Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Latkes

You know, dear readers, that we in my family are gastronomic Jews.  The traditions of Jewish cooking are woven through my DNA; I've always known that you should make brisket a day ahead of time because it's better after resting for many hours, that matzoh ball soup will cure any illness, and that when your great-grandmother's recipe calls for a "glass" of something it means that she used a recycled Yahrzeit candle glass to measure her ingredients.  I might love cheeseburgers - bonus points if there's bacon on top - but good Jewish cooking is in my soul!

Christmas overlapped with Hanukkah last year and I made latkes for Jon's whole family on Christmas Eve so that I could share my holiday rituals with them.  I decided to keep the recipe classic, since it was their first foray into Hanukkah, but there are some amazing creative options out there!  Let's feast our eyes on a few less-traditional latkes first, and then I'll share my mother's recipe for the potato pancakes of my childhood.

[ clockwise from top left: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 ]

As I mentioned last year, I couldn't use my mother's recipe because it's not - how shall I put this delicately? - exact enough for a latke novice.  If you want a classic recipe, I'm going to point you to this one, this one, and this one.  These tips (and these, and these) will help with any questions you might have.  And yes, the traditional toppings for latkes are sour cream and apple sauce.  Go with it!  It'll work, it won't work... nu, you'll eat them and you'll like them.

Now, over to my mother; the below is transcribed directly from a conversation I recorded exactly for this purpose last week.

First and foremost is the question of crispy versus not crispy latkes, and shredded potatoes or chopped up whatever potatoes. And we like shredded crispy latkes, so that answers that question.  So, here's the recipe.  You take some potatoes and you peel them and you put them in the food processor on the shred setting.  Then you put it in a bowl - everything, the potatoes, the liquid, the starch that settles on the bottom - and you crack an egg in and you mix it all up, I guess in theory to prevent it from turning brown.  Salt and pepper, a little bit of matzoh meal - that's how you know it's Jewish - and oh, and an onion!  Take about half an onion and put it in the shredder and then mix it all up.  And then what I do is I fry it in a pan.  Take about - depending on what size you want - a good dollop, maybe a tablespoon, you put in hot oil and you flatten it and when it starts to get brown and crispy on the bottom you turn it over and when that side gets crispy you can put it on a plate with paper towels to drain the grease.  Now, I often put zucchini or a little bit of carrot in the plain potato mix, especially when the kids were little and didn't notice, and sweet potatoes are really really good, but I don't go in for anything too crazy.

Well, there you have it.  Happy Hanukkah, dear readers!

27 comments:

  1. I made challah and rugalach for my office to introduce them to Jewish foods since they are all very confused by anything Jewish. They loved both treats and they were a hit!

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  2. YUM! I was just reading out all of the different recipe versions to my coworker and she started shouting "stop stop - you're making me too hungry!" haha - these look delicious :)


    xxx
    Jenna

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  3. i. love. latkes. oh my gosh and didn't even realize that there would be all of these yummy variations :)

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  4. Um, yum! I may have to try making some!

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  5. I love latkes (and so does my toddler...given the choice between French toast and latkes, he's choosing the latter)!

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  6. First of all, I love your new design! It looks awesome :) I've never had a latke before but they sound delicious. Maybe I'll try my luck and make some! xoxo, eliza

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  7. yay success! spreading the Good Word... I like it :)

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  8. ME NEITHER! who are these brilliant people who created them and can they come cook for me please?

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  9. thanks! Bobbi did a great job with the design :) and do - but be warned, you'll get hooked!

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  10. I will be having latkes for dinner because of this. Well, I wanted some last night, but I was too tired to make them. YUM!

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  11. I've never had latkes before, but now I'm thinking I'll have to try and correct this at some point. they certainly look delicious! and anything that is primarily carb-based cannot be bad, right? [that's pretty much my guiding principal in life - carbs = good]


    also, your new blog design looks great!

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  12. they don't take much energy - you can do it! rah rah rah.

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  13. EXCELLENT rule to live by! I will adopt it too :)

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  14. Ha, I don't know why your mom's recipe wouldn't be exact enough for you! That sounds about how I give out recipes too :) And I really don't think you can go wrong with fried potatoes...they're hands down one of my favorite (guilty) foods. I may need to try my hand at some latkes soon :) xoxo

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  15. I was making them for the in-laws... the pressure was ON! let me know how they turn out for you :)

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  16. Cilantro-jalapeno latkes sound like the perfect twist for Texans. You really can never go wrong with fried potatoes!

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  17. Those look delicious! I'll have to try some this holiday season!
    lostintravelsblog.blogspot.com

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  18. woo, too adventurous for me! let me know how they are though - I think my sister would love them!

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  19. Oh my gossssh, these look amazing! I LOVE the new design, by the way!!

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  20. I love latkes!!!! mmmmm.... cilantro and jalapeno.

    Trish

    www.jellybonesblog.blogspot.com

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  21. Her Late Night CravingsDecember 12, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    All of these look so amazing! Makes us hungry! Happy Hanukkah to you and your family!


    Jayme & Mendi

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  22. I love a latke. I'll have to make at least one batch during the season :)

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  23. you have NO idea how much I love latkes. NO IDEA!!!

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  24. haha well I hope this helps with the cravings :)

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