Hanukkah-Thanksgiving Fusion Menu

— by Ronit Treatman

This year, the Gregorian and Hebrew calendars have aligned in a very special way: Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are celebrated on the same night. This will not happen again until 2070.

In honor of this tandem celebration, I invite you to combine the essential ingredient of Hanukkah, olive oil, with foods that are native to North America. This is the perfect marriage of the two holidays.

3 Thanksgiving-Hanukkah recipes after the jump.
Baharat Fried Turkey Drumsticks

Turkeys are native to North America. This recipe flavors the American food with Middle-Eastern spices, and tenderizes it with fresh lemon juice. Frying the whole turkey is too daunting for me: I prefer to prepare a platter of fried turkey drumsticks.


Fried turkey, corn latkes and carnberry-apple sauce.
  • 6 fresh turkey drumsticks
  • Olive oil
  • Baharat – Middle Eastern Spice Rub:
    • 12 lemons
    • 1 tablespoon ground garlic
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1 teaspoon fenugreek
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  1. Measure all the dry ingredients into a large bowl.  
  2. Squeeze the lemons, and mix the fresh juice with the spices.  
  3. Place the turkey drumsticks in the bowl and coat them with the spice rub.  
  4. Seal the seasoned drumsticks in a plastic zipper bag, and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours.
  5. Heat the olive oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit in a heavy Dutch oven. Pour in enough oil to completely immerse the turkey drumsticks. Do not cover the pot, as this would create a fire hazard.  
  6. Carefully place the turkey drumsticks in the hot oil. Do not crowd them.  
  7. Cook the drumsticks for at least 20 minutes over medium heat in the uncovered pot.  
  8. Check the temperature of the drumsticks by sticking a meat thermometer into the drumstick.  It is cooked through when the meat’s internal temperature reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Corn Latkes (Pancakes)

Potatoes, which originated in the Andes mountains, are customarily served with the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, and are the essential ingredient of traditional latkes (pancakes). This year, we can pay homage to the corn, a plant that originated in North America. Corn, a staple of the Native Americans, can be transformed into an ancient Israelite fry bread. This is a superb accompaniment to the Middle Eastern fried turkey legs.

  • 4 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached flour
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
  1. Cook the corn in boiling water.  
  2. Drain, and allow to cool to room temperature.  
  3. Mix in the eggs, flour, salt, and black pepper.  
  4. Heat some olive oil in a heavy skillet.  
  5. Spoon the corn batter into the frying pan. Flip the fritters over when they turn golden-brown.  

Cranberry-Apple Sauce

No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without cranberries, and no latke is complete without applesauce. Cranberries originated in North America, while apples came from Central Asia. For this special dinner, I combine cranberries and apples into a special sauce for the corn latkes.

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2 cups fresh, diced apples
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup maple sugar

Combine all the ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for about 15 minutes.

I prepared a practice Thanksgivenukkah dinner for my family. The deep-fried turkey drumsticks were moist, delicately spiced, and had a delicious crackly, crunchy skin. The golden corn latkes were soft, chewy, and slightly sweet. The cranberry-apple sauce was a magnificent vermillion color, and had a perfectly balanced sweet-tart flavor.  

I loved the sauce with the latkes, while others at the table preferred it with their turkey. Either way you choose, have a happy Thanksgivukkah!

Savor The Exodus: Roasted Lamb From The Sinai Desert

— by Ronit Treatman

The Egyptian Jewish Community has a tradition of serving roasted meat during the Passover Seder.  This is their way of remembering what the Ancient Israelites ate during their wanderings in the Sinai desert after leaving Egypt.  This year, you can emulate the Egyptian Jews and bring this experience to your table by preparing roasted lamb flavored with desert spices.

How can we know what the Ancient Israelites ate in the desert?  The Bedouin have preserved those timeless traditions.  The oases of the Sinai yield edible delicacies such as olives, dates, coffee berries, grapes, wild rosemary, almonds, watermelons, and sugar cane.  From the Bedouin, we learn how to build an earth oven by digging a hole in the ground.

More after the jump.
This type of oven is called a Zaarp.  Pieces of wood, plant roots, or dry camel dung are burned in the hole for a couple of hours until they turn into hot coals.  A freshly slaughtered lamb is placed in a jidda, or large copper pot.  It is seasoned with salt and wild thyme.  The pot is sealed tightly with its lid, and placed in the hole on top of the embers.  A goat’s hair blanket is spread over the zaarp.  A large mound of sand is piled over the blanket to seal the oven.  The lamb is left to cook in this subterranean oven for several hours.  View the clip below to see how the Bedouin open the zaarp, and bring out the roasted lamb.


The celebratory lamb dish prepared by the Bedouin is called Mansaf.  It is made with meat, yogurt, and rice.  “Mansaf” means “explosion, ” as in, “an explosion of food. ”  This lamb is seasoned with a special spice mixture called baharat (Arabic for “spices”).  You may purchase baharat from http://www.amazon.com/Baharat-…  Alternatively, you can mix your own baharat for this recipe.

Baharat
Adapted from Clifford A. Wright

  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons ground allspice

In order to respect the laws of kashrut, I am solely providing the roasted meat portion of the Mansaf recipe to prepare for the Seder.

Mansaf: Bedouin Roasted Lamb
Adapted from Fati’s Recipes

  • 1 (2 lbs.) lamb shoulder
  • 1 tablespoon baharat
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 head of garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Mix the baharat and salt in a bowl.  Rub the lamb with this spice mix.  Make a few incisions in the lamb, and stick the cloves of garlic into them.  Place the lamb in a roasting pan.  Scatter the sprigs of rosemary over it and cover tightly with aluminum foil.  Place in the oven.  Lower the heat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Cook the lamb for 4 hours.  

Just before serving, heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a pan.  Sauté the almonds and pine nuts until they turn golden-brown.

Serve the lamb on a platter with almonds and pine nuts sprinkled over it.

To eat like an Ancient Israelite in the Sinai, savor the Bedouin roasted lamb with matza.  When you remove the foil, your home will be filled with the delicious aroma of slow-cooked lamb.  After cooking for so long, the Mansaf will be very tender.  The meat will be infused with the flavor of the baharat, rosemary, and garlic.  The almonds and pine nuts will add a delightful crunch to every bite.  When you taste the Mansaf paired with matza, you will almost be able to hear the music of the desert flutes and drums, and the stories told around the fire. As you enjoy the company of your family and friends this Passover, remember the Bedouin proverb:

“He who shares my bread and salt is not my enemy.”