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Chanukah Dinner Menu for 4

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I'm throwing an intimate Chanukah dinner for my boyfriend and two friends and looking for menu ideas. This is what I came up with so far:

Latkes- 3 types: regular, sweet potato, purple potato (for fun)
Homemade applesauce (any creative suggestions for this are appreciated)
Brisket with carrots/onions
Store bought doughnuts

In particular I need suggestions for a vegetable, light appetizer, and dessert.

Thanks!

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  1. Well, let's see what we can do here. Instead of the purple potatoes and white potatoes served as separate latkes, why not combine shreds of the two? That way you wouldn't have to make two sep. batches of a latke that will have virtually the same flavor; you could just serve two distinctly different ones and save yourself a bit of time. Sweet potato latkes are delicious. I've seen a few recipes that incorporated shredded apple and spices into that one. For the applesauce, I've always loved cranberry applesauce or plum applesauce - the colors are amazing. Brisket's always good; I love to roast green beans and serve them with browned butter and hazelnuts, but you can also give them a drizzle of oil and forego the butter. Steamed broccoli with a light tomato sauce hit with a touch of anchovy is also a good and unexpected side; or you could saute bok choy quickly with a little garlic. What are you braising your brisket with, beef broth? You might consider throwing a few fresh herbs or some red wine in there too. The carrots and onions are mandatory, though...
    Dessert: you mentioned you were buying doughnuts; do you have a bakery that sells really good rugelach or honey-balls? And a box of really great chocolates on the table?
    Appetizer: what about Lomi salmon with Matzahs?

    4 Replies
    1. re: mamachef

      Thanks for the suggestions!! Good point on the latkes, I guess I just felt bad not having a separate traditional latke, but I suppose there really is no purpose!

      Plum applesauce sounds delicious! Green beans are a classic, but I wouldn't have thought to roast them so maybe I'll go with that.

      I'm using Ina Garten's recipe for brisket which uses tomato juice, but I was planning on adding beef broth. I didn't plan on adding wine because I don't like the distinct winey taste in my food. Which fresh herbs go well with brisket? Ina's recipe calls for dried oregano and bay leaves but I'm open to any flavors.

      I think for dessert I'd like to have something more dessert-y like some kind of pie or tart maybe?

      1. re: tinery

        I promise you, they'll be so bowled over by your creativity, and knocked out by the flavors, that nobody will miss the monocolored tan latkes. Plus like I said, flavors will be the same, so it's a win-win. For the pot roast: Bay leaves and oregano are fine; marjoram, chervil, tarragon, parsley, rosemary - and aromatics like garlic, onion, shallots, etcetera are always a welcome addition if not called for in her recipe.
        Almond is a very traditional Jewish flavor, as you know. What about an almond frangipane tart with a fairly snappy apricot topping, maybe marinated in a shot of rum or brandy to reconstitute? Or you could head in the flourless chocolate direction and make matzah crack for the table too. Actually, I think the almond/apricot and matzoh crack would be perfect - if you don't care for apricot, lemon would work with the almond very well - and, again with the matzah crack.
        We're getting there. What have you worked for apps.?

        1. re: mamachef

          ooo frangipane tart is a great idea! i love almond =9 I've never heard of matzah crack but I googled it and it looks like it'd be awesome so I might go with that too...

          I'm not sure about appetizers. I want it to be light because of how rich the dinner and dessert will be and I want it to be something easy/inexpensive to make. Maybe just a simple..i don't know, off the top of my head some kind of spiced/roasted nuts to snack on? It's kind of a cop-out but I feel like it could potentially be impressive and it won't be too filling before the meal.

          1. re: tinery

            I think the nuts are a great idea. Maybe something a little hot and spicy to wake up those palates for that fine meal, like chili pecans or rosemary walnuts....

    2. How about a red hot cinnamon applesauce. I have never made it, but a few friends do. As for the donuts, if you are going to get some, go to your donut place and get jelly donuts, that is what is traditional.

      1. mamachef and i always seem to be on the same wavelength :)

        green beans & spinach are two of my favorite vegetables with latkes and brisket. roasting the green beans is a great idea, or if there's a sweet & sour element to your brisket you could do sauteed spinach with raisins, vinegar and toasted pine nuts.

        i know you didn't ask for any alternative latke ideas, but i *love* them made with leek or beets & fennel.

        in terms of dessert, there are some really good recipes if you want to try making sufganiyot or fritters yourself instead of buying donuts. otherwise i agree with mamachef that a frangipane tart would be wonderful - i like it with pears and an apricot sauce.

        you've got a lot of food there, i don't know that you necessarily need an "appetizer" beyond maybe a light salad. but if you want to serve an app, i think beet or carrot soup with creme fraiche would be perfect.

        2 Replies
        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Too funny. I was thinking the same thing about another thread that we seem to be jumping on and off.
          I had those beet latkes with fennel. They were brilliant. What was doubly brilliant was that the caterer put hot horseradish in the sour cream. Ok, so tell me, with a little slip of lox, or even a tender shredded piece of brisket, would that be an appetizer, or what?

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            This is a good point too. I probably do'nt need an appetizer, it is only 4 of us after all. I may end up leaving it out.

            I'd love to try making my own doughnuts but I think with everything else it's gonna be pretty hectic in the kitchen already. Also the doughnuts are more for tradition than out of desire to eat them =P