About a month ago, there was a link being passed around the interwebz, that happened to not be about a certain pop star, but rather about what could quite possibly be the best holiday ever: Thanksgivikkuh. After reading their suggested menu, I found I was rather let down. While many of the items were Thanksgiving classics re-imagined, I felt that in some aspects, it missed a lot of what I love about Hanukkah. As usual, it took me about 10 minutes to imagine what I would make, and I wanted to share that menu with you here.
While much of the inspiration for this menu is centered around the oil theme of Hanukkah (aka frying) I couldn’t quite bring myself to fry everything. I also don’t have a list of things I always make for Hanukkah because Hanukkah was the first holiday meal I got to plan (and execute as I say on my resume) myself. When I was 16, I decided I really wanted to make the family Hanukkah meal for my dad’s side of the family, so instead of paying attention in Chemistry for a month, I planned a menu, down to the timing of when I would make everything. While my very first Hanukkah dinner wasn’t entirely vegan, I gave the meal a theme of olive oil/Italian inspired dishes. The next year, I had a second chance to make Hanukkah (this time entirely vegan!) so I chose a Southwestern theme, and based everything, including the latkes (to which I added cilantro) around that theme. While I had told myself the next Hanukkah theme I was going for was an Asian inspired meal, with Thanksgivikkuh happening for the first and probably only time, I knew this years theme had to be Thanksgiving. (Of course it’s also the first time I am not in the US for Thanksgiving, but yay for having so many American friends over here who want to celebrate Thanksgiving, and so many non-American friends who are interested in seeing what this Thanksgiving thing is all about.)
The way I’ve decided to tackle this is by posting my menu this week, and then posting what recipes I can from it once or twice a week in the weeks leading up to the holiday. Unfortunately, several of these items are (as usual) things I’ve dreamed up in my head, so I won’t be able to give recipes until after Thanksgiving. But on the bright side, Hanukkah is 8 days long! So there will still be plenty of time to make everything.
I’ve organized the menu into Appetizers, Mains and Desserts, but let’s be real, categorization is arbitrary, I say eat what you want when you want it. In fact, when I serve each of these things is definitely subject to change (I’m looking at you Kale Caesar salad!)
- Mushroom crusted green bean tempura served with a cool and creamy French onion dip. How about that for green bean casserole in one bite!
- Sage flecked latkes with Cranberry Apple sauce (the sauce is the one thing I liked from the Buzzfeed menu).
- Massaged Kale Caesar salad with spiced pecan “croutons”
- Roasted squash soup with fried sage leaves (and maybe some fried capers because they rock)
- Mama’s “Shabbos” tofu cutlets (marinated with sherry and tarragon)
- Cornbread sausage stuffing fritters with sherry mushroom gravy
- Pumpkin baked ziti (rather than sweet potato noodle kugel) from Veganomicon
- Oven roasted brussel sprout fries
- Sweet potato soufganiyot (that’s Hebrew for doughnut) filled with either cranberry or pecan pie*
*I actually don’t usually make pecan pie. My mom started a tradition of making macadamia nut pie, so as long as I can find macadamia nuts here in Israel, I will be making macadamia filled soufganiyot.
A note on the menu items: a few of these things are definitely items from Thanksgivings past, such as the cornbread sausage stuffing, which I make every year, just like my mom (though of course mine is vegan). I also made the Kale Caesar with pecan croutons several years ago for a Thanksgiving spent with my dad and their neighbors. Everyone loved it so much, I figured it needed repeating. The pumpkin baked ziti is one of my mom’s favorite recipes that I made for the day after Thanksgiving a few years ago, but I put I’m adding it to this menu because of the sweet potato noodle kugel suggested on Buzzfeed’s menu. It’s a pretty similar concept, and boy is it good. As for the mains,I don’t usually make any kind of “centerpiece roast” because despite all of my cooking and food loving, I always have more than enough food between the side dishes the host makes, and the 2-3 sides I make. However, I wanted a delicious protein packed main that is easy to make (and can be made in advance) that I will also be able to make here in Israel, so I added the tofu, inspired by the Shabbos chicken my mom used to make when I was growing up. As I’m sure everyone has also noticed, I’ve completely reimagined green bean casserole for this menu. To be quite honest, I’ve never had it because no on either side of my family likes it. But at my friends’ insistence, I wanted to add something that was a nod to the classic dish, while also updating it, and giving it more of a Hanukkah twist. Let me know if you make any of these and how they come out, or how you plan to celebrate Thanksgivikkuh!
Up next: Recipe for Kale Caesar salad with spiced pecan croutons.