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Easy, Elegant Hanukkah Dinner Menu and Recipes

Come Party With Me: Festival of Lights — Menu

Hanukkah begins this Friday at sundown, and to celebrate, I recommend hosting an informal yet elegant dinner. When guests arrive, offer them a drink and a buckwheat blini with smoked salmon, crème fraîche, and salmon roe. It's the perfect bite to kick-start a party. For the main course, skip the traditional brisket in favor of Dijon lamb lollipops with red currant-mint dipping sauce.


Potato latkes are crispy and flavorful, and a simple mixed-green salad with kumquats rounds out the menu. To get these recipes, keep reading.

Buckwheat Blinis With Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche

Buckwheat Blinis With Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche

Smoked Salmon Blini Recipe

Ingredients

  1. 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  2. 1/3 cup buckwheat flour
  3. 4 teaspoons sugar
  4. 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  5. 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt
  6. 1 cup whole milk
  7. 3 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
  8. 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  9. Melted butter
  10. Crème fraîche
  11. 1 (4-ounce) package thinly sliced smoked salmon
  12. Salmon roe
  13. Fresh dill sprigs

Directions

  1. Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium bowl.
  2. Place milk and butter in small saucepan. Stir over low heat until butter melts and thermometer registers 110°F (if mixture gets too warm, cool until temperature returns to 110°F). Pour warm milk mixture into flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Whisk buckwheat batter to deflate; then whisk in eggs. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead.) Transfer to large bowl. Cover; chill (may increase in volume; rewhisk before using).
  4. Preheat oven to 200°F. Heat griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Brush lightly with melted butter. Working in batches, pour 2 tablespoons batter for each blini onto griddle, spacing apart. Cook until bubbles form on top and begin to pop, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn blinis; cook until golden brown on bottom, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet. Tent with foil and place in oven to keep warm while cooking remaining blinis. (Blinis can be made 1 day ahead.) Cool, cover, and chill. Brush blinis lightly with melted butter and rewarm on baking sheet in 350°F oven 5 minutes.
  5. Arrange warm blinis on platter. Spoon 1 rounded teaspoon crème fraîche atop each. Top with smoked salmon. Garnish with salmon roe and dill sprigs and serve.

Makes 12.

Dijon Baby Lamb Chops

Dijon Baby Lamb Chops

Dijon Lamb Chop Recipe With Red Currant Mint Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

  1. For the lamb:
  2. 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  3. 3 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
  4. 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  5. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  6. 2 racks baby lamb chops (8 ribs and about 1 1/4 pounds each), frenched
  7. Mint sprigs, for garnish
  8. For the red currant-mint dipping sauce
  9. 1 1/2 cups red-currant jelly
  10. 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  11. 1 tablespoon water
  12. 1 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves

Directions

  1. Prepare the lamb: Stir together mustard, brown sugar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Brush mixture all over lamb. Transfer to a large resealable plastic bag, and refrigerate at least 6 hours (or up to overnight).
  2. Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce: Whisk together jelly, vinegar, and the water in a medium bowl until smooth. Fold in mint. (Sauce can be refrigerated, covered, up to 6 hours before serving.)
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring lamb to room temperature. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part (avoiding bone) registers 125 to 130 degrees for medium-rare, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and tent with foil. Let rest 10 minutes.
  4. Just before serving, cut lamb racks into individual chops. Garnish with mint sprigs. Serve with dipping sauce.

Serves 6-8.

Potato-Apple Latkes

Potato-Apple Latkes

Potato-Apple Latkes

Ingredients

  1. 1 egg, lightly beaten
  2. 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  3. 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  4. 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  5. 4 baking potatoes (2 1/2 pounds), peeled and coarsely shredded
  6. 1 medium onion, coarsely grated
  7. 1 Granny Smith apple--peeled, cored and coarsely shredded
  8. Canola oil, for frying
  9. Schmaltz, for frying
  10. Applesauce and sour cream, for serving

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix the egg with the flour, salt and white pepper. In a colander, toss the shredded potatoes with the onion and apple and squeeze dry. Add to the bowl and stir to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1/2 cup of canola oil with 2 tablespoons of the schmaltz until shimmering. Spoon heaping tablespoons of the latke mixture into the oil about 2 inches apart and flatten slightly with a fork. Fry the latkes over moderately high heat until golden on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Lower the heat to moderate, turn the latkes and fry until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes longer. Drain the latkes on paper towels set on a rack and transfer to a platter. Repeat with the remaining latke mixture, adding more oil and schmaltz to the skillet as needed. Serve hot with applesauce and sour cream.

Makes about 40 two-inch latkes.

Make Ahead: The latkes can be fried early in the day and re-crisped on a baking sheet in a 350° oven.

Mixed Bitter Greens and Kumquat Salad With Anchovy Vinaigrette

Mixed Bitter Greens and Kumquat Salad With Anchovy Vinaigrette

Mixed Greens and Kumquat Salad Recipe

Ingredients

  1. For vinaigrette
  2. 1 small garlic clove, peeled
  3. 7 anchovy fillets
  4. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  5. 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  6. 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  7. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  8. For salad
  9. 10 cups bite-size pieces hearts of romaine (2 to 3 hearts)
  10. 3 heads of Belgian endive, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  11. 3 cups (lightly packed) baby arugula
  12. 14 kumquats, thinly sliced into rounds, seeded

Directions

  1. For vinaigrette: With machine running, drop garlic through feed tube of processor and chop finely. Add anchovies, fresh lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, and Dijon mustard; blend well.
  2. Gradually add extra-virgin olive oil, blending until vinaigrette is smooth. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature and rewhisk before using.
  3. For salad: Combine romaine pieces, Belgian endive strips, baby arugula, and kumquats in large bowl. Toss salad with enough vinaigrette to coat and serve.

Serves 8-10.

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