Texas Jewish Post (Fort Worth, Tex.), Vol. 63, No. 49, Ed. 1 Thursday, December 3, 2009 Page: 35 of 36
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TEXAS JEWISH POST #SINCE 1947
December 3,2009 I 35
Get ready for
By Annabel Cohen
Chanukah traditions are millennia in the making. About
2,200 years ago, on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev,
the eternal light of the Second Temple of Jerusalem was relit with
a small jug of purified oil — enough oil to burn for just a single
day Miraculously, that oil burned bright for eight days, which is
why Chanukah is celebrated for eight days and why it is called
the "festival of lights." The saying, nesgadol haya sham, translates
into "a great miracle happened there." There's magic about this
festival that brings generations together to share in the lighting
of the menorah.
Although my parents are Brazilian, my father's family is Sep-
hardic. What this means is that his parents are descended from
Spanish Jews — those expelled from Spain in 1492. Like most
who left Spain during this era, my ancestors settled in other parts
of Europe and the Ottoman Empire, which extended as far as
Hungary and parts of southern Russia to Iran and North Africa.
In my case, Bulgaria and Turkey.
I just returned from Spain and the Balkans,
both areas where Sephardic Jews lived. More than
500 years since the expulsion, I visited Jewish areas in Dubrovnik,
Barcelona and what's considered the best preserved "caff (pro-
nounced "kye") in Europe in Girona, Spain. The limestone of
home and street construction, the period artifacts and the hues
and textures depicted in the art of the era inspired me. The es-
sence of this history is translated into the glowing lights of the
chanuk iah. And, of course, food, which—symbolic of the miracle
of Chanukah — is essential. And even though potatoes weren't
introduced to Europe until the late 1500s, well after the Jewish
expulsion, no Chanukah story is complete without the latkes.
This is my recipe, the one I've been
making since I was in my early 20s.
Taught to me by my future mother-in-
law, this is a delicious legacy. Dress these
up by substituting minced scallions for
part of the onions and adding some
crumbled feta cheese to the batter.
• 2 lb. Idaho or russet potatoes, peeled
• 1 c. chopped yellow onions
• 2 eggs
• 3 Tbsp. flour (more if needed)
• Koshersaltand peppertotaste
• Vegetable oil forfrying
Coarsely grate potatoes by hand or in a
food processorand let them sit until they
turn reddish-brown, about half an hour.
Drain the potatoes in a colanderand rinse
well with cold water until the potatoes
are white again. If the strands of potato
are too long (as sometimes happens with
a food processor), chop them slightly.
In a large bowl, combine the potatoes,
onions, eggs, flour, salt and pepper.
Mix and let stand for 10 minutes before
In a large skillet, heat 1/8 inch of oil until
very hot but not smoking. Stir the potato
mixture once or twice. Make a test
pancake by dropping a heaping Tbsp. of
the potato mixture into the skillet. Using a
spoon or spatula, form the mixture into a
circle shape. Don't worry if your pancake
is not a perfect circle. Cook 3 minutes or
so on each side until the pancakes are
golden and cooked through.
Drain the latkes well on paper towels or
on flattened, paper grocery bags. Test for
seasonings, adjust and continue making
latkes until the potato mixture is used up.
If you must add more oil, do so when the
skillet is empty; never pour new oil onto
cooking latkes, as it makes them greasy.
Serve with lots of applesauce or sour
cream. Makes 8 servings.
• Vegetable oil forfrying
• 1 packet (about 2 tsp.) active dry yeast
• 1 tsp. sugar
• 2-1/4 c. flour
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• Another 1/2 c. warm water
• 1 large egg
• 1/2 c. sugar
• 1/2 c. honey
• 1/2 c. cold water
• 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Prepare the batter. Combine water, yeast
and sugar in a large bowl. Allow the
mixture to sit until it becomes foamy,
about 5 minutes. Add the remaining
batter ingredients and, using an electric
mixer, beat until uniform. Cover the bowl
with plastic wrap or a damp (not wet)
towel and let the batter rise for 1 hour.
While the batter is rising, prepare the
honey syrup. Combine all ingredients
in a saucepan and slowly bring to a boil
over medium-high heat. Cook until sugar
dissolves. Remove from heatand allow to
Fry the batter: Line a baking sheet with
several layers of paper towel. Heat about
2 inches of oil in a large saucepan over
high heat to 375°. Dip two teaspoons into
the oil. Use one spoon to scoop upa small
amount of batter. Use the other spoon to
form the batter into a ball while dropping
it into the oil (do not crowd the pan). The
fritters will puff and rise to the surface
of the oil. Cook for 1-2 minutes, turning
them in the oil to cookall around.
When cooked, transfer the bimuelos to
a bowl and drizzle the syrup over. Serve
hotorwarm. Makes 12servings.
Greek Fried Fish with Herb Sauce
This fish in vinegar sauce is a traditional
• 1 egg, well beaten with 3 Tbsp. water
in a shallow bowl
• 3/4 c. flour
• 1-1/2 lb. sole (or any white fish) fillets
(cut into 6 portion sizes if necessary)
• Olive oil forfrying
• 1/2 c.white wine vinegar
• 1 tsp. minced garlic
• 2 bay leaves
• 2Tbsp. fresh rosemary
• 2 tsp. fresh oregano (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
• Saltand peppertotaste
• Fresh chopped parsley, garnish
Line a baking sheet with several layers of
paper towel. Set aside. Preheat oven to
Place flour in a large shallow bowl. Place
the beaten egg mixture next to the flour
Heat about 1/4 inch of olive oil in a large
skillet over medium-high heat until hot.
Dip the fish in the eggs, then dredge in
flour. Fry the fish (as they fit in the skillet
— do not crowd) on both sides until
golden. Transfer the fish to the prepared
baking sheet as you finish frying.
Without cleaning the skillet, add the
vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, rosemary and
oregano, scraping up any "bits" stuck to
the skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil and
cookfor 2 minutes more. Place the fish on
a serving dish and serve with the sauce
drizzled over. Garnish with parsley and
serve. Makes 6 servings.
Call these bourekas.Triopita or
bouregs (as Armenians do) — these
are wonderful for Chanukah and relate
to the tradition of eating. Made with
phyllo (orfilo) dough, they are flaky and
delicious. These are triangles, butyou
can make these into "cigars" or like little
• 1 lb. frozen phyllo orfilo dough,
• 1/2 c. butter, melted
• 1/2 c. olive oil
• 3 c. shredded brick cheese (or other
• 1 c. crumbled Bulgarian feta cheese
• 1/2 c. fresh grated Parmesan cheese
• 1/4 c. finely chopped parsley
• 2 large eggs, beaten
Melt butter and oil together in a small
saucepan over medium heat. Keep
Unroll the phyllo dough on a clean surface
and cover with plastic wrap (otherwise
the dough will dry out very quickly).
Working quickly,place1 sheet of phylloon
your worksurface (keep the rest covered).
Using a pastry brush, lightly brush with
oil/butter mixture. Place a second sheet
on top and brush again. Place a third
sheet on top and brush again.
Cut the layers into three long strips.
Place a heaping Tbsp. of the filling on
each strip, 1/2 inch away from the end.
Fold the dough over the filling, forming a
triangle. Fold the dough over again as if
you are folding a flag, sort of like flipping
the triangle overand over. If there is a bit
of phyllo left when you reach the top, just
fold it under.
Repeat this process until you run out of
Freeze at this point (you can bake these
frozen). To cook immediately, preheat
oven to 350° or arrange on a baking sheet
and cookfor 15 minutes or until golden.
Makes about 2 dozen triangles.
Marinated Feta with
Olives and Herbs
• 12 oz. feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch
• 1/2 c. good-quality dry cured olives, or
• 3/4 c. olive oil
• 2 tsp.fresh minced garlic
• 1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
• 1 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
• 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
• 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
• 1/2 tsp. whole cumin seeds
Place feta cubes in a small bowl. Set aside.
Combine remaining ingredients and
whisk well. Pour this mixture over the
cheese and toss well. Cover with plastic
wrap and chill overnight (may be made
two days ahead). Before serving, toss
again. Transfer the cheese to a serving
dish and drizzle the oil mixture over.
Makes 8-10 servings.
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Wisch, Rene. Texas Jewish Post (Fort Worth, Tex.), Vol. 63, No. 49, Ed. 1 Thursday, December 3, 2009, newspaper, December 3, 2009; Fort Worth, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth188269/m1/35/: accessed January 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .