Thanksgivukkah: Celebrating two holidays at once

Liz Neumark, author of the cookbook 'Sylvia's Table, joined us to help us celebrate both holidays at once.
November 16, 2013 7:31:05 AM PST
For many this year, the turkey will share the table with potato pancakes on a very special day that some are calling "Thanksgivukkah."

The first day of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving, making for one tasty holiday.

Liz Neumark, founder of the catering company 'Great Performances' and the author of the cookbook 'Sylvia's Table, joined us to help us celebrate both holidays at once.

Here are some of her favorite recipes

Sylvia's Table Potato Latkes Serves 4


1 medium onion, chopped

Olive oil and canola oil

4 Russet potatoes, shredded, by hand on the coarse side of a box grater or in a food processor, using the shredding disk

3 tablespoons of flour, matzoh meal or potato starch

3 eggs

Salt and pepper

Instructions: Sauté the onions in about two tablespoons of olive oil until soft and lightly colored, but not brown. Set the onions aside to cool.

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, then turn them into a colander set over a large bowl to collect excess water as it drains from the potatoes. Check every 20 minutes; carefully pour off the water but keep the potato starch that has settled on the bottom, and return it to the colander mixture.

When it seems that very little liquid is draining from the potatoes, place a large skillet over medium high heat and pour in the oils, half of each, to a depth of about one inch. (If making a large batch, which I usually do, I use two pans.) The oil is hot enough when a tiny bit of the latke mixture sizzles when you drop it in.

I make small latkes, three to four inches across, scooping up a large tablespoon of batter into my palm and flattening it out before sliding it into the pan.

I like the mixture to be wet, so I don't squeeze out the excess moisture. I work with disposable food handler's gloves because this is a messy process, but totally worth the effort.

The edges of the latke are very ragged and make me think of multi-clawed crabs! It takes only a few minutes for the latkes to brown and then I gently flip them. As they come out of the pan, I move them onto a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. Sometimes I have to hide the pan in the oven, safe from marauding snackers!

Then, off to the table to be enjoyed with sour cream or applesauce?or both!

Sylvia's Table Braised Beef Short Ribs with Star Anise and Orange Zest and Ginger

Serves 6-8


3 pounds beef short ribs

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 carrot, diced

1 onion, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 cups red wine

2 cups homemade or best quality store-bought beef broth

1 piece star anise

3 strips orange zest

2 bay leaves

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Pat the short ribs dry of any excess moisture and season them well with salt and pepper. Place a wide, heavy-bottomed stainless steel or enameled saucepan over medium high heat and add the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot but not yet smoking, add the ribs and brown them evenly on all sides. Remove the ribs and set them aside as they brown.

Add the diced vegetables and ginger to the pan and sauté them, while stirring, just until they begin to soften and brown, about five minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Reduce the heat to medium, add the red wine, and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan; reduce the wine by half. Stir in the beef broth, star anise, orange zest and bay leaves.

Return the short ribs to the pan, lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pan and place it on the middle rack of the oven. Cook until the beef is fork tender, turning once or twice, about three hours.

Remove the beef to a serving dish. Strain the cooking juices into a saucepan over medium high heat. Reduce to thicken the sauce as desired, then ladle it over the short ribs and serve.

Sylvia's Table Meringue Kisses

Yield: 18-24 kisses


3 large egg whites at room temperature

Big pinch of cream of tartar

Pinch of salt

½ cup superfine sugar

¾-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. If you have a non-stick sheet, you don't need to line it.

Put the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment; mix on low speed to mix together, then increase the speed to high and beat until the whites thicken.

Continue beating while gradually adding the sugar; add the vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a fluted tip. Twist the bag and pipe the meringue onto the parchment paper, into one inch or slightly wider peaks about one-inch high, and about one inch apart.

Place the baking sheet on a rack set in the middle of the oven and bake the kisses for eight hours or overnight; they will be completely dry and crisp.

The kisses will keep well in a tightly closed container; I put sheets of parchment paper between layers. I store the containers in new hiding places every time, otherwise, they disappear overnight.