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Chanukah home cooking

sufganiyot.jpgThose little friend potato pancakes are symbolic and delicious.  Latkes are a must for Chanukah but there are other traditional Jewish foods that make for a perfect dinner during the 8-day Festival of Light.

Marcy Goldman is the author of A Tradition of Jewish Holiday Baking as well as several other cookbooks and she has an online baking magazine called Better Baking. She spoke with Sonali Karnick about how to make the perfect latke and other tasty treats for Chanukah while preparing for her own feast with family and friends.

Click on "Read more" below for Marcy's Latke and "Blushing Apple Sauce" recipes
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New Way Famous Potato Latkes

5 or 6 medium to large red-skinned potatoes un-peeled (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds)
1 small to medium onion, finely grated
4 eggs 
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper or to taste

Vegetable oil for frying

The best way to fry these are in tiny dollops, dropped from a spoon (or I use metal kitchen tongs and pick up small clumps of batter) and use a deep wok. the cooking method is so important so follow the directions exactly for perfect results.

Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and just cover with cold water. Turn heat to high and allow to come to boil. As soon as potatoes are boiling, put a kitchen timer on for 10 minutes. When timer rings, remove potatoes from stove and cover with cold water. Drain immediately, then cover again with cold water. Let sit five minutes. Remove potatoes and pat dry.

Using a hand shredder (best) or food processor fitted with a medium disc, shred potatoes (with skins on). The potatoes should be slightly softened, but still firm enough to produce shreds. If the peel separates from the potato, discard it. If the peel gets grated in with the potatoes, it's fine and just incorporate it into the mixture. I like the hand grater best. When I use the processor, I use two thirds shredded then pulverized potatoes and one third shredded for a mixture than is bulky but still has shreds. Worth the trouble.

In a large bowl, blend shredded potatoes, grated onion, eggs, flour, salt, and pepper. Place newspaper on work surface (near frying area) and cover with a few paper towels. In a large deep skillet (I like to use a wok), pour in enough vegetable oil to fill about two thirds. If using an electric fry pan, set the temperature to 350 F. or 375 F. (depending on how fast you want the pancakes to cook). Drop potato batter by teaspoons (for small ones) or soup spoonfuls in smal dollops, flattening slightly with a metal spatula if desired. I use large metal tongs for dropping and turning. Brown one side, turn once, and complete cooking on other side. These cook quickly. You're looking for a puffy centre while retaining some crisp shreds of potato on edges.

Serve immediately or freeze. To reheat, place latkes on a large wire cake rack on a cookie sheet. Warm at 250 F. until crisp. For freezing purposes, fry them a little underdone to allow for browning in the re-heating stage.

Tips: Kids seem to protest onions -for them, I tend to omit the onions and use 1 teaspoon onion powder in the the batter.

SMALLER is better. You want tender, little morsels with crisp edges.

TONGS are best for both picking up the batter and dropping it in the oil and taking the latkes out.

Blushing Apple Sauce 

Apples - 12 to 18 small/medium - well washed and halved (unpeeled)

1/3 cup each: raspberries and cranberries

1/2-1 cup chopped rhubarb

Water about 1/2cup

Sugar - 1/2 to 3/4 cup

Juice of one lemon

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon pure vanilla

1 tablespoon honey

In a large Dutch oven (about 8 quarts) add apples, raspberries, cranberries, rhubarb, water and sugar.
Simmer on very low heat until apples are mushy. Stir to break up fruit. Add lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla (optional), and honey. Adjust seasoning.
Cool well, then press through a food mill.
Makes 4 cups.