There are celebration foods to enjoy with every major holiday celebrated around the world; whether it is Christmas, Hanukkah, Chinese New Year, New Year Eve, Easter or many others.
Hanukkah is for eight days and eight nights beginning in November or December, varying from year to year. I never want to overlook this very important day for the Jewish people. I really don’t know a lot about the Hanukkah traditions except that it commemorates the rededication of the holy temple. I do know that at Hanukkah as well as any other day, the traditional Jewish foods are delicious. Oil is used a lot in the celebration foods for Hanukkah; representing the oil used in the temple-Special recipes for potato latkes and sufganiyot, a jelly donut recipe, are common this time of the year.
POTATO LATKES RECIPE
Place shredded potatoes and onions in a colander for 30 minutes; press out excess water.
Transfer to a large bowl; stir in eggs, flour, salt, baking powder and pepper.
Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Spoon 2 tablespoons mixture into hot oil; spread out to 4 inch circles.
Fry latkes for 3 to 4 minutes on each side pressing down when turning.
Fry until crisp and brown; drain on paper towels.
Latkes do not stay crisp so serve while hot with applesauce and thyme; sour cream also good.
SUFGANIYOT (jelly donut recipe)
This jelly donut recipe is very common of the celebration foods for Hanukkah traditions.
Scald milk and remove from heat; add sugar, salt, butter and stir until butter melts.
In large mixing bowl sprinkle yeast over warm water; stir to dissolve.
Add cooled milk mixture, eggs, 2 cups flour and nutmeg; beat until smooth with electric mixer.
Beat in remaining flour with wooden spoon; cover and let rise in warm place until double about 1 hour.
Punch down dough; turn out onto well floured board and knead until smooth about 10 times.
Cover dough with bowl and let rest 10 minutes.
Roll dough out to ½ inch thick; cut with floured 3 inch round donut cutter (no hole)
Move cut donuts with spatula to the side; repeat cutting until all dough has been used.
Cover donuts with towel and let rise about 45 minutes or until doubled.
Heat 2 inches oil in heavy pan or deep fryer until thermometer reads 375F degrees.
Gently drop a few donuts at a time in the hot oil; fry until golden brown on both sides.
Drain on paper towels and cool on racks.
Cut slits in the side of each donut and place teaspoon of jelly in each donut.
Sprinkle with sugar or dust with powdered sugar.
CHICKEN LIVERS RECIPE
I am not sure if this is among the celebration foods for Hanukkah traditions but it is a traditional Jewish recipe. This rich delicious appetizer is best if refrigerated for several hours before serving to allow the flavors to blend.
Remove and discard fat and any white lining from the livers; cut large ones in half.
Place livers, onion and butter in a large skillet; cook and stir over medium heat until onion is golden.
Add hot water to skillet, cover and cook until livers are no longer pink in the center. (About 10 minutes)
Remove skillet from heat and let set until cool.
Transfer livers to medium size bowl and coarsely mash livers; mix in 2/3 of chopped egg, salt and pepper.
Press mixture in a 2 cup mold and refrigerate overnight.
Unmold mixture onto plate with lettuce leaf; top with remaining chopped egg and sprinkle with paprika.
Serve with rye bread.
NEW YEARS TRADITIONS
As I write this many are preparing celebration foods for their New Years traditions, especially New Years Eve. More so than any other time of the year New Years appetizers will be on tables of all kinds, buffet tables or passed around for party guests to enjoy. For this occasion, there is no boundary; the selections are endless. Most people like to serve special recipes set for this occasion only; a little more elaborate than any other time of the year.
BRANDY CHAMPAGNE PUNCH RECIPE
This brandy champagne punch recipe is a great blend for your New Years Eve party. One recipe will provide 65 servings of 4 ounces. It can very simply be doubled or tripled for a crowd size recipe for a large party.
Pour Sauterne, brandy and curacao over a large block of ice.
Just before serve ad in the soda and champagne.
FRUIT DIP RECIPE
Add this fruit dip recipe to your list of celebration foods. The tequila flavor will make guests like it so much that it will always be part of your New Years appetizer recipes.
Combine and blend all ingredients in a medium bowl; cover and chill at least 1 hour.
Serve with fresh berries and fresh sliced fruit.
CAVIAR APPETIZER RECIPE
This caviar appetizer recipe is worthy of being added to your celebration foods. It is delicious but also makes a very nice presentation; something special for the New Year.
Drain caviars; let set
Combine and beat 2 packages cream cheese, lemon juice, onion and Worcestershire sauce until fluffy.
Place cheese mixture in center of serving plate; shape in circle about 4 inches in diameter and 2 inches thick.
Make 1 ½ inch circle with salmon caviar in the center of the crown.
Cover remaining area on top and sides of crown with whitefish caviar.
Beat additional cream cheese and pipe around crown to decorate.
Serve with crackers.
CHINESE NEW YEARS TRADITIONS
Chinese New Year comes in February. This is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. The traditional Chinese banquet makes a great way to display the celebration foods. Pork is essential for an authentic Chinese feast. No matter how poor a family is or how small the children are, every person will be given a taste of pork on this day. Recipes made of fish are also very common on the family’s tables. In Northern China it is customary to make dumplings, either with pork or seafood to eat after midnight symbolizing wealth. In Southern China you will find special cakes to share in the New Year.
STEAMED DUMPLING RECIPE
Mix mushrooms with pork, onion, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, coriander and ginger.
Blend the 3 tablespoons soy with cornstarch and add to pork mixture along with egg white.
Stir mixture until well blended and divide into 48 equal balls.
To make dumplings cut off corners of won ton skins to form a circle.
Put a pinch of grated carrot in the center of each dumpling and crumple won ton skins together.
Place dumpling without crowding on a greased rack that will fit in a steamer, wok or deep pan.
Pour boiling water into the steamer leaving 1 ½ inches between water level and rack.
Cover and steam for 20 minutes; serve with soy sauce.
Any of these recipes can be used for the upcoming New Year’s Eve celebration foods. I hope you like them and I hope all of you have a very happy and prosperous New Year.