Sunday Dinner: A Very Merry Christmakkah

It's been a long time coming but now that our first annual Christmakkah Feast - and second ever Butcher & The Baker dinner - has come and gone, we can proudly say it was a major success! For either of us, celebrating Channukah, Christmas or both has always been about family, food and tradition. And because the two holidays' respective main dishes (latkes and ham) pair so well together, it only made sense to host a dinner, bringing new and old friends together in celebration of this holiday season.

Planning the menu was exceptionally fun because, while latkes and ham are both classic dishes, they are also simple bases for experimentation. Jake has always wanted to house-cured a ham, and this was his excuse to do it. We've done lots of home charcuterie in the past (guanciale, fresh sausage, and even bacon) but ham is a much bigger muscle, and something we didn't have any experience with. But, of course, that's never stopped us before. 

We got a fresh skin-off, bone-in ham from Dickson’s and Jake adapted a Michel Rhulman Classic American Glazed Holiday Ham recipe, brining the massive piece of meat in a  bucket of cider/sugar/salt cure. A week later, he smoked it in our tiny city-sized oven. It was an interesting and kind of terrifying experiment, but it worked! The ham was cooked fully through and had a subtle smoky/sweet flavor. With our set-up, we weren't able to get the deep smoky flavor of a professionally smoked ham, but we feel pretty bad-ass for smoking a ham in our kitchen... plus the whole building smells amazing now. 

From there, we were on to the latkes (to be fried in duck fat of course!) We wanted to mix it up and show off all the great roots at the market right now, so we made four different kinds - classic, parsnip and carrot, celeriac and butternut squash- and they all had surprisingly distinct flavors. To serve with the pancakes, we served Ronnybrook creme fraiche and Jake made an applesauce. He's always developing his base chutney-esque recipe, and this time we think he finally mastered it. Sweet at the beginning, layered spicy aromas, and a strong vinegary kick at the end.

The menu was filled out with sweet, post-frost sauteed collards and, to counter the heaviness of the meal Silka made a fresh raw seasonal salad of shaved Brussels sprouts, fennel, apples, almonds and not-local-but-beautiful bright pomegranate seeds. For dessert she made a well-tested Gingerbread and the Fagergren family Glögg recipe.

We had so much fun with this dinner and can't wait for the next! Thanks to everyone who joined us and made the night so special. We'll leave you with a little token - our Glögg recipe, courtesy of Silka's Grandmother.


+ 1 cup whole raw almonds (skins on)
+ 1/2 cup dried orange peel
+ 1 teaspoon whole cloves
+ 3 whole cinnamon sticks
+ 9 cardamom pods
+ 1 cup raisins
+ 1 quart merlot
+ 1 quart port
+ 1/2 cup vodka
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat- but do not boil. Heat for about ten minutes and remove from heat. Serve immediately or let steep and reheat to serve. We steeped for about 24 hours.

If you are interested in joining our mailing list to find out about future The Butcher & The Baker dinners, please email us at: cutandbake@gmail.com.

Special thanks to Rebecca Velazquez of Merlin and Rebecca for supplemental photos!

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