December 3, 2010

C/Han(n)uk(k)ah: Latkes, It’s What’s For Dinner

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Latkes. Potato pancakes. The traditional food for most Jewish-Americans when it comes to C/Han(n)uk(k)ah. We eat them pretty much at this time of the year only. Not sure why. Well, other than the fact that they’re fried in oil, are time consuming to make when done ‘the long way’, and will be the main downfall of the Jewish people due to heart disease because these are just so delicious and you need to eat a bazillion of them.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You can make them low fat. Just use that cooking spray stuff. Nope. No can do. There was no cooking spray back in the day. The Jewish people were not uplifted by a 10-calorie spray version of GOD. Besides, cooking spray can’t make latkes crispy on the outside and perfectly cooked on the inside. And when you only eat something a few times a year it’s good to remain true to the tradition.

The recipe I use is the same one my mom used, my grandma still uses, that she got from her mother. Get the idea? It’s an old family recipe. And, like most other Jews, it’s likely identical to the first 631,821 potato latke recipes that show up on Google. Except some insist the potatoes must be hand grated whereas others believe GOD had someone invent the Cuisinart solely for this food.

I used to grate the potatoes by hand. My grandmother still does. I’m just so modern. You know, one of the hip, cool kids. Besides, I’ve been grating bushels of potatoes by hand since I was about 7 years old, I’ve paid my dues!

Potato Latkes

6 medium potatoes, shredded
1 medium onion, diced fine
2 eggs, lightly beaten
A few pinches of salt
2 Tbsp flour or flour substitute if you need Gluten-Free
Lots and lots of oil, vegetable or canola will do

Peel the potatoes, shred them using your preferred method. Combine eggs, salt, onion, and potatoes and combine thoroughly. Sprinkle flour/flour-sub on top of mixture and stir to combine. Now fry them up!

Heat the oil in the pan but don’t let it smoke. Drop dollops (whatever size you want, but 2 Tbsp aprox.) of the potato mixture in the hot oil and flatten out just a bit. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes, and then flip. Remove to paper towel lined cookie sheet and keep warm in 250 degree (F) oven.

It’s super easy. Only problem is that you’ll want a lot of these so you’ll be cooking for awhile. It’s so worth it though!

Now for the controversial part – Toppings: Applesauce or Sour Cream?

I’m an equal opportunity topping-er. I like both. I’m not into the controversy, really. People eat them the way they want. They’re so delicious I don’t have time to care what you put on yours because the more other people worry and speculate and discuss mean that I can eat more of these tasty golden latkes. Besides, I don’t use applesauce any way.

BabyGirl does not like apples very much but she loves pears. A few years ago Trader Joe’s carried Pear Sauce in large jars. We switched at that time. But then they discontinued the Pear Sauce and we mourned. And now, just two days ago I spotted Pear Sauce at Trader Joe’s. This time in the 4-pack lunch-cup size.  BabyGirl was so excited she just started filling our basket.

What’s up for the other crazy nights?

CycleGuy will be home so we’ll do the family dinner. I’m going to venture into making Sweet Potato Latkes and Apple Latkes. I’ll let you know how they turn out.

And while we’re on the subject of the Festival of Lights, leave me a comment and then head over to my friend Kim’s blog to enter her 8-days of Chanukah giveaways.

Also, check our my friend Laura’s post about Radio Free Hanukkah.

And, of course, you need perspective on what Hanukkah in the Deep South is like from the one and only Country Fried Mama.

Sara

{ 4 comments }

Vdemetros December 3, 2010 at 9:17 am

My Grandma made the best latkes every year. I miss them, and her, so much. Thanks for the memories. I don’t make them, but I think I’ll give it a try. Looks easy.

rhonda December 4, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Can I say I’ve always wanted to try latkes but never have had the chance. Have to make it work so we are with you one of these years. Love ya!

Country-Fried Mama December 7, 2010 at 7:59 pm

This was my first year of successful latkes. They turned out great (for once!).

Thanks so much for the shout out! Hope you have a great last night of Hanukkah tomorrow.

Sara December 8, 2010 at 9:09 am

Woot! Country-fried Mama is becoming a true Southern woman getting her PhD in frying foods. So glad you had a great latke year. Next year you’ll have bragging rights.

Sara

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