Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Hanukkah Meal Afterall

So I know I posted a beautiful Hanukkah menu last week, but I took a different route since I was only cooking for two and missed the boat for brisket.  (You really have to start preparing a day before you want to serve it)
The meal:
Celery Root Soup with Apples and Mini Potato Latkes
Bone-in Sirloins (from my favorite butcher Dickson's at Chelsea Market) and Pumpkin Kugel
Meal: A+



The Kugel:

Celery Root Soup with Apple and Potato Latkes:
3 medium leeks (3/4 lb) white and pale green parts only
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 lb celery root, peeled with a knife and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Sky's addition: 1/2 cup diced celery
3 cups water
1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 Granny Smith apple
3/4 celery rib, very thinly sliced on a long diagonal (1/2 cup)
1/3 cup inner celery leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Optional: 1/2 cup half-and-half

Halve leeks lengthwise, then coarsely chop. Wash leeks in a bowl of cold water, agitating them, then lift out onto paper towels and pat dry. Add oil to the pan and cook leeks over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add celery root and celery and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add water and broth and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until celery root is very tender, 35 to 40 minutes. While soup simmers, thinly slice apple lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices with slicer, working around core, then cut slices into 1/8-inch matchsticks with a knife. Gently toss with celery and celery leaves. Purée soup in batches in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids), transferring to a bowl. Return soup to cleaned pot. (If soup is too thick, thin with 1/2 to 3/4 cup water.) Stir in salt, pepper, and half-and-half and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until warm. Season with salt, then divide among 4 bowls and top with apple-celery mixture.

I made about a dozen of mini latkes to go into the soup to serve as croutons:
1 potato
1/2 cup grated onion
1 large egg (lightly beaten)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

I used my cuisinart to grate the potatoes.  Once grated, I added the onion and wrapped them up in a paper towel and rolled them up jelly-roll style to remove the excess water.  Then you place them back in the bowl and add the egg, salt, and pepper. 
Take a  nonstick skillet and heat over moderately high heat but not smoking. Working in batches of 4 latkes, spoon 2 tbsp potato mixture per latke into the skillet spreading with a fork. Reduce heat to medium and cook until undersides are browned, about five minutes.  Turn latkes over and cook until the other side is browned.  Transfer to paper towels.

Pumpkin Kugel:
12 ounces whole grain egg noodles (I used no yolk egg noodles-same amount)
4 ounces neufchatel cheese, diced and softened (I used mascarpone cheese-same amount)
1 cup light sour cream
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds, toasted, divided (I did not put them in the kugel and put a few on top)
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup 1% milk (I used skim)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup crushed cornflakes
2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat an 11" x 7" baking dish with cooking spray.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook per the package directions. Drain and transfer to a bowl.
 Meanwhile, combine the cheese, sour cream, pumpkin puree, 3/4 cup of the pumpkin seeds (I prefer this dish without the nuts inside the kugel), the eggs, 1/4 cup of the sugar, the milk, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Add the noodles and toss well to coat. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
 Combine the cornflake crumbs, butter, remaining 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds (optional), and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a bowl. Sprinkle over the noodle mixture and cover with foil that has been coated with cooking spray. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through. Uncover and bake for 5 minutes longer or until the top is lightly crisped.

Bring the steaks to room temperature.  Heat a cast iron skillet on high heat. While heating, cover the steaks with a good amount of salt/pepper (more than you think is enough). After about five minutes, add a little canola oil (do not use olive oil or butter) to the pan and and add the steaks. Let them cook for 5 minutes per side. Do not touch them until you have to flip them. When finished, remove from the pan and place them on a cutting board to cool for about 3-5 minutes. This will seal the juices. 5 minutes per side yields a medium rare steak.

Serve with a slice of kugel and you're set!

PC: Epicurious.com and Rodale.com

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