After Thanksgiving, take a breath and get ready for the next celebration

“Chanukah is really early this year” everyone seems to be saying. But Chanukah falls on the 25th of Kislev this year, just like every other year.

Chanukah begins this year on Dec. 4, which allows us the luxury of completely relaxing during the last two weeks of the year. As my children grow, they are less interested in unwrapping presents and more interested in having friends to the house to light candles and eat latkes together.

Personally, I love that Chanukah follows Thanksgiving the next week. I get to rework leftover turkey into soups and casseroles. I also use

the quieter days after Thanksgiving to make latkes and freeze them, as well as the applesauce. I’ll also put my cranberry sauce to work, serving it with the potato pancakes. The tart-sweetness makes an interesting and delicious contrast to the crispy fried latkes.

Interested in other delights of the season? I’ll be teaching a Chanukah Treats cooking class at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center on Monday, Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m. Catch me on KGO-7 on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 3 p.m. whipping up more Chanukah Treats on “View from the Bay.”

James Beard’s Turkey and Rice Casserole

Serves 6

4 Tbs. olive oil

2 small onions, chopped

½ lb. sliced mushrooms

3 cup diced, cooked turkey

1 cup leftover stuffing

2 Tbs. chopped parsley

2 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

1 Tbs. curry powder

1 cup uncooked rice

2 ½ cup turkey or chicken stock

Heat 3 Tbs. of the olive oil in a large skillet, and sauté the onions until they are translucent. Add the mushrooms, and sauté until they soften. Combine the onions and mushrooms in an oven-safe casserole with the turkey, stuffing, parsley, salt and pepper.

Heat the remaining 1 Tbs. of olive oil in the same skillet and add the curry powder and the rice. Sauté the rice until it is well coated, then add to the casserole. Pour in the chicken stock. Cover the casserole and place in a preheated 375-degree oven and cook until the rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed, about 45 minutes. Serve warm.

Cranberry Sauce

Makes about 3 cups

¾ cup orange juice

½ cup sugar

2 cup fresh cranberries

1 cup orange marmalade

1 cup dried cranberries

zest of 1 orange

zest of 1 lemon

Heat the orange juice and the sugar in a medium sauce pot until the sugar

dissolves. Add the remaining ingredients, and bring slowly to a boil. Reduce the heat, and allow the sauce to simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Cool and store in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature to serve.

My Mother’s Applesauce

Makes about 4 cups

4 pounds tart apples, cored and quartered

juice from 2 oranges

½ cup sugar

2-inch piece of cinnamon stick

Place the apples, orange juice, sugar and optional cinnamon stick in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer about 15 minutes. Serve as is, or pass through a food mill or sieve.

Rebecca Ets-Hokin is a certified culinary professional. Visit her Web site at She can be reached at [email protected].