Happy Thanksgivukkah! Adeena Sussman's Menu Is the Best of Both Holidays
In New York, where I lived for the better part of 20 years, spontaneity was an ephemeral concept, hardly ever achieved. I'd schedule plans two weeks in advance and would need time to figure out any meal, let alone a festive one cooked for family and friends. Now that I live in Tel Aviv, where the lifestyle is more laid-back, an entire meal can be conjured from whole cloth within a matter of hours.
Regardless of where I am in the world, convenience informs how I put together a feast, no matter the size or how much advance notice I have. That rings especially true this holiday season because the first night of Hanukkah takes place the Sunday after Thanksgiving. For Jews (and others) celebrating both holidays, the back-to-back festivities undoubtedly will mean even more time in the kitchen. That is why, for Hanukkah, I'm focusing on dishes that can be made in advance and finished with lots of fresh flourishes. The resulting menu marries varied elements of the Jewish culinary experience.
Spicy, lemony feta-stuffed olives dusted with za'atar speak to the many ways Palestinian food influences my Jewish and Israeli cooking (recipe below). A bubbly winter sangria made with Lambrusco and loaded with seasonal fruit is the party grog I never knew I needed and now can't live without. For a twist on latkes, I'm making oven-baked smashed potatoes. Although these weren't something my Bubbe Mildred was turning out of her Queens, New York, kitchen, I know she would have loved the ease of using a sheet pan to get all of the crisp and crunch of a deep-fried latke without the hassle of grating potatoes.
A gorgeous side of lacquered salmon adds wow factor to the table, and it makes for easy, buffet-style serving . A citrusy salad adds a pop of brightness, and it's topped with halloumi croutons, which are a sly nod to the tradition of eating fried foods on Hanukkah . For dessert, bimuelos. I knew about these fried doughnuts but was inspired by the version in Stella's Sephardic Table by Stella Hanan Cohen, an underappreciated Rhodesian-Jewish cook who celebrates the rich diversity of Sephardic cooking. So to end the meal on a sweet note, I'm taking a page out of Cohen's book and making bimuelos filled with cranberry curd, a mash-up that combines traditions of both Hanukkah and Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgivukkah!
Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Pickles and Gin-Spiked Sour Cream
Boiled and then smashed and baked on a sheet pan, these extra-crispy potatoes satisfy cookbook author Adeena Sussman's Hanukkah latke cravings with no shredding or frying. Dollops of gin-spiked sour cream; sprinkles of salmon roe, chives, dill, and parsley; and quick-pickled turnip, beet, and cauliflower make these colorful bites a blast to eat.
Citrus, Beet, and Arugula Salad with Halloumi Croutons
Resplendent with mixed citrus and jewel-toned roasted beets, this peppery arugula salad gets elevated to holiday status courtesy of crispy halloumi croutons.
Feta-Stuffed Marinated Olives
Fragrant za'atar, a spice blend ubiquitous in Israel and across the Middle East, flavors these briny, feta-stuffed olives with its notes of thyme, marjoram, sumac, and sesame seeds.
Spiked with a pinch of cayenne, tart pomegranate molasses and savory-sweet date syrup give this gently roasted salmon layers of flavor and a gorgeous bronzed exterior.
Sparkling Citrus-Pomegranate Sangria
A quick cinnamon-flavored simple syrup adds cozy notes to this tart sangria with fall flavors of pear, persimmon, and pomegranate. It's spiked with brandy and gets a lift from Lambrusco, a fizzy Italian red wine.
Bimuelos with Cranberry Curd and Cardamom Honey
Golden orbs of fried dough often dusted with sugar or drizzled with sweet syrup, bimuelos are a popular dessert across many cultures and are a favorite on many Hanukkah tables. In Adeena Sussman's version, the orange-scented dough fries up perfectly golden crisp and holds its crunch even when doused with the cardamom-laced honey.