latkes

Latkes of a Different Kind

Hanukkah wouldn't be right without latkes. And, while classic potato latkes are my favorite and I once made 200 of them for my sister-in-law and brother's annual holiday party, I also like to cook up different varieties.

In addition to fried foods, dairy is also an iconic food for Hanukkah.

So -- dairy latke!

This one is made with cornmeal and cheddar cheese. Good for breakfast, lunch or as a side dish at a vegetarian meal. Perfect accompaniment to sunnyside eggs, for dipping into runny yolks.

Also, versatile. Add chives, scallions, corn kernels, chili peppers. Whatever.

Also -- make them ahead and rewarm. 

 

Cornmeal-Cheddar Latkes

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-1/3 cups milk, approximately
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 ounces shredded cheddar cheese 
  • butter for frying
  • optional: 1 small chopped jalapeno or serrano pepper; 1 cup corn kernels; 2 tablespoon chopped chives

Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. In a bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the milk, eggs and cooled melted butter. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture, stirring gently. Fold in the cheese. If the mixture seems too thick, stir in more milk.

Heat about 1 tablespoon butter in a sauté pan over medium-low heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, drop 1/4 cup of the batter per pancake and cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown.

Makes about 24

 

Mashed Potato, Kale and Feta Cheese Pancakes

See these pancakes? I actually try not to make them too often, because, like the old Lay's ad said: you can't eat just one.

These pancakes are soft and creamy inside, fabulously crispy on the surface and have an earthy, vaguely mineral-y potato flavor plus the tang of cheese. They are among my favorite things to eat ever

Also, they are perfect for Passover because they contain matzo farfel, not bread or bread crumbs. 

They are perfect for Hanukkah when you might want a different kind of latke.

They are perfect for vegetarian meals anytime.

They are perfect as a brunch dish for company because you can make them ahead and reheat (preheat oven to 425 degrees F).

Try one! And maybe freeze the rest to keep yourself from overeating. They store nicely in the freezer (wrapped twice in plastic) for up to two months.

The recipe comes from my book, The Modern Kosher Kitchen. The photo is courtesy Glenn Scott Photography.

Mashed Potato, Kale and Feta Cheese Pancakes

  • 2 cups matzo farfel
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped fresh kale
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 6 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • vegetable oil for frying

Place the matzo farfel in a bowl, cover with very hot water and let soak for a few minutes until soft. Drain the farfel and squeeze out as much water as possible. Return the drained farfel to the bowl. While the matzo farfel is soaking, heat the olive oil and butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, add the onion and cook for a minute. Add the kale, cover the pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes, or until the kale has wilted. Spoon the mixture into a strainer and squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the vegetables. Add to the matzo farfel and mix ingredient s to distribute them evenly. Add the mashed potatoes, feta cheese and egg and mix ingredients thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat about 1/2-inch vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Shape the potato mixture into patties and fry for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.  

 Makes about 16-18 pancakes, 6-8 servings

 

Sweet Potato Latkes with Cranberries

The words “holiday season” usually conjure up notions of Christmas and Hanukkah, decorated trees and candle-lit menorahs, because these two celebrations usually come at about the same time during December. But this year is different, because for the first time ever — maybe — Hanukkah is on the same day as Thanksgiving. And it won’t happen again until the year 79811 — maybe.  I say maybe because Jewish holidays always begin at sundown the night before, and so Hanukkah actually begins on Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving.   Also, in 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a proclamation changing the the day we celebrate Thanksgiving from the last Thursday to the 4th Thursday. So if you consider that, then Hanukkah and Thanksgiving actually did fall on the same day back in in 1888.  There’s more, much more to this story, including the usual political nonsense that happens when a president of one party says something, does something or is eager to try something and the other party doesn’t like it. In 1939, for example, one Republican (Tom Taggart of Atlantic City) was so incensed by FDR’s proclamation that he referred to Thanksgiving as “Franksgiving.”  Btw, in case you watch Boardwalk Empire, you might like to know that Taggart was a one-time favorite of Enoch L. “Nocky” Johnson, (the GOP party leader on whom Nucky Thompson is based).  But all of this amusing stuff aside, the question for the actual celebration is:  "what do we eat?"  With two holidays overlapping (it’s being called “Thanksgivukkah”), there’s a lot of cooking involved. And a lot depends on when families will be getting together — Wednesday night for Hanukkah and Thursday for Thanksgiving? Only on Thursday?  Because Thanksgiving is a meat meal; Hanukkah is typically dairy and for folks who keep kosher, you don’t mix the two.  Thanksgiving usually involves a roasted turkey, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes; Hanukkah is potato latke time plus anything fried.  My first thought: sweet potato latkes, stuffed with cranberries. Takes care of two Thanksgiving essentials and delivers it in a form familiar for Hanukkah. Suitable for a meat meal.   I tried them out to see if this was something we could sink our teeth into this year and the answer was a resounding “yes” so this is one of our “Thanksgivukkuh” recipes this year.      Sweet Potato Latkes/Pancakes with Cranberries      3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and finely shredded  1/2 cup dried cranberries  1/4 cup all-purpose flour  1 teaspoon grated fresh orange peel  1/2 teaspoon salt  1/2 teaspoon ground ginger  1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon  1/4 teaspoon baking powder  2 large eggs  Vegetable oil for frying     Shred the potatoes in a food processor. Squeeze the shreds to remove as much liquid as possible. Place the potatoes in a large bowl. Chop the cranberries into small pieces. Add to the potatoes and toss to distribute the ingredients. Stir in the flour, orange peel, salt, ginger, cinnamon and baking powder and toss to distribute the ingredients evenly. Add the eggs and blend them in thoroughly. Heat about 1/8 inch vegetable oil in a saute pan. Form portions of the mixture into pancakes about 3-inches in diameter and 1/4-inch thick. Fry the pancakes in batches over medium-high heat for 2–3 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels. Makes about 20

The words “holiday season” usually conjure up notions of Christmas and Hanukkah, decorated trees and candle-lit menorahs, because these two celebrations usually come at about the same time during December. But this year is different, because for the first time ever — maybe — Hanukkah is on the same day as Thanksgiving. And it won’t happen again until the year 79811 — maybe.

I say maybe because Jewish holidays always begin at sundown the night before, and so Hanukkah actually begins on Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving. 

Also, in 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a proclamation changing the the day we celebrate Thanksgiving from the last Thursday to the 4th Thursday. So if you consider that, then Hanukkah and Thanksgiving actually did fall on the same day back in in 1888.

There’s more, much more to this story, including the usual political nonsense that happens when a president of one party says something, does something or is eager to try something and the other party doesn’t like it. In 1939, for example, one Republican (Tom Taggart of Atlantic City) was so incensed by FDR’s proclamation that he referred to Thanksgiving as “Franksgiving.”

Btw, in case you watch Boardwalk Empire, you might like to know that Taggart was a one-time favorite of Enoch L. “Nocky” Johnson, (the GOP party leader on whom Nucky Thompson is based).

But all of this amusing stuff aside, the question for the actual celebration is:

"what do we eat?"

With two holidays overlapping (it’s being called “Thanksgivukkah”), there’s a lot of cooking involved. And a lot depends on when families will be getting together — Wednesday night for Hanukkah and Thursday for Thanksgiving? Only on Thursday?

Because Thanksgiving is a meat meal; Hanukkah is typically dairy and for folks who keep kosher, you don’t mix the two.

Thanksgiving usually involves a roasted turkey, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes; Hanukkah is potato latke time plus anything fried.

My first thought: sweet potato latkes, stuffed with cranberries. Takes care of two Thanksgiving essentials and delivers it in a form familiar for Hanukkah. Suitable for a meat meal. 

I tried them out to see if this was something we could sink our teeth into this year and the answer was a resounding “yes” so this is one of our “Thanksgivukkuh” recipes this year.

 

Sweet Potato Latkes/Pancakes with Cranberries

 

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and finely shredded

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon grated fresh orange peel

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 large eggs

Vegetable oil for frying

 

Shred the potatoes in a food processor. Squeeze the shreds to remove as much liquid as possible. Place the potatoes in a large bowl. Chop the cranberries into small pieces. Add to the potatoes and toss to distribute the ingredients. Stir in the flour, orange peel, salt, ginger, cinnamon and baking powder and toss to distribute the ingredients evenly. Add the eggs and blend them in thoroughly. Heat about 1/8 inch vegetable oil in a saute pan. Form portions of the mixture into pancakes about 3-inches in diameter and 1/4-inch thick. Fry the pancakes in batches over medium-high heat for 2–3 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels. Makes about 20

Lemon Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Pancakes? Oh yes! Who doesn’t love them? 
 But who cooks them at your house? 
 My Dad was the pancake maker in ours. I can close my eyes now all these years later and still see my mother’s face as she surveyed the mess he made. Flour puffs here and there. Drops of grease from melted butter on the floor. Batter on the counter. A crusted pancake turner in the sink. 
 But wow, those were some great pancakes. Puffy, thick and soft with a bit of a crispy edge. Gobs of butter on top melting into the surface. Syrup of course. 
 No redeeming nutritional value, but oh, what a big deal for the Memory Box. 
 Pancakes are always welcome I think, any time of year and also for any meal, breakfast, lunch or dinner. 
 So I am going to make some for Hanukkah. A recipe from my book,  Hip Kosher , for Lemon-Cottage Cheese pancakes. Almost everyone knows that it is traditional to eat fried foods during this holiday. Less well known is that cheese is traditional too. So I’ve combined fried plus cheese plus memory in these, light, fluffy pancakes. There’s some protein and they are vaguely sweet, with good flavor from the lemon, so syrup isn’t really needed. Fried? Yes, but just in a small amount of butter on a griddle, not a whole lot of deep-dry fat. 
     
  Lemon Cottage Cheese Pancakes (  from    Hip Kosher )  
   1-1/3 cups dry curd cottage cheese, pot cheese, or farmer cheese   3 large eggs   1 cup milk   1-1/2 tablespoons finely grated fresh lemon peel   1 cup all-purpose flour   2 tablespoons sugar   1 teaspoon baking powder   1/2 teaspoon salt   Butter for the griddle    Combine the cottage cheese, eggs, milk and lemon peel in a bowl. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix to combine ingredients. Heat a griddle over medium heat and add a small amount of butter. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, working in batches, pour about 1/4 cup batter onto the griddle for each pancake. Cook the pancakes for about 2 minutes per side, or until they are golden brown, adding more butter to the pan as necessary. Makes 4 servings.

Pancakes? Oh yes! Who doesn’t love them?

But who cooks them at your house?

My Dad was the pancake maker in ours. I can close my eyes now all these years later and still see my mother’s face as she surveyed the mess he made. Flour puffs here and there. Drops of grease from melted butter on the floor. Batter on the counter. A crusted pancake turner in the sink.

But wow, those were some great pancakes. Puffy, thick and soft with a bit of a crispy edge. Gobs of butter on top melting into the surface. Syrup of course.

No redeeming nutritional value, but oh, what a big deal for the Memory Box.

Pancakes are always welcome I think, any time of year and also for any meal, breakfast, lunch or dinner.

So I am going to make some for Hanukkah. A recipe from my book, Hip Kosher, for Lemon-Cottage Cheese pancakes. Almost everyone knows that it is traditional to eat fried foods during this holiday. Less well known is that cheese is traditional too. So I’ve combined fried plus cheese plus memory in these, light, fluffy pancakes. There’s some protein and they are vaguely sweet, with good flavor from the lemon, so syrup isn’t really needed. Fried? Yes, but just in a small amount of butter on a griddle, not a whole lot of deep-dry fat.


Lemon Cottage Cheese Pancakes (from Hip Kosher)


1-1/3 cups dry curd cottage cheese, pot cheese, or farmer cheese
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
1-1/2 tablespoons finely grated fresh lemon peel
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Butter for the griddle

Combine the cottage cheese, eggs, milk and lemon peel in a bowl. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix to combine ingredients. Heat a griddle over medium heat and add a small amount of butter. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, working in batches, pour about 1/4 cup batter onto the griddle for each pancake. Cook the pancakes for about 2 minutes per side, or until they are golden brown, adding more butter to the pan as necessary. Makes 4 servings.

Potato Latkes with Lemongrass Yogurt Sauce

Latkes!  Now there’s a good word.   The word we generally hear around this time of year because Hanukkah (or Chanuka if you prefer) is coming (sundown on December 8th). And on Hanukkah we eat:  Latkes!  Ohmyohmyohmy. They’re another of those really really wonderful things to eat. Crispy. Crunchy. Hot. Fried.   It really doesn’t get much better. Even if latkes are among those foods that help pack on the 7  pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years .  Try to limit yourself if you can. :) These are quite luscious.  I have made potato latkes more times than I can even imagine. It’s tough to be the one at the stove, sampling and all. If you get my meaning.  I have lots of potato latke recipes. The first step is which kind of potatoes to buy: baking (Russet, Idaho). They’re the driest, so your latkes won’t be as soggy as they might with other varieties.  Second: how to grate the potatoes. I’ve hand grated them; used the food processor shredder; first shredded then chopped the potatoes with the S-blade. They’re all good methods, but my kids like the shredded version the best.   We also like latkes with sour cream. REAL sour cream, not the fake non-fat stuff. But actually, Chobani 0% plain yogurt is absolutely wonderful too. Nice and tangy and thick.  Okay, a few of us prefer applesauce. But not from my side of the family.  I’m adding a recipe for Lemongrass-Yogurt Sauce too, because there’s always someone (usually me) who wants to try something new. This one’s a goody.      Potato Latkes   4 large peeled baking potatoes  1 large onion  3 tablespoons matzo meal, breadcrumbs or potato starch  2 large eggs  1 teaspoon salt or to taste  freshly ground black pepper to taste  1/2 teaspoon baking powder  vegetable oil for frying     Grate the potatoes and onion into a bowl or, if using a food processor, shred the potatoes and onion together. If you prefer latkes softer, after shredding, place the shreds back into the food processor and use the S-blade. Process the potatoes and onions to a fine consistency. Either squeeze the vegetables in a kitchen towel over a bowl or place the mixture in a rigid strainer set over a bowl and press the vegetables. In either case, wring or squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Place the vegetables in a large bowl. Add the matzo meal or breadcrumbs or use the solid potato starch that remains at the bottom of the bowl containing the squeezed liquid. Stir in the eggs, salt, pepper and baking powder. Heat about 1/4” vegetable oil in a cast iron or other heavy heat retaining skillet over moderately high heat. Drop some of the potato mixture into the pan, using equal amounts to make each pancake. Fry for 2-3 minutes per side or until the pancakes are golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels. Serve with dairy sour cream, nonfat plain yogurt, applesauce or Lemongrass-Yogurt Sauce (below) Makes 12-16      Lemongrass-Yogurt Sauce   1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt  1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint  1 scallion, finely chopped  2 teaspoons finely chopped lemongrass  1/2 teaspoon finely chopped chili pepper  1-1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger  1/2 teaspoon grated fresh lime peel  2 tablespoons lime juice  salt  Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly to distribute them evenly. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving. Makes about one cup

Latkes!

Now there’s a good word. 

The word we generally hear around this time of year because Hanukkah (or Chanuka if you prefer) is coming (sundown on December 8th). And on Hanukkah we eat:

Latkes!

Ohmyohmyohmy. They’re another of those really really wonderful things to eat. Crispy. Crunchy. Hot. Fried. 

It really doesn’t get much better. Even if latkes are among those foods that help pack on the 7 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years.

Try to limit yourself if you can. :) These are quite luscious.

I have made potato latkes more times than I can even imagine. It’s tough to be the one at the stove, sampling and all. If you get my meaning.

I have lots of potato latke recipes. The first step is which kind of potatoes to buy: baking (Russet, Idaho). They’re the driest, so your latkes won’t be as soggy as they might with other varieties.

Second: how to grate the potatoes. I’ve hand grated them; used the food processor shredder; first shredded then chopped the potatoes with the S-blade. They’re all good methods, but my kids like the shredded version the best. 

We also like latkes with sour cream. REAL sour cream, not the fake non-fat stuff. But actually, Chobani 0% plain yogurt is absolutely wonderful too. Nice and tangy and thick.

Okay, a few of us prefer applesauce. But not from my side of the family.

I’m adding a recipe for Lemongrass-Yogurt Sauce too, because there’s always someone (usually me) who wants to try something new. This one’s a goody.

 

Potato Latkes

4 large peeled baking potatoes

1 large onion

3 tablespoons matzo meal, breadcrumbs or potato starch

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

vegetable oil for frying

 

Grate the potatoes and onion into a bowl or, if using a food processor, shred the potatoes and onion together. If you prefer latkes softer, after shredding, place the shreds back into the food processor and use the S-blade. Process the potatoes and onions to a fine consistency. Either squeeze the vegetables in a kitchen towel over a bowl or place the mixture in a rigid strainer set over a bowl and press the vegetables. In either case, wring or squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Place the vegetables in a large bowl. Add the matzo meal or breadcrumbs or use the solid potato starch that remains at the bottom of the bowl containing the squeezed liquid. Stir in the eggs, salt, pepper and baking powder. Heat about 1/4” vegetable oil in a cast iron or other heavy heat retaining skillet over moderately high heat. Drop some of the potato mixture into the pan, using equal amounts to make each pancake. Fry for 2-3 minutes per side or until the pancakes are golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels. Serve with dairy sour cream, nonfat plain yogurt, applesauce or Lemongrass-Yogurt Sauce (below) Makes 12-16

 

Lemongrass-Yogurt Sauce

1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

1 scallion, finely chopped

2 teaspoons finely chopped lemongrass

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped chili pepper

1-1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh lime peel

2 tablespoons lime juice

salt

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly to distribute them evenly. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving. Makes about one cup

Pratie Griddle Scones. You don't have to be Jewish to love latkes.

Thats what the old ad sort of says (okay, the ad had to do with Levy’s Jewish rye bread, but it’s the same sentiment).

And it’s true about latkes. Everyone loves at least one kind. And although most people think potato when they hear the word, latkes actually come in a variety of flavors and ingredients. The word latke just means pancake or fritter, so you could make them with shredded vegetables like zucchini or with sweet potatoes. Or you could make batter pancakes and mix it with cheese or corn kernels and fry them up to crispy goodness and those are latkes too.

I have an Irish friend who makes a kind of latke. She doesn’t call it that of course and, to tell the truth, she never thought of it as a dish for Hanukkah, but it is a pancake. It includes potato. It’s fried. And best of all it’s delicious. And guess what? It’s not difficult to make and doesn’t make a mess on your cooktop or counter like classic potato latkes do.

This “Irish latke” is called a Pratie Griddle Scone. It’s a delicious alternative to classic latkes during the 8 days of Hanukkah. It’s a good snack anytime. A good side dish at dinner and almost best of all, you can serve it for breakfast or brunch so it might be perfect if you’re having sleepover guests or brunch company at New Year’s time.

The recipe calls for one cup mashed potatoes. You can used leftover mashed potatoes or boil up a potato or two or use the insides of a baked potato.

Pratie Griddle Scones

  • 1 cup packed mashed potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2/3 cup quick oats, approximately
  • vegetable oil for frying

Place the mashed potatoes, butter, salt and baking powder in a bowl and mix ingredients to blend them. Place the oats in a food processor and process to pulverize them almost to “flour.” Blend as much of the oats into the potato mixture as is needed to form a soft, pliable dough. Roll the dough into a circle about 1/4-inch thick. Prick the dough in several places with the tines of a fork. Cut the circle into 6 wedges. Heat a thin layer of vegetable oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Fry the scones for about 3 minutes per side or until they are golden brown an crispy.

Makes 6 pieces

Potato Pancakes with Smoked Salmon, Sour Cream and Chives

Potato pancakes for breakfast? 

Yes indeed. It’s one of our New Year’s Day favorites. My cousins come to stay with us for a few days and we usually eat a couple of days of smoked fish (salmon, sturgeon, whitefish and herring) with bagels. But New Year’s Day should be a little more special so a couple of times I’ve made very large potato pancakes (like 6-inches) and served them with smoked salmon on top, capped with a blob of sour cream garnished with chopped fresh chives and sometimes with red salmon caviar.

Quite luxurious to eat. Beautiful and festive looking too. And it’s easy. You can make the pancakes ahead and reheat them to hot and crispy in a 425 degree oven, then serve them with the cold smoked salmon and sour cream on top.

I’ve given a potato pancake recipe before, but I change it slightly for New Year’s breakfast. When I couple it with something cold, like smoked fish, I prefer a shreddy texture — it makes crispier pancakes (so I don’t grate or chop the potatoes. I use the shredding blade on a food processor). I also don’t use baking powder because I like the pancake flatter and unpuffed — a better texture with the moist, cool fish.

Potato Pancakes with Smoked Salmon, Sour Cream and Chives

  • 4 large Russet-type baking potatoes, peeled

  • 1 large yellow onion

  • 3 tablespoons bread crumbs 

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • vegetable oil for frying

  • 12 large slices smoked salmon

  • dairy sour cream (about 1 cup)

  • chopped chives or salmon caviar

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Shred the potatoes and onion using the shredding disk of a food processor. Using a handful or two at a time, place the shreds into a kitchen towel and squeeze as much liquid out as possible, then place the shreds in a bowl. Repeat with the remaining potato-onion mixture. Add the bread crumbs and toss the ingredients. Add the eggs, salt and pepper and mix to distribute the ingredients thoroughly. Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Heat about 1/4-inch vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot enough to make a bread crumb sizzle, fry each portion, one at a time, for 2-3 minutes per side or until browned and crispy. Keep each pancake warm in the preheated oven until you finish frying all the batter. Place the pancakes on 6 plates. Top each with two slices of salmon. Top with a blob of sour cream in the center. Garnish the top of the sour cream with some chopped chives or a dollop of salmon caviar.

Makes 6 servings 

Potato Latkes Kinder on Knuckles and Nails

One year I made 100 potato latkes for my brother and sister-in-law’s annual Hanukkah party. That wasn’t enough according to everyone.

I have to ask here — are there ever enough potato latkes?

So I made 100 more.

Okay, I admit they were small, mini-latkes, about 1-1/2” size. Still, I did make 200 of them.

My hands were red and raw. Forget the manicure! I shouldn’t have bothered with one. And the thing is, these latkes went so fast that they were devoured in less time than it had taken me to even peel all the potatoes.

The year after that I suggested that they buy the latkes and I would bring a giant homemade challah. That’s been the deal since 2008.

Since then I still make potato latkes for my kids and grandkids (maybe a double recipe) and I have figured out a way to prepare the potatoes in a food processor and have them come out like the old fashioned hand grated kind.

In a food processor you really can’t “grate” the potatoes. You can either shred or chop them. Neither is exactly right for old fashioned potato latkes. So, I shred the potatoes first, then put them back inside the workbowl and use the S-blade to chop them finer (but chopping AFTER shredding results in a more grater-like chop). The result is almost grated potatoes.

It is MUCH kinder on hands, knuckles and nails and MUCH quicker too. Here’s the recipe:

Potato Latkes

4 large Russet-type baking potatoes, peeled

1 large yellow onion

3 tablespoons matzo meal, bread crumbs or potato starch

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

vegetable oil for frying

Shred the potatoes and onion using the shredding disk of a food processor. Remove the vegetables to a bowl. Replace the shredding disk with the S-blade and put the vegetables back into the workbowl. Pulse until the potato shreds are much smaller and look “grated.” Using a handful or two at a time, place the mixture into a kitchen towel and squeeze as much liquid out as possible, then place the mixture in a bowl. Repeat with the remaining potato-onion mixture. Add the matzo meal and toss the ingredients. Add the eggs, salt, pepper and baking powder and mix to distribute the ingredients thoroughly. Heat about 1/4-inch vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot enough to make a matzo meal crumb sizzle, add some of the potato mixture to the pan, forming small pancakes, anywhere from 1-1/2-inch size to 3-inch size. Be sure to leave ample space between each latke so that they fry properly — if they are too close they will “steam” slightly and the latkes will be soggy. Be sure the vegetable oil remains hot — if the temperature gets too low the latkes may become soggy. Fry the latkes for 2-3 minutes per side or until crispy and browned. Drain on paper towels. Makes 24 small or 12 large pancakes

Sweet Potato Latkes

My life is holiday-ing by. Wasn’t it just Hallowe’en? And Thanksgiving is already gone. Here it is only a day after and in addition to thinking about turkey leftovers I’m thinking about latkes because Hanukkah is next week, starting at sundown December 1st. Before you know it it will be next summer and I’ll be making lemonade for the fourth of July.

Foodwise, leftover Thanksgiving and Hanukkah actually go very well. Turkey sandwiches with old fashioned potato latkes is something special. Turkey and sweet potato latkes may be even better.

If you’ve got a couple of sweet potatoes left here’s an easy latke recipe (a riff on the recipe in my book, Hip Kosher) you can make to accompany your turkey leftovers and you can also make these next week for Hanukkah:

Sweet Potato Latkes

2 medium sweet potatoes

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

vegetable oil for frying

Shred the sweet potatoes in a food processor. Place the potatoes in a strainer and press down to extract as much liquid as possible (or squeeze the shreds in a kitchen towel). Put the shreds in a bowl. Add the flour and toss the ingredients. Add the eggs, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking powder. Heat about 1/8-inch vegetable oil in a large sautepan. Scoop enough of the sweet potato mixture to form a pancake about 3-inches in diameter and 1/4-inch thick. Fry the latkes for about 2-3 minutes per side or until the pancakes are crispy and golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Makes 4 servings