Monday, December 28, 2015

Latkes and the Like

We'd never made latkes before, but I randomly thought that it would be fun to try making them for brunch since Hanukkah had just passed and fried potatoes on a Sunday morning sounded like a pretty good idea.  Traditionally, latkes are eaten to commemorate the small bit of olive oil that miraculously lasted for eight days when the menorah was lit during the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem. The first latkes were not necessarily made with potatoes, though.  The Jews fried whatever they could find in olive oil to celebrate Hanukkah.  Likewise, we fried a few different things - Russett potatoes, yams, and zucchini.

Nowadays, latkes are often enjoyed with sour cream and apple sauce.  I made yogurt-based toppings and chopped a fresh apple to make apple sauce, rather than getting sour cream and Mott's.  Wes also hand-packed and seasoned a few lamb patties and fried a couple of eggs to complete the spread!

Zucchini and Potato Latkes

Peel a Russet potato and coarsely grate by hand, transferring to a large bowl of cold water as grated.  Soak for 1-2 minutes and then drain well.  We squeezed out excess moisture between paper towels as well.  

Then, we also grated zucchini to add to the otherwise typical latke.  

Mix in 1 egg, about 1/4 cup of flour, and salt in a large bowl.  Heat some olive oil in a pan.  Form little pancakes using the mix directly on the pan and fry for about 5 minutes on each side (medium heat, hopefully they stay together!). 

Because we didn't use a ton of oil, our latkes were more on the light and crunchy side rather than fluffy and thick, but we liked them that way!

Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Mix to taste Greek yogurt with lemon juice, salt and pepper, cumin, garlic powder, and chopped cucumbers.  No specific measurements!


Peel and finely chop an apple (I used honeycrisp), add less than 1/4 cup of water, a little honey, a dash of cinnamon, and lemon zest, bring to a boil and then simmer to reduce.  After it thickens, sweeten with more honey if needed.

Sweet Potato Latkes

We also did a sweet potato latke using sweet potatoes, onion, harissa, paprika, salt and pepper.  A yogurt dip with pomegranate seeds, mint, and harissa went very nicely with this.

Mix the grated sweet potato with 1 egg, 1 chopped onion, 1/4 cup of flour, 1/2 tablespoon of harissa, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Scoop onto an oiled pan and fry.

It was helpful to keep the completed latkes warm in a 250 degree oven while we cooked the others. 

Harissa Yogurt

Mix some Greek yogurt with about a teaspoon of harissa, a teaspoon of chopped mint leaves, a little salt and pepper to taste, and pomegranate seeds.

Lamb Patties

Wes made lamb patties out of ground lamb and a seasoning that I brought him from Girl and the Goat in Chicago.  They were pretty bomb, especially with that cucumber yogurt sauce from earlier!  

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