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Skip the Brisket, Go Straight to Dairy

December 21, 2011 By:
Rivka Tal, JE Feature
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Chanukah doesn't always have to mean brisket with latkes -- or fried foods only. Many people enjoy serving dairy foods on Chanukah as a change of pace.

In keeping with the idea that somehow when serving a dairy meal, one needs to offer a few choices (nobody should go home hungry!), I have strayed from the standard appetizer-main course-vegetable litany in this menu.
 
Add a green salad, if you wish. And of course, custom notwithstanding, my family thinks that the best part of having a dairy meal is the possibility of having milk with their coffee, or maybe even ice cream (and whipped cream?) with the apple fritters.
 
Pistachio-Stuffed Mushrooms
(Pareve)
 20 large mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and dried
11/2 tsps. olive oil
3 Tbsps. minced onions
1/2 cup fine dried breadcrumbs
1/2 cup chopped pistachios (substitute cashews or walnuts)
2 Tbsps. finely chopped fresh dill (substitute 1 Tbsp. dried dill)
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsps. olive oil
 
Preheat broiler. Remove stems from mushrooms; chop stems finely, setting caps aside.
Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute mushroom stems and onions until tender. Stir in bread crumbs, pistachios, dill and salt, mixing well. Remove from heat.
Place mushroom caps, stem-side up, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Fill centers with stuffing and sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons oil.
Broil about 6 inches from heat source for 5 minutes or until browned and heated through.
 
Spinach Tart
(Dairy)
 23/4 cups self-rising flour
1 cup butter or unsalted margarine
3/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 package (10 oz.) frozen ground spinach
2 large onions
2 Tbsps. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 oz. crumbled feta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3 medium tomatoes
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. granulated garlic
 
Rub flour and butter together until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add yogurt and knead into ball.
Press dough into a lightly greased 12-inch quiche dish or other round, shallow pan.
Defrost spinach and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Chop onions coarsely.
Heat oil in large skillet. Stir fry onions 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown. Add spinach and continue to stir fry for a few minutes. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 375°. Carefully spoon onion mixture over dough. Sprinkle crumbled feta and mozzarella cheeses. Thinly slice tomatoes and arrange in a circle on top. Sprinkle with oregano and garlic.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is lightly browned and cheese is bubbling.
 
Winter Squash With Walnuts on Rice
(Dairy)
3 Tbsps. walnut oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
21/2 lbs. winter squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. cumin
 
Heat oil and butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic. Saute until golden, about 5 minutes.
Add squash cubes, walnuts and seasoning and stir to coat. Reduce heat to simmer.
Cover and cook just until tender, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Serve hot over white rice.
 
Apple Fritters
(Dairy)
Batter Ingredients:
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
11/2 tsps. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbsps. sugar
2 eggs
1 container (8oz.) plain yogurt or leben
1/4 cup milk
 
4 large Granny Smith (or other tart) apples
canola oil
powdered sugar
 
Place all batter ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth.
Peel and core apples and slice into 1/2-inch rings.
Heat a couple of inches of oil in a frying pan. Dip apple slices into batter, shaking off excess. Fry a few at a time on both sides until golden, about 1 to 2 minutes each side. Drain on paper towels and dust with powdered sugar.
 
Rivka Tal is a former Minnesotan who now lives in Jerusalem.
 

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