Hanukkah

Rising to the occasion


In a jam? Try this recipe for Hanukkah doughnuts.

The Orange County Register/Fullerton News Tribune
November 29, 2007

by Judy Bart Kancigor

An old joke goes like this: The Jewish holidays are always either early or late. They’re never on time!

Hanukkah sneaks up on us early this year. We’ll begin lighting candles at sundown on December 4, so prepare for an oil crisis, and I’m not referring to the price of gas. Who knew when Judah Maccabee's tiny flask of oil miraculously burned for eight days that for thousands of years Jewish families would celebrate by frying!

While Jews of Eastern Europe descent eat mountains of latkes (potato pancakes), the Hanukkah treat in Israel is sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts).

Fullerton's Pnina Shichor, a former teacher and proprietor of Bound to Travel on Euclid, has been making them for years.

"When my children were young," she recalled, "my cousin, Esther Schechter, and I would do Hanukkah at Rolling Hills Elementary School. We'd tell the story, sing songs, and teach the children to make sufganiyot."

When the Shichors were considering transferring daughter Nomi to Jewish day school, Nomi said, "But, Mom, if I go there, who will do Hanukkah for our class?"

Pnina's mother-in-law, Malka Suranyi, brought the recipe from Budapest where the family survived under Nazi rule. Luckily an uncle owned an exclusive men's clothing store, which the Nazis wanted, so they kept the workers alive. After the war the Communists took over, and Pnina's husband, David, professor of criminal justice at Cal State San Bernardino, was barely 16 when the Jewish Agency smuggled him and other children out of Hungary.


Posted in Submitted by Judy on Mon, 12/30/2013 - 4:35pm.

Chocolate for Hanukkah - why not?

While Jews of Eastern European descent celebrate Hanukkah with mountains of latkes, Sephardic Jews fry sufganiyot. But for everyone – and every holiday – there’s always…chocolate?

Yes, just about everyone’s favorite ingredient never goes out of season, claims award-winning author Alice Medrich, whose book “Chocolate Holidays: Unforgettable Desserts for Every Season” (Artisan) offers 50 luscious, decadent recipes to crown every holiday and celebration.

“I wanted to do a season-to-season book,” said Medrich by phone from her Berkley, California, home. “Other ingredients we like to cook with change with the seasons. The constant is chocolate.”

Jewish cooks know that Hanukkah is all about the oil. The symbolism goes back to ancient times, when Judah Maccabee and his tiny army defeated the Syrian-Greeks and recaptured Jerusalem. In attempting to rededicate the Temple, they found only enough oil to burn for one day. Miraculously it lasted eight days, and we've been celebrating with a frying frenzy ever since! But who says traditional potato latkes are the only fritter fit to fry?

“Chocolate Banana Blintzes are fried, and Hanukkah is a great excuse to serve them,” noted Medrich. “They are just so delicious, a fancy party dessert that’s easy to do.” Restraint, she said, is sometimes the secret ingredient. “A little burst of chocolate sauce in a hot crepe with bananas is more seductive than a chocolate blintz with chocolate filling,” she writes.

Another lesser-known Hanukkah tradition involves the story of Judith, a beautiful Jewish widow, who dined with the enemy general Holofernes. She plied him with cheese to make him thirsty for wine, and when he fell into a drunken stupor, she beheaded him with his own sword. Because her bravery is said to have inspired the Maccabees, some communities remember Judith by eating cheese during this holiday.


Posted in Submitted by Judy on Sun, 12/01/2013 - 1:32am.

Hanukkah's Heart


Hanukkah's heart

A family's treasured recipes and rich history meld in a self-published cookbook
December 17, 2000

By CATHY THOMAS
The Orange County Register

The first edition of Judy Bart Kancigor's "Melting Pot Memories" sold out in six weeks in spring 1999. Since then, three more editions have been printed, with a total of more than 2,400 copies sold. There hasn't been any fancy merchandising campaign, simply word of mouth.

At first, she was surprised by brisk sales of her self-published cookbook. I'm not.

Recently, I visited her Fullerton home, seeking Hanukkah recipes. Delectable dishes to celebrate the eight-day Jewish festival commemorating the rededication of the Temple, the feast of lights that celebrates the small cruse of oil that lighted the Temple's holy lamps for eight days. (This year, Hanukkah begins Dec. 22).

Kancigor shared holiday dishes such as Aunt Hilda's Cherry Chili Chicken, a savory-sweet roast chicken dish with raisins and pitted black cherries (most probably from the '40s), and her incredible potato latkes, with an updated, reduced-fat option.

I got formulas for those mouthwatering specialties, but Kancigor and her captivating book left me with so much more than recipes from relatives.

She has captured the joy, wisdom and nostalgic history of the Rabinowitz family, tracing her grandparents' roots from Slonim (a city in Eastern Europe that is now part of Belarus, formerly Russia and before that, Poland) to suburbia.

Among the recipes, she weaves stories of Ellis Island in the early 1900s, the Great Depression and World War II, as well as recollections of her father, Jan Bart. Bart, a cantor and entertainer in early television, at the time of his death in 1971 had raised more funds for Israeli bonds than had any other performer.


Posted in Submitted by Judy on Mon, 09/23/2013 - 3:35pm.

Visiting family shares holiday traditions

My Christmas story for The Orange County Register contains a recipe for a Swedish pastry called Lussikatter. It's a wonderful eggy sweet bread reminiscent of a saffron-scented challah. Read the whole story.


Sufganiyot (Hanukkah Jelly Doughnuts)

Adapted from “Cooking Jewish” by Judy Bart Kancigor

3 packages dry active yeast
1/2 cup warm water
Scant 1 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cups oil
1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
6 to 8 cups all-purpose flour 
Canola or corn oil for frying
Jam (any flavor)
Powdered sugar

1. In a large (at least 6-quart) bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes until bubbly. Add scant cup warm water, salt, oil, sugar, and eggs. Add 3 cups of flour and mix. Knead in remaining flour gradually in the bowl until dough is spongy and elastic, but still feels a bit tacky (not stiff). Remove dough and oil sides of bowl (no need to wash it), coat dough with oil and return to bowl. Loosely cover with plastic wrap.

2. Preheat oven to 200°; turn oven off. Let dough rise in oven for 2 hours or until it nearly reaches top of bowl. Roll out on floured board to 1/4 inch thick. Cut with 3-inch biscuit cutter (or glass) into rounds. Let rounds rise on cookie sheet 30 minutes.

3. Heat oil in electric fry pan to 365°. Dip fingers in flour. Lift each round of dough, hold with two hands, and with two middle fingers stretch the middle of the round quite thin. This will be the depression for the jam. Quickly drop each round into hot oil, depression side down, and cover until golden brown (not dark). Quickly turn them, cover and fry until other side is golden brown. Drain doughnuts on both sides on paper towels. Fill holes with jam; dust with powdered sugar. Best if eaten warm. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen


Cookin’ for Love Malaysian Latkes with Minty Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

From Cooking Jewish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family (Workman) by Judy Bart Kancigor
Order on amazon

I don’t often adapt recipes from novels, but Sharon Boorstin’s fun romp Cookin’ for Love sent me straight to the kitchen. Heroine Miriam’s thoughts seldom stray from food, and when she awakens from a dream about Grandma’s latkes to find her Malaysian cleaver-toting captor frying curried onions, it’s an “aha” moment of the kitchen kind. Cashews! Ginger! This is a latke with pizzazz! Makes 16 latkes

1/2 cup chopped unsalted cashews or peanuts
1/4 cup chopped mint or flat-leaf parsley, or a combination
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeño pepper, seeded and deveined
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons kosher (coarse) salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 large eggs, beaten
2 large baking potatoes (12 ounces each), cut into wedges
1 medium-size onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil, for frying
Minty Cucumber Yogurt Sauce (recipe below)

1. Combine the cashews, mint, bell pepper, jalapeño, ginger, salt, curry powder, and eggs in a large bowl, and mix well. Set it aside.

2. Shred the potatoes and onion together in a food processor fitted with the shredding disk. Squeeze the potato/onion mixture between several changes of paper towels to release as much liquid as possible. Add the potato/onion mixture to the egg mixture, and combine well. Stir in the flour.


Posted in Submitted by Judy on Thu, 11/29/2007 - 4:34pm.

Splat! Potato Latkes

From Cooking Jewish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family (Workman) by Judy Bart Kancigor
Order on amazon


Posted in Submitted by Judy on Thu, 11/29/2007 - 4:22pm.

Stuffed Orange Sweet Potato Cups

From Cooking Jewish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family (Workman) by Judy Bart Kancigor
Order on amazon

Serves 12.

6 navel oranges, sliced in half crosswise
Mama Hinda’s Sweet Potato Casserole filling (recipe below)

FOR THE TOPPINGS
Mini marshmallows and/or Maraschino cherries
Chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted
Colored sprinkles, and assorted edible decorations (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Scoop the flesh out of each orange half (reserve it for another use, such as in a fruit salad). A serrated grapefruit spoon is perfect for this purpose. Make sure each orange half can stand up straight. If any are wobbly, cut a thin slice off the bottom.

3. Spoon the sweet potato filling into the scooped-out orange halves. Top with marshmallows, cherries, and nuts, as desired. Arrange the filled orange cups in an ungreased baking pan and bake until the filling is hot and the marshmallows are melted and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Top with sprinkles if using, and serve.

Mama Hinda’s Sweet Potato Casserole filling:


Posted in Submitted by Judy on Thu, 11/29/2007 - 4:11pm.

Malaysian Latkes with Minty Cucumber Sauce

Source: Cooking Jewish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family by Judy Bart Kancigor

1/2 cup chopped unsalted cashews or peanuts
1/4 cup chopped mint or flat-leaf parsley, or a combination
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeño pepper, seeded and deveined
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons kosher (coarse) salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 large eggs, beaten
2 large baking potatoes (12 ounces each), cut into wedges
1 medium-size onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil, for frying
Cucumber Dip with Yogurt Sauce (recipe below)

1. Combine the cashews, mint, bell pepper, jalapeño, ginger, salt, curry powder, and eggs in a large bowl, and mix well. Set it aside.
2. Shred the potatoes and onion together in a food processor fitted with the shredding disk. Squeeze between several changes of paper towels to release as much liquid as possible. Add the potato/onion mixture to the egg mixture, and combine well. Stir in the flour.
3. Pour enough oil into a large, heavy skillet to cover the bottom, and heat it over medium-high heat. When the oil is quite hot but not smoking, add a scant 1/4 cup batter per latke and flatten them with a fork. Fry only as many latkes as will fit in the skillet without crowding. Cook until crisp and brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Transfer the latkes to paper towels to drain. Keep the latkes warm while frying the remainder.
4. Serve immediately, with the Cucumber dip. Makes about 16.

(Cacik) Cucumber Dip with Yogurt Sauce
1 English (hothouse) cucumber
Kosher (coarse) salt
2 cups plain yogurt
1 to 2 teaspoons crushed garlic
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons crushed dried mint leaves


Posted in Submitted by Judy on Wed, 11/28/2007 - 1:53pm.
Syndicate content