With its lavish spicing and creative use of fresh herbs, Georgian food was adored by Russians. This tangy, vibrantly flavored relish is classically made with sour plums called tkemali, but it adapts beautifully to Thanksgiving cranberries.
This year’s much-hyped “Thanksgivukah,” aside, many Jews always celebrate Thanksgiving Day with an intensity usually reserved to our most sacred holidays. We identify with the Pilgrims, who travelled across an ocean to flee religious persecutions and find freedom. With their sweat and faith, they fought against illness and scarcity, finally turning America’s wilderness into their “Promised Land.”
Not everybody thinks Thanksgivukah is a good idea. Some folks want their holidays — and ritual food — separate. It’s kind of like your birthday falling on Cinco de Mayo. Do you have margaritas and cake? It’s almost too much!
A beautiful Thanksgiving turkey deserves a suitably amazing stuffing, but many of the best ones call for pork sausage. So I set out to create a kosher version stuffing that’s just as good.
I modeled this recipe after a savory bread pudding stuffing I once enjoyed that owed a lot of its deliciousness to Parmesan and milk. Here, I swap out the dairy, but keep the eggy custard (using kosher chicken stock instead of milk), to yield a spoon-soft stuffing that is loaded with flavor thanks to onions, garlic, kosher ground turkey and fresh rosemary, with a rich, decadent texture.
Not everybody thinks Thanksgivukkah is a good idea. Some folks want their holidays – and ritual food – separate. It’s kind of like your birthday falling on Cinco de Mayo. Do you have margaritas and cake? It’s almost too much!
Kotleti (minced meat patties) were very popular across the former Soviet Union. This recipe from my mother, Larisa, is a delicious cross between croquettes, kotleti, and chicken Kiev —which she makes with turkey for Thanksgiving. For extra succulence she tucks little pieces of butter inside each patty. For those keeping kosher, you can leave out the milk or cream and add a tablespoon of mayonnaise instead. The butter can be omitted altogether, or you can tuck a small ice cube inside the patties. The cutlets work best when they’re breaded and refrigerated for at least an hour before they’re cooked, to firm them up. Serve them with the lavishly herbed cranberry relish (you can find the recipe ONLINE) from the Republic of Georgia.
Almost 40 years ago, just in time for the holidays, the young Anya von Bremzen and her refusenik mother Larisa Frumkin stepped onto American soil. The experience fell far short of any émigré fantasy, but became fodder for a high-flown food career and a book, “Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking” (Crown), published earlier this fall. Even today, von Bremzen remembers the hardships and weird pleasures of that first Chanukah and Thanksgiving in the Philadelphia suburbs.
The first time I ever had this dish - or a version of it - was when I was studying in Israel for a year after high school, and it was a frequent dinner option. We laughed about it - the watery vegetables and the tasteless couscous, but we often preferred it to the other dorm-food options, like dried out pizza or fake chicken nuggets filled with corn.