Dec 16, 2009

More about Menorah Under the Sea

Our new book Menorah Under the Sea is unique in many ways. It's about a marine biologist who celebrates Hanukkah in an unusual way– at the bottom of the ocean! David Ginsburg was in Antarctica doing research on sea urchins (say that 5 times fast!) during Hanukkah. Since the sun doesn't set during Antarctica's summer (winter to us in the Northern Hemisphere), David creatively brought Hanukkah with him on a dive.

Besides being a book for Hanukkah, Menorah Under the Sea is packed with information about Antarctica and photos of David's time at the McMurdo research station. Penguins are scattered around the research station like pigeons gather in the city. The land is covered with ice and snow and no trees or shrubs.

Learn more about David's research and celebrating Hanukkah in Antarctica by reading the excellent interview on My Jewish Learning's blog Mixed Multitudes.

Dec 11, 2009

Hanukkah Nosh

It's certainly cold and snowy here in Minneapolis, which makes for cozy holiday gatherings! This Hanukkah, besides making fried latkes and sufganiyot, why not add a new recipe? Share a new food with your little ones and get them involved in the kitchen.

Here's a new take on Hanukkah Gelt: chocolate covered apricots! These are easy and fun to make, but be sure to make extra if you've got hungry dreidel players.

Amy at Homeshuling was inspired by our book Harvest of Light and decided to integrate olive oil into her Hanukkah celebration. Olive oil is a healthy alternative to fried foods (not to mention more sophisticated!) and there's lots you can do with it. Host an olive oil tasting featuring infused olive oils and crusty bread. Infuse your own olive oil, or see what your local specialty store has to offer. It makes great gifts!

You can even bake with olive oil! Here's a recipe for Almond Citrus Olive Oil Cake from TC Jewfolk's column Noshin'. It looks yummy and light, a nice alternative when you've had too many doughnuts and cookies.

But if you're craving a doughnut, try these burmelos from Turkey!

Recipe adapted from Hanukkah Around the World

1 egg
1 cup of milk
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cup of flour
Vegetable oil, for deep frying
Your favorite syrup (maple, chocolate, etc.)

1. In a medium bowl, beat egg and milk using a fork or whisk.
2. Add cinnamon and baking powder, mix to combine.
3. Add flour in stages and mix until thick.
4. Heat oil in deep frying pan. Drop the batter by tablespoons into the hot oil, keeping fritters a few inches apart.
5. Turn the fritters over and let both sides brown evenly.
6. Remove from oil and set them on paper towels to cool and drain.
7. Serve with your favorite syrup. Yum!

Other recipe recommendations:
Smitten Kitchen's latkes (with beautiful photography!)
Sweet Potato Latkes from TC Jewfolk
Apple and Pear Beignets with Vanilla Bean Sugar – a French twist on sufganiyot

Dec 10, 2009

Word Art

A friend from college gave me a Wordle as an early Hanukkah gift. What's a Wordle? It's a tool (or toy) that creates a word cloud based on the text you put in. She used text from our Facebook pages, but you can use any sort of text you like to create a fun and unique work of art.

I made a Wordle out of text from our blog, and it's fun to see what topics are prominent: Book, Holocaust, Israel, Birds, etc. Heavily used words are in larger text, less used words are in smaller text. (Click on the image to see it better)

My Jewish Learning made Wordles out of the Ten Commandments and the Shema, which I think would be useful in a classroom setting for young children's budding vocabularies. These also make great gifts for word nerds!

After checking out our Wordle, are there any topics you'd like to see the blog cover? Feel free to leave your comments below. Any feedback is welcome! Thanks for reading.