We held our 2nd annual Hanukkah dinner a few nights ago. My menu consists of traditional Hanukkah food – matzo ball soup, brisket, latkes, applesauce and sour cream, Challah and Kale salad (which isn’t traditional, but it is delicious).
I start a couple days before by making the latkes. It is quite a process of shredding potatoes and onions and frying them in peanut oil. I then freeze them and reheat them in the oven right before I serve dinner. My goal is to be able to join my guests in the fun and festivities when they arrive, so I do as much as I can in advance.
On the day of the dinner party I make everything else (except for the Challah, which my mom makes). I start around midday making Aunt Rifka’s Red Wine Braised Brisket. This year I bought two four-pound briskets from Whole Foods. Then, Aunt Rifka asks me to dump three cups of red wine over the brisket and cook it forever until it is tender and completely flavorful. Of course there is a lot more involved, but you get the idea. It is served with the gravy it is cooked in, and a homemade horseradish sauce is poured over the top.
We all gather around the menorah in the dining room and Chris tells us a story. This year Chris told us about what being Jewish (emphasis on the “ish”) means to him and what it meant to him growing up. Ava and Chris say/sing the prayers and light the menorah. Ava always has some Christmas and Hanukkah songs prepared to play to all of us on the piano. The kids played dreidel games and gambled with Hanukkah Gelt (chocolate coins).
By the time we got to dinner, the mothership had drank quite a bit of wine, so putting the final touches and details on dinner proved difficult. But in the end I think everyone enjoyed dinner.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.
*Photos courtesy of Alex Sheridan Photography