Dangerous Hanukkah Dinner, Oy!

Sunday, 21 Dec 2008


This Hanukkah feast is brought to you by Food and Wine — that’s where all four recipes come from.  The way to this dinner was fraught with peril.  I burned the heck out of my hand on the brisket pan and then had to make the rest of it one-handed.   That led to a clumsy attempt to grate potatoes for latkes in which I grated my knuckles instead.  But three hours later, dinner made it to the table.  The dish aftermath could have qualified for disaster aid.  Luckily my angelic husband took care of cleaning things up.  I have a feeling this is going to take me about an hour to post because of my blistered fingers, but here goes…


Brisket with Onion and Chile Jam

I’d give this recipe maybe a 6 out of 10 points.  It doesn’t even come close to holding a candle to my mother-in-law Barbara’s brisket recipe.  I made a couple minor changes to the recipe. First, I couldn’t find any Thai peppers, so I used one small habanero minced very finely.  I also halved the recipe and used a 2-pound brisket, and browned the outside of the meat before putting it in the oven. The smaller brisket only took around 2 hours to cook instead of 4.5.  I had plenty left to freeze for another dinner.  We’re hopping on a plane to New Mexico at the crack of dawn tomorrow, so no time to enjoy the leftovers!


The meat turned out tender.  The habanero left just a hit of heat behind, but it wasn’t very noticeable.  I was a little disappointed by the level of flavor in this dish.  It ended up very oniony and the pan juices didn’t have much other flavor beyond the chicken broth base.  I would prefer something with a little more kick or meaty flavor.  I don’t think I’ll make this recipe again.


Latkes with Dill

I was extremely pleased with how these latkes turned out, but not what I went through to make them.  It’s not a hard recipe, but with my burned hand, nothing was going right.  First I couldn’t get the grating disk attachment for my food processor to work.  Then I started grating potatoes and onions with one hand and grated my burned hand in the process. Aargh.  Other than that, it went great.


What I liked about these latkes is that they stayed together really well and didn’t disintegrate in the pan.  Also, the tiny bit of dill in each latke gave them a really wonderful flavor.


Pink Applesauce

Plums added to this applesauce make it pink.  I usually make very plain applesauce with McIntosh apples and sugar, my grandmother’s recipe.


The plums were a fun change and this recipe also contains cinnamon and nutmeg, which I don’t usually use.  The applesauce went well with the latkes and I had froze a big container of it.

The grocery store didn’t have fresh plums, so I used canned.  I thought since they were canned in syrup, I would need to reduce the amount of sugar, but I ended up adding a couple tablespoons more than the recipe called for to make it taste right. I used three McIntosh and three Granny Smith apples, so the tartness of the Granny Smith might account for needing more sugar.


Sauteed Rainbow Chard with Garlic and Lemon

Rainbow chard tastes a little bit like spinach but looks a lot more exciting.  This was simple to prepare — just sauteed with a little bit of olive oil and garlic and tossed with lemon zest.


And for dessert….Triple Chocolate Cookies!  Mmmm, chocolate — I think it’s making my hand feel better already…

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