And it turns out the fruit is a fine place to start. Because cooked fruit enjoys starring roles in both holidays. For Hanukkah, there often is applesauce, a sweet and refreshing counterpoint to savory, crispy potato latkes. And for Thanksgiving, a dinner spread is incomplete without a sweet and tart cranberry sauce — even if it's from a can.
These fruits complement one another so wonderfully, there actually are numerous ways to combine them. You could chop raw cranberries and apples, then toss them with sweetened lemon juice, red onion and minced jalapenos for a fresh salsa-like accompaniment.
Or you could simply combine peeled apples and fresh cranberries and simmer them together with cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice for a sauce that is a little bit applesauce, a little bit cranberry sauce.
But I decided to go with a skillet sauce. I cut the apples into wedges, then saute them until just barely tender. Then I add dried cranberries because they have a great contrasting texture. Let the whole thing cook for a few minutes, then finished it with crushed pistachios. Great with turkey or latkes.
SKILLET APPLE-CRANBERRY SAUCE WITH PISTACHIOS
Start to finish: 15 minutes
1 tablespoon butter
4 large apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup crushed toasted pistachios
In a large skillet over medium-high, melt the butter. Add the apples and cook until lightly browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the vinegar, water, brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and cranberries. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Cook until the liquid is thick and syrupy, 2 to 3 minutes.
Spoon the apple-cranberry sauce into a serving bowl, then top with the pistachios. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Nutrition information per serving: 200 calories; 45 calories from fat (23 per cent of total calories); 5 g fat (1.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 5 mg cholesterol; 42 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 33 g sugar; 2 g protein; 0 mg sodium.
J.M. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs at http://www.LunchBoxBlues.com and tweets at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch . Email him at email@example.com