While Christmas may be the dominant holiday of the season, there are other holidays with food that's just as delicious. Let's give them a try.

• Hanukkah: The eight-day Jewish celebration known as Hanukkah or Chanukah commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend, Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt.

WINE-BRAISED BEEF BRISKET

from allrecipes.com

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 (3 pound) beef brisket

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 red onion, sliced

1 (14.5 ounce) can beef broth

1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

1⁄2 cup red wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix thyme, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl and rub the mixture over both sides of brisket.

Heat olive oil in a roasting pan over medium-high heat; place brisket in the hot oil and brown on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove brisket from pan and set aside.

Place red onion slices into the hot roasting pan and cook and stir until onion is slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in beef broth, tomato sauce, and wine.

Place the brisket back into the roasting pan and cover pan with foil.

Roast the brisket in the preheated oven for 1 hour; remove foil and baste brisket with pan juices. Place foil back over roasting pan and roast brisket until very tender and pan sauce has thickened, 1 1⁄2 to 2 more hours.

MOM'S POTATO LATKES

from allrecipes.com

3 cups shredded potato

1⁄4 cup grated onion

2 eggs, beaten

6 saltine crackers, or as needed, crushed

1 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1⁄2 cup vegetable oil, or as needed

Mix potato, onion, eggs, crackers, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl.

Pour enough vegetable oil into a skillet to fill about 1⁄2-inch deep; heat over medium-high heat.

Drop spoonfuls of the potato mixture, first pressing potato mixture against the side of the bowl to remove excess liquid, into the hot oil; slightly flatten the latkes into the oil with the back of your spoon so they are evenly thick.

Cook in hot oil until browned and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Drain latkes on a plate lined with a paper towel.

• Kwanzza: Kwanzaa is a week-long holiday honoring African culture and traditions. It falls between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1 each year. Maulana Karenga, an African-American leader, proposed this observance and it was first celebrated between December 1966 and January 1967.

CHOCOLATE AND FRUIT CAKE

from hersheys.com

3⁄4 cup cocoa

1-3⁄4 cups sugar, divided

1⁄2 cup water

1⁄4 cup shortening

1⁄2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick), softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 eggs

1-1⁄3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2⁄3 cup milk

CITRUS FILLING (recipe follows)

4 cups fresh, sweetened fruit (sliced peaches, nectarine, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi fruit, sweet cherries - halved)

1⁄2 cup green grapes, halved

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

Stir together cocoa, 1⁄2 cup sugar, water and shortening in small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until shortening is melted and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; cool.

Beat butter, remaining 1-1⁄4 cups sugar and vanilla in large bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add cocoa mixture, beating until blended. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternately with milk to butter mixture. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Prepare CITRUS FILLING. With a long serrated knife, using a sawing motion, split each cake layer in half horizontally, forming 4 layers. Place 1 layer on serving plate; spread about 1⁄3 cup filling over layer. Top with about 1 cup assorted fruit. Top with second cake layer; repeat procedure until all layers are stacked. Arrange fruit on top layer in a decorative design. Top with remaining filling, if desired. Garnish with grapes. Refrigerate until serving time. Cover; refrigerate leftover cake. Makes 12 servings.

CITRUS FILLING

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

1 cup orange juice

1⁄4 cup lemon juice

1⁄4 cup water

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 teaspoon freshly grated orange peel

1⁄2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel

Combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, orange juice, lemon juice and water in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils; boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in butter, orange and lemon peel. Refrigerate until cool. About 1-2⁄3 cups filling.

CHICKEN AND SAUSAGE GUMBO

from bhg.com

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cooking oil

1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)

1/2 cup chopped green or red sweet pepper (1 small)

1/2 cup sliced celery (I stalk)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning

1 14 ounce can beef broth

1 10 ounce package frozen cut okra* or cut green beans

1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken

8 ounces cooked smoked sausage links, sliced

3 cups hot cooked long grain or brown rice

For roux, in a 3-quart heavy saucepan combine flour and oil until smooth. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium. Cook and stir constantly for 8 to 10 minutes more or until the roux is dark reddish brown.

Stir in onion, sweet pepper, celery, and garlic. Cook about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently. Stir in Cajun seasoning. Stir in broth and 3⁄4 cup water. Add okra. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in chicken and sausage; heat through. To serve, ladle gumbo into bowls with rice. If desired, top each serving with sliced green onion and pass bottled hot pepper sauce. Makes 6 main-dish servings.

• Christmas: Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on Dec. 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions around the world.

OUR FAVORITE HOLIDAY FRUITCAKE

from simplyrecipes.com

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup sour cream

1 cup chopped dates

2 cups raisins

1⁄2 cup chopped glazed cherries (can sub dried sweetened cranberries)

1 cup chopped walnuts

2 cups all-purpose flour (divided into 1⁄4 cup and 1 3⁄4 cups)

1⁄2 cup butter (1 stick)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg, room temperature

Grated rind of one orange

1 teaspoon salt

1 to 2 ounces Brandy (optional)

Preheat oven, prepare loaf pan: Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with greased parchment paper or brown baking paper, cut to fit the pan.

Place one piece to run the length of the pan and stand up above the rim about an inch. Place the other piece or pieces to cover the other sides.

(When the cake comes out of the oven, you can easily remove it by holding the sides of the paper and lifting the cake out of the pan.)

Mix together sour cream and baking soda: In a small bowl, mix together the baking soda and sour cream; set aside.

Toss dates, raisins, cherries with flour: Combine the dates, raisins, cherries, and nuts with 1⁄4 cup of the flour and toss to coat the fruit and nuts. Set aside.

Beat butter and sugar, add egg, orange rind, sour cream and baking soda, add flour and salt, add fruit and nuts: Beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in the egg, then the orange rind, then the sour cream/baking soda mix.

Add the flour and the salt and mix together. Combine fruit/nut mixture with creamed ingredients and mix well to distribute the fruit and nuts evenly.

Pour batter into baking pan and bake: Pour batter into a prepared 5x9-inch loaf pan.

Place the batter filled pan into the preheated oven. Place a separate pan of water in the oven either on a rack underneath the fruitcake or beside it. (The water will help with a more even, gentle cooking.

Bake at 325°F for one and a half to two hours or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

Water may need to be replenished during baking.

Cool on a rack: Remove to a rack to cool for 5 minutes. Use the edges of the parchment paper to lift the cake out of the pan. Let cool completely. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and then aluminum to store. If you want, you can sprinkle on a few ounces of brandy or bourbon, especially if you would like to store the fruit cake for a while.

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