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Warm up with these updated classic Hannukah recipes from Liz Alpern

Happy Hannukah! This Jewish holiday is often referred to as the festival of lights. At this time of year, when the nights are long, and the sun can seem scarce, it makes sense that many cultures have created occasions to gather around fire, warmth and light. Like many Jewish holidays, Hannukah has a robust traditional menu. This holiday’s dishes largely focus on using oil, inspired by a miraculous lamp from more than 2,000 years ago that burned for eight days in spite of seeming almost empty. While here at God’s Love we do not fry food, we strongly advocate for enjoying celebratory food and committing to moderation. That’s why we send birthday cakes! As Lisa Zullig, Director of Nutrition says, “all food fits.” Latkes are perhaps the most famous Hannukah dish; we’re sharing this recipe from our friend Liz Alpern which incorporates turnips and parsnips in addition to the typical potato. Both of these root vegetables are high in fiber and Vitamin C (especially important for boosting your immune system during this time of year). Pair the Latkes with Apple-Pear sauce for a naturally sweet accompaniment, which is also traditional and high in fiber.

Liz Alpern’s cookbook The Gefilte Manifesto, co-written with Jeffrey Yoskowitz takes Ashkenazi Jewish cooking as a starting point and follows the traditional Eastern European recipes into the diaspora. It both charts and influences their transformations, painting a picture of modern multi-cultural Jewish life. The cookbook is a must have for anyone interested in global cuisines and New York food or simply any lover of cooking and eating well. Liz is a cook, recipe tester, educator and entrepreneur. She’s also a longtime friend and supporter of God’s Love. She has brought her national fundraiser party,Queer Soup Night, to God’s Love, and has inspired members of the QSN community to volunteer. Thank you Liz and wishing all a happy holiday season, no matter what you celebrate!

Root Vegetable Latkes

Makes 18 to 22 Latkes

4 russet potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled
1 medium parsnip, peeled
1 medium turnip, peeled
1 small onion
4 scallions, finely chopped
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¹/³ cup bread crumbs or matzo meal
Schmaltz or peanut, canola, or grapeseed oil, for frying
Apple-Pear Sauce for serving (optional)
Sour cream, storebought or homemade for serving (optional)

  1. Shred the potatoes, parsnip, turnip, and onion on the large holes of a box grater or in a food processor using the shredder plate. Place the grated vegetables in a large bowl and add cold water to cover. Let sit for about 5 minutes.
  2. Drain the vegetables in a colander and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
  3. Place the drained vegetable shreds in a large bowl. Add the scallions, eggs, salt, pepper, flour, bread crumbs. Mix well, preferably using your hands.
  4. In a 9-inch nonstick or cast-iron skillet, heat a layer of schmaltz or oil, about 1/8 inch deep, over medium heat. Form the latke batter into thin patties, using about 2 tablespoons for each. As you form the patties, squeeze out and discard any excess liquid. Carefully slip the patties, about 4 at a time, into the pan and fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crisp. Take care to flip them only once to avoid excess oil absorption. If the pan begins to smoke at all, add more schmaltz or oil and let it heat up again before frying another batch of latkes.
  5. Remove the latkes from the pan and place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain the excess fat. Latkes are best and crispiest when served right away. If serving later, transfer to a separate casserole dish or baking sheet and place in the oven at 200ºF to keep warm until serving. Serve hot, topped with Apple-Pear Sauce and/or sour cream.

Apple-Pear Sauce

2 pounds baking apples (about 6 medium), such as McIntosh, peeled, cored and quartered
2 pounds sweet pears (about 5 medium), such as Bartlett, peeled, cored and quartered
1/2 cup apple juice, apple cider or water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 to 4 tablespoons maple syrup or sugar (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (optional)

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, combine the apple and pear quarters, apple juice and cinnamon sticks and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 40 minutes. The apples will soften and puff up a bit as the heat draws out their liquid. When you can smush the fruit by pressing on it with a spoon, it has finished cooking.

Turn off the heat and remove the cinnamon sticks. Mash the mixture with a potato masher or an improvised masher (an empty jar works well). For a smooth applesauce, puree using an immersion blender or food processor.

If you’d like your sauce sweeter, stir in the maple syrup or sugar (start with 1 tablespoon and add more if needed). Stir in the lemon juice, if using, which adds a bit of tartness to balance out the sweetness. Let the sauce cool.

Serve at room temperature. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for about a month. If storing for later use, transfer to an airtight container and freeze.

Makes 5 to 6 cups of sauce.

Excerpted from the book THE GEFILTE MANIFESTO by Jeffrey Yoskowitz & Liz Alpern. Copyright © 2016 by Gefilte Manifesto LLC. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Photos by Lauren Volo

5.23.24 / Nutrition

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