Posts Tagged ‘ Hanukkah ’

Traditional Potato Latkes

I can’t believe it’s the fifth night of Hanukkah and the first time I’ve made potato latkes this holiday!  Sadly, the whole family wasn’t together but we had an enjoyable time.  Last year I veered from the traditional recipe and went with Southwest Sweet Potato Latke’s.  This year I stuck with a very traditional recipe.  I got it from http://www.jewfaq.org/index.htm.  I really like this site, they’ve got some really great info that’s quite comprehensive.

I give my ancestors a lot of credit.  Making latkes before the invention of a food processor must have been an incredible task.  Hand grating several pounds of potatoes is a lot of work.  My mother remembers her grandmother standing in front of the oven frying up fresh batches of latkes while the family enjoyed them.  We always wanted my mom at the table with us so she would pre-cook them and keep them warm in the oven.  Not quite as good of a taste but a better family experience.

With my guilt I did not even invite my parents over. Up until the last-minute I wasn’t even sure if anyone would be home to bother cooking them.  I also wasn’t sure what time we would eat.  With that said, Mom if you’re reading this, sorry!  Also, Ariel if you’re reading this, there’s some leftover’s in the fridge for you and Geoff.  Stop by and grab them!  For my non-Jewish readers (most of you) this me living the phenomenon known as Jewish Guilt!

In my house we celebrate everything.  While deciding this was latke night we were also contemplating our Christmas dinner.  One holiday just flows into another.  When the kids were little there was plenty of gifts to go around.  Many were practical items such as pj’s or toiletries but always fun to have something to open.  This year everyone is grown and I wouldn’t have the slightest idea what to buy.  My parents, husband and I have decided no gifts.  I’m so happy with this as I am trying to minimize and get rid of stuff.  At the same time I am trying to recognize what I truly need and stick to purchasing with care.

For my kids, I would like some fun relaxing shopping trips where they can pick what they want/need and hopefully we will simply enjoy the time spent together.  In the past I have taken the items bought together, hid them (sort of) and wrapped them for either a Hanukkah or Christmas gift.  If I was lucky the forgot I bought it and were excited for something they barely remembered, or they feigned surprise which was just ridiculous.  I’m hoping the new tradition of just hanging out together and having a fun shopping trip works out well.  It’s much less work and stress for me and the kids don’t have to wait for their gifts.  Ultimately, for a non religious person as myself, it’s all about time well spent together.

Since I haven’t deviated at all from the original recipe I am pretty much cutting and pasting right from http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday7.htm, video and all.

Makes approximately 12 palm-sized latkes

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup matzah meal (flour or bread crumbs can be substituted)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. each salt and black pepper (more or less to taste)
  • vegetable oil
Watch in full size on YouTube

Shred the potatoes and onion into a large bowl. Press out all excess liquid.(if using a food processor, use the chopping blade for 2 or 3 seconds after pressing out liquid to avoid stringy fly-aways). Add eggs and mix well. Add matzah meal gradually while mixing until the batter is doughy, not too dry. (you may not need the whole amount, depending on how well you drained the veggies). Add the baking powder, salt and pepper and mix well. (don’t taste the batter — it’s really gross!). Don’t worry if the batter turns a little orange; that will go away when it fries.

Heat about 1/2 inch of oil to medium-high heat. Form the batter into thin patties about the size of your palm. Fry batter in oil. Be patient: this takes time, and too much flipping will burn the outside without cooking the inside. Flip when the bottom is golden brown.

Place finished latkes on paper towels to drain. Eat hot with sour cream or applesauce. They reheat OK in a microwave, but not in an oven unless you cook them just right.

Me again, personally I only reheat in the oven, I don’t like them microwaved at all!!

~enjoy~

 

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Southwest Sweet Potato Latke’s

First Happy Hanukkah everyone!  I am not the greatest practicing Jew but I do love the food of my heritage.  I also enjoy trying to make different variations of traditional food.  Sometimes I try to lighten up the fat content, at times I try to take something traditional and make it vegetarian and at times like this I just enjoy giving a new twist to an old favorite.  I guess this variation has a slightly greater nutritional value because I used sweet potatoes in place of white ones and egg substitute instead of real eggs.

Hanukkah has many different spelling.  But ultimately it is the festival of lights.  In a nutshell we celebrate the victory of the Maccabees (led by Judah) over the Syrians in a revolt that took place around 165 BCE.  The victory in itself was considered a miracle. Once the Temple Mount in Jerusalem had been reclaimed, the Temple had to be rededicated. According to legend, only one jar of sacramental oil was found, enough for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, thus the eight days of Hanukkah.

Traditional latkes are made with white potatoes and served with either sour cream or apple sauce.  They are best served fresh from the pan but can be baked to reheat.  The variety I made today are a southwest version flavored with cumin, sage and chipotle sauce.  Make them as hot and mild as you like by adjusting the amounts of seasoning.  For a lighter meal I would just eat these with a salad.  Otherwise they will pair well with many vegetarian main courses.


Southwest Sweet Potato Latke’s

1 large sweet potato or 2 smaller ones

2 eggs or ½ cup egg substitute

¼ to ½ cup flour

1 small onion

A few shakes Tabasco Chipotle Sauce

Cumin to taste

A pinch of sage or poultry seasoning (thyme, sage, rosemary, & nutmeg)

Salt

Canola oil

Sour cream and/or apple sauce for dipping

If you have a food processor I highly recommend using it.  Grate the potatoes and onion in the food processor or by hand.  Place grated potatoes on some paper towels and remove excess moisture.  Mix with egg mixture and flour.  Since the weight of potato will vary use your best judgment.  The potatoes should be well coated by not too wet.  Add all the seasoning and mix well.

Add oil to a skillet and preheat to medium high.  Drop potato mixture in the pan and flatten somewhat so that the potato’s will cook through.  Once lightly browned flip over and cook on other side.  I personally don’t like a lot of oil in my pan so I just keep adding as needed so that the pan is always lightly coated in oil.  Once cooked place latke’s on paper towels and lightly salt.