Need a quick gift for a Chanukah host Try these easy recipes

Eight days of lighting candles, eating latkes, singing songs, getting presents, playing games and having fun with family and friends makes Chanukah a happy and memorable holiday for kids. More than likely you will be invited to a Chanukah party bearing presents for the young ones in the family.

Edible offerings for the adults make a perfect hostess gift — both ones that can be eaten then and there, and those that can be served at a later date. Shiny mahogany walnuts will disappear like magic when served as a nibble with a glass of sherry or champagne. Pack them in an airtight faceted apothecary jar, tie blue and white ribbon around the neck, and your offering can be given with pride.

Cranberry-apple relish is a snap to make in the food processor. Serve with latkes as an alternative to applesauce. For a festive presentation, pack in French jelly jars with plastic snap on lids. Cut a 6-inch circle from Chanukah wrapping paper, fit over the top and secure with a rubber band. Tie a ribbon around the rubber band.

And what could be more appropriate for Chanukah than flavorful herb- or spice-infused oil? It can be used for a zesty dipping oil, a delicious salad dressing or adding a bit to the latke – frying oil.

Mahogany Spiced Walnuts

Makes 4 cups

1 star anise pod, ground

1⁄2 tsp. coriander seed, ground

1⁄2 tsp. Szechuan peppercorns, ground

1⁄4 tsp. fennel seed, ground

1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1⁄4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 lb. walnut halves

1⁄2 cup granulated sugar

vegetable oil for deep frying


In small bowl combine spices and set aside. Boil walnuts in enough water to cover for 1 minute. Pour into colander and rinse under hot water. Toss well with sugar.

Heat oil to 350 degrees. Deep fry in two batches until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Spread on cookie sheets to cool and then blot in paper toweling. Place in bowl and toss with spice mixture. Taste for salt. Pack in an airtight container at room temperature.

Cranberry-Apple Relish

Makes about 3 cups

1 orange, quartered and seeded

1 lime, quartered and seeded

1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and quartered

1 12-oz. package of cranberries

1⁄2 cup sugar

1⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1⁄4 cup apple brandy or applejack

Place all ingredients in food processor and chop until fine. Store in airtight containers in refrigerator.

Flavored Oils

Herbed Oil:

1⁄4 cup fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, tarragon or a mixture

2 cups good olive oil

Spiced Oil:

4 cloves garlic, smashed

1 small dried chili pepper, halved

2 cups good olive oil

Citrus Oil:

2 Tbs. grated zest of lemon, lime, orange or a mixture

2 cups good olive oil

In a small saucepan heat oil with other ingredients. Let cool and, using a fine mesh strainer, strain into bottles.

Louise Fiszer is a Palo Alto cooking teacher, writer and the co-author of “Jewish Holiday Cooking.” Her columns alternate with those of Rebecca Ets-Hokin. Questions and recipe ideas can be sent to j. or to [email protected].