Thanksgiving

 

Cook Thanksgiving in an Hour

 

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I’m not kidding, it is possible to spend Thanksgiving outside of the kitchen!  Each dish seems to add up to more and more hours in the kitchen, but with a good game plan and the recipes below you will be out of the kitchen and able to enjoy the day.  I’m no miracle worker though, sorry to say that there are no whole roasted turkey recipes here, those actually take a while to cook!  Instead there are plenty of elegant and alternative turkey based options which will make you wonder why you ever bothered cooking the whole bird anyway!

 


 

British Savory Pies and Pasties For Thanksgiving

 

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Anglo-Jewish history dates back at least a millennium and it is rife with complex twists and turns that are still debated. There are a few things we know for certain: After being (sort of) welcomed in by Norman and Plantagenet rulers in feudal times, significant persecution of Jews began around the late 12th century. They were branded with yellow stars and taxed extensively. They were expelled altogether in the 13th century in a time of religious fervor under the fury of Blood Libels. From then until 1609, there is historical uncertainty about Jews in England, with reports of a few—such as a crypto-Jew (one who had converted and practiced in secret) serving as physician to Henry VIII.  In a twist we certainly didn’t hear about as kids during the telling of the Thanksgiving story, many Puritans were punished for seeming to be “jew-ized” and distinctly pro- Old Testament. The Pilgrim landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620.

But pressure from (mostly Jewish) Spanish and Portuguese traders, the work of  Sephardic Dutch Rabbinical leader Menasseh Ben Israel (who advocated for opening of lands closed to Jews), and the practical politics of the English ruler Oliver Cromwell, led to an invitation for Jews  to return by 1664.  From the Restoration to the Enlightenment and beyond, life became rich for Jews—and not just in London and its environs.

So, for Thanksgiving this year, I decided to take a look at some U.S.–Anglo–Jewish culinary traditions. By and large, English food (notwithstanding Chef Jamie Oliver and Jewish TV chef Nigella Lawson) has always been thought of as bland. Plebeian. And when I lived there, I can tell you that I ate more than my fair share of butter and cucumber sandwiches and egg and chips (aka French fries). The folks at Lutece weren’t worried. But I did have some curious little handheld vegetable pot pies. Those pasties (pronounced PAHS-tees, rhyming with “last” or “past”—not “paste”—with “ease” at the end), were soul warming and easy to eat and carry along. This little pie is not exactly seen as a Jewish food, no doubt, but it’s a fun—and freezable—meal. Once you get the hang of the dough, you can stuff it with almost any stew—and it’s great for leftovers. Freeze them stuffed but unbaked and you’ve got a treat waiting to happen. Pasties, by the way, originated in Cornwall, England, and are believed to have been created for miners who worked under harsh conditions for many hours a day and wanted and needed a meal that would be easy to carry and tidy up. Original pasties featured an inedible dough—so tough that it protected the stew. And it only ever, ever contained beef, turnips, potatoes, and onions. This is such a deep-seated traditional food that, I kid you not, there is a Cornish Pasty Association and it sets rules about this little hand pie.

The rules notwithstanding, I’ve come up with a very American version that takes advantage of turkey, dressing and leftover greens. Keep calm and make hand pies.


 

Just A Pie Full Of Sugar Helps The Medicine Go...

 

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The Kosher Connection decided to dedicate this month’s link up to our longtime friend and distinguished Jewish food historian, Gil Marks. Gil has been sick for a while and we want to wish him a refuah shleimah (complete healing). I am sharing my recipe for these mini pies (full of sugar) in hopes to add a little sweetness during this otherwise difficult time. Gil has been an inspiration and a true pioneer. We thank Gil for all his amazing books, writing and teachings over the years and look forward to many more.

I made this recipe as an adaptation to Momofuku’s famous crack pie, I read about online. It is supposed to be so good, that you can’t stop eating it.  I first discovered Momofuku’s recipes when I attempted a new recipe for chocolate cookies that just didn’t really hold together and I ended up with a bunch of chocolate cookie crumbs.  I was able to use those crumbs to make these Chocolate Chocolate Cookies with Cookie Crumbs, which turned out absolutely amazing.  I learned that one of Momofuku’s specialties was using cookie crumbs and cake crumbs in the cookies and cakes.  So, when I found myself with graham cracker crumbs that wouldn’t hold together I knew where to turn.


 

Planning Your Thanksgiving Menu

 

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Most other food and recipe websites are doing countdowns to Thanksgiving, we save ours for Passover (you can sign up for Passover countdown here).  For everyone else in the world, Thanksgiving, celebrated with a multi-course extravagant meal, is a big to do and requires lots of planning.  For most of us, Thanksgiving is a piece of cake (or maybe pie).  After three day yom tov holidays all throughout October and the cleaning and prepping it takes to celebrate 2 Passover seders, we (I) revel in a day where we can actually cook food the day of serving.


 

50 Thanksgiving Recipes

 

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Thanksgiving always seems to sneak up and send me running to the kitchen for a marathon of cooking.  Despite all of the holiday themed blog posts and downright delectable pins on pinterest, I never seem to be prepared.  When I started becoming religious Thanksgiving was one of those days where I could say to my family “See, I’m still like you”!  I treat the day as an excuse to overeat (did I really just admit that?!) and a chance to spend extra time with the family.  Below are 50 Thanksgiving recipes to help streamline your menu planning.

 


 

Thanksgiving Inspired Savory Hamantaschen

 

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Happy Thanksgiving…I mean, Happy Purim!!! Two of my favorite holidays have come together to create this unique Thanksgiving Hamantaschen. Layers of sautéed ground turkey and roasted squash stuffed in a rich savory dough flecked with fresh sage. It seriously doesn’t get any better for me. And I highly recommend making extra filling so you can eat the leftovers all week long.


 

Using Up Leftover Turkey

 

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There are some people who can eat turkey for days and they look forward to Thanksgiving every year just so that they can eat turkey sandwiches the rest of the week.  Then there are some people who enjoy the fresh turkey on Thanksgiving, but would rather not see it again until next Thanksgiving.  The only problem is you can’t seem to get a small turkey anywhere and of course if you have a big crowd you want to make sure you have enough.  With all the sides, some people’s favorite part of the meal, there is inevitably turkey leftover.

If you are in the camp of people looking for new ways to serve up your turkey, here are a few suggestions.


 

Happy Thanksgivukkah

 

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Enjoy this once in a lifetime event!! Have fun with your family and eat lots of Thanksgivukkah treats.   The Joy of Kosher team sends you best wishes for a Happy Hanukkah and a Happy Thanksgiving wherever you are.

In case you missed any of our Thanksgivukkah recipes and need some last minute ideas, here are our holiday favorites from this year and year’s past.


 

Gluten and Dairy Free Corn Pudding

 

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Golden sweet corn seems iconic at Thanksgiving, a symbol of the harvest. Corn side dishes are a pleasant foil to other more hearty, starchy fare on the Thanksgiving table.

Thanksgiving is all about traditions — traditions of family, traditions of gratitude and traditions of food.


 

A Thanksgiving Kishke

 

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There’s a romantic relationship we seem to have with food, even the simplest food. Kishke, the simple stuffed gut is an Eastern European dish that I assume came from the poverty stricken communities in Eastern Europe.

When it comes to tying traditions together, like Thanksgiving and Chanukah, we turn to that romance and come up with recipes and a menu that combines the best of both worlds and a Thanksgiving Kishke is simply delicious. I’d never suggest skipping an actual stuffing at the Thanksgiving table, but if you’re making Friday night dinner the next day, this might be a good way to go. It’s oh-so-simple and you can either bake it in the oven or slow cook it in a soup or stew.


 

Stuffing Latkes and Link Up

 

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In some circles (very small circles) I am known as the Stuffing Queen.  It’s not the kind of moniker you get etched into a gold necklace or printed on a tee, but from early September to late November every year, it makes me pretty popular.  When I first began hosting family for holidays, I served a wild mushroom stuffing on Rosh Hashanah and Thanksgiving that is now become an annual family tradition. 

On the days leading up to the holiday, I would buy a really nice loaf of bread (none of that pre-sliced stuff) and I would cut into medium sized cubes that I would leave out on the countertop for a day or two to go stale.  These nice big chunks of bread you can only get by cutting it yourself, so take out your battle axe or bread knife and start whacking.  After you think you have finished cooking the stuffing, either in the bird or separately in a pan, place the stuffing in the oven uncovered for about 15 minutes before serving to get the top layer nice and crispy.


 

My New Favorite Turkey and Stuffing Recipes

 

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I will now share with you one of my absolutely NEW favorite recipes – Sour Mash Whiskey-Glazed Whole Roasted Turkey.  I love this recipe and picture so much that I wanted it to be the cover of my new cookbook JOY of KOSHER: Fast, Fresh Family Recipes (William Morrow/HarperCollins 2013).  (Please buy your copy and gift copies, now!  And if you already did – THANK YOU!)   I was out voted only because it said “Thanksgiving” and was not “universal” enough.  I get that – but still wanted it.

There is a story behind this bird that didn’t make the book – it was cut for space – but I am happy to have all the space in the world to share it here.


 

Thanksgiving Pie Fries

 

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With Thanksgiving right around the corner it is firmly pie season. Sure, I make pies all year round, but there is no one-day of the year that screams “pie” like Thanksgiving. (Ok, maybe March 14th does as well, but only among the slightly nerdy circles I run in.) The challenge of Thanksgiving pies for me is that people expect the traditional flavors, leaving me much less freedom to innovate and play around with the dessert than I usually have. It is rare for me to serve the same dessert twice for Shabbat or holidays, but for Thanksgiving people expect the classics.

That is what makes these pie fries so much fun. They have the traditional Thanksgiving pie flavors of pumpkin and cranberry apple served up in a fun new shape. I had seen apple versions of pie fries all over the web, so when I was given the challenge of turning them into more Thanksgiving like treats I jumped at the opportunity. Although they are baked and not really fried, pie “fries” are the perfect Thanksgivukkah treat.


 

Thanksgivukkah Tablescape Ideas *Giveaway*

 

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If you have checked your “American” calendar ,  you will have noticed that Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah fall (no pun intended) on the same day this year. According to Steven Colbert, Thanksgiving is actually under attack!! But wait Steven isn’t it Hanukkah that actually must share the limelight, or wait, aren’t we just killing two birds with one stone. Sorry for the last comment, maybe that wasn’t appropriate….

Anyways… if you were wondering how to decorate your Thanksgivukkah table this year, I have a few easy and fun ideas I would like to share. These ideas are meant for the entire family, not just for Mom, so I hope the kids are following.


 

Light the Menurkey and Celebrate Thanksgivukkah

 

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If you haven’t heard or realized it yet, Hanukkah is really early this year.  So early, that the first day of Hanukkah coincides with Thanksgiving here in America.  While the anomalies of the Jewish calendar never fail to amaze the casual observer, the confluence of one of America’s most popular secular holidays with one of the best known Jewish holidays occurring on the same day in a happenstance that will not happen again for over 70,000 years* has led to a feathered flurry of holiday mashups.

In the spirit of gobbling good fun, here are some of our favorite Hanukkah/Thanksgiving articles, products and recipe ideas.