Posts tagged Jewish
Sunday, November 30, 2008

best potato latkes

Latkes

While I am delinquent with telling you about an ingenious way to reinvent your turkey after Thanksgiving, because let’s face it, turkey leftovers can only get so exciting, I am way ahead of schedule in prepping you for the holidays. And here it goes. Hanukkah or not, I have not met a soul who doesn’t like latkes. And what’s not to love? Crispy, fried, and if done right, lacy pancakes that melt in your mouth. And a Hanukkah with out latkes is like Christmas without a Christmas tree – it’s a must. For all the various latke recipes out there, including the permutations with sweet potato, zucchini and other vegetables, I hold the classic potato recipe near and dear to my heart. A classic is a classic for a reason – its sheer simplicity and elegance outshine any attempts for a trendy update.

Latkes Latkes
Latkes Latkes

Ironically though, it is the simplest and most elementary of things that are at times hard to get just right. I’ve had my fair share of latkes – some good, some bad. The really heavy ones drenched in so much oil, you wonder where the potato went, the really bland mushy ones that aren’t at all crispy, really good ones you pile a ton of sour cream on (I didn’t grow up with apple sauce on my latkes and I still don’t enjoy it).

Latkes

But this recipe has completely flipped my latke world upside down. I’ve never had latkes so good and the fact that I ate the entire batch I made in just about one sitting is proof enough. I even called my mother to tell her that our family recipe, which I boasted as being the best – was going to have to take a backseat to this one. Martha Stewart, yet again, has exceeded my expectations – because her latkes recipe (her mothers, in fact) is tremendous. Perhaps, it is because she ingeniously figured out a way to decrease the amount of moisture, while maintaining the same starch ratio, which makes the latkes extra crispy. Also, no matter what anyone tells you, you should hand grate the potatoes using the coarse side of the grater. It only takes a few minutes more than the food processor, and the results are a lacier latke, which means a crispier, more delicious latke.

Latkes Latkes
Latkes Latkes

Of course, that means you are in danger of eating your own batch and not sharing with anyone. Hardly a problem in my book, especially if you have plenty of sour cream on hand.

Latkes

Continue reading best potato latkes.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

kasha varnishkes

I wish I had a great story to tell you about growing up eating kasha varnishkes, but I don’t. In fact, I had it, for the first time, last year at a Jewish deli and it was love at first bite. And at the time, I didn’t even know it was such a traditional dish. All I was excited about was that there was buckwheat in it and fried onions that, for reasons now known to me (one word, people – schmaltz!) were the best tasting fried onions I could think of. I liked the bowtie pasta, but my fat-loving stomach hinted that egg noodles might have been even better. But there are no bow-tie egg noodles are there?

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

chocolate-covered matzo

chocolate-covered matzo

I’m going to make this short and sweet for several reasons. First of all there is little I can say about chocolate-covered matzo, other than it’s super easy to make, it tastes really good, and it gives you a great way to use your leftover matzo, which you probably have grown sick of in the 8 day span when Passover ran your life and diet.

Me, I had a few boxes left over, reminding me of my over-zealousness in preparation for the holiday. Also, chocolate-covered matzo is so easy to make, it’s almost embarrassing to dedicate a whole blog post to it, let alone give you the recipe for how to make it. It’s almost as if I would talk down to you all, it’s that easy. And talking down to you is the last thing I want to do.

But here’s the thing – this simple snack tastes so good, I want to tell the world, you don’t have to eat your matzo plain, or with cream cheese or butter – you can have it with chocolate. (As if I needed another reason to have chocolate.)

chocolate-covered matzo

And lastly, I want to keep this short because today is my 30th birthday(here come the wrinkles!) So I want to go and revel in the day – I think I deserve it. Maybe I’ll make myself a chocolate-covered matzo and stick a candle in it.

5 days to 30 - no fear

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

carrot salad with garlic and dates

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It’s Yom Kippur today, so why am I writing about food? Well, last night while figuring out our dinner options we were trying to come up with a quick and tasty way to use our carrots, which were hanging out happily in the fridge, but a few more days and Yom Kippur today and my Sunday business trip (Sunday, I know), it was either now or never with these carrots.

Now, I’m pretty weird when it comes to carrots. I love them raw and I love them in things like chicken soup. In fact, as a kid I loved carrots in my soup so much that my mom would always put in extra carrots in my bowl and they would be the first things I would eat. I think I even made up a song about eating carrots in my soup. The blurry memory is lazily rolling around in my head, but luckily I can’t remember the song! And yet, when my mom made stewed carrots (tzimmes), I would refuse to touch the mushy, orange mess on my plate. Boiled soup carrots were fine, but the stewed carrots were not. I’m still fickle with my carrots, not to such an extent, but some cooked carrots I won’t go near.

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I’ve got to confess I’ve cooked nary a thing this week. It’s been a confluence of events – my office relocated further uptown and east, and coming from Tribeca has managed to make my work commute 45 minutes door to door. I know, living in Manhattan and spending 45 minutes each day twice a day commuting, is pretty sad. And work has picked up so much. There are meetings and conference calls and business trips and of course work that you do at your desk to add!! So when I would come home at 7:30 or later, my lovely KS had dinner waiting for me – so the next few entries will be about his magical and filling concoctions. We’d eat, and by 8:30, I’d be pretty much a tired, lackluster monkey.

Ah, but the carrots! I thought, at first, to shred them and mix them with a generous serving of freshly chopped garlic, some raisins and olive oil. But then my heart (and stomach) earned for something warm. Since I just told you about my cooked carrot dislike, you understand my conundrum. And then, a little idea appeared in my head and I was all aflutter – I could warm the carrots with some sesame oil and sesame seeds and voila – I’ll have a meal I like. I added some garlic to the carrots along with a little bit of curry mix. Some salt, a couple of minced dates, and the warmed carrots were done. The whole process grating and all took about 15 minutes. How’s that for dinner in a hurry? We ate our carrots with the remnants of the picadillo KS made the night before. While I liked my carrots just fine, KS loved the orangey warmth. The trick is to just warm the carrots and not cook them – this way you preserve the texture and taste of raw carrots, but give it a little more of that fall comfort. Looking back, I would have added a dash of cinnamon. And if we had any cilantro, the dish would have sparkled even more! But in no time, we ate a tasty dish and salvaged the contents of our crisper!

And now that I’m sufficiently hungry, Yom Kippur seems even longer to me. Fasting isn’t a food blogger’s strongest suit. How long will I last? I have low expectations for myself!

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

easy potato latkes

Potato

Sunday morning was not a gentle awakening to some. Some of us, and it wasn’t yours truly, were recovering from a night of mixing rum, tequila and karaoke in one headache-inducing cocktail, making a solid, hangover-recovery breakfast (or lunch, in our case) an imperative cure.

Being that grease and starch go hand in hand to ease the next morning ache, and that Hannukah is upon us in full force, I thought it would be appropriate to fry some grated potatoes in oil and serve it up with sour cream. Latkes – were the main reason for the last minute, yet festive Sunday afternoon meal. For good measure, to round out the offering, I threw in some French toast, and some artisanal cheeses, Humboldt Fog*** among the selection.

Over the years, I’ve collected quite a few nouveau latke recipes. There are the zucchini and dill ones, the sweet potato and chili and cumin ones, the yellow squash and Parmesan ones and so on. I have about half a dozen and these are just the ones I’ve decided to keep
after trying all the recipes that came my way.

hannukah

However, during Hannukah, nothing quite speaks to me like a plain, traditional latke – a recipe so simple, it seems almost lazy. I don’t even add onions or pepper to mine – I like the plain taste of salted, crispy potato so much! And so, after a quick consultation with my mom, I went straight to business. I avoided pureeing my potatoes in a Cuisinart, as that gives a bit of a soggy feel, and instead opted to grate the potatoes on the coarse side of the grater, by hand. I did a bit of approximating with other ingredients as the proportions are never quite exact – the starchiness of potatoes varies and it’s the consistency you’re after!

The result was nothing short of delicious – the latkes came out crispy on the edges and perfectly browned. I only wish I had photographic evidence, but my beloved SRL was left on the Upper East Side this weekend, while I stayed in Tribeca. Apologies to everyone for lack of original photography with this post. I am trying to make up for it with humor. And a recipe below.

Continue reading easy potato latkes.