According to Wendy Collings, her own Hanukkah celebrations involve the whole extended family getting together and sharing a traditional Jewish meal — usually featuring food from Danny’s Deli. They also do a white elephant-style gift exchange.
At Ventana Monthly’s request, Collings shared a few recipes based on the foods she and her family eat — and which Danny’s Deli almost always serves — during the eight days that make up the Festival of Lights. This year, Hanukkah starts at nightfall on Dec. 18 and ends on Dec. 26.
POTATO PANCAKES (LATKES)
Flavored with potato and onion and fried golden brown, these
deliciously crispy, savory pancakes are especially comforting on a chilly winter night. They’re traditionally served with applesauce and sour cream.
• 4 large potatoes
• 1 yellow onion
• 1 egg, beaten
• 1 teaspoon salt
• Ground black pepper, to taste
•2-4 tablespoons all-purpose flour, as needed
• 1 cup vegetable oil (for frying)
•Finely grate potatoes and onions into a large bowl. Drain off any excess liquid.
•Mix egg, salt and pepper into the potatoes and onions. Add enough flour to make a thick mixture.
•Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
•Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in the bottom of a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
•Drop 1/4 cup mounds of potato batter into the hot oil and flatten with the back of a spatula. Flattened pancakes should be about 1/2 inch thick. Depending on the size of your pan, you’ll probably be able to fry two or three pancakes at one time. DO NOT OVERCROWD!
•Fry until the bottom is golden brown, then flip it once. Fry until the other side is also golden brown.
•Transfer pancakes to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Keep warm in the oven until time to serve.
NOTE: Pancakes can be prepared and frozen to be reheated at another time.
DANNY’S DELI BRISKET
It’s hard to beat the scent of beef roasting in wine. This succulent dish takes hours to cook, but most of that time is spent in the oven. And you better believe that the leftovers are spectacular! The gravy created after the meat is done cooking definitely deserves some mashed potatoes to go with it. A nice salad or vegetable dish is a good accompaniment, too.
• 3-4 pound brisket, trimmed
• 2 packages Lipton onion soup mix
•2 cans cream of mushroom soup (10.5 ounce cans)
•5 ounces of robust red wine, such as Burgundy
• 5 ounces water
•Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
•Mix together onion soup mix, cream of mushroom soup, wine and water.
•Pour mixed ingredients into a large roasting pan with a lid.
•Place brisket in the pan, on top of the mix, fat side down. Cover with the lid or, if you don’t have a lid, seal tightly with foil.
•Roast for 3.5 hours or until fully cooked. You’ll know when the meat is done by poking it with a fork — it should be very tender.
NOTE: When removing lid or foil, take care — there will be steam!
According to Chabad.org, kugel is based on a food referred to in the Talmud as pashtida, which was said to resemble the manna from heaven that nourished the Jews during their 40-year sojourn in the desert. Noodles baked with dairy, eggs and fruit together make a luscious, filling, rich but not-too-sweet concoction that’s certainly a heavenly accompaniment to any meal!
• 16 ounces wide egg noodles, cooked and drained
• 1 stick of margarine, melted
• 8 eggs, beaten
• 16 ounces cottage cheese
• 16 ounces sour cream
• 20 ounces apricot/pineapple preserves
•2 cups of white raisins, soaked in orange juice for two hours and drained
•Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×13-inch pan (preferably glass) with oil.
•Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and pour into the greased pan.
•Bake for 45-50 minutes. Let cool for an hour or so, to allow it to set.
•Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers.