HANUKKAH GELT–DELICIOUS TO EAT

Hanukkah GeltHere’s a Hanukkah side dish that represents so much more than something tasty to serve at dinnertime. I’ve cut carrots into coins and called them Hanukkah Gelt so the story of Hanukkah can be retold each year and celebrated in joyful long-standing tradition.

These carrot coins are sautéed with a Middle Eastern herbal blend called zaatar and make a flavorful dish served during the eight days of Hanukkah. If yellow carrots are available, they would look even more like gold coins than the orange ones. Some food distributors have yellow carrots available year round. (See below).

 What is Hanukkah gelt?

Gelt is a Yiddish word meaning money. In ancient times, money was in the form of Ancient gold coinsgold coins. Today, many Jewish families give Hanukkah gelt, or Hanukkah money to their children during the eight days of Hanukkah. Some families give real coins, while Foil coinsothers present the kids with coins formed from chocolates wrapped in gold foil and stamped to look like gold coins. These little gold coins, made in different sizes, are wrapped in tiny mesh bags and sold in groceries across the country during the November/December holiday season.

It’s a fun tradition the kids look forward to each year, but how did this practice begin? Meaningful historical events contributed many reasons to give Hanukkah gelt, not only to children, but, sometimes, to others in the community.

How did Hanukkah begin?

Hanukkah, known as the Festival of Lights, celebrates the re-dedication of an ancient vialJewish Temple that was desecrated by Greek armies. The Jews fought back and won and restored their ruined temple. In the wreckage, they found a tiny bottle of sanctified oil to relight the eternal light over the altar, but there was only enough oil to last one day. The miracle was that tiny bottle of oil burned for eight days. To commemorate the miraculous event the people celebrated in a grand and very fitting way–by lighting candles and celebrating for eight nights in remembrance of the miracle. The tradition was called Hanukkah.

Classic menorahMany families created their own Hanukiah or Hanukkah Menorah, a candelabra with nine branches, eight to hold the eight candles for each of the eight nights the oil burnt, and an extra branch to hold the special candle, the shamash, that lights the other candles.

Brass menorah

Hanukkah gelt tradition

Hanukkah lights are considered sacred and are never snuffed out. Instead, the candles are allowed to burn until they go out naturally. Because the lights are considered sacred, they are not used for other purposes, such as using the light to count coins. So families gave their children coins, or Hanukkah gelt, to reinforce the rule and honor the sacred candles.

Lighted MenorahBecause the Hanukkah lights were so venerated, families made it an annual ritual to Gelt casualremember the miracle of the oil. They gave Hanukkah gelt to the poor so they, too, could afford to buy candles to commemorate the holiday.

During the Greek army invasion, the Jews were forced to give up their religious rituals and adopt only Greek practices. During that long period, many Jews forgot their traditions and Torah lessons and had to relearn them when the temple was restored. Families gave their children Hanukkah gelt during Hanukkah as a reward for Torah study.

gold coin stackJews also gave Hanukkah gelt to celebrate their freedom from the Greek armies and their return to their own traditions. Rather than placing value on material gifts to celebrate the holiday, the Hanukkah gelt represented a celebration of spiritual values.

Today’s Hanukkah rituals

Because Jews follow a lunar calendar, their holidays don’t always fall on the same date of our Gregorian, or Western calendar. Frequently, though, Hanukkah occurs in December during the festive Christmas season and has suffered the influence of commercialism to varying degrees. Many families give material gifts to their children along with the gold foil-wrapped chocolate coins. Tradition does prevail in some families where Hanukkah gelt, the real thing, offers an opportunity for parents to retell the story of Hanukkah to the children.

Hanukkah GeltHANUKKAH GELT

 Yield: about 4 to 5 servings

3 large carrots, sliced into coins

3 large shallots, thinly slicedHanukkah Gelt

3 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon zaataar

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 clove garlic, minced

3/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

  1. In a large, deep skillet, combine the carrots, shallots, water, zaatar, canola oil, and garlic. Cook and stir over high or medium-high heat for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to cook the carrots and prevent burning.
  2. When the carrots are beginning to soften, add the salt and pepper and cook until all the liquid is absorbed. Continue to cook and stir until the carrots are slightly browned.

Note: Zaatar is a traditional Middle Eastern herb blend with a long history and is used throughout the Fertile Crescent, Iraq, Arabian peninsula, and Israel. Many food historians believe the original zaatar was made of hyssop. Today, the mixture frequently consists of ground thyme, sesame seeds, salt, and sumac and is available in Middle Eastern groceries. Some cooks may include oregano, marjoram, savory, cumin, coriander, or fennel seeds. The herb blend is used as a seasoning on meats and vegetables, but it’s zaatar manakeesh we see most often, which consists of combining the herb blend with olive oil and spreading it over pita bread.

Yellow Carrots available at:

Specialty Produce http://www.specialtyproduce.com

Melissa’s Produce http://www.melissas.com

HATCH CHILES BRING SPARKLE TO THE HOLIDAY TABLE!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes 2

vvplogoYour roasted sweet potatoes will practically dance with holiday spirit when they’re drizzled with the zesty nature of this mild chile sauce. And I promise the sauce has just enough mojo to put a magic touch on your festive meal. The sauce can be prepared a day or two ahead and served warmed, chilled, or at room temperature. Leftovers keep well in the fridge for at least 4 or 5 days.

To create a creamy, smooth as velvet sauce, it helps to have a high-speed blender, but with patient soaking and longer blending it should work just fine with a regular blender.

I experimented with this dish for Thanksgiving for the first time. It was such a big hit, I felt it could be a terrific side dish any time during the holiday season.

Then, the following year, I decided to bring more colors to the platter with multi-colored sweet potatoes. In addition to the familiar orange yams, my local Korean market had yellow sweet potatoes and a delicious variety of purple ones called Okinawan sweet potatoes. The lighting wasn’t at its best for a great photo, but I think the result is so appealing I wanted to share it.

Multi-color potatoes 2

ROASTED SWEET POTATOES WITH SIZZLING CHILE SAUCE

Yield: 6 servings

Sweet Potatoes

5 or 6 medium yellow or orange sweet potatoesRoasted Sweet Potatoes

Sizzling Chile Sauce (recipe below)

Parsley sprigs, for garnish

3 to 4 tablespoons chopped purple cabbage, for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. (Gas Mark 6) and have ready a large rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  1. Scrub the sweet potatoes, put them on the prepared baking sheet, and roast for 50 to 60 minutes, or until they are soft when gently pressed. Prepare the Sizzling Chile Sauce while the sweet potatoes are baking.
  1. When the sweet potatoes are done, peel them and cut them into 1-inch thick slices. Multi-color Sweet PotatoesArrange them on a large platter, overlapping the slices. Garnish with the parsley and cabbage. Alternatively, drizzle some of the sauce over the center of each potato slice.

 

Sizzling Chile Sauce (Makes about 3 cups)

Chile Sauce2 ounces (56g) Melissa’s dried Hatch chiles or California chiles (about 8 to 10 dried chiles)

3 cups (720 ml) boiling water

2/3 cup (160 ml) chopped onions

5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup (80 ml) coarsely chopped almonds

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup (60 ml) brown sugar

1/4 cup (60 ml) rice vinegar or other mild vinegar

  1. Prepare the Sizzling Chile Sauce while the sweet potatoes are baking. Using kitchen scissors, cut the chiles open and discard the seeds, ribs, and stems. Snip the chiles into coarse pieces and put them in a bowl. Pour the boiling water over the chiles to cover. Set aside to soften for about 1 hour.
  1. Meanwhile, combine the onions, garlic, and olive oil in a 10-inch (25 cm) skillet. Cook and stir over high or medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the onions begin to soften. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water if needed to prevent burning the onions and garlic.
  1. Add the almonds and sesame seeds to the pan and cook another minute or two.
  1. Transfer the onion mixture to a blender and add the salt, brown sugar, and vinegar.
  1. When the chiles have softened, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the blender. Add 1 cup (240 ml) of the chile soak water and process for a full minute or two until the sauce becomes smooth and creamy. Adjust seasonings, if needed, and serve the sauce on the side.

Alternative serving suggestion: Spoon a line of the sauce down the center of the overlapped sweet potato slices and add a pinch of minced parsley over the sauce. Serve the remaining sauce on the side.

 

This recipe is part of a fun blogging chain that includes about 96 innovative bloggers sharing amazing holiday recipes. You can easily move backward or forward through the Potluck chain to explore a banquet of tantalizing recipe posts crossing many continents.

To venture over to the blog that precedes mine in the Potluck, click on the go back buttongo_bck-300x257

 

 

 

 

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Enjoy the fun holiday recipes and have a holiday blast!!!!!

 

 

 

 

CAN’T BEET POMEGRANATE SALAD FOR THANKSGIVING!

sharonpalmer_headshot3Sharon Palmer RD generously shares her beautifully composed BEET AND POMEGRANATE SALAD to start the holiday meal with a pack of antioxidants packaged so appealingly no one will turn down a hearty serving.

Sharon has created an award-winning profession based on combining her two great loves–food and writing. As a registered dietitian with 16 years of health care experience, she channels her nutrition experience into writing features covering health, wellness, nutrition, and cuisine. Sharon is also a passionate writer about food and environmental issues, having published a number of features on plant-based diets, hunger, agriculture, local and organic foods, eco-friendly culinary practices, sustainability, food safety, and food security. Over 850 of Sharon’s features have been published in a variety of publications, including Better Homes & Gardens, 6x9Prevention, Oxygen, LA Times, Cooking Smart, and CULINOLOGY. Her books include The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for Achieving Optimal Health Beginning Today and Plant-Powered for Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps & 125 Delicious Recipes. Sharon is the editor of the acclaimed health newsletter, Environmental Nutrition and nutrition editor for Today’s Dietitian. She writes every day for her popular Plant-Powered Blog. In addition, Sharon is a nutrition advisor for the Oldways Vegetarian130 Network and served as a judge for the James Beard Journalism awards. She was the proud recipient of the Loma Linda University Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2013.

Living in the chaparral hills overlooking Los Angeles with her husband and two sons, Sharon enjoys visiting the local farmers market every week and cooking for friends and family.

Beet and Pomegranate Seed Salad pic3BEET AND POMEGRANATE SALAD

Ingredients:
4 cups packed mixed baby greens
2 cups packed assorted micro-greens
2 cups sliced baby beets, cooked and chilled
1 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced

Directions:
1. Arrange the baby greens in a salad bowl or on a platter. Top with the micro-greens.
2. Arrange the beets on top of the micro-greens and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and walnuts.
3. Whisk together the orange juice, olive oil, black pepper, and garlic in a small bowl.Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and serve immediately.

GOTTA HAVE STUFFING FOR THANKSGIVING!

StuffingSAVORY CHESTNUT AND FRUIT STUFFING

Without fail, Thanksgiving brings out our most nostalgic memories. Often those treasured times call to mind remembrances of the delicious stuffing our mothers and grandmothers brought to the table at holiday time.

Those flavors we remember so fondly may have been savory, sage-infused, and earthy, or perhaps they were sweet, fruity, and spicy. Each year I debate whether to prepare a savory stuffing or one more focused on the fruity side.

This year I’ve settled my own conundrum by uniting both sides of the sweet-savory debateChestnuts roasting and adding one of my very favorite foods of the autumn season–CHESTNUTS! Here’s a quick recipe for roasting chestnuts. If you prefer to boil the chestnuts, a method I turn to most often, here’s my post on Cooking and Peeling Chestnuts with step-by-step directions:

https://veganfortheholidays.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/cooking-peeling-chestnuts-illustrated/

If you don’t have the time to cook and peel fresh chestnuts, you can find them already prepared in jars and vacuum-sealed packages. Avoid the canned chestnuts packed in water–they simply don’t have the alluring taste and texture of vacuum-packed chestnuts.

This scrumptious stuffing, replete with chestnuts, is so fruity and ravishing, it makes a delicious meal by itself. Enjoy it as a side dish or use it to stuff acorn, butternut, or delicata squash.

For convenience, prepare the stuffing a day ahead, and warm it for 10 to 15 minutes in a preheated 350-degree F. oven before serving. If you use fresh chestnuts in the shell, cook and peel them in advance also, to bring this recipe together more easily.

This tasty stuffing recipe is very copious so there will most likely be leftovers that can easily be covered with aluminum foil and reheated. For a small family gathering, you might want to cut the recipe in half.

Vegan Holidays lowresOh, and by the way, this delicious recipe is from my Vegan for the Holidays Cookbook!

SAVORY CHESTNUT AND FRUIT STUFFING

 

 

Yield: 12 to 15 hearty servings

2 cups water

2/3 cup pearl barley

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

8 cups whole wheat bread cubes

2 1/2 cups vegetable broth

3 large sweet onions, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 large apples, cored and chopped

1 1/4 cups chopped cooked and peeled chestnuts, or pecans, or walnuts

1 cup golden raisins

3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries

3/4 cup chopped dried apricots (preferably Turkish)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

2 tablespoons white miso

Garnishes

1/4 bunch parsley

3 tangerine wedges or Fuyu persimmon slices

3 fresh cranberries

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

1/4 cup chopped parsley

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  1. Combine the water, barley, and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low and simmer for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the barley is tender and all the water is absorbed.
  1. Meanwhile, place the bread cubes on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until dry. Transfer the bread cubes to an extra-large bowl.
  1. Add the vegetable broth to the bread cubes and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until the bread cubes are broken down into a coarse meal. Set aside.
  1. Combine the onions and celery in a large, deep skillet and add 2 or 3 tablespoons of water. Cook and stir for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the onions are very soft and translucent. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to cook the vegetables and prevent burning. Transfer the onion mixture to the bowl with the bread cubes.
  1. Add the apples, chestnuts, raisins, cranberries, apricots, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, cooked barley, and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and mix well.
  1. Thin the miso with about 3 tablespoons of water, add it to the stuffing mixture and combine well to distribute it evenly. Adjust the seasonings.
  1. Spoon the stuffing into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 15 to 20 minutes, or until a light crust forms on the top.
  1. To serve, garnish one corner of the pan with the parsley and artfully nestle the tangerine wedges and cranberries into the parsley. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over the top, along with the chopped parsley.

SEXY CRANBERRY SAUCE

Cran Pear CompoteCRANBERRY-PEAR COMPOTE

Thanksgiving and cranberry sauce are the proverbial food marriage on the traditional Thanksgiving dinner table. It’s tradition! To leave it off the menu would have the family wondering if I was losing my marbles.

I have fond memories of my mom cooking fresh cranberries with sugar and cinnamon on the stove-top to get ready for the Thanksgiving feast. I followed in her tradition for many years. Then, thought it would be more fun to strike out with a few creative touches to the cranberry sauce .

Combining the cranberries with pears had great appeal and so did the addition of ginger. By the time I was finished playing, I had a super delicious and super easy version of cranberry sauce. It even looks more appealing than any of my past ventures. I was actually amazed at how quickly this recipe came together.

Yet, so many people shun fresh cranberries and turn to buying the Vegan Holidays highresstuff in the can. Honestly, canned cranberry sauce doesn’t hold a candle to this flavorful recipe that’s featured in the Thanksgiving section of my Vegan for the Holidays cookbook.

One of the features that make cranberry sauce such a holiday favorite is that it can be prepared up to a week ahead of the holiday. Sugar is quite the preservative and has been for eons. Just cover it and tuck it into the fridge–that is, after it cools and it will be ready when you need it. Prepare it several days in advance–it’s a great keeper.

If the sauce looks runny after cooking, remember that cranberries contain natural pectin that thickens when cooled and refrigerated.

This is a slightly chunky version of cranberry sauce. If you want it to be less chunky, cook it 10 to 15 minutes longer. You can even use an immersion blender if you want a smoother, less textured consistency.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries

1 large firm pear, peeled, cored, and diced

1 cup organic sugar

3/4 cup water

1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 slices fresh Fuju persimmon, for garnish

  1. Combine all the ingredients, except the persimmon, in a 3-quart saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Just as the mixture comes to a boil, immediately decrease the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours to thicken.
  2. Before serving, artfully tuck 2 slices of persimmon into the compote so they stand upright.

ACORN SQUASH GETS SOME SWEET LOVE!

MAPLE SQUASHFOR ZEL MAPLE BAKED ACORN SQUASH

Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE Award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. Ms. Theodore is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy SQUASH LAURA ZELVegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host of the weekly Jazzy Vegetarian cooking show on PBS and she hosts the podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio. Laura has made guest appearances on ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX, and she was recently featured on The Talk on CBS <https://vimeo.com/79038409> , Insider/Entertainment Tonight, News 4-NBC, Fox News 8, Better TV, and WCBS Radio. Laura has been featured in the New York Times, New York Daily News, VegNews, Family Circle, Readers Digest, PBS Food, Naked Food and Healthy Aging, among many others. A love for good food, compassion for animals, and enthusiasm for great music has created a joyous life path for Laura Theodore. Read more at: http://www.lauratheodore.com <http://www.lauratheodore.com>

MAPLE BAKED ACORN SQUASH

Makes 4 servings
2 small acorn squash, halved and seeded
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons vegan margarine
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking pan with unbleached parchment paper. Put the acorn squash halves, cut-side-up, on the prepared baking pan. Put 2 heaping teaspoons maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon margarine, and π teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice in the center of each squash.
Tent with foil and bake 45 to 50 minutes or until the squash is soft and filling is bubbling.

SRIRACHA AND BRUSSELS SPROUTS GET MARRIED!

 Randy's BrusselsMAPLE-SRIRACHA ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

WITH CRANBERRY WILD RICE

Randy Clemens is the author of The Sriracha Cookbook, The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook, and co-author of The Craft of Stone Brewing Co. He is a graduate of the California School of Culinary Arts and a BJCP Recognized Beer Judge. When not writing for Los Angeles magazine and other stellar publications, he can sometimes be found cooking, playing baritone horn, practicing yoga, or just trying to help make the world a better place. If one (or more) of these things also tickles your fancy, you can follow Randy’s musings on Twitter via @SrirachaBook and @RandyClemensEsq. Photo of Randy Clemens by Tyler Graham.

RANDY CLEMENS 4l_aHNVby8iRpg0YdN6nEkE7pEoQyOvb5LV2lORGkKx3141NE=w1226-h582MAPLE-SRIRACHA ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH CRANBERRY WILD RICE
Makes 4 to 6 servings

Cranberry Wild Rice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small red onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 bay leavesSRIRACHA COOKBOOK 3kIsrR-sDpX0rAPo8rV2h6b3XBz0O5_h2u7bhN0Rr7hObWeEuA=w1226-h582

1 1/2 cups wild rice

3 1/2 cups vegetable stock

1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries

1/4 cup chopped raw walnuts or pecans

2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Brussels Sprouts

1/2 cup Grade B maple syrup or raw agave nectar

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons Sriracha

1 1/2 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or low-sodium soy sauce

Juice of 1 lime

1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise

Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)

To make the rice, heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and bay leaves and sauté just until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rice and stir until evenly coated. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is slightly toasted and has a nutty aroma, about 3 minutes. Pour in 1 cup of the stock to deglaze the pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape up all the stubborn, tasty brown bits. Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups of stock and the cranberries. Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender and some of the grains have popped, 50 to 60 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and drain off any excess liquid.

While the rice is cooking, prepare the Brussels sprouts. Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, combine the maple syrup, oil, Sriracha, liquid aminos, and lime juice and whisk until well blended. Add the Brussels sprouts and toss until evenly coated. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the Brussels sprouts to a nonstick or parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet or a large cast-iron skillet and spread them in a single layer. Reserve any liquid left in the bowl. Bake the Brussels sprouts for about 25 minutes, until tender and browned.

To finish the rice and serve, add the walnuts to the rice without stirring. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the rosemary and fluff with a fork to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the Brussels sprouts over the rice, garnished with a healthy drizzle of the reserved maple-Sriracha dressing and a sprinkling of parsley.

You can use honey in place of the maple syrup if you wish. Raw orange blossom honey would be especially nice.

Reprinted with permission from The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook: 50 Vegan “Rooster Sauce” Recipes That Pack a Punch by Randy Clemens. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Text copyright © 2013 by Randy Clemens. Photographs copyright © 2013 by Leo Gong. Veggie Lovers Sriracha Cookbook