Since it is the Festival of Lights, traditional foods tend to include those that are fried in oil, representing the miraculous oil that allowed the holy lights to burn for eight days. Potato latkes and sufganiyot are the usual go-to dishes on Chanukah, but this year I wanted to spice things up a bit. Both of the following recipes are super rich and soulful, which is the perfect way to enjoy this special time with our families. Happy Chanukah from my kitchen to yours!
Fried ravioli makes for an awesome appetizer. Its crispy shell and soft cheese filling makes it irresistible – what’s not to like? Try this at your next dinner party. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser!
1 bag frozen cheese ravioli (24 pieces)
1 egg whisked with 2 tablespoons of water
1 1/2 cups seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
2 cups oil for frying
Fresh parsley for garnish
1 tomato, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs. olive oil
3 tbs. tomato paste
1 tsp. dry oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
STICKY BAKLAVA WITH ROSEWATER SYRUP
This is one of my all time favorite Middle Eastern desserts. It is made of layers of crispy phyllo dough filled with nuts and coated with a delicious floral syrup.
1 package phyllo dough, thawed
2 cups walnuts
2 tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup melted butter/margarine
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tbs. rosewater
Pinch of salt
How to prepare these dishes ahead of time:
Ravioli: Bread the ravioli and freeze on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Then transfer to a zip top bag and store in the freezer for up to 2 months or until you’re ready to fry.
Baklava: The rule of thumb with this dish is that the syrup and baklava must always be opposite temperatures. The baklava can be hot straight out of the oven, and the syrup must be cold, or vice versa. This assures that the baklava remains crispy and the syrup adheres to the pastry. Make the syrup and assemble the baklava ahead of time. Then all you have to do it just bake it for 2 hours before serving and topping with the cold syrup.