For the first time in our lifetime, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah will be celebrated on the same day, Thursday, November 28, 2013. (This won't happen again for another 77,000 years!) For my multicultural family (my dad is Chinese and Buddhist, my mom's a Jewish New Yorker), the convergence of these two holidays is special because both commemorate freedom and gratitude. Another perk of this rare holiday combination means two food-centric meals merge into one delicious menu that honors both celebrations.
The menu I put together represents a mix of traditional favorites from each holiday that complement each other. While this menu isn't for a kosher meal, you can easily adapt the menu: just swap oil for butter in the Brussels sprouts and take a break between dinner and dessert--something you'll probably want to do anyway to fully savor this "historical" blend of flavors. I'm so excited for this festive celebration!
Here is my family's Thanksgivukkah menu:
Appetizer: Smoked Salmon Platter
To give everyone something to nosh on while we put the finishing touches on the main dishes, we'll start with a beautiful smoked salmon platter that's also simple to prep. Smoked salmon (lox) and bagels are always a huge hit with my family. This year we'll serve wild Alaskan salmon with a colorful array of fixings: sliced potatoes, radishes, capers, hard-boiled egg, red onion and a tangy mustard-dill sauce. It's an easy but impressive appetizer spread you can make the night before--the perfect pick for a busy host.
Main Course: Apple-Shallot Roasted Turkey
Turkey is quintessential for Thanksgiving, so I won't depart from tradition here. We'll stuff the bird with apples and shallots to keep it moist and rub it with parsley, sage and thyme. Also, extra shallots in the roasting pan take on a caramelized sweetness that give the gravy unbelievable flavor and depth.
Potato Side Dish: Crispy Potato Latkes with Maple-Cinnamon Applesauce
Instead of mashed potatoes, we're opting for traditional latkes and a homemade maple-cinnamon applesauce. You can't celebrate Hanukkah without latkes! I'll pair traditional potato latkes with a homemade, reduced-sugar maple-cinnamon applesauce instead of a dairy-based sour cream or yogurt sauce. I admit, I'm most looking forward to the latkes.
Vegetable Side Dishes: Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Caraway & Lemon, Carrot Salad with Honey-Lemon Dressing
Our vegetables get a Jewish spin with caraway in the Brussels sprouts and honey and raisins in the carrot salad. Adding caraway to Brussels sprouts infuses these veggies with a faint hint of rye, a flavor that brings me back to the roast beef and sauerkraut sandwiches on rye bread my mom used to make for me. If you're making a kosher meal, replace the butter with olive oil.
Carrot Salad with Honey-Lemon Dressing
You won't need cranberry sauce when you have this tangy-sweet side. This carrot salad with raisins and walnuts is lightly sweetened with a honey-lemon dressing and adds crunch to the meal. The walnut oil is definitely worth the splurge.
Dessert: Cranberry-Lime Cheesecake
My New York-born mom instilled in me at an early age a love of cheesecake. In fact, she used to make it and serve it to my dad and me for breakfast. This show-stopping cheesecake recipe from the November/December issue of EatingWell Magazine pleasantly surprised my discerning cheesecake palate. The ricotta adds a light, fluffy texture and the lime zest rounds out the flavor. The best part? You can make the cheesecake up to 2 days in advance.
What are you going to cook for Thanksgivukkah?
By Breana Lai, M.P.H., R.D.
Breana Lai, M.P.H., R.D., is an Associate Food Editor at EatingWell where she splits her time between EatingWell magazine, eatingwell.com, and cooking new healthy recipes in the test kitchen. Breana has a master's degree in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu London, a Wine Spirit & Education Trust trained sommelier and is a registered dietitian.
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