Stories of food, radical love & creative social justice.

Radio. Podcast. Writing. Recipes. 

The Food Squad Goes Oil Crazy for Hanukkah

The Food Squad Goes Oil Crazy for Hanukkah

From left: Host Tagan Engel, Marshal Cruz, Babz Rawls Ivy, Jason Sobocinski

From left: Host Tagan Engel, Marshal Cruz, Babz Rawls Ivy, Jason Sobocinski

The Food Squad is a massive crew of food lovers of all backgrounds who pop up, a few at a time, on The Table Underground to dish on food finds, eating adventures, recipes, food justice and so much more... this is the joy of food in life and community, every community, and it's delicious, fun and definitely not your average food show.  

Today's show lands smack dab in the middle of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, which many of us celebrate by eating foods cooked in oil, to remember a lantern of ancient times that miraculously burned for 8 nights when there was only enough oil for 1. Now, I've been cooking up my fair share of latkes and doughnuts, the standard jews of European descent Hanukkah foods, but I thought it would be fun to invite a few members of the food squad in to share their favorite things to do with oil. 

The Food Squad - Going Crazy with Oil for Hanukkah 

Jason Sobocinski - Cheese monger, chef owner of Caseus Restaurant/Cheese Shop/Cheese Truck/Blackhog Brewing Co./BBQ and host of The Big Cheese on The Food Network. This man, loves food, knows good cheese and how to have a good time....and best of all he loves to talk about it...all while he manages to feed his three kids and keep things hopin' in his many businesses! 

Babz Rawls Ivy - Food and drink lover extraordinare, this fab fly woman runs the Inner City News - print paper, hosts a daily radio show "Love Babz" and lives life to it's fullest. Her serious dairy allergy keeps her and us all on our toes looking for creative solutions. She is the friend you always want to be out with (but you're really sitting home on the couch watching netflix) - how could we not have her on the show?!

Tagan Engel - Professional chef and baker turned community builder and activist, now host of The Table Underground. Her life long passion for food drives her movements through community and life...she's always happy to taste and explore, trying foods, meeting new people and discovering places and cultural details along the way, and she loves nothing more than to share this with others!

Marshall Cruz - Aspiring cook and radio personality on Ugly Radio, Marshall got his first restaurant experience cooking at Chipotle, but honed his skills at home, learning how to cook great Dominican food from his family, and later experimenting with dishes he saw on the food network. Marshall searches out great eats in every corner of the city and beyond, and happily gushes about the food he loves. 


As the only Jew in the bunch, Tagan dutifully represents the LATKES (potato pancakes). This recipe was refined over years and years of catering holiday parties. It includes a blend of sweet and white potatoes, fried into crisp oniony perfection. Tagan happily shares her time tested tricks for making the  The Ultimate Latkes


As the restauranteur in the Squad, Jason drops some olive oil wisdom on the squad and shares his favorite olive oils from around the world. Flavors run from mild and citrusy to bold and spicy,  and hit various price points for these oils intended for putting the final touch on a dish,  rather than frying food up in a pan. The group also samples Jason's favorite dessert: a warm and toasty Baguette with Chocolate, Salt and Olive oil, and picks an oil for the Best Simple Salad recipe there is. 

IMG_9098 2.jpeg

Jason's Favorite "Finishing Oils"
 Olio Fresco 2017! 
Spanish Castillo d Canena Early Harvest Arbequina
Chile Izaro Cold Extraction Blend
California Other Brother Growers Blend -  Extra Virgin "Shorty" features our favorite blend of California grown olives (Arbequina, Leccino and Pendolino) which we call the "Growers Blend". Great for daily use, this oil is fruity, buttery and smooth, with a slight kick of pepperiness at the end to leave you wanting more... 
These oils are available at Caseus, the fabulous cheese shop attached to Caseus Bistro, in New Haven, and also at other fine food stores in the area. 


Marshall does not joke around when it comes to Empanadas. He agreed to divulge his Homemade Puerto Rican Empanada recipe that he fries up at home for his extended family.  He also shares his favorite spots to buy fresh, hot empanadas in New Haven, CT: Collado Restaurant - 698 Washington Ave and Buen Gusto - 379 Grand Ave

IMG_3885 (1).jpg

Babz loves sharing a good meal with friends, and shares her quick and delicious Pan-fried Salmon Cakes which she especially likes cooked in a little coconut oil for extra flavor. Her go-to ingredient are pouches of salmon, rather than cans, and this recipe is great for adding in a little of this or that depending on your tastes and what you have in your fridge. No peppers? Throw in some scallion or zucchini instead. In the mood for something spicy? Add some curry and ginger to the mix. 

To find all the recipes in this episode click here.

Thanks to Michelle Citrin for the use of her song Hanukkah Lovin' for this show! 

OOOOOOooooooo this show was so much fun! Ideas for the next food squad? Post suggestions below!  

4 Last Minute DIY Food Gifts

4 Last Minute DIY Food Gifts

Food Squad Recipes - Going Oil Crazy for Hanukkah: Latkes, Empanadas, Salmon Cakes, Baguette w/ Chocolate, Salt & Olive Oil +

Food Squad Recipes - Going Oil Crazy for Hanukkah: Latkes, Empanadas, Salmon Cakes, Baguette w/ Chocolate, Salt & Olive Oil +