What is Chanukah?
Chanukah celebrates the rededication of the Jerusalem Temple following its defilement by Syrian Greeks in 164 BCE. Since then, Chanukah has become known as the Festival of Lights, due to the one day supply of oil lasting a miraculous eight days, and is known for the traditional lighting of the hanukkiah. In addition, it is customary to feast upon fried foods and foods made with oil. Since Chanukah celebrates the idea of preserving resources, Hazon offers some Healthy, Sustainable Chanukah Resources as suggestions for your Chanukah celebrations!
When is Chanukah?
Chanukah 2022 is celebrated from sundown on Sunday, December 18, through sundown on Monday December 26.
Chanukah 2022 is celebrated from sundown on Thursday, December 7th, through sundown on Friday, December 15.
Chanukah 2022 is celebrated from sundown on Wednesday December 25th, through sundown on Thursday, January 2nd.
As you plan for your holiday festivities be sure to check out the Hazon Chanukah Greening Guide as well as 10 Ways to Make your Chanukah More Sustainable – both incredible resources from our Hazon programs team!Download the Chanukah Greening Guide
Easy and Green Chanukah Tips
Make your own gifts or Chanukah crafts
This Chanukah we would like to to encourage you to get creative with your gifts and decorations. We have provided a list of fun, eco-friendly craft ideas for the whole family. When it comes to gifting, we like to gift from the heart rather than from the wallet. This year why not try making your gifts and decorations? Our staff members love to knit, paint and bake for our family and friends. Maybe cross-stitch your favorite fun Chanukah phrase onto a set of dish towels or try your hand at up-cycled tie-dye pillow cases. Please keep in mind, some of the most meaningful gifts are those that are not tangible- consider organizing a dinner with friends over zoom, writing a fun song to sing with your friends, or gifting acts of service like shoveling snow or taking on the dishes for the week.
Need More Inspiration? Check out the Hazon Holiday Gift Guide!
Looking for a New Year’s Resolution? Commit to a personal change!
Traditionally speaking, this is the time of year when we dedicate ourselves to self improvement and maintaining personal goals. This year we would like to encourage you to make a personal change that benefits not only yourself but the planet. After lighting your menorah each evening, dedicate yourself to being more environmentally sustainable and reducing your impact on the planet. A great, cost-free way to do this would be to look into joining the Brit Hazon. Brit Hazon is a 6-week personal commitment to change that is easy to sign up for at no cost to you. Better yet, tell your friends and join up together so that you can compare notes and share in the journey together.Join the Brit Today!
Food & Recipes
In collaboration with our friends at the Jewish Initiative for Animals (JIFA) we have included a number of plant-based recipes (marked with an asterisk *). Explore and be pleasantly surprised that you really don’t need eggs or milk in any of these wonderful recipes.
- 8 white potatoes
- 1 onion (optional)
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- Salt to taste
- Neutral oil for frying-about 3-4 cups (locally pressed cooking oil, organic coconut oil or RSPO sustainable palm oil)
Grate the peeled potatoes in the coarse grater into a sieve placed over a bowl, so that the liquid will drain into the bowl.
Add a little salt to the grated potatoes and massage them with your hands to drain the liquid. After a minute or two of intense fiddling, let them sit for few minutes, to let the fluids drain down (you can press down with your hands to accelerate the process).
Gently pour away the liquid that has accumulated in the bowl underneath, without spilling the white starch that has accumulated in the bottom of the bowl. You’ll want to keep this starch because it serves as a natural binding agent for the latkes.
Pour the grated potatoes into the bowl with the starch and add more salt to taste, and 1/2 cup flour. If using onion, it is best to grate the onion separately and squeeze the liquid out of it before adding and mixing it with the potatoes.
Heat oil in a wide pan (it is best to work with two pans at once, to shorten the frying time). As befits this wonderful holiday, do not be stingy with the oil. If you don’t use enough oil, the latkes will not be cooked well on the inside and will not be crispy. So go ahead, pour about one centimeter (about .3 inch) of oil into the pan and light up the stove.
When the oil is very hot, form the latkes with your hands, lightly squeezing and tightening them together. Fry over medium-high heat for a few minutes on each side. When one side is brown, turn the latke over and brown the other side too.
When ready, remove from oil and place on a paper towel to absorb some of the excess oil. Serve with Tofutti “cream cheese” mixed with salt, lemon juice, and chopped chives.
Recipe originally from this Hebrew blog, translated by a Hazon staff member.
- 4 cups shredded or grated sweet potato, squeezed completely dry in a dish towel
- 1/2 cup shredded or grated yellow onion, squeezed completely dry in a dish towel
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups potato starch
- 1 cup finely chopped kale
- 1 1/4 tablespoon curry powder (recipe follows)
When you finish squeezing the sweet potatoes and onions, throw them into a large mixing bowl and fluff them with your hands and spread them out. Sprinkle the potato starch, curry, and kale evenly over all of the potato mixture and gently fold together. The idea here is to get each little thread coated in the potato starch, if you need to use more, use more. Add the egg and mix well.
Heat a non-stick pan with your frying fat of choice (We use a 50/50 blend of chicken fat and clarified butter, but kosher options work as well), enough to coat the entire surface of the pan. Form your latkes, season both sides with salt, and fry to a crispy and beautiful golden brown.
For the curry powder:
- 4 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 5 star anise pods
- 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon whole allspice
- 4 tablespoons ground turmeric
Toast all the spices in a dry pan over medium heat for about a minute, then grind together in a spice grinder.
Recipe originally from The Jew and the Carrot
- 6 russet or 8 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
- 1 large yellow or sweet white onion peeled
- 3 tablespoons flour or more
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Pepper to taste
- locally pressed cooking oil, organic coconut oil or RSPO sustainable palm oil
Grate potatoes and onions. Mix them together. The mixture will release liquid. Dispose of as much of it as possible. (I suggest using a colander and a couple of clean dishtowels, or cheesecloth.)
Mix the eggs in a bowl with the salt and pepper.
Combine the potatoes, eggs and flour. If the mixture is still liquidy, do your best to drain it and add more flour.
Form the latkes into thick patties between your hands and squeeze any extra liquid out. This is important — the quality of latkes is entirely dependent upon technique.
Place into a pan with approximately with ¼ inch of vegetable or safflower oil and fry on high heat. Do not press the latkes down once they are in the pan. Simply flip when the bottom is golden brown. When done, place them on paper towels to drain.
Recipe originally from The Jew and the Carrot
For the Aloo Tiki:
- 2 pounds yukon gold potatoes (scrubbed clean, peeled + halved)
- 1-2 Tbsp vegan butter (plus more for cooking // or sub a neutral oil of choice)
- 2 tsp curry powder (plus more to taste)
- 1/8 tsp ground cardamom (plus more to taste)
- ~1/2 tsp each salt + pepper (to taste)
- 2/3 cup green peas (thawed if frozen)
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (optional // for coating // gluten-free for GF)
For the 5-minute Green Chutney:
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro (stems mostly removed // 1 bunch equals ~3 ounces)
- 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
- ~1/4 tsp each salt + pepper (to taste)
- 1 large lime (juiced // or sub lemon)
- 1 Tbsp sweetener (such as cane sugar, maple syrup, or honey if not vegan // plus more to taste)
- 1-2 Tbsp water (to thin)
- 1-2 Tbsp ripe avocado (optional // for extra creaminess)
- Add potatoes to a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender and slide easily when picked up with a knife. Drain and set aside.
- While the potatoes cool, prepare chutney. Use a small food processor, mortar and pestle, or a spice grinder to combine all ingredients until well blended and pureed. (A blender may work, depending on size – the smaller the better).
- Add only enough water to encourage blending. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more garlic, salt, sweetener, or lime as desired.
- Add cooled potatoes to a mixing bowl along with vegan butter, salt and spices. Mash to combine, trying not to overmix. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. The cardamom really helps the curry flavor punch through. Don’t be timid with the salt.
- Add peas and mix once more. Then scoop out about 1/4 cup measurements and form into round discs (should be enough for 8-10 cakes as original recipe is written).
- Season the tops of the cakes with a pinch more salt, pepper and curry powder. If using panko bread crumbs – recommended for a crispier crust – sprinkle on top and gently press to adhere.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add enough vegan butter or oil to coat and add 3-4 patties spice side down, being careful not to crowd the pan. Sprinkle the tops with salt, pepper, curry powder and panko crumbs. Press gently again to adhere.
- Brown for 4-5 minutes, turning down heat if they brown too quickly. Gently flip (being careful as they can be fragile), and brown for 4-5 more minutes, or until deep golden brown.
- Remove from pan and repeat until all patties are cooked, adding more vegan butter or oil as needed.
- Serve with chutney. These work as finger food but are most ideal when plated and eaten with a fork. Leftovers keep well (separated) covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Recipe originally from The Minimalist Baker
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (2 to 3 limes)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (preferably kosher)
- 2 Tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
- Optional flavorings: roughly chopped garlic clove, ground cumin or other spices, finely chopped cilantro
Place tahini, water, lime juice, garlic and spices (if using), and salt in a blender or food processor (don’t fill food processors above the liquids line). Blend or process until smooth, then drizzle in oil while continuing to blend. Sauce will thicken when oil is added. Taste and season with more salt if needed, quickly pulsing to combine. Stir in cilantro, if using.
Chill in refrigerator for an hour or two, or use immediately if you don’t mind room temperature cream. “Sour” cream will keep at least a few days in the refrigerator.
Recipe originally from Natural Comfort Kitchen
- 2 cups raw cashew pieces, soaked for at least 8-12 hours
- 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- the juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
Soak the cashew pieces in the refrigerator for a minimum of 8-12 hours, up to 24, then rinse well under cold running water.
Throw them in the bowl of your food processor, along with the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth and creamy, which should take about 5 to 8 minutes. You might have to stop and scrape the sides 2 or 3 times.
You can use this sour cream immediately or keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container, for up to a week.
Recipe originally from The Healthy Foodie
Tender, juicy and flavorful vegan steak! Perfectly spiced and looking remarkably like the ‘real thing’ these vegan seitan steaks are deliciously textured, super high in protein and heaps of fun to make!
For the Vegan Steaks:
- 3/4 cup (123g) Canned Chickpeas (Drained)
- 1/4 cup (15g) Nutritional Yeast
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1/4 tsp Cumin
- 1/4 tsp Coriander Powder
- 1/2 tsp Oregano
- 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1/2 cup (130g) Tomato Paste
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
- 1/4 tsp Liquid Smoke
- 1/2 cup (120ml) Vegetable Stock
- 1 and 3/4 cups (263g) Vital Wheat Gluten*
For the Marinade:
- 1/4 cup (60ml) Soy Sauce
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- 1/8 tsp Liquid Smoke
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil (or other oil)
- Add the chickpeas, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, coriander powder, oregano, soy sauce, tomato paste, paprika, black pepper, dijon mustard, liquid smoke and vegetable stock to the food processor and process until well mixed.
- Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the vital wheat gluten. Stir in with a spoon briefly and then get in there with your hands, mixing it into a dough. Knead the dough for around 2 minutes, you want it to go from sticky and soft to firm and stretchy, so that when you pull it, it snaps back into place. See our full post for lots more info on kneading. Make sure you don’t over-knead it because that will cause your steaks to become very tough.
- As soon as you have a firm, stretchy texture, flatten it out and cut it into 4 roughly equal sized steaks. Use a potato masher to bash the steaks down a bit to flatten, but don’t do this too much as it counts as kneading, and you don’t want to overdo it.
- Wrap the steaks individually in tinfoil and then steam them for 20 minutes. Don’t wrap them too tight as they will expand while steaming. You can steam them in a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water, or in any steamer that you have.
- While the steaks are steaming, prepare your marinade sauce by adding all the ingredients to a bowl and whisking them together. Let it sit for a little while and then whisk again. You want it to be nice and smooth and it can take a couple of minutes for the brown sugar to dissolve properly.
- After steaming for 20 minutes, unwrap the steaks from their tinfoil and place into a square dish. Pour over the marinade sauce and use a brush to make sure the steaks are properly covered. Turn them over in the sauce a few times.
- Heat a pan with a little olive oil (or other oil, 1 Tbsp is fine) and then fry the steaks (I found they all fitted into the same pan) flipping them regularly and brushing more marinade sauce on them every time you flip them, until they are nicely browned and caramelized.
- Serve with a side salad, baked potatoes with vegan sour cream, and if you like sauces with your steaks, then a creamy mushroom sauce goes wonderfully with this!
Recipe originally from Loving It Vegan
Vegan Matzo Ball Soup
PREP TIME20 minutes
COOK TIME30 minutes
TOTAL TIME50 minutes
- Vegan Matzo Balls
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- One 32-ounce carton vegetable broth
- 6 medium potatoes, peeled and finely diced
- 6 to 8 medium carrots, sliced
- Handful of celery leaves
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose seasoning (like Frontier® or Mrs. Dash®)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, or to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- I like to start the vegan matzo ballsbefore starting the soup, so head on over to that recipe first. You can also make them ahead of time.
- Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion, celery, and sauté over medium heat until golden.
- Add the broth, potato, carrots, celery leaves, seasoning blend, and 2 cups of water. Bring to a rapid simmer, then cover and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
- Stir in the dill, then season with salt and pepper. If time allows, let the soup stand for several hours off the heat to develop flavor. This can also be made a day in advance.
- Just before serving, bring to a simmer. Adjust the consistency with more water if need be, and taste to adjust seasonings. Add warmed matzo balls to individual servings of soup.
Recipe originally from The Vegan Atlas
VEGAN CHALLAH WITH FRUIT AND NUTS
makes: 1 loaf
prep: 30 min
cooking: 35 min
BASIC CHALLAH RECIPE
- 250 g / 2 cups bread flour
- 250 g / 2 cups all purpose flour
- 4 tsp instant dried yeast (prior activation is necessary with non-instant dried yeast*)
- 4 tbsp sugar (you can use maple syrup, but use less orange juice to compensate)
- 1 tsp salt
- 180 ml / ¾ cup orange juice or almond milk, lukewarm
- 180 ml / ¾ cup thick vegan yogurt (I used The Coconut Collective), at room temperature
- 2 tbsp olive oil (or any other vegetable oil) + a little extra for pan glazing
- 2 tbsp apricot jam, pressed through a sieve
- 75 g / 10 dried apricots
- 70 g / 1/3 cup sultanas
- 100 g / ½ cup almonds, chopped
- Sift the flours into a large mixing bowl and mix in yeast, sugar and salt. If your yeast requires activation, add the activated yeast in the next step.
- Pour in the lukewarm orange juice, vegan yogurt, olive oil and stir everything together with a large wooden spoon until roughly combined.
- Knead it lightly for about 5 minutes on a lightly floured surface – don’t knead too much to keep the bread delicate! The dough will be on the wet side, if it’s too hard to handle, dust with a bit more flour, but don’t go nuts.
- Form a dough ball and place it in a clean bowl covered with a kitchen towel. Place the bowl in a warm (but not too warm – avoid going too close to an open fire or a hot radiator) place until the dough has doubled in size (approx. 1-2 hrs)**.
- Meanwhile, immerse sultanas and apricots in a little hot water for 5 minutes to rehydrate them. Drain and squeeze the excess moisture out of them using a sieve or a muslin cloth. Chop the apricots into fine dice.
- Mix apricots, sultanas and almonds together.
- Split the dough into three, four, five or six equal parts – it’s best to use kitchen scales here. The type of braid you make is up to you – I found this video really helpful. I went with a five braid loaf, but the instructions below are how to make the simplest of them all – a three strand braid.
- Roll each part into a long rectangle using a rolling pin. Sprinkle the rectangle with a portion of fruit and nuts and then roll up into a tight strand with both hands, applying even pressure. Once all your stands are ready ensure they are all similar width and length.
- Place all three strands on a lightly oiled baking tray alongside each other, leaving a bit of space around each strand.
- First pinch the ends of the three strands together at one end, then start braiding by folding the right strand over the centre strand and then the left one over the centre strand. Repeat until you get to the other end. Pinch the ends together again. Fold both pinched ends underneath the bread gently.
- Cover the bread and rest for another 60 minutes, until fully proofed – if you poke it with your fingertip, it should not spring back fully, but retain a little indent.
- Pre-heat the oven to 190° C / 375° F while the bread is resting. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until nicely brown on top.
- Glaze while hot, with apricot jam mixed in with 2 tbsp water.
Recipe originally from Lazy Cat Kitchen
- 2 cups cauliflower florets
- 1 1/2 matzoh crackers
- 6 ounces silken tofu
- 1 medium leek, both white and green parts chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- 3 tablespoons dill, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted and chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease an 8×8-inch baking pan.
- Steam the cauliflower until very tender. Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Mash coarsely with a fork or a potato masher.
- Crumble 1 sheet of matzoh into a food processor and process to crumbs. Set them aside.
- Blend the tofu until smooth.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan, add the leeks, onions, and garlic and sauté till the leeks they are tender and the onions are translucent. This will take about 6-8 minutes.
- Add the leek mixture to the cauliflower. Mix in the matzoh crumbs and the puréed tofu, along with 1 tablespoon each of parsley and dill. Season with salt and pepper.
- Spread the cauliflower mixture evenly into the prepared baking dish.
- Mix the remaining herbs with the chopped almonds. Mix well.
- Crumble the remaining 1/2 matzoh into large crumbs and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, mix well.
- Sprinkle the almond-herbs mixture and the crumbled matzoh mixture evenly over the cauliflower mixture.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top is browned and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove the dish from the oven and let it stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe from onegreenplanet.org
US Customary – Metric
- 3 large (~ 450 g each) sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (organic when possible)
- 3-4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus more for sweet potato)
- ~1/2 tsp sea salt + black pepper (to taste)
- 2 medium lemons, juiced (2 lemons yield ~1/3 cup or 80 ml)
- 12 ounces extra-firm tofu (drained and pressed dry for 10 minutes)
- 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
PESTO SAUCE optional
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup loosely packed basil, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced (2 cloves yield ~1 Tbsp or 6 g)
- 1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese
- 1 healthy pinch each salt + pepper
- Water (to thin)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).
Add all tofu filling ingredients to a food processor or blender and pulse to combine, scraping down sides as needed. You are looking for a semi-pureed mixture with bits of basil still intact. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Peel sweet potatoes and slice thinly with a very sharp knife or mandolin. They shouldn’t be paper thin, but semi-thick and bendable – about 1/8th inch.
In a 9×13-inch (or similar size) dish, begin laying down the sweet potatoes in a single layer, overlapping slightly.
Top with one-third of the tofu ricotta mixture and spread using a spoon or spatula. Top with another layer of sweet potatoes, slightly overlapping. Repeat until you have three total layers of tofu ricotta, and four layers of sweet potatoes. The top layer should be sweet potatoes.
Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes.
Then remove foil, increase oven heat to 400 degrees F (204 C), and bake uncovered for another 5-10 minutes to slightly brown up the top layer.
While the lasagna is cooking, prepare pesto (optional), by adding olive oil, basil, and garlic to a blender or food processor. Mix on on medium-low speed to combine. Then add vegan parmesan cheese, a pinch each salt and pepper and pulse to combine again.
Add water to thin until a pourable pesto sauce is achieved, mixing on high until only small bits of basil and garlic remain. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added a bit more vegan parmesan cheese and basil.
Let lasagna cool slightly before serving. Top entire lasagna with desired amount of pesto, or reserve for individual servings.
Best when fresh, though leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Freeze for longer-term storage.
Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt and pepper for flavor, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, and lemon juice for brightness.
Recipe originally from Minimalist Baker
Jelly-filled donuts with orange zest and powdered sugar. An egg- and dairy-free version of a Hanukkah treat.
- 1 packet active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
- ½ cup unsweetened plain soy or almond milk, lukewarm
- ¼ cup water, lukewarm
- 2 ½ cups flour (more as needed)
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 tablespoon brandy, optional
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons vegan butter, softened at room temp
- vegetable oil, for frying
- powdered sugar, for dusting
- Sprinkle yeast over lukewarm water and milk and allow to proof for 5-10 minutes, until foamy.
- Add sugar and 1 cup flour and combine. Add remaining ingredients and combine with the paddle attachment in a stand mixer. (If mixing by hand, stir until dough comes together in a shaggy ball.) Dough should be slightly tacky to the touch but not too sticky.
- Switch to the dough hook attachment and knead for 5-8 minutes, or knead by hand for 5-10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic.
- Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp clean kitchen rag, and allow to rise in a warm place until just about doubled in size, about an hour.
- Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. You can divide the dough into roughly 15 portions and roll into balls, OR you can roll the dough out to 1” thickness and use a biscuit cutter to portion them out.
- Transfer shaped donuts to a lightly flour surface and allow to rise for an additional 30-40 minutes until doubled in size.
- Heat 1” oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet to 360-370°F and fry donuts for 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to blot excess oil.
- Allow donuts to cool slightly while filling pastry bag with jam. Poke a hole in the side or top of your donut, then pipe about a tablespoon of jam into each donut. Dust lightly with powdered sugar and serve.
Recipe Originally from Sarah’s Vegan Kitchen
- 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup warm water
- 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
- Zest from 1 orange
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups canola oil
- 1 cup honey
- 1/2 cup ground pistachios
- Dissolve the yeast and sugar in a medium-sized bowl with the 4 tablespoons of warm water. Let the yeast starter stand for approximately 15 minutes until it is frothy and blooming so the yeast starter doubles in size.
- Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, then add the orange zest and salt. Make a small well in the middle of the flour and pour the yeast starter into the well. Incorporate the yeast mixture by making a swirling motion with your fingers in the middle of the well, while slowly streaming in the remaining ¾ cup of warm water. Knead the mixture inside of the bowl with palm of your hands for approximately 15 minutes until the dough is very smooth. Cover with a clean towel and set aside in a warm place to rise until it’s roughly double in size, approximately 1 hour.
- When the dough has almost finished rising, fill a large pot with the canola oil and heat until it reaches 350ºF on a thermometer. With wet hands, lightly punch down the dough to deflate. Pull off a piece of donut batter that is approximately the size of a small egg. Use your thumb to make a hole in the center of the piece of batter. Open the hole with your fingers to form a donut that is approximately 4 inches in diameter. Drop the donut away from you into the pot. Be careful not to crowd the pot (three donuts at a time is about right). Fry the donuts for 2 minutes on one side, then flip and finish cooking on the other side for 1 ½ minutes.
- Remove the donuts to a cooling rack lined with paper towels to drain. Cool for approximately 4 minutes and then drizzle each donut with honey, sprinkle with pistachios. Serve immediately, preferably with hot mint tea.
Recipe from Michael Solomonov on food52.com
For the syrup:
- 2 to 3 lemons
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- Using a five-hole zester, remove the zest from 1 of the lemons in long strands. Halve and squeeze enough lemons to yield 1/3 cup juice.
- In a small pot, stir together the lemon juice and zest, water, and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar is completely dissolved and clear, about 1 minute. Pour into a pie pan and let cool.
- The syrup can be made 1 day ahead, covered, and refrigerated.
For the dough and for frying:
- 1 1/8teaspoons (1/2 package) active dry yeast
- 1 1/4 cups warm water (100° F to 110° F), divided
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cornstarch
- Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 quarts mild oil with medium-high smoke point, such as grapeseed, sunflower, or avocado, for deep-frying
- In a small bowl, stir together the yeast and 1/4 cup of the warm water and let stand in a warm place until the mixture bubbles, about 10 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, using a fork, stir together the flour, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in 1/2 cup of the warm water and the yeast mixture. Then slowly stir in enough of the remaining 1/2 cup warm water until the dough is lump-free and the consistency of thick pancake batter. You should have 1 1/2 to 2 cups batter.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until doubled in bulk, at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours. The dough will be loose and spongy and have a yeasty aroma.
- To make the fritters: Scrape the dough into a 1-gallon resealable plastic bag or large pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain pastry tip and set the bag in a bowl for support. Let the dough stand for about 30 minutes before frying. Line a large plate with paper towels. Place the prepared plate, tongs, a small spider or slotted spoon, the syrup, and a tray to hold the finished fitters near the stove.
- Pour the oil to a depth of 3 1/2 inches into a 4- or 5-quart pot, wok, or electric fryer and heat to 375° F. If using a plastic bag for the dough, snip 1/4 inch off one of the bottom corners, cutting on the diagonal, to create a piping tip. Roll the top of the pastry bag closed to move the batter toward the opening. Don’t worry about air pockets.
- Pipe a bit of the batter into the hot oil. The oil should bubble around the batter immediately. If it does not, continue heating the oil and try again.
- Pipe the dough into the hot oil, creating 3- to 4-inch coils or squiggles, letting gravity help push the batter out. Be careful not to crowd the pan. Fry the dough, turning over at the halfway point, until bubbled, golden, and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes total.
- Use a spider or slotted spoon to fish the fritters out of the oil, drain them briefly on the towel-lined plate, and then drop them into the syrup for a moment or two, turning them to coat evenly. Lift them out of the syrup and transfer them to the tray in a single layer to cool.
- Repeat with the remaining batter, skimming any loose bits of dough from the hot oil between batches to prevent burning. Scrape any batter that escaped into the bowl back into the pastry bag to make more pastries.
- The cooled pastries can be piled on a platter. Pour any remaining syrup over the top.
- The fritters taste best served the same day they are made, although they will hold their crispness overnight. Store loosely covered at room temperature.
Recipe from food52.com
Buy Fair Trade chocolate. If you still want chocolate gelt, opt for Fair Trade choices. Our partners at T’ruah offer wonderful educational resources to explore guilt-free gelt. We recommend Equal Exchange, Divine Chocolate, or any bar with the Equal Exchange logo at your grocery store. Or try making your own gelt using sustainably sourced ingredients with this great Jew & the Carrot recipe!
Use local potatoes and onions. Potatoes and other root vegetables are in abundance during the winter. Stop by your local farmers market and stock up prior to making your Chanukah latkes.
Buy organic oil. Since Chanukah frequently involves oil in some form for every meal, buying organic oil or using RSPO sustainable palm oil ensures a more sustainable celebration.
Change up your latke. Toppings: Rather than buying a traditional brand of sour cream, stock up on an all-natural or organic sourcream. More of an applesauce fan? Make your own from apples purchased locally or buy an organic brand. Latke: You can use sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes, or carrots as an added healthy bonus to give your latkes a different taste!
Eat less meat. Use the festive opportunity to cut down on meat consumption and eat some of the wonderful produce that is available during the winter months.
Use environmentally sustainable candles. Beeswax, soy, and palm oil provide more natural alternatives to the traditional paraffin Chanukah candles. Check out Big Dipper Wax Works or your local candle maker for environmentally sustainable Chanukah candles.
Reuse the Wrap. Reusable gift bags are a great way to be environmentally conscious as well as a great supplementary gift, a beautiful gift bag that the next individual can reuse! Check out Etsy for some awesome Chanukah themed reusable gift bags and wrap!
Green your Chanukah decorations. Try crafting a dreidel out of recyclable materials. Also, as a family or community activity, make your own hanukkiah using recycled materials you find around your house. Remember making an alphabet block hanukkiah as a child? Recreate the experience with your family or community, and see how creative you can make your hanukkiah! Here are some great suggestions from the Huffington Post about how to green your very own hanukkiah!
Make your Menorah more sustainable. Help reduce CO2 emissions and environmental damage through this covenant that attempts to heal the planet of the climate crisis of global scorching. Learn more about the Green Menorah Covenant Coalition. Or Ten Thousand Villages for recycled and sustainable menorah options.
Save paper. Send environmentally-friendly e-cards as opposed to the traditional paper cards. Or, buy cards made from recycled paper. In addition, recycled or recyclable paper when wrapping gifts. (Newspaper is always a cool idea that is especially fun for kids!)
Look for EnergyStar rebates. Find rebates and special offers near you on ENERGY STAR certified products. Products that earn the ENERGY STAR label meet strict energy-efficiency specifications set
by the U.S. EPA helping you save energy and money while protecting the environment. Click here for the rebate finder and here for the database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.
Cut down on waste! If you’re hosting a Chanukah party or large communal meal, use recyclable, reusable, or compostable plates and flatware. Additionally, try to use reusable table cloths and napkins. For tips on cutting back on waste, check out Chapter 3 of the Hazon Food Guide.
Cotton swabs form the flames for this playfully patterned menorah. For the base, cover a 3- by 12-inch piece of corrugated cardboard with scrapbook paper or let your kids paint their own design on them. Roll and tape 8 (4- by 5-inch) paper rectangles, and one that’s 4 by 7 inches, to form tubes. Dip one end of each tube in tacky glue and place the tubes on the base as shown. For each flame, cut a teardrop shape from orange card stock and a slightly larger teardrop from yellow tissue paper. Cover the orange piece with glue and then place a cotton swab on top. Smooth the tissue paper over the orange paper and swab, and let dry. To make your flames sit taller in their holders, pack crumpled tissue paper inside the tubes.
This is a great craft that uses common items and greenery found around the house and backyard. We love it’s minimalistic green design. We found this project here.
Here is the list of necessary materials:
- Greenery and Sticks
- Wire Cutters
- Florist Wire
Here are the directions:
- Begin by taking one or two stems of your choice and lay them along a section of your star. Wrap a piece of florist wire (about 6cm long) tightly around the branch and stems and squeeze the ends together with the wire cutters. Do this a couple more times along the stem to secure the stems to the branch, laying the stems in different directions.
- You may need to tie some twine tightly around those points with heavier foliage to help secure the stems to the branch, as shown below.
- Continue along the frame of your star, adding stems and foliage here and there where desired. You can use previously wrapped wire points to stick more foliage into, and then secure with twine. Just layer the foliage as you go until you’re happy with how it looks.
We found this fun, family friendly craft here.
This unconventional flameless menorah for kids is a wonderful way to teach, share & pass on a beautiful tradition (and also happens to provide the perfect opportunity for a little counting and color-learning practice). Just like an actual menorah, you can add the “candles” together over the course of Hanukkah for a kid-safe celebration of lights!
- A piece of cardboard or cereal box
- Yellow/gold construction paper or cardstock
- Scissors or a utility knife
- A hole punch
- 8 or 9 sticks (about 3-4″ long)
- Paint and a brush
- A hot glue gun or craft glue
- Moss, evergreen sprigs or other natural decoration
- Garden shears to cut twigs
- Collect 9 twigs of the same approximate length and width (you can usually break one larger stick into 2 or 3 smaller ones) You’ll also want 4 longer straight sticks to use along the edges of your menorah (a decorative touch, that also helps it keeps its shape and stand strong and sturdy). I thought it would be especially engaging for kids if it formed a rainbow of colors, so we painted each stick, but they’d look equally beautiful left untouched.
- Cut small, simple flame shapes out of a piece of cardstock or construction paper. Use a hot glue gun to affix a flame to the top of each twig candle. Note: It’s easier to push the stick into the cardboard base if the edge is fairly even, so if one side of your stick has a much more jagged edge, you may want to use that side for your paper flame.
- Use an X-acto knife or similar to cut an 18-inch x 2.5 inch (or larger) strip of cardboard from the side of a box. We painted our cardboard, but it’s an optional step. Once dry, fold in half and crease at the center.
- Make a mark in the middle of your cardboard strip, then use a ruler to mark off 4 more lines (equal distances apart) down each side of your cardboard strip. Using an X-Acto knife or boxcutter, cut small “X”s at each mark, then gently fold inwards (toward the bottom of your base). These create the holders for our twig candles. Remember to take into account the width of your twigs so your X’s don’t create a hole that’s too small/large. Note: If you *do* happen to make a hole that’s a bit too large, just wrap a bit of clay or playdough around your candle before adding it to the menorah!
- To stabilize your menorah and keep it standing tall, glue a small cardboard triangle-shaped support under the bend in the center.
- We thought we’d cover up a bit of the cardboard and embrace the natural theme by adding some dried mosses on top. We used the glue gun to make a big “S” shape, then started pressing dried grasses and mosses down on top!
- To add some support and give our edges a finishing touch, we used a hot glue gun to add stick edging to each side of our menorah. We were able to just break our sticks to the approximate length of each side, but you can use a pair of garden shears if your sticks are harder to break at the right spot.
- Gently pop the candles into your menorah each night from right to left, using the Shammash to “light” each one.
Food for Thought– A 130-page sourcebook that draws on a range of texts from within and beyond Jewish traditions to explore a range of topics relating to Jews and food.
Greening Chanukah Guide– The Hazon Greening Chanukah Guide is a great way to practically plan your celebration with environmental ethics in mind.
Decomposition & Chanukah – This post discusses the link between Chanukah and the lessons we can learn on longevity for the products we consume.
Share in Hazon family traditions!
While certain traditions are constant like lighting a menorah or spinning a dreidel, others that are more personal may be kept closer to the heart this time of year. We asked our staff to share their own family Chanukah traditions with our readers. Here were their answers:
“Every year for many years I could not eat regular potatoes or eggs so now we make our latkes with sweet potatoes and kosher “gelatin eggs”. It sounds crazy but it really works. We invite all of our friends and family over (most of whom are not Jewish; imagine 16 people in our tiny house….), light candles, and debate whether you can really tell the difference between vegan and regular sour cream on top of the latke.”
–Hannah Henza Director of National Programs
“I come from a musical family and every year on Chanuka my dad plays the piano and we sing songs. I haven’t lived at home in over a decade, but my parents still call me every Chanuka and we sing over the phone together!”
– Sara Pilavin, Special Events Coordinator
“We have a slightly “heavier” tradition every night after we light the candles we sit for at least half an hour and read the Book of Maccabis, the actual text Hannukah relies on. We discover fascinting facts, and every year there is something new. For instance, did you know that the Maccabis forged alliances with the Spartans and even with Rome? Did you know that the original name of Hannukah is “The Celebration of Sukkot and Fire”, because that year they did not celebrate Sukkot because it was in the middle of the war. When they won they celebrated for eight days, in lieu of Sukkot.”
– Aharon Ariel Lavi, Director of Hakhel
“Years ago, throughout my conversion process, I found that cooking and experiencing new foods was a wonderful way for me to get in touch with Judaism on a more personal level. On my first Chanukah I was given the traditional recommendations of applesauce or sour cream as a topping for my first latke and I was very excited to find out which “team” I would be placed into. My future-husband then told me his family did something strange and always topped their latkes with powdered sugar. Of course, I tried it and it’s now my go-to topping! This tradition makes me feel like I am not only part of the community but a special part of his family as well.”
-Rachel Miller, National Programs Marketing Coordinator