This year will be my first attempt at cooking a complete Hanukkah dinner since my mother-in-law passed away, and I’m filling the pressure. When she was first diagnosed with uterine cancer this past summer, we had made plans to get together so she could teach me the secret methods and ingredients to her family’s favorite Hanukkah dishes with the intention of giving her a break so she could simply enjoy the holiday. Well, as we all know, cancer waits for no one, and we were never able to sit down in the kitchen and cook. While we are obviously devastated of her loss, I’m choosing to use this opportunity to carve my own niche when it comes to Hanukkah dinner.
As I started researching recipes for Hanukkah, I quickly learned that there’s not a one-sized fits-all menu when it comes to traditional Hanukkah recipes. A co-worker of mine graciously shared with me several of his families timeless recipes, some of which were smoked salmon, fried chicken, applesauce, brisket, matzo ball soup, and even donuts!
Rather than struggling through my mother-in-law’s recipes, and sharing less than perfect recipes with you all, I have put together a roundup of blogger’s favorite (and best) Hanukkah recipes.
For The Love of Latkes
Would you believe me if I told you I had never had latkes before meeting my husband? I can still recall the first time I walked into the house for the first time and the usually nice-smelling house reeked of oil and I was questioning whether or not to fake a headache so I could go home?
I'm going to be completely transparent here: I've never had challah. I've always been curious whether or not it was a regional thing as my husband's grandmother said it was never something her family made for Hanukkah in the old country.
Crowd-Pleasing Hanukkah Main Dishes
Just as my very German family did for each holiday, she made rouladen, which of course was completely different from the version I grew up devouring. Even though we found her rouladen recipe, she knew instinctively what she was tasting for prior to assembling the tiny meat rolls (my grandmother and grandmother made their rouladen huge, like if someone was able to eat two of them we were concerned someone might explode.)
Hanukkah Desserts Worth Sharing
Every year, my mother-in-law made the same two desserts: a delectable nut tart and everyone's favorite chocolate tart. In fact, I've made the chocolate tart several times, following her instructions to the T, and every single time I make it, my husband says his mothers was better.