There’s something special about the Shabbat/Christmas/Chanukah combo, maybe even a little miraculous (see below). On Friday afternoon, as we were doing last minute grocery shopping, hurrying home to cook, and generally feeling festive, so was everyone else. Christmas is really when non-Jews understand what it’s like to host big Shabbat meals. Though it’s hard to take myself seriously when I describe an 8-person dinner as very small and very casual. Well, at least I succeeded on the casual part. And “small” is all relative, right?
And as small and casual as it was, somehow we were still scrambling at the last possible moment before Shabbat started to finish cooking the food, light Chanukah candles, light Shabbat candles, set the table, shower, feed Aliza… But it was all good, or at least good enough.
Recipe for a small, casual dinner
Baguettes from Le Bus
Green salad with almonds and craisins and a random salad dressing I made last week and added to as people were walking in the door
Brown rice that miraculously cooked in half the time it should have taken
Chips, salsa, cheese, and sour cream
Guacamole left over from Naomi’s Chanukah party
Trader Joe’s latkes that Alex miraculously happened to have in her freezer
Pineapple juice with rum and whipped cream (MUCH better than it sounds)
Candy cane Hershey’s kisses
Amazing chocolate chip cookies from Ilana and Adam
Vanilla Greek Yogurt just stuck in the freezer, that miraculously took on the right consistency even without the ice cream maker
Really good people around the table (probably the most important ingredient)
I just made my normal chili recipe, but I started it at 10 a.m. in the crockpot. That was going to be all I said on the matter, but somehow, searching through the blog, it seems like I haven’t included that recipe before. I really, really thought I’d have all the recipes catalogued by now, but it just hasn’t happened. Perhaps, after all of you start blogging instead of me in the coming weeks, I’ll have time for that project. (If you haven’t yet signed up for a week, and I know you haven’t, now would be a reasonable time to sign up here.) In the meantime, one of my favorite recipes:
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can each kidney beans, black beans, and chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 or 2 cans of chopped stewed tomatoes with liquid
dash of soy sauce
1-2 tablespoons chili powder (or more to taste)
2 medium or 1 large sweet potato
1-2 teaspoons of dried or fresh parsley and/or basil
a cup or so of water, but less than I used (helpful, I know)
optional: a can of corn, can of chopped chilis, any other veggies you’d like to add, dash of cumin
Put it in the crockpot on low for 6-8 hours, or in a pot on the stove for 45 minutes or so. It’s super flexible, and it’ll be good pretty much no matter what. Don’t try to prove me wrong.
Naomi helped out with Aliza in the morning so we could sleep some more, and Josh hosted another small, casual meal for Saturday lunch, and it was just perfect. Any perceived food problems were irrelevant, there was an amazing ginger miso dip, my salad made another appearance, everything else was delicious, there were sufganiot (Chanukah donuts) and chocolate covered pretzels, and we talked a lot about Harry Potter.
And next week…we come full circle. Back to New Year’s Eve, which is when this whole thing started. And, just a little preview: there’s gonna be a dinner party. And a lunch party. I can’t wait.
But first, Aliza and a little Chanukah love, thanks to Emily’s latke artistry.