After I met and married my husband and we decided to be an interfaith family, I struggled. Not with balancing the two religions (although it is tricky evenly splitting the gifts for Hanukkah and Christmas so one holiday doesn’t end up with socks and underwear and no cool gifts; and don’t get me started about how hard an early Easter egg hunt is after a long wine-filled Seder the night before). The hard part for me was figuring out the food. As a person who loves to cook and throw parties, the only way I’d feel totally comfortable with the Jewish holidays was if I had a menu. In my mind, if I perfected our interfaith family’s go-to favorites for the Jewish holidays, everything would just fine.
It took some trial and error. It also took learning exactly how my husband likes his latkes (if you are wondering, crispy with slightly well done ragged edges) None of my recipes are original, but I have played with them a bit.
This year I’m making Oven Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Garlic from Smitten Kitchen. My take on the recipe is that you don’t have to tie up the meat and you can never have enough garlic. I now add at least four heads of garlic, it doesn’t make it too garlicky and you’ll want all that roasted garlic in the end. We love the recipe, Adam and Maxine’s Latkes from Bon Appetit. The picture in the recipe is EXACTLY how my husband likes his latkes. We serve them with sour cream and homemade applesauce. I use a recipe I’ve made for years and have no idea where I found it originally. My daughters love this applesauce so much, my recipe has been permanently doubled from serving 4 to serving 8:
2 Tablespoons butter
6 Braeburn apples, peeled cored, chopped
1 cup water
6 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
Melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Add apples – cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add water, sugar, lemon juice and salt. Stir. Cover and cook 25 minutes. Stir frequently. After 25 minutes mash with a fork or potato masher until the smoothness you desire. Cook just a minute more.
What are we having for dessert? In true interfaith style, we’ll be eating a plate of Christmas Cookies.