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Hanukkah: Jewish holiday celebrated with festive meals


HANUKKAH IS A FESTIVE, eight-day celebration commemorating the reconsecration of the Temple of Jerusalem in 165 B.C.

When the Temple was reclaimed victoriously from the Syrian Greeks by the Maccabees, there was just a small amount of oil left behind. According to tradition, the oil kept the lamps burning for a full eight days until more oil could be brought to the Temple.

Hanukkah began yesterday at sundown.

Jim Lawson, executive chef at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel, has created a festive Hanukkah menu for four.

The Sheraton has a kosher kitchen and also does outside kosher catering. In addition, the hotel runs the Kosher Dining Club which meets several times each year. Call Henry Zetlin at 962-8300 for more information.

This menu starts with baked salmon as the appetizer.

Salmon with Black Bean Sauce 4 4-ounce boneless, skinned fillets of fresh Norwegian salmon, bias cut

2 cups water, divided

1 cup white wine, divided

1 teaspoon lemon juice

4 tablespoons margarine, melted, divided

1 small onion, chopped

1 10-ounce can black beans, cooked

5 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place fillets in a shallow pan and add one-half cup of water, one-quarter cup of wine and one teaspoon of lemon juice. Dot the fish with one tablespoon of melted margarine and place in a oven for six to seven minutes. Remove from oven and pan, place on a tray, let cool. Chill.

Take remaining margarine and place in saucepan, add onions and saute over medium heat for two minutes. Combine beans with the garlic and sugar and mash well either with hand masher or food processor. Add beans to onions. Heat thoroughly, stirring often, about four to five minutes. Add remaining water and wine together with the soy sauce. Bring to boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. If sauce is too thick, its OK to add water from time to time. Let cool to room temperature. Sauce should be on the thick side but pourable. Spoon some sauce on each of four plates and arrange some salmon on top. Garnish with lemon and fresh parsley or cilantro, if desired.

Stuffed Cornish Game Hen

6 ounces margarine, divided

1 small onion, chopped

4 Cornish game hens, 16 to 18 ounces in size

2 large sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed

6 ounces lean corn beef, chopped

3 ounces fresh bread crumbs

Pinch grated nutmeg

Pinch thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt four ounces of the margarine in a small skillet. Add onion and saute until tender. Combine onions and margarine with sweet potatoes, lean corn beef, bread crumbs, nutmeg and thyme. Mix thoroughly. Stuff hens with mixture. Place in small roaster pan and spoon remaining margarine over hens. Place in oven for about 45 minutes to one hour or until golden brown.

Barbados Sauce for Cornish Hens

2 bananas, peeled and cut in quarters

1 chopped onion

3 garlic cloves, chopped

3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup white wine

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup chicken stock or broth

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Remove Cornish hens from roaster. Saute bananas in some of the Cornish hen juices briefly over medium heat for about one minutes and remove. Set aside. Add onion, and garlic and saute two minutes. Add tomatoes, sugar, wine and lemon juice. Simmer five minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to boil. Simmer eight to ten minutes. Mix cornstarch with minimum amount of cold water needed to dissolve starch. Gradually whip into the simmering mixture until desired consistency -- it should coat the back of a spoon. Pour sauce over roasted hens and

garnish with sauteed bananas.

Hanukkah Cobb Salad

1 medium head raddichio

2 small heads bibb lettuce

3 medium tomatoes, chopped

2 cucumbers, chopped

2 green peppers, chopped

2 red peppers, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped

1 can black olives, pitted

2 bunches asparagus, blanched and trimmed 2-inches from tip

Raspberry vinaigrette dressing, recipe given

Pick and wash raddichio and bibb leaves. Line four salad plates, alternating leaves slightly overlapping until plate is covered. Arrange rows of chopped ingredients for contrast -- see photograph. Use asparagus tips across the center. Pour dressing over items liberally and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing 2 egg yolks

1 shallot, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup vinegar

2 sprigs fresh basil, optional, chopped and stems removed

1/2 pint fresh raspberries or 1 5-ounce box frozen, defrosted and drained raspberries

Place yolks in a bowl, add shallots, garlic, sugar and mustard. Whip ingredients to mix, then gradually drizzle in olive oil while constantly whipping. When mixture starts thickening, drizzle vinegar into the mixture until it starts to thin. Alternate this process until the vinegar and oil are used up. Add chopped basil and raspberry puree, strained. Save some of the dressing for the dessert.


Sabayon Sauce

4 egg yolks, at room temperature

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup white wine

In stainless bowl, whip egg yolks, sugar and wine with whisk over simmering water. Continue whipping until sauce doubles in volume and is thick enough to coat a spoon. Place sauce in a bowl with ice underneath it and whisk until the sauce is cool to the touch. This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated. Whisk before serving. Decorate, if desired, with some of the leftover vinaigrette.

Poached Pears

4 medium firm ripe pears

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup sugar

1 bottle dry white wine

Peel and cut pears in half lengthwise. Dig out center core. Combine sugar, wine and lemon juice in saucepan and boil for five minutes. Place pears flat side down in pan. Liquid should barely cover fruit. Simmer covered for three minutes. Turn pears over and simmer for another three minutes. Test with toothpick or skewer for tenderness. Cook until almost soft. Cool and drain.

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