latkes, doughnuts, and an unapologetic manischewitz sour
Monday, December 12, 2022
In defense of recipes (Eater)
A sweet interview with, uh, me! (Romper)
Good afternoon from a flight to South Carolina!
Hanukkah begins this coming Sunday evening and despite my insistence and the insistence of every parent before me that it’s a minor holiday that’s mostly been commercialized so that Jewish kids don’t feel left out of other gift-heavy December holidays… my kids are berserk with excitement, as they should be (as soon as their mom remembers to order their gifts). I’ve been a little busy book touring so we’re skipping our usual Latke-Vodka Party this year but I promise that it will be back with a vengeance next year. This newsletter isn’t just about latkes and doughnuts but also about two of my favorite menus for when family comes over, the perfect vegan dinner party (falafel) and the updated classic (brisket, but in tacos), plus two classic cookies and a riff on a New York Sour nobody ever asked for.
P.S. Random cute Hanukkah things: We “make” our own Hanukkah candles every year for 5+ years running now with one of these kits. (This link contains referral code; the next two do not.) My kids did almost every one of these crafts this past weekend. I was sent this candle because they know me, they really do.
The book tour for Smitten Kitchen Keepers continues this week:
Next week, I’ll be in Chicago:
I’ll be in Minneapolis, Texas, and the West Coast in January so please check the Events page for all of the details. I hope we get to hang out.
Hanukah starts this Sunday but do know that at the Smitten Kitchen, latkes are never limited to a single season. Crispy, salty potato pancakes are, we think, the best place to rest a fried egg, or even cook extra tiny and finish with a dollop crème fraîche and caviar or smoked salmon for a little holiday party. You deserve it.
Everyone needs one exceptional jelly doughnut recipe in their life, and this is mine, with golden edges, a slightly stretchy crumb, all generously powdered but still not terribly sweet. Hanukkah is not remotely the most important Jewish holiday, but the traditional foods -- the only rule is that they should be fried -- are unquestionably the best.
I love a “hand salad” for a latke party and this is my annual go-to: Fragrant citrus, soft, tangy cheese, toasted almonds, sherry vinegar, fruity olive oil, and a sea salt crunch, all mingling cheerfully inside an endive boat — it’s so refreshing.
I once presumed making falafel would be complicated, best left to the experts. Once I learned how staggeringly simple it is -- oh and by the way, vegan, gluten-free, and so quick to assemble, you might decide you have time enough leftover to make homemade pitas worthy of you perfect falafel -- I see exactly no reason not to make it all of the time.
This taco- or sandwich-perfect brisket has become our laid-back Hanukkah tradition, spectacularly easy to make in the oven, Instant Pot, or a slow-cooker with leftovers that are even better on the second and third day. And the aroma! I always forget how amazing the apartment smells as it cooks — as cozy as it is delicious.
The New York Sour is what happens when you take a classic whiskey sour and add a float of red wine, creating stunning distinct layers that mingle as you sip. The Manischewitz Sour is what happens when your Hanukkah party needs a cheeky cocktail and you enlist the most classic of sweet kosher table wines. However you make them, I hope they bring you good cheer.
My family has always made these for Hanukkah, even though there’s nothing holiday-related about them. They’re just delicious, especially when rolled thick and taken a little early from the oven.
Rugelach are blissful flaky pastry-like cookies wound with jam, nuts, and chocolate if you wish (which of course we do) and a whiff of cinnamon sugar and they're my absolute favorite. But, I always found them tedious to make and so I simplified the process. Less fussiness = more rugelach in our lives = lucky us.
Watch me make latkes and throw a mini-latke party on YouTube!
Ever wonder where I get my cutting boards, paring knives, offset spatulas and more than you see when I cook? I've created a page on Smitten Kitchen with links to some of my favorite kitchen items, the ones I'm asked about the most. For each item, I've attempted to provide a range of shopping links so we're not just focusing on one giant retailer.
See you next week!