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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

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April 18, 2014

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Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

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April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

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April 4, 2014

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Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

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Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

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April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

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Jewish World Review Dec. 5, 2007 /25 Kislev 5768

An International Chanukah

By Ethel G. Hofman

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Latkes may be the most popular Chanukah dish in the United States. Not so in other countries. Throughout history, Jews exiled from their homelands, have wandered all over the globe. Thus, wherever Jews settled or passed through, they learned the dishes and ingredients of the region and their cuisine was influenced by their non-Jewish environment. When they moved on, they took their favorite recipes adapting where necessary for the kosher kitchen. Jewish cuisine was broadened as these new recipes were added to the old.

In the Middle Ages, Jews traveled to escape oppression, for business or to study. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, to escape czarist tyranny there was an enormous exodus from Russia and in the 20th century, hundreds of thousands fled from Europe and Nazism.

But no matter where, oil and dairy products are the symbolic Chanukah foods. Oil emphasizes the miracle of the cruse of oil found in the Temple and which burned for eight days although there was only enough for one day. Dairy products commemorate the heroism of Judith. She fed the enemy general Holofernes large quantities of a salty cheese and wine, perhaps the specialties of the area. He fell into a drunken stupor, Judith killed him, the enemy army fled and the Jews were saved from annihilation.

Latkes, briks, sufganiot are all fried yet are deeply connected to ingredients plentiful in the country of origin. In Eastern Europe where olive oil was not available or outrageously expensive, rendered fat was used for frying. Leeks were cheap and plentiful in Russia and incorporated into fritters, soups and all kinds of savories. In Tunisia, briks offer double symbolism using cheese and eggs for the filling and then fried in oil. In Israel and the Middle East, sufganiot or doughnuts, were fried in olive oil, the oil pressed from local olives. In Italy, eggplant is cheap and a popular vegetable. Sliced and dipped in egg and crumbs or matzo meal, these fritters fried in oil are popular. Little cakes and cookies, international favorites, depend on butter and cheese symbolizing the Chanukah story.

Unless you're on a carefully restricted diet for medical reasons or you have food allergies, forget about trying to alter your grandmother's or family recipes. To do so will take away from the rich symbolism of Chanukah. Instead, use moderation, small portions, keep exercising and enjoy the celebrations.


Serves 6

It's alleged that Jews settled in China nearly two thousand years ago. Here is the "Chinese latke."

  • 6 eggs

  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms

  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Vegetable oil for frying

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the mushrooms, scallions and bean sprouts. Mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat about 1/2-inch oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Slide mixture in 1/4 cupfuls into the hot oil. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side to lightly brown. Serve hot. Serving suggestion: Top with your favorite salsa or a hot mustard.

Approx.nutrients per serving: calories — 134 protein — 6g carbohydrates — 1g fat — 12g cholesterol — 213mg sodium — 63mg


Makes 4 servings

My friend Alisha chops the leeks the old fashioned way, with a grinder attached to the kitchen table. I use the food processor to chop coarsely.

  • 2 large leeks, trimmed

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • About 1/2 cup matzo meal or breadcrumbs

  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

  • Vegetable oil for frying

Cut the leeks into 3-inch lengths, separating the outer leaves. Wash thoroughly in cold running water to remove any sand or grit. Pat dry with paper towels. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the leeks. Saute for 3-4 minutes until softened. Cool slightly. Process to chop coarsely in food processor. Transfer to a bowl. Add the egg and enough matzo meal or breadcrumbs to make a soft mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in the skillet over medium heat. Slide heaping tablespoons leek mixture into hot oil. Fry on both sides until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Serve hot.


Makes 6

This recipe was originally published in my column on Tunisian food. Responding to requests, here it is with a variation on the filling. Since they are fried in oil, it fits right in with the symbolic Chanukah ingredient.

  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  • 1 (6-ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained

  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

  • 1 tablespoon chopped black olives

  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted

  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

  • 6 small eggs

  • 6 Chinese egg roll wrappers (about 6-inches square)

  • 1 egg white lightly beaten

  • Olive oil or vegetable oil to fry

In a bowl, mix the cheese, mushrooms, green onion, parsley, olives, butter and salt and pepper to taste. Place an egg roll wrapper on a flat surface. Spoon a heaping tablespoon mixture in the center. Break an egg into a cup. Form a well in the center of the mixture and slip in the egg. Brush the edges of the egg roll wrapper with egg white. Fold the wrapper over to cover the mixture and egg to form a triangle as in a turnover. Press the edges to seal completely. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Set aside.

Heat about 2-inches oil in a deep heavy saucepan over medium heat to 375F or until a small cube of bread browns in 60 seconds. Carefully slide the briks into the hot oil. Fry until puffed and golden on both sides. This takes from 30 seconds to 1 minute depending on how runny you want the egg yolk. Cook 2-3 briks at a time to avoid sticking together. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm to eat out of hand.

Approx. nutrients per brik: Calories — 330 protein — 10g carbohydrates — 19g fat — 24g cholesterol — 180mg sodium — 301mg


Makes 20-24

These jelly donuts without the hole are the most popular Israeli Chanukah treat. Check into El Al at Chanukah and you may see platters of sufganiot offered to travelers. This quick version is made with baking powder instead of yeast.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1 cup buttermilk or soured milk*

  • Scant 1/4 teaspoon orange extract

  • Strawberry or your favorite preserves

  • Vegetable oil for frying

  • Confectioners sugar (optional)

* To sour milk, add 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup milk. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Do not stir.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour and sugar. Rub in the butter to resemble coarse crumbs. Stir in the baking powder. Make a well in the center. Mix in enough buttermilk or soured milk to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. With floured hands, roll 1 heaping tablespoon dough into a ball.

With the handle of a wooden spoon or your finger dipped in flour, make an indentation large enough to hold about 1 teaspoon preserves. Work dough around to seal completely. Repeat with remaining dough and preserves. In a large, deep and heavy saucepan, heat 2 inches of oil to 375F on a deep frying thermometer or until a cube of white bread is golden, about 60 seconds. Slide the dough balls into the hot oil in batches without touching each other. Fry, turning often with a slotted spoon, until crisp and golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Dredge in confectioners sugar (optional).

Serve hot.

Approx. nutrients per sufganiot: calories — 142 protein — 2g carbohydrates — 14g fat — 9g cholesterol — 5mg sodium — 81mg.


Serves 6

  • 1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick

  • Kosher salt to sprinkle

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons matzo meal

  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper

  • Vegetable oil for frying

  • Lemon wedges

Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes. Press out moisture.

In a shallow dish, lightly beat the eggs. In a separate shallow dish, combine the flour, matzo meal and pepper. Dip the eggplant slices first in beaten egg, then in the flour mixture, turning to coat slices completely.

Heat about 1/2-inch oil in a deep, heavy skillet to 375F on a deep frying thermometer or until a cube of soft white bread turns golden, about 60 seconds. Add the eggplant slices. Fry over medium high heat until nicely browned on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with lemon wedges.

Approx. nutrients per serving: calories - 406 protein — 4g carbohydrates — 13g fat — 38g cholesterol — 71mg sodium — 337mg


Makes 18-20

A variation on the English recipe for cheese straws or coins.

  • 1/3 cup butter, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 2 (1.4 ounce) chocolate peppermint mint patties, each cut in 9 or 10 pieces

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and about 1/2 cup flour . Add the remaining flour and cocoa. Mix well to make a stiff dough. No white streaks should remain. If mixture is too soft, add a little more flour. Lightly flour a board. Roll the dough into a 10-inch long log. Cut into 1/4-inch thick slices and place on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake in preheated 350F oven for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and place a piece of peppermint mint patty on each cookie. Return to oven and bake 2 minutes longer. Lightly press softened mint patty on each cookie. Cool on a wire rack.

Approx. nutrients per cookie: calories — 93 protein — 1g carbohydrates — 14g fat — 4g cholesterol - 19mg sodium — 5mg


Makes 20 - 22

Filo dough tartlet shells are found in the freezer baked item sections in your market; 15 in each 2.1 ounce package.

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese at room temperature

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1 tablespoon cherry brandy

  • 20-22 filo dough tartlet shells

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 2 teaspoons sugar or to taste

  • 1 tablespoon finely grated chocolate or chocolate sprinkles Preheat the oven to 375F.

Whip the cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar, egg and cherry brandy until light. Arrange the tartlets on a cookie sheet. Spoon in the cream cheese mixture dividing equally. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Cool completely. Before serving, whip the cream with 2 teaspoons sugar until it stands in soft peaks. Do not over whip. Stir in the chocolate. Pipe a rosette of whipped cream mixture onto each tartlet or top with a heaping teaspoonful.

Approx. nutrients each: calories — 92 protein — 2g carbohydrates — 5g fat — 7g cholesterol - 30mg sodium — 42mg


Makes 40

My Scottish cousin's recipe. She bakes huge batches at Chanukah to give to family and friends.

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup vegetable oil

  • 3 3/4 cups self rising flour

  • 1/4 cup ginger or other preserves, warmed

  • 1 1/2 cups raisins

  • 6 tablespoons chopped walnuts

  • Cinnamon and confectioners sugar to sprinkle

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray an 11x7- inch baking dish with non-stick baking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until thick and pale. Stir in the oil and the flour mixing well. You should have a stiff dough. If too sticky, add a little more flour. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Divide dough in half. Press one half into the prepared baking dish to cover the bottom of dish. Spread with the preserves. Sprinkle with the raisins and nuts. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. On a floured board, roll the remaining dough into an 9-inch square. Place on top of the raisins and nuts, pressing lightly at edges. Prick all over with a fork. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until golden. Cut into bars while warm. Cool and sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

Nutrients per bar: Calories — 145 protein — 2g carbohydrates — 19g fat — 7g cholesterol — 21mg sodium — 158mg

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JWR contributor Ethel G. Hofman is the former president of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, whose members include the likes of Julia Child. She is the author, most recently, of "Everyday Cooking for the Jewish Home: More Than 350 Delectable Recipes". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)

© 2007, Ethel G. Hofman