Whoa, those Thanksgiving leftovers flowed into Chanukah so quickly that, by the lighting of the fourth candle, I thought I was in trouble. Yet I managed to keep my last menu green and abundantly tasteful. Menu is perhaps the wrong word. … It didn’t even qualify for a full buffet, more like a smorgasbord. No leftover latkes, of course. There are never enough of those, no matter how many I put out. Too bad as I wanted to duplicate a famous TV chef who made latke “sandwiches” by putting whipped cream cheese and lox in between two latkes. It sounded so decadent!
Here was my plan. … I had some applesauce and a friend sent one of those fruit gift baskets of lovely firm, ripe pears. I peeled and cut up the pears into small pieces and added them to my applesauce in a pot. I simmered, stirring with a few cinnamon,“red hot” candies, for about 15 minutes on low heat, creating a delicious side dish. The cooked leftover turkey that I froze became wonderful tortilla wraps. Some of the cooked defrosted brisket went into a gorgeous potpie covered with instant mashed potatoes and some I pulled (with two forks) for mini meat sandwiches. The leeks transformed into fried little garnishes for a delicious pareve butternut squash soup that I served in a crockpot. All the eggs—I simply “deviled” them into a platter of assorted flavored ones.
I even used the pomegranate decorations, removing the seeds and adding some to my chocolate chip cookie and mondel bread recipes, and used some in the tossed salad. What to do with those leftover olives and chickpeas? I turned to a Martha Stewart cookbook and found the easiest recipes for a creative Israeli relish tray! Dessert? Take those leftover Chanukah cookies and make pareve ice cream sandwiches. Roll the edges in some sprinkles or chocolate chips and freeze until ready to serve; or make one thing from scratch with the tart below.
I’d say my blue and white decorations turned into a green feast for the first Shabbat after the “holidays” that everyone enjoyed!
Ilene Spector is a local free-lance writer who contributes a monthly Food Talk column and bi-monthly cooking columns to the Baltimore Jewish Times.