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Joan Nathan’s Kosher Thanksgiving

Dear Bintel Brief:

I own and use “Jewish Cooking in America,” “The Jewish Holiday Kitchen,” and “The Jewish Holiday Baker.” I have not yet seen “The New American Cooking” by Joan Nathan.

I had the very great pleasure of meeting Joan Nathan, eating with her and chatting with her at Aitz Hayim Center for Jewish Living in Highland Park, Ill. some while ago.

Although there are a few Thanksgiving recipes in “Jewish Cooking in America,” I would love to see a Joan Nathan menu and set of recipes for a kosher American Thanksgiving dinner from appetizers (easy and pareve) through dessert. That would be a wonderful and timely gift!


Joan Nathan responds:

Dear Cookbook Collector:

Thank you so much for your kind words. I remember Aitz Hayim fondly! Believe it or not, this is only the second Thanksgiving dinner I have ever prepared. Except for once or twice I have always gone to my mother’s or my sister-in-law’s in Barrington, R.I.

This year, we are all going to our house on Martha’s Vineyard including my 96-year-old mother, who will bring her candied sweet potatoes with marshmallow that appear in my “Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Cookbook.”

The menu will be as follows, unless I get carried away by the local vegetables on the Vineyard.

• Sweet and sour tiny hotdogs
• My hummus with preserved lemon and veggies
• Demi-tasse of squash soup (recipe below)

Main course and side dishes:
•Turkey with stuffing
•Cranberry sauce with orange
•Sweet potatoes
•Brussels sprouts with greens, onions, and chestnuts

•Apple cranberry crisp (recipe below)
•Pumpkin pie

Adapted from “The New American Cooking”

1 ½ pounds autumn squash, such as acorn, butternut or kabocha, cut into large pieces, and seeds removed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper or to taste
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
1 inch ginger, peeled and grated (about 1 tablespoon)
1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, cut in 2 pieces
1–2 teaspoons sambal or other hot Thai chili paste 2 quarts vegetable stock, chicken stock or water
1 cup coconut milk
Soy sauce to taste

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2) Toss the squash with the vegetable oil, salt and pepper, garlic and ginger. Roast the squash for 1 hour, or until it is soft and the edges have begun to brown.

3) Transfer the pieces of roasted squash to a large soup pot, along with the onion, carrots, lemongrass, 1 teaspoon of the chili paste, and the stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until everything is soft and cooked through.

4) Pluck out the lemongrass stalk, add the coconut milk and puree the soup in the food processor fitted with a steel blade or with a hand held blender. Add soy sauce to taste, and, if you like, the second teaspoon of chili paste, and serve.

Yield: 6 servings

Adapted from “The New American Cooking”

Fruit Filling

8 apples, such as Jonathan or Stayman, peeled, halved, then sliced in 6 pieces, and halved (about 8 cups or 3 pounds)
1 cup cranberries (optional) or 2–3 diced plums
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons preserved ginger (optional)

Topping 3/4 cup all purpose flour
½ cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 stick pareve margarine
Non dairy vanilla ice cream

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9 by 13-inch baking pan.

2) Mix the apples and the cranberries and place in the pan. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the apples.

3) Mix the lemon zest, brown sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, lemon zest, and the preserved ginger and sprinkle over the apples. Let sit for a few minutes.

3) To make the topping, mix the flour, nuts, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and ginger together in a small bowl. Using your fingers, work the margarine into the dry ingredients until you have a coarse, crumbly dough. Sprinkle over the fruit.

4) Bake in the oven until the fruit is soft and bubbly and the top golden and crisp, about 40 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla tofu ice cream.

Note: You can substitute old-fashioned oats for the walnuts but it won’t make as crisp a crisp.

Yield: at least 8 servings

Joan Nathan is the author of numerous cookbooks, including “Jewish Cooking in America” (Knopf, 1994), “Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Cookbook” (Schocken, 2004) and “The New American Cooking” (Knopf, 2005). She is at work on a book about French Jewish cuisine, slated release next fall.

If you have a question for the Bintel Brief, send an email to [email protected]. Questions selected for publication are printed anonymously. New installments of the column are published on Mondays.


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