Thanksgivukkah! Spiced Sweet Potato "Gelt" with Orange Honey Cinnammon Sour Cream ~ ElephantEats.com

As I mentioned in my last post, I have a Thanksgivukkah recipe for you guys today.

What is Thanksgivukkah you ask? It’s when Thanksgiving and Chanukkah coincide! Chanukkah goes by the Hebrew (lunar) calendar and so it’s not always in December like Christmas. It has been in November before, but it’s extremely rare that in falls on Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgivukkah! Spiced Sweet Potato "Gelt" with Orange Honey Sour Cream ~ ElephantEats.com

Nate is a lovely hand model

According to Wikipedia, the last time it happened since Thanksgiving was declared a U.S. federal holiday by President Abraham Lincoln was 125 years ago, in 1888. The next time Thursday, November 28 will fall during Chanukkah will be in the year 79811, assuming the Jewish calendar is not revised. Crazy huh?

Being that Jews love to eat, and food bloggers love to cook, you can guarantee that this Chanukkah will have some awesome Thanksgiving/Jewish inspired treats.

The traditional Chanukkah foods are latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (donuts). If you notice, both of these foods are deep fried in oil, which is no coincidence. Oil is very important to the holiday of Chanukkah. You can read more about it here if you’re interested.

Thanksgivukkah! Spiced Sweet Potato "Gelt" with Orange Honey Sour Cream ~ ElephantEats.com

I’ve already seen plenty of riffs on latkes for Thanksgivukkah, involving sweet potatoes rather than regular spuds. Honeslty I don’t think that’s so original, as Jews have been doing that already for years. Then I saw people made turkey donuts, which is just plain gross. I also saw a pumpkin rugelach or pumpkin kugel (pudding). 

But I wanted to be original. So I tried to think of other Chanukkah “things.” The other traditional food to eat on Chanukkah, if you can call it a food, is chocolate “gelt” or chocolate coins.Usually these coins are used to gamble while playing dreidel, a game involving a little spinning top.

Thanksgivukkah! Spiced Sweet Potato "Gelt" with Orange Honey Sour Cream ~ ElephantEats.com

Gelt is really just money, or coins, so I figured a recipe could look like gelt without actually involving the candy that we love to eat on this holiday. That’s when it occurred to me- sweet potato gelt! I thought about using carrots since they’re smaller and would look more like coins, but they’re not as Thanksgiving-y as sweet potatoes. 

I added the dipping to sauce to make it more kid-friendly (kids love dipping!) and also to inject some more fall flavor (citrus and cinnamon) into the dish. Obviously this dish goes way beyond Thanksgivukkah and would be a welcome addition to any dinner, or even as a fun pass-around appetizer. 

I hope you enjoy, and have a wonderful Thanksgivukkah! You know you want to celebrate it ;)

Thanksgivukkah! Spiced Sweet Potato "Gelt" with Orange Honey Sour Cream ~ ElephantEats.com

Spiced Sweet Potato "Gelt" with Orange Honey Sour Cream Dipping Sauce
Serves 4
A perfect appetizer or kid's food for Thanksgivukkah or just any day of the year!
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Potatoes
  1. 4-5 sweet potatoes/yams (try to find ones with a small diameter to make smaller "coins")
  2. Cooking spray or olive oil
  3. salt/pepper/cinnamon for sprinkling
Dipping Sauce
  1. 8 oz. sour cream (I used low fat)
  2. 1 Tbsp orange zest
  3. 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
  4. 1 Tbsp honey
  5. 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Cover a large baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Cut sweet potatoes crosswise into 1/2" thick rounds. Either toss with oil or place on the prepared baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt/pepper/cinnamon.
  3. Put potatoes in oven and cook, flipping them halfway, 20-25 minutes or until cooked and soft enough to be pierced with a fork, but firm enough to be picked up without falling apart.
  4. While potatoes are cooking, whisk dipping sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
  5. Let potatoes cool to room temperature so you can pick them up without burning your fingers and serve with sauce on the side for dipping!
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It’s January and I finally had a moment free so I joined up with my favorite bloghop group for a new ingredient/flavor of the month…January is #citruslove month!

This month’s recipe comes with a nice little story attached…let’s just say Thursday was not my day:

I woke up with vertigo. As soon as I rolled over to get out of bed, the room was spinning. It happens to me now and then so I wasnt too concerned, but there was no way I could get out of bed and to work so I called in sick. I tried to go back to sleep to get the spinning to subside. By midafternoon I was feeling a bit better.

I knew the date for posting my #citruslove recipe was this weekend and since it was early afternoon I figured today was the perfect day to cook up some citrusy dinner since I normally wouldn’t get home from work for another few hours. I had an idea in mind for a lemony pasta. I also had leftover sour cream and ham that Nate’s mom sent me home with after New Years. I thought they could all combine into a tasty dish.

Nate came with me and we did some grocery shopping and after catching up on my Teen Mom 2 (oh come on, you know you watch it too), I got started on dinner.

Things were going well until I started zesting the lemon. I had a brand new zester, but as any of you who have used one know, you have to apply a lot of pressure to the fruit to scrape the peel off.

*this is where you might want to skip to the end if you’re not good dealing with blood…

I was just about to finish zesting the lemon when I pulled a little too hard and the zester decided to zest the side of my palm instead. At first I just felt pain but then I looked down and it was a deep slice gushing blood. I get lightheaded when I see blood, especially if it’s my own. I screamed for Nate while running cold water over it. I then applied pressure with a paper towel while I sat down and attempted not to faint.

Nate desperately wanted to help and asked me what to do but I was too light-headed to answer. I finally laid on the bed with my feet up and managed to instruct Nate where I *luckily had butterfly bandages in the linen closet. I would never have bought these but, being the pack rat that I am, I saved them from when my parents were moving out of their condo. Since Nate was unsure and I was too freaked out to think, I did what I do in any emergency, I called up my mom :)

My mom calmly talked me through what Nate should do and Nate very adeptly sealed up my wound. I don’t know what I would have done if I had been alone!

After laying down for a while and making sure the wound was bound enough to stop bleeding, I was determined to finish this meal. I sat on a chair in the kitchen while instructing Nate how to make the rest of the pasta since there was no recipe. Luckily most of the chopping was done since Nate isn’t a fan of using knives. Mind you, Nate has never cooked a meal from scratch.

All-in-all he did an awesome job and dinner was delicious! So that just goes to show you how easy this meal really is ;)…and how lucky I am to have such a wonderful, helpful and sweet fiancé (and a mom who remains cool and collected in a state of emergency!).

Don’t worry, no blood got onto the pasta ;)

Be aware that this pasta is very lemony, so steer clear if you’re not a lemon person.  That being said, Nate and I both thought this may be the most delicious pasta I’ve ever made! Yep, I’m willing to make a statement that bold!

The tart lemon perfectly complements the richness of the sour cream and makes the whole dish seem “light.” Neither Nate nor I are usually a fan of creamy sauces but this one was perfect!

This month’s #citruslove is brought to you by the following lovely hosts:

Astig Vegan ~ Richgail
Oh Cake ~ Jessica ~ @jesshose

Please join in on the #citruslove fun by linking up any citrus recipe from the month of January 2012. Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #citruslove event! The twitter hashtag is #citruslove :).

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…(Powered by Linky Tools)

Creamy Lemon Pasta with Ham and Escarole
Recipe by me

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serves 5-6

1 medium head of escarole< roughly chopped
1 lb pasta
2 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 Tbsp miced garlic
zest and juice of one lemon
8 oz. sour cream
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups diced cooked ham
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta as directed. When pasta is al dente, add escarole and cook one minute. Reserve 2 cups pasta water (for thinning sauce out later) and drain pasta/escarole.

While water is boiling, melt butter in a large saucepan. When butter is melted, add onions and cook til soft, 5ish min. Add garlic and cook until garlic begins to brown.

Add lemon juice to pan and stir to get any stuck bits off bottom. Add sour cream and parmesan and stir to combine. Add ham and continue to cook until it’s warmed through. Salt and pepper.

Add pasta/escarole to saucepan and stir to combine with sauce.  If necessary, thin sauce out with some of reserved pasta water to help pasta get coated.

One of my dearest friends, Erica (and the one I’ve known the longest!), celebrated a special bday this past weekend- the big 3-0. Because I wasn’t able to make it to her bowling bday bash, I did what I always do and baked her a cake :)

It’s so nice to love cooking and baking, because it makes giving presents so easy, enjoyable and special (I also sometimes paint/draw/crochet my gifts). I mean who doesn’t love some homemade treats? Plus, it’s so nice to put some thought and effort into a present and give it that handmade touch rather than just picking up a random gift from the store because you’re “supposed to” give presents on bdays.

And I have to say, I think my gifts tend to be much more appreciated! So when it came time to get thinking about what type of cake Erica wanted, I went straight to the source. I like to be creative, but Erica wanted the basics: yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I suppose that IS the traditional bday cake combo.

Of course, I had to add my touch and make it a little different and more gourmet- adding white chocolate chips to the batter and making a sour cream chocolate frosting. But I also have been so busy  that I took a few shortcuts- using a boxed cake mix that I jazzed up.

Yes, Erica is wearing scrubs in those pics. She works in tv and is currently filming a show and is in the hospital all day long. I wish I could wear such comfy clothes to work!

Anyways, the cake result was nothing short of amazing…a birthday tradition from now on, to be sure.

Happy 30th Birthday, Erica!!!

I’m so happy to have you as my friend and I can’t wait to celebrate many more birthdays with you :)


Yellow Birthday Cake with White Chocolate Chips and Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

Cake recipe by me, Frosting recipe taken from Smitten Kitchen adapted from The Dessert Bible

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# of Servings-who cares, it’s your birthday! (Makes one 2 layer bday cake)

Cake:

1 box Classic Yellow Cake mix
1 cup water
1/3 cup oil
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1/2-1 cup white chocolate chips
1 recipe Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting, recipe below

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Butter two 9-inch round cake pans (or two 8-inch, depending on how high you want the cake to be) and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment.

Place cake mix, water, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a bowl. Beat well. Add eggs and beat to incorporate, 2 min. Stir in 1/2-1 cup of white chocolate chips, depending on how much you like.

Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 30 min. Cool in pan on a rack 15 minutes. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour (put in fridge if you want them to cool faster. Sometimes they’re easier to frost when cold). Do not frost until cakes are completely cool.

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

15 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 teaspoons instant espresso (optional, but can be used to pick up the flavor of average chocolate)
2 1/4 cups sour cream, at room temperature
1/4 to 1/2 cup light corn syrup
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the chocolate and espresso powder, if using, in the top of a double-boiler or in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted. (Alternately, you can melt the chocolate in a microwave for 30 seconds, stirring well, and then heating in 15 second increments, stirring between each, until the chocolate is melted.) Remove from heat and let chocolate cool until tepid.

Whisk together the sour cream, 1/4 cup of the corn syrup and vanilla extract until combined. Add the tepid chocolate slowly and stir quickly until the mixture is uniform. Taste for sweetness, and if needed, add additional corn syrup in one tablespoon increments until desired level of sweetness is achieved.

Let cool in the refrigerator until the frosting is a spreadable consistency. This should not take more than 30 minutes. Should the frosting become too thick or stiff, just leave it out until it softens again.