - the singed hair would have been a slight hiccup in the proceedings!)

Kelly @ Wisdom Begun said...

I LOVE brisket! The party sounds like it rocked. I loved reading about it.

I am Harriet said...

Happy Hanukkah to you too!
Sounds like you had a lot of fun.

Julia said...

Vodka Mom - You have to try this martini. It truly is wonderful - especially when you wet the rim of the glass with orange juice and then sugar.

Opus #6 said...

Oh yum! Count me in! I was frying latkes too, last night. It took forever, but they were fresh and hot. I'm doing another batch tonight. Probably the sweet potato ones. Happy Chanukkah!

Julia said...

Opus - I had the sweet potato ones all ready to go (except for the eggs) and I said forget it. People were laughing at me for making a ton of the regular ones from scratch and insisted I stop bringing out food!

Kirsten / Mama Ginger Tree said...

Wow. Sounds like a great party. My invite must have been lost in the mail. :-)

I am going to make that salad for a Christmas Eve party, it sounds great. And I loooooooove brisket. I've never made it myself though. Maybe I'll give it a try. Thanks for the recipes.

Lana said...

Ooh! The Pomegranate Martini sounds really good! I think I'll have to try that VERY soon! Thanks for sharing! (and thanks to Oprah too! ;))