Join POLIN Museum online this Chanukah for our 2nd edition of the 8 Flavors of Chanukah. Included in this special holiday series will be delicious recipe inspirations from our temporary online exhibition, "What’s Cooking?". Plus we’ll be sharing some traditional recipes from Jewish foodie bloggers.
What makes this holiday season so special for people around the world? For many it is the special foods that are eaten at this time of the year, and the people that you get to be with. So for this Chanukah, we’re focusing on 8 recipes that are enjoyed around the world. Which means one ‘foodie’ inspired post for each day of Chanukah! Take a look at the schedule below, and plan on joining us each day.
18 December (Sunday): Loukomades (Doughnuts) >>
This is one of the must-have versions for Chanukah, the festival of lights, during which many dishes are fried in oil. Chanukah doughnuts come in many forms: with alcohol, boiled potatoes, stuffed, with a hole, cut, regular shape or as unruly as loukoumades. What they all have in common is frying in oil, commemorating the miracle of the multiplication of oil after the recovery of the Temple of Jerusalem. This recipe comes from our online temporary exhibition, "What’s Cooking?". Recipe submitted by Sabina Francuz.
Click here to get the recipe for Sabina’s Loukoumades.
Sabina Francuz is a Polish cookbook author, and food blogger. A few years ago, it was with pain but also great relief that she parted ways with the catering industry. Today she is challenged by the digital world, and cooking provides a healthy distance, relaxation, and true joy. She has been featured with her Yiddish to Polish cookbook on POLIN Museum’s Polish food tour of Kraków, and her recipes can be found in the online edition of the "What’s Cooking?" exhibition.
Her real passion though is writing culinary books and blogs, conducting workshops and dinners, traveling to Greece, and cooking.
19 December (Monday): Pear Cake with Olive Oil, Ginger, and Cinnamon >>
Like most recipes, this one was an evolution. It is not a ‘family recipe’ from my Grandma - there has never been anything written down from my maternal or paternal side unfortunately. I am the first generation to document my family recipes. However, these are the three things that inspired this recipe:
- My love of baking with olive oil.
- An apple cake recipe from another blogger.
- A giant batch of fresh picked pears from a neighbor.
From those rays of inspiration, I developed this pear cake recipe, served it at a large gathering, and the reviews were great. In my book, I made a variation of this with apples, coming back around to part of the inspiration for the recipe to begin with. But isn’t that how recipes really go? They provide inspiration and over time form the basis for new approaches and flavors.
Click here to get the recipe for Beth’s Pear and Oil Cake.
Beth Lee is from San Jose, California, and she originally worked in Silicon Valley. However, in 2010, she realized she’d rather talk about pita chips than memory chips. Eventually her online blog, "OMG Yummy!" came into being.
20 December (Tuesday): Southern Fried Schnitzel >>
"Although I make latkes every year for Chanukah as a traditional food, I wanted to go with something a bit different albeit fried as well. I decided to develop a recipe for southern fried schnitzel using skinless, boneless chicken breasts. This is batter fried, so it must be made right before eating for the best flavor and crispiness. It’s not difficult to prepare, just know you have to have a production line of schnitzel in marinade, flour mixture, have the hot oil in a pan, ready to roll. The results are a crispy, delicious, crunchy, dinner for one of the days of Chanukah".
Click here to get the recipe for Debbie’s Southern Fried Schnitzel.
Debbie Fund lives in Jerusalem, Israel with her husband. She has six children and is a grandmother. She loves to cook and bake, and desires to share her techniques and recipes with others.
21 December (Wednesday): Apple Pear Sauce >>
Jeffrey’s Grandma Ruth used to make this blush red applesauce from local Massachusetts apples that she sweetened with pears and plums and spiced with cinnamon. He would have gulped it straight from the jar, had his mother let him. Eventually, Jeffrey and his mother learned how to make this family recipe themselves. It became their Hanukkah ritual. Jeffrey recommends serving this applesauce on latkes, pierogi, or enjoyed straight from the jar.
Click here to get the recipe for Apple Pear Sauce.
Liz Alpern and Jeffrey Yoskowitz are co-founders of The Gefilteria, a new kind of food venture launched in 2012 with a manifesto and a mission to reimagine eastern European Jewish cuisine. Together, they authored a narrative cookbook, "The Gefilte Manifesto: New Recipes for Old World Jewish Foods" (Flatiron Books, 2016). In addition to producing a celebrated artisanal gefilte fish, Alpern and Yoskowitz travel the world (and the virtual world) empowering communities through food.
22 December (Thursday): Chanukah Focaccia >>
My daughter really loves focaccia. It's one of her favorite things to eat, and she never gets bored of it. She loves inventing new variations on this delicious Italian bread. A few years ago, she suggested that we make some for Chanukah. "You should make focaccia for Chanukah,” she said, "because of the olive oil!" After all, olive oil is central to the Chanukah miracle, and also central to the preparation of a good focaccia! Plus, you can dip the bread into more olive oil, for good measure. To really make this a super-festive recipe, we also like to add some Chanukah themed 'focaccia art' on the top of our bread, using colorful vegetables and herbs, such as cherry tomatoes, red onions, yellow or orange peppers, asparagus spears, olives etc. We usually enjoy this focaccia on about day 3 or 4 of the festival - when we need a break from fried food!
Click here to get the recipe for Chanukah Focaccia.
Helen Goldrein is a Jewish foodie who lives in the beautiful and historic city of Cambridge, UK. She has been sharing meat-free recipes, reviews, ideas and articles at Family-Friend-Food.com since 2014.
Helen's recipes draw on Jewish traditions and seasonal ingredients to create innovative and delicious dishes. She is inspired by British, European and Middle Eastern food heritage. Helen's focus is on making healthy, nutritious food that everyone enjoys eating! In her spare time, Helen enjoys collecting and reading cookbooks, playing the piano, dancing and knitting. She drinks a lot of tea.
23 December (Friday): Ukrainian Pampushki >>
Pampushki (or pampushkes in Yiddish) are fried stuffed potato balls filled with cheese and chives. It’s like taking potato latkes to the next level.
Originally, the recipe asks for the much common in Ukraine and Russia farmer’s cheese filling, not feta, so feel free to use either.
Click here to get Vered’s recipe for Pampushki.
Vered Guttman is an Israeli chef and food writer living in Washington, D.C. Her columns on Israeli and Jewish food have appeared in Haaretz since 2011. Vered’s writing was also published in the Washington Post, Slate, Moment Magazine and others.
24 December (Saturday): Almond Crusted Winter Squash and Noodle Kugel >>
On Chanukah my family celebrates in all the traditional ways: we twirl dreidels, eat latkes and give away gelt. But because I have two daughters my husband and I always told them the story of Judith, the woman who played a major role in the victory of the Maccabees in the battle that took place over 2000 years ago and saved the Jewish people from annihilation.
In honor of Judith, our Chanukah meal always features cheese. We particularly like this Almond Crusted Winter Squash and Noodle Kugel. I created this dish by starting out with a fairly simple dairy noodle kugel and mixed in some bright orange squash and rich red cranberries to give it a festive look.
Click here for Ronnie’s kugel recipe.
Ronnie Fein has always loved ‘patshkeying’ around the kitchen, so it wasn’t a surprise to anyone in her family when she gave up a job as a high-power, high-paid attorney to become a food writer. Food writing allows her to have precious time with family, and also follow a delicious career that was incredibly interesting and satisfying. She’s written four cookbooks, and has contributed to several others; thousands or articles in newspapers, magazines and online.
25 December (Sunday): Crispy Potatoes Latkes >>
Potato latkes fall into that wonderful category of ‘Jewish comfort foods.’ There is so much joy that comes from preparing, serving, and eating warm and crispy potato latkes. These fried patties are simple to make and all you need is: potatoes, onion, flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. They are traditionally served warm, topped with apple sauce or sour cream. Potato latkes are so delicious and satisfying that everyone will be asking for more.
Click here to get Rachel’s recipe for Crispy Potato Latkes.
Rachel Manor grew up in Israel and spent a lot of time in her family kitchen, which taught her about Jewish and Israeli food, and culture. In 2013, she moved with her husband and two boys to the US. Having a blog has been a dream of hers for many years. When the world came to a standstill in early 2020, she found an opportunity to share her love of food. Currently, she lives in Seattle, and is a full-time food blogger. When she’s not in the kitchen, she enjoys exercising, hiking, dancing, traveling, and reading (mostly cookbooks).
26 December (Monday): Parmesan Cheese Bites >>
As most know, sour cream is a staple during Chanukah, and what do you do with leftovers? Instead of throwing it away, I wanted to use it! So this is how I got to baking these delicious parmesan cheese bites, which are more or less like savory cookies. With a few simple ingredients and half an hour, you can be munching on these parmesan cheese bites. It's perfect for noshing with a drink or just as is. Either way, you won’t be able to stop scarfing these down so it’s quite a dangerous snack! These can also be dipped in olive oil too! I call these savory cookies, "parmesan cheese bites" since the main flavor that you taste is the parmesan cheese. Other cheeses such as Grana Padano can be used as well.
Click here to get Rénana’s recipe for Parmesan Cheese Bites.
Rénana Spiegel Levkovich is the operator of her own delicious blog, "Rénana’s Kitchen." She loves to bake and take culinary classes to expand her knowledge. By day, she works as a web developer, but after work hours she’s in the kitchen cooking and baking savory dishes and desserts. She created her blog in order to be able to fully chronicle her culinary journey, and expand her photography skills.