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Happy Thanksgivukkah! Vermonters celebrate rare holiday - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Happy Thanksgivukkah! Vermonters celebrate rare holiday

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

From playing dreidel to cooking up a traditional feast, the Adrian family is getting ready for one of their favorite times of the year-- Hanukkah.

"We usually have latkes three or four times over Hanukkah and the brisket once or twice," Ed Adrian said.

But this year is special. Thursday is the first day of Hanukkah, but it's also Thanksgiving. The mashup of holidays is being dubbed what else but Thanksgivukkah and the excitement is building.

"Even though they're close together they've never overlapped and I'm like, that's the ultimate holiday," Adrian said.

Because the Jewish calendar is different from the secular calendar, the last time the two holidays overlapped was in 1888.

"We are making the traditional Thanksgivukkah latkes," Adrian said. "First time, probably the only time."

Giving thanks and celebrating the Jewish Festival of Lights. Time to light up your menorah turkey-- or menurkey-- and fire up your stove to make latkes; Thursday is a big deal.

"For those staying away from oil, maybe once a year break the diet," said Rabbi Yitzchok Raskin of Chabad of Vermont.

"To tie the two together it was an easy fit," said Chef Courtney Contos of Chef Contos Kitchen and Store.

Food is one way many people will be celebrating the double-holiday. Contos is fusing the two traditions by making sweet potato latkes with a cranberry mustard topping.

"This is the perfect Thanksgivingukkah recipe because it's easy," she said. "Who doesn't love latkes?"

Reporter Gina Bullard: So good! That's delicious!

Chef Courtney Contos: Make these, they'll be a hit!

Gina Bullard: I love Thanksgivukkah.

Courtney Contos: I know (laughs)... another 70,000 years.

These latkes definitely won't last eight days.

"It's interesting because the meaning behind it is very similar," Raskin noted.

The holidays may seem completely different, from dreidels to pumpkins, kosher food to pigskins. But there are some things they have in common: both are about being thankful, both involve heavy amounts of food, are rooted in religion.

"The Pilgrims escaped religious persecution. That's exactly what happened with Hanukkah. Hanukkah was when the Greeks were trying to come to Israel," Raskin explained.

"It's not a huge holiday as far as religious purposes," Adrian said. "It's about food and family, and I think that's why its intersection with Thanksgiving is such a golden opportunity to meld the ultimate food and family occasion."

So soak it up, because the first day of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving won't happen again on the same day in our lifetime-- you can bet your gelt on it.

"I even suggest they light the menorah with eating of the turkey," Raskin said.

He says you'll have to wait another 79,000 years for this celebration.

Gina Bullard: Happy Thanksgivukkah!

Ed Adrian: Thank you very much.

Chef Courtney Contos' recipe for Sweet Potato Latkes With Cranberry Mostarda

For the cranberry mostarda:

  • ½ cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • 3/4 cup small diced pear
  • ¼ cup mustard seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard powder
  • ½ cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries

Combine all ingredients except for the cranberries in a small sauce pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the cranberries, mix well and cook on medium heat until mixture is thickened; 5-10 minutes.

Pour the mixture into a bowl or jar and use at room temperature. The mostarda can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.

For the latkes:

  • 1 Idaho potato
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • ½ medium white onion
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2-3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 small sage leaves, minced (optional)
  • ½ cup clarified butter, canola oil, or duck fat
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Using the largest holes of a box grater, grate the sweet potato, Idaho potato, and onion into a mixing bowl.

Squeeze as much water from the mixture as possible and place mixture in a separate bowl. Discard the water.

Add the egg yolks, sage, flour, salt, and pepper to the bowl. Mix all the ingredients until incorporated.

Place a cast-iron pan on medium heat and add the clarified butter, oil, or fat.

Form the potato mixture into baseball-size spheres, and gently place in the butter. Flatten them with a spatula into a pancake shape, so they're about 1⁄8 inch thick.

Brown the latkes for approximately 5 minutes per side. Remove from pan and put on a paper towel to sop up any extra grease.

Finish the latkes for 10 minutes in the oven on a cookie sheet.

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