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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)


  1. Coat the ravioli: dip them into the beaten egg, shake off any excess liquid, and then dip into the breadcrumbs. Continue this process until all the raviolis are coated.


  1. Meanwhile in a small saucepan, begin to sauté the tomato and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat, for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir for 30 seconds, and then pour in the water and add the spices. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender. Shut off the flame and allow to cool.


  1. Heat the oil in a small pan to 350 degrees over medium high heat and begin frying the ravioli in batches for 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown. Drain any excess oil on a paper towel lined plate. Serve warm alongside marinara sauce.







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


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a pastry brush, grease the bottom and sides of an 8×8 or 9×13 pan.
  2. In a food processor, chop the nuts along with the cinnamon and sugar and set aside.


  1. Unroll the phyllo dough. Place your pan over the dough and cut around it to create the proper shape of phyllo dough sheets. Cover the dough with a dampened cloth to keep it from drying out as you work.


  1. Place one sheet of dough in pan and butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 10 sheets layered. Sprinkle the nut mixture on top, and then begin to layer another 10 sheets of dough again.


  1. Using a sharp knife, begin to section the baklava by cutting all the way to the bottom of the pan. Cut four 1-inch thick rows vertically and horizontally to create diamond or square shapes.


  1. Bake for about 20 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven, and then transfer to the top rack for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.


  1. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, boil sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved. Add the rosewater and salt and simmer for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool in the refrigerator.


  1. Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon most of the cold syrup over it. Let it cool for at least 1 hour before serving; it is best if you can wait overnight. Store individually in cupcake wrappers and in an air tight container. This can freeze for up to 2 months.



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.




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