A Thanksgivvukah Menu, Sans Gluten
A celestial anomaly is about to occur: one that has Jewish social media outlets engaged in in a full-fledged, collective kvell. This year, Hannukah and Thanksgiving will coincide on the calendar—a serendipitous convergence that won’t happen again for another 80,000 years (or so the experts say; I confess I didn’t run the numbers myself.). This celestial phenom has been dubbed “Thanksgivukkah,” and it’s like the Haley’s Comet of American Judaism. The anticipation has already spawned clever fusion menus, novel renditions of traditional Judaica (of note, the turkey-shaped menorah—or, “menurky”) and kitschy concert-style t-shirts marking the occasion.
Not one to let such a festive food occasion pass by unnoticed, I thought I’d share a gluten free perspective on Thanksgivvukah. Read it now and file it away for the next 80,000 years. (Follow hyperlinks for recipes to most of these menu items).
Menu for Wednesday night, November 27: First Night of Hannukah
With fewer than 24 hours until Thanksgiving, who wants to undertake an ambitious dinner menu? Besides, latkes are so labor intensive on their own—peeling and grating potatoes, squeezing the water out, standing over a hot pan and flipping pancakes to a crowd of hungry, backseat fryers. I’ve decided it’d best to keep the rest of the meal simple. As such, I’ve opted to do a scaleable, make-ahead pumpkin soup to pair with my latkes for a festive but not-too-heavy holiday dinner. A smooth velvety soup offers a perfect contrast to crispy latkes; the recipe I use is of Moroccan Jewish origin and can be found in Michael Krondl’s Great Little Pumpkin Cookbook. (To save time, you can absolutely swap in fresh or frozen cubed butternut squash.) In a nod to the imminent thanksgiving holiday, I’ll spike my applesauce with some cranberry. Save leftover cranberry applesauce to serve with turkey in lieu of traditional cranberry sauce!
Traditional latkes usually call for wheat flour as a binder to keep the batter of shredded raw onions and potatoes cohesive. But swapping gluten-free all-purpose flour or potato starch into a typical recipe when regular flour is called for generally produces fine results. If you’re not much into exact recipes, a good rule of thumb is 1/4 cup flour or starch, 1 medium onion and 1 egg for every 2.5 pounds of potatoes– and liberal use of salt and pepper; you can always add more starch as your batter dictates. For best results with all latke-making, make sure you squeeze every last drop of water out of your grated veggies before mixing the batter—and ensure your oil is piping hot before setting the batter in to fry.
Menu for Thursday, November 28: Thanksgiving, Second Night of Hannukah
- Quinoa Chestnut Stuffing
- Sweet Potato Apple Kugel
- Roasted Purple Cauliflower
- Green beans Almondine
- Gluten-free Apple Crumble
- Baked Gluten-free Pumpkin Donuts
Now that I’ve had my latke fix, there’s no need for an encore performance tonight at Thanksgiving dinner. They’re far too much work on a day with so many other side dishes to contend with. Rather, I’ll infuse Hannukah into our traditional Thanksgiving menu by replacing Sweet Potato Casserole with a gluten-free Sweet Potato Kugel, and offer some baked gluten-free pumpkin donuts for dessert. To transform traditional apple pie into a gluten-free dessert with universal appeal– and avoid the ugliness associated with gluten free pie crusts– consider making it into a crumble. Martha Rose Shulman, the editor of the New York Times Recipes for Health feature, and the “other Martha” in my life– is a lifesaver when it comes to this menu. She’s the source for my Sweet Potato Kugel recipe AND the GF crumble–both of which can be made ahead. Thanks, Martha!Did you like this? If so, please bookmark it, RSS feed.