The Shabbat Table: good food with friends on the challah-days

Challah bread

Good Shabbos! Shabbat Shalom! Chanukah celebrations started earlier this year, because many people are out of town for the winter break. We always celebrate with my niece and nephew, Merav Barr and Marshall Matias, along with their cousins, Sharron and Paul Lungen, at their annual Chanukah dinner. This year, they decided to serve a meat meal. The recipes that they served would be perfect for Shabbat dinner, your upcoming Chanukah celebrations, New Year’s Eve, or any time you need recipes that will feed a large crowd.

Sharron made a colourful Purple Cabbage Salad with Mandarin Oranges that was a huge hit with the guests. When I asked her to share the recipe, Sharron told me that she got it from her friend, Ella Burakowski, of The CJN. It had been inspired by a salad recipe from Susie Fishbein’s cookbook, Kosher by Design, but with some minor modifications.

My niece, Merav, brought shwarma chicken, which was scrumptious. Merav told me that they usually cook the boneless skinless chicken thighs on the barbecue, but because of the wintery weather, they fried it on a cast iron instead.

Since Chanukah begins right after Shabbat, latkes will be on the menu in homes around the globe for the next eight days. I love making Smashed Potato Latkes (see recipe below), which are a perfect addition to any Shabbat menu! And to simplify your latke love a-fare, here’s a super selection of latke recipes for your upcoming Chanukah celebrations:

For a terrific no-bake dessert, make Karen Goren’s Upgraded Biscuit Cake: It’s sure to light up everyone’s face at your Shabbat or Chanukah table!

To my friends, family and fans around the world, have a fabulous Shabbat. Hugs Sameach for a fun-filled Chanukah and Happy Challah-Days to all! (Click here for my award-winning challah recipe.)


Adapted from Kosher by Design by Susie Fishbein.

This colourful salad is a beautiful combination of colours and textures. Sharron Lungen likes to doubles the recipe for a large crowd. For added crunch, she toasts the pine nuts and also adds toasted almonds.


16 ounces shredded purple cabbage (1 head)
1/3 cup chopped scallions
1/3 cup pine nuts (Sharron toasts them first)
1/3 – 1/2 cup slivered toasted almonds (optional)
3 carrots, shredded (8 oz)
1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges, reserving juice
1-2 handfuls dried cranberries


1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp reserved mandarin orange liquid
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp dry powdered chicken-flavored soup mix or dried mustard

  1. Place cabbage, scallions, pine nuts, carrots, oranges and cranberries into a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a jar, combine the brown sugar, pepper, salt, vinegar, reserved liquid from mandarins, oil, and soup mix. Shake until blended.
  3. Toss dressing with salad. Cover and refrigerate to let flavours mix for at least 1 hour. (Can be prepared earlier in the day.)

Makes 8-10 servings.


 Shwarma chicken is usually roasted on a rotating spit, then the meat is shaved off in coarse shreds. In this recipe, boneless, skinless chicken thighs are seasoned with a Mediterranean mixture of spices, and then marinated in olive oil and lemon juice.

 2 lbs/1 kg boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
Pinch allspice
5 or 6 cloves garlic, crushed (about 2 tbsp minced)
Juice of 2 lemons (6 to 8 tbsp)
1/4 cup olive oil

Additional olive oil for frying (see note below)

  1. Place chicken thighs in a large bowl. Season chicken on all sides with salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, turmeric, and allspice. Sprinkle with garlic, and then add lemon juice and olive oil. Mix well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. When ready to cook, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high. Brown chicken pieces on both sides until golden, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a baking dish and cover loosely with foil. Bake for 350 F for 20 minutes, until cooked through.

Makes 6 servings. Multiplies easily. Reheats and/or freezes well.

  • Roasting Method: Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Arrange chicken pieces in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, 30 to 35 minutes, or until edges of chicken are crisp and golden and juices run clear.
  • Shaved-Style Shwarma: Cook chicken as directed above (either fried or roasted). Slice into small bits. Fry in a large skillet in hot oil on medium-high heat until brown and crispy, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a platter and top with finely chopped parsley.


Adapted from Norene’s Healthy Kitchen

A no-grate alternative to potato latkes, these are a wonderful way to get rid of your frustration – just smash away. Baby red-skinned new potatoes have a lower glycemic index than baking potatoes. Small potatoes – big potassium count.

16 baby red-skinned potatoes (2 to 21/2 inches in diameter)
Salted water
2 tbsp extra virgin olive or canola oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp lemon pepper (or to taste)
Dried basil, garlic powder, onion powder, and/or paprika

  1. Boil the potatoes in salted water to cover for 15 to 20 minutes or until fork tender. Drain well. (If desired, the potatoes can be prepared in advance up to this point and refrigerated for a day or two.)
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Place the potatoes in a single layer about 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Cover one potato with a piece of parchment paper. Smash it once or twice with the flat part of the palm of your hand, making a flat disc about 4 inches in diameter. Round off any ragged edges by pushing them together with your fingers. Repeat with the remaining potatoes.
  4. Brush the tops of the smashed potatoes lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with seasonings. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and crispy. If desired, turn over the potatoes halfway through the cooking process.

Yield: 16 potatoes. Recipe doubles or triples easily. Reheats well. Don’t freeze.

  • All Season Smashers: In Step 4, sprinkle oil-topped smashed potatoes lightly with your favorite seasonings such as seasoning salt or coarse salt, rosemary, dillweed, or thyme. Bake as directed.
  • Loxy Latkes!” Buy the smallest baby potatoes you can find; prepare and bake as directed. To serve, arrange on a serving platter and top each “latke” with a dollop of light sour cream (or dairy-free sour cream), a slice of smoked salmon, and a sprig of dillweed. Dill-icious!

Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is the author of 12 cookbooks and divides her time between work as a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer, and cookbook editor. Norene lives in Toronto and her motto is “Food that’s good for you should taste good!” For more information, visit her website at or email her at [email protected].