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Food Feature:

Tradition! (Chanukah), page 2

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Tradition! (Chanukah)

"Chanukah, the Jewish festival of rededication, also known as the festival
of lights, is an eight day festival beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish
month of Kislev.
Jewish Year 5771: sunset December 1, 2010 - nightfall December 9, 2010
(first candle: night of 12/1 last candle: night of 12/8)"
More info here.

('Fiddler on the Roof')

"Who must know the way to make a proper home,
A quiet home, a kosher home?
Who must raise the family and run the home,
So Papa's free to read the holy books?

The Mama, the Mama! Tradition!
The Mama, the Mama! Tradition!"


Our purpose here, of course, is not to attempt to educate you on Jewish tradition (Chanukah or otherwise) but to further enrich La Belle Cuisine and its visitors
with more traditional Jewish recipes. Holiday traditions, their history, (and the
food that accompanies them) interest me considerably. Therefore, with heartfelt thanks to our friends at, we present the following brief introduction
to the traditional Chanukah celebration:

Chanukah in a Nutshell

"Chanukah -- the eight-day festival of light that begins on the eve of Kislev 25 -- celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, of purity over adulteration, of spirituality over materiality.
More than twenty-one centuries ago, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who sought to forcefully Hellenize the people of Israel. Against
all odds, a small band of faithful Jews defeated one of the mightiest armies on
earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem
and rededicated it to the service of G-d.
When they sought to light the Temple's menorah, they found only a single cruse
of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks; miraculously, the
one-day supply burned for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under
conditions of ritual purity.
To commemorate and publicize these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Chanukah. At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah lighting: a single
flame on the first night, two on the second evening, and so on till the eighth
night of Chanukah, when all eight lights are kindled."

So, just exactly what is a "traditional" Chanukah menu? As best we've been
able to determine, the primary consideration seems to be cooking in oil. There seems to be a lot of emphasis in particular on cooking potato latkes in oil. Yum! Once again, a brief explanation courtesy

Oil and Cheese

"Chanukah commemorates an oil-based miracle—which explains why we eat
oily foods to commemorate it. Some eat fried potato pancakes, a.k.a latkes,
while others eat sufganiyot—deep-fried doughnuts. Some eat both. Most
survive the holiday.
Yes, food can be dangerous. One of the greatest Maccabee victories was the
result of feeding the enemy cheese—so we also eat dairy foods on Chanukah.
Again, we survive."

Okay. Sounds great! But a potato pancakes and jelly doughnuts do not a
holiday meal make, right? Right! Research tells us that a roast (let's just
say brisket) with root vegetables is borderline mandatory. Most certainly
traditional. And yes, roast chicken with root vegetables is fine as well.
Latkes are a given. Green vegetables and salad too, if you like, just keep
it simple...
(See page 1 for Sara Moulton's Red-Wine Braised Beef Brisket!)


Herb Roasted Chicken with a Mix
of Roasted Baby Root Vegetables

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2002
Food Network
Show: The Essence of Emeril

Prep Time:35 min
Inactive Prep Time:10 min
Cook Time:1 hr 0 min
Level: Intermediate
Serves: 4 servings

Herb Roasted Chicken:
1 (3 1/2 to 4-pound) whole chicken
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
1/2 tablespoon chopped sage leaves
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
(reserve the parsley stems)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 lemon, quartered
2 bay leaves

Baby Root Vegetables:
1/4 pound baby turnips, peeled and
stem ends trimmed
1/4 pound baby red carrots, peeled
and stem ends trimmed
1/4 pound orange carrots, peeled
and stem ends trimmed
1/4 pound baby golden beets, peeled
and stem ends trimmed
1/4 pound baby beets, peeled and
stem ends trimmed
1/4 pound fingerling potatoes, halved
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
Wash the chicken and pat dry. Season well inside and out with the salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, thyme, sage, parsley and olive oil. Rub the olive oil and herb blend into the cavity of the chicken as well
as all over the exterior.
Place the parsley stems into the cavity of the chicken, and squeeze each lemon quarter into the chicken and place the rind in as well. Put the bay
leaves inside the chicken and place the bird in a roasting pan or a sauté
pan, and put it into the oven. Roast for about 1 hour, or until the chicken
is golden brown, and the juices run clear. Remove from the oven and let
sit for 10 minutes before carving.
For the vegetables: Place the vegetables in a large mixing bowl, and
season with the salt and pepper. Drizzle with the olive oil and place in
a roasting pan or on a sheet pan. Place in the oven and roast for 30
minutes, turning once midway during cooking to ensure even browning.
Serve with the herb roasted chicken.


Long-Cooked Green Beans

Epicurious December 2006
Suzanne Tracht; adapted by Adeena Sussman
yield: Makes 6 servings

4 pounds green beans (preferably
Blue Lake variety), trimmed
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Academia Barilla 100% Italian
Unfiltered Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

1 medium Spanish onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 bay leaf
1 dried red chile pepper
4 cups chicken stock or
low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup aged balsamic vinegar
Aged Balsamic Vinegars
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground
black pepper

Bring large pot salted water to boil. Add green beans and boil, uncovered, until slightly tender but still crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In large saucepan over moderately high heat, heat 1/2 cup olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add onions, garlic, bay leaf, and chile pepper. Sauté,
stirring occasionally, just until soft, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add green beans, chicken stock, vinegar, salt, pepper, and remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. Bring
to simmer, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 30 minutes.
Strain, remove chile and bay leaf, and serve immediately.

Back to page 1 (Brisket!)

Chanukah pg 3 (doughnuts!)

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