Hanukkah and Thanksgiving are on the same day this year. Each holiday has its own foods, so Jewish families will be doing their best to enjoy the traditional foods of both holidays in one feast. Here are some suggestions to help integrate favorite foods from each unique holiday into your celebration.
Hanukkah and Thanksgiving Hors oeuvres
Bite-sized food is an easy way to start off your feast and encourages your guests to mingle and gather around hors oeuvres, which can take the edge of their appetite while they wait for others to arrive. Consider cutting gefilte fish into small pieces and serving it with toothpicks and horseradish. It can be accompanied by assorted raw vegetables in beautiful autumn colors. Try strips of orange, yellow, and red peppers. Accent them with carrot sticks, celery, and pretty radish roses. Light the Hanukkah candles during the hors oeuvre hour once everyone arrives. This will keep the candles off the table when it is laden with delicacies, and guests are busy passing platters. Buy a tape of Chanukah songs, and play favorite music in the background to remind guests of the festive occasion.
2013 Hanukkah and Thanksgiving Main Course and Sides
Although turkey is traditionally served on Thanksgiving, main dishes during Hanukkah often include chicken or brisket. An easy way to satisfy the requirements of both holidays is to make a smaller turkey or just a turkey breast so that you can also offer brisket. If your oven is small, brisket can be made on the stove. In fact, you can even make it in advance and freeze it. Serve gravies for brisket and turkey because they can easily be heated in a microwave with minimal effort.
Choose a green vegetable, but lighten it up with some fall colors. For example, string beans or asparagus are pretty accented with a squirt or orange juice and garnished with a few orange slices. If preferred, throw a few candied pecans into your vegetables instead. They will add a refreshing crunch and may even encourage children to try the veggies. Make traditional stuffing, but skip the mashed potatoes. Instead, opt for potato pancakes. Frying the potato pancakes creates a lingering scent in the house, so prepare them a week or two before your celebration. They are simple to defrost and reheat.
An Easy Centerpiece and Decorations
Decorate a white tablecloth with a runner that has vibrant autumn colors. Take a turkey shaped bowl or one in another fall color and fill it with bags of Hanukkah gelt. Put a few wooden dreidels on the runner. Place a small bud vase containing a single apricot rose at each end of the table. If desired, create place cards that are alternately shaped like turkeys and dreidels.
Donuts are a traditional dessert for Chanukah, but there is no reason not to enjoy the Thanksgiving favorite of pecan pie too. Cooks who enjoy baking may want to round out the desserts with sugar cookies decorating like turkeys, dreidels and menorahs. Consider placing a small fondue pot on the table. Melt some gelt at the table. Let guests dunk pieces of pumpkin pie, spice cake, or fruit in the chocolate.
Conclude the evening by letting guests share why they are thankful as everyone exchanges gifts. Your 2013 Chanukah and Thanksgiving celebration will be memorable.