This coming weekend is quite unique: both Chanukah and Christmas coincide. In my entire life I do not ever recall both taking place at the same. Chanukah, the festival of lights, usually falls sometime during November or the beginning of December but this year, the eight days celebration starts on Christmas Eve!
If you’re looking for some inspiration to cook up a storm for family and friends- but in an elegant manner -consider the new book, The Silver Platter – Simple Elegance – Effortless Recipes with Sophisticated Results by Daniella Silver with tips and techniques by Norene Gilletz (ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications).
The two teamed up together to produce the best-selling The Silver Platter: Simple to Spectacular and have done it again with their new collaboration. Page after page of recipes with spectacular food photography combined with simple-to-prepare recipes are guaranteed to send you into the kitchen to prepare the both delicious and nutritious offerings. The results are magnificent.
Daniella brings her amazing artistic talents to the table as she comes from a family of creative types (full disclosure: Daniella is a relative but on my husband’s side. He’s also incredibly creative!).
So what do the authors have in mind when they say the secret of “simple elegance”? It’s not about dozens of hard-to-find ingredients, pricey equipment, and complicated instructions. Nor is it about endless hours in the kitchen.
The book contains over 160 recipes, each with a beautiful photo. It is books such as this one that is leading the resurgence back to hardcovers. Rather than only looking up recipes on the internet, many people want to have their favourite ones gathered together to cherish. This book, The Silver Platter – Simple Elegance, will become one of those. And you don’t have to be Jewish to appreciate it.
Each recipe comes with techniques, tips, and advice from bestselling cookbook author Norene Gilletz. If you ever have a question about cooking, Norene has the answer. Check out her website Gourmania- for people who are crazy about food.
In addition, each dish indicates if it’s freezer-friendly for make-ahead cooking, whether it’s gluten-free, contains dairy or meat products along with a complete nutritional analysis. My only complaint is that some recipes are a little too high in sodium. Substituting some lower sodium ingredients or using a little less salt can easily remedy this.
The varied creations include those such as a Watermelon, Radish and Cucumber Salad, Beets and Avocado, Roasted Cauliflower and Chick Pea Soup, Tomato Quinoa Soup, Pomegranate and Persimmon Salad, Farro Tabouleh and Nectarine Chicken to name a few.
Here’s a sampling of latkes for Chanukah from the The Silver Platter – Simple Elegance. The recipes and intro have been reproduced with permission from the copyright holders, ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications. For those unfamiliar with the term, pareve is a term used for kosher food meaning that the food or dish contains no dairy, meat or poultry or their derivatives
Classic Potato Latkes with assorted toppings
pareve • passover • gluten-free • latkes freeze well • yields about 2 dozen
Tradition! You really can’t go wrong with classic potato latkes. I’ve added four unique toppings to serve alongside, each with its own flavor. Make a different topping every night and delight your guests!
6 large potatoes
(preferably Idaho/russet), peeled and cut into chunks
1 large onion, cut into chunks
¼ cup potato starch
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp black pepper
grapeseed oil, for frying
1. Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a food processor fitted with the shredding disk, shred potatoes and onion, using medium pressure. Transfer vegetables to a large colander set in the sink or over a large bowl; press firmly to drain excess liquid.
3. Place drained veggies into a large bowl. Add eggs, potato starch, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
4. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, drop large spoonfuls of batter into hot oil to form pancakes, flattening them slightly with the back of the spoon. Do not crowd the skillet. Fry for 3-4 minutes per side, or until crisp and golden.
5. Drain well on paper towels. Transfer to prepared baking sheet; place into oven to keep warm.
Freeze with Ease: Arrange latkes in a single layer on a baking sheet; freeze until firm. Transfer to resealable plastic bags, press out all air, and freeze. To reheat, place frozen latkes onto a large baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, at 400°F for 12-15 minutes, until hot and crisp.
Note: Do not freeze toppings!
Sour Cream Topping 2 Ways
dairy • pareve option • passover • gluten-free • yields 4-6 servings
1 cup sour cream (regular or low fat) or Tofutti sour cream
1 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or dill
freshly ground black pepper
½ cup pomegranate seeds, or ¼ lb/125 g fresh smoked salmon, thinly sliced
1. In a medium bowl, combine sour cream with lemon juice, parsley (if using pomegranate seeds) or dill (if using smoked salmon), and pepper; mix well.
2. Top latkes; add pomegranate seeds (if using parsley) or smoked salmon (if using dill).
pareve • passover • gluten-free • yields 4-6 servings
1 ripe avocado, peeled,
pitted, and diced
¼ cup minced red onion
1 tomato, diced
1 Tbsp lime juice, preferably fresh
1 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1. Add topping ingredients to medium bowl; mix to combine. Place plastic wrap directly onto mixture to prevent darkening.
Right before serving, top latkes with avocado mixture.
Nutrition information per latke (without toppings):
• Calories: 87
• Protein: 3 grams
• Fat: 2 gram
• Saturated fat: 0 grams
• Carbohydrate: 19 grams
• Dietary fibre: 1 gram
• Sodium: 92 milligrams