Friday, November 30, 2018

The Space Alien's Hanukkah Dish

Hanukkah is right around the corner!  This year it begins at sundown on Sunday, December 2nd, and the last evening is on Sunday, December 9th. 

The Space Alien had already polished a menorah to hold the candles to be lit each night -- first one, and at last all eight --  to commemorate a miracle following the victory of Judah Maccabee and his brothers who, long years ago at this season, won the right to practice their religion.

Please read more about this at:


Today Your Editor found the Space Alien in the kitchen with a wooden chopping bowl and food chopper.  

"I see you are wearing your signature apron!"* exclaimed Your Editor. 

"Yes," answered the Space Alien,  "I like to keep myself tidy in the kitchen!"

"So what's with the chopping bowl?" she asked.  

The Space Alien looked up -- "I'll be preparing a special dish for the SECOND night of Hanukkah!   The first night I'll make latkes, those delicious fried potato pancakes, but they are so heavy that I want something lighter for the next evening, a dish I can make a day or two in advance!"

"Well it looks like you are getting ready to make chopped chicken liver," said Your Editor, "but I thought you didn't eat animals!"   

"I don't," said said the Space Alien, "but this will be a special dish, and I'll have you know IT'S NOT CHOPPED LIVER!"  

"Oh, so you are making your special dish called IT'S NOT CHOPPED LIVER!"  exclaimed Your Editor.  "Everyone here loves it, so let's share this recipe here on the pages of the Space Alien Gazette for all of our  Loyal Readers!"

So here it is, a favorite here in the busy editorial offices of the Space Alien Gazette, and we think you'll like it too!  And by the way, it's quite all right to make it in a food processor!

It's Not Chopped Liver!**

1/2 cup dried lentils
1/2 cup walnuts coarsely chopped
1 large onion coarsely chopped
1 small clove garlic minced
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste 

Optional: 1 or 2 chopped fresh jalapeño peppers (for extra heat)

Optional: 1 or 2 hard boiled egg whites chopped (these are cosmetic, to resemble fat)
Or chop in a bit of tofu for the same cosmetic effect.

Optional: About 1 tsp. chicken bullion powder or granules (instead of optional salt)  Your Editor likes this!

Cook lentils in 2 cups of water until soft (about 20 minutes) and drain.

Sauté the onions and garlic (and, if using, jalapeños) in a little oil or water. 

Process the lentils, onions, garlic and walnuts in a food processor (and if using these, bullion powder or granules and/or jalapeños) to desired consistency.  (The Space Alien and Your Editor both like it a little coarse and grainy to look like chopped liver).  

Add the cooked egg whites if you are using them and process minimally; they should look like bits of fat!

Add sea salt (optional) and fresh ground black pepper to taste -- the Space Alien loves pepper!

(Your Editor recommends an electric food processor.  The Space Alien finds this machine scary and does it the old fashioned way, which Your Editor does not recommend.)  

You can make this a day or two before serving and it's even better the next day!

When ready to serve, press into a bowl and turn onto a platter; it looks nice on a large lettuce leaf!

(The Space Alien likes to decorate with strips of red and yellow sweet pepper, or slices of pimento stuffed olives, or sometimes just makes an interesting pattern with a fork!)

Surround with crackers.   Your Editor's favorite store-bought ones are Mary's Gone Crackers -- they come in many flavors, all whole grain and gluten free. 

This is great on corn chips too, stuffed in celery or spread on carrot chips or slices of cucumber!   

Or make hearty sandwiches on rye bread with lettuce, sliced tomato, mustard and onion.  

Made too much?  Freeze some to enjoy later!

Happy Hanukkah Everyone!
* See the Space Alien Signature Apron here:
The Space Alien says this sturdy apron with its large pockets will keep you tidy in the kitchen too!  
Like all Space Alien gear from Cafe Press, profits go to the Greater Chicago Food Depository to feed the hungry!

(If you don't need an apron you can still donate to the Greater Chicago Food Depository at    

**NOTE:  For this recipe your editor is indebted to her friend Daila Shefner who found it many years ago in an American Heart Association cookbook.  We've made small changes to make it even more oil-free, made the "cosmetic" egg white optional, and added a few other options.  This is a forgiving recipe so feel free to make your own changes.   It goes so fast the Space Alien usually doubles the recipe!