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Local chef blends best of Hanukkah, Thanksgiving

Friday - 11/29/2013, 7:34am  ET

Potato pancakes were part of the Thanksgivukkah menu at Equinox Thursday. The menu blended the best of two traditions to celebrate Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah. (WTOP/Bob Madigan)
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Cultural mashup brings matzo to Thanksgiving

Bob Madigan, WTOP


2 menus to join Hanukkah with Thanksgiving

Bob Madigan, WTOP


WASHINGTON - Thanksgivukkah is a new concept for most of us but not for all.

For Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray, all holidays have been a mash up of cultures and menus.

"When I married my Episcopalian husband 18 years ago, I think the menus were married that day," says Ellen Kassoff Gray, who is Jewish.

So they carried the concept over to Thursday to celebrate both Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah at the restaurant they own near the White House, Equinox. The restaurant offered both a traditional turkey dinner and a Hanukkah menu including:

  • citrus cured gravlax
  • naval orange confit, whole grain mustard vinaigrette, and bagel chips
  • matzo stuffed Cornish game hens
  • cider glazed brussels sprouts, caramelized butternut squash, Blue Ridge chestnuts
  • Yukon gold and sweet potato latkes
  • pippen apple chutney, herb creme fraiche
  • lemon ricotta beignets
  • rum raisin ice cream, gingered pear compote

The restaurant was open to the public and had tables reserved through the evening with diners eager to try the mixed holiday fare.

Ellen Kassoff Gray loves the matzo stuffing.

"Matzo for a really terrific stuffing, who knew? I think you can keep it from Passover to Thanksgiving and just put it in your Cuisinart and make that fine matzo crumb." She adds with a laugh, "It's very utilitarian. I like that because no one ever knows what to do with their matzo after Passover."

It is a recipe the Grays and co-author David Hagedorn include in their brand new book, "The New Jewish Table: Modern Seasonal Recipes for Traditional Dishes."

Thanksgivukkah might be a new idea. But combining menus is not a new concept for the multiple award-winning chef and his restaurateur wife. For the day, they also tied the two holidays together with oysters on the grill, Todd Gray says.

"Oysters might not be the most kosher thing in the world, but it is a family tradition of mine and I am not stopping here," Todd Gray says. "And GobbleTov to you!"

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