Molly Yeh is hosting Hanukkah this year and we’re invited.
The cookbook author and brain behind the blog “My Name is Yeh” is such an enthusiastic person that when you go to her website, hovering your mouse over her last name will produce a “yay!”—which is how you pronounce her last name. The extremely charming woman with a Food Network show depicting her life on a midwestern farm has concocted a number of wonderful recipes reflecting her Jewish and Asian heritage.
Molly, a recent Brooklyn transplant to the farmlands of the Minnesota-North Dakota region, has discovered that in the Midwest, she needs to run the Hanukkah show herself. No longer surrounded by latke-serving cafés, she makes her own. Since she loves to host and Hanukkah is eight days long, that essentially means one long party.
“We always do one classic night of latkes and that’s usually the first night of Hanukkah, and then throughout the eight days we’ll do sufganiyot (doughnuts) one night, and in past years we’ve gotten like a crazy big Chrismukkah party for all of my friends and we’ll do latkes and lefse, which is a Norwegian pancake,” enthuses Yeh. “All of our friends here, a lot of them have never had latkes before, so it’s their first time trying them.”
Yeh’s whole menu, which we showcase here, is glorious, with little touches reflecting her Midwestern home and her heritage alike. Though the holiday is in December 2020, she’ll dine outside with her husband Nick and baby Bernie. Think: latkes eaten out of hand over a roaring fire. “The winters here, they are intense, but they force you to really prepare and invest in the heaviest winter coats.” She’s also excited to break out the “‘Chrismukah bush’—a little Christmas tree that we decorate with Hanukkah ornaments!”
Read on and click through to snag Molly’s best recipes, plus why she thinks each recipe is so delightful (though the weather outside might be frightful!)
“This concept kind of came about as a way to do more of a formal sit-down dinner because it feels a lot of times Hanukkah parties are super casual with everybody standing up and mingling—you have a beer in one hand you’re flipping a latke with the other hand—but we never did anything formal and sit-down. So, I thought a beautiful roast chicken where the schmaltz can sort of seep into the apples that are roasting around it and then that kind of creates a pan juicy apple sauce. And that’s served with beautiful latkes and then you put the apples that have soaked up all the chicken bath and chicken juices on top of the latkes and that’s just really delicious.“
“I love a savory sufganiyot. I feel like those aren’t made very often. So I’ve done a tomato jam one, I’ve done onion jam ones. I’ve dusted them with yogurt powder or cheese powder. They’re all really delicious. So it’s just a non-traditional take on those. There’s a lot of cozy good flavors there. “
“There are so many Christmas cookies around the holidays, but there need to be more Hanukkah cookies in the world. I had made my own gelt before. I mean, it’s just melting chocolate and making little round coins on waxed paper and then topping it. But I figured let’s put the gelt on the cookie. And, of course, chocolate and hazelnut are delicious and they’re fun to decorate because you could decorate your gelt however you want and then you have Hanukkah cookies to add to your cookie box!”
“We always do latkes. I always every year have to have one classic potato latke with sour cream and apple sauce. And then after that we do tons of different variations like latke eggs Benedict or scallion latkes and all sorts of different kinds. We light our Menorah that Nick (Molly’s husband) made for us when he first got married and then the one he just made for Bernie (their child).“