December 5, 2007

Latkes

No one knows how latkes became a tradition, but they are fried in oil, which perhaps symbolizes the miracle of the oil. In Israel doughnuts fried in oil are a popular treat during Hanukkah too. (We've made homemade doughnuts and they're good.)

Thinking of cooking in oil, I might add fondue to our Hanukkah celebrating every year. I've been wanting to do both the oil (or broth) and the cheese fondue pots. I love so many celebration traditions when they give me ideas of what to cook for supper!


Latke Recipe -
Grate
2 lbs russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
one recipe grates them skin and all, another peels them
1 onion
The recipe I like the best leaves half the potatoes in a food processor and adds the onion until all the pieces are roughly 1/8".
Mix the onion and potato together (the onion helps prevent the potato from discoloring) and put in a colander over a bowl to drain the liquid. (Sometimes I skip the colander stage and just pour off the liquid from the mixture just before cooking.)
Mix together
2 eggs
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp salt (- minced scallions, and parsley and pepper could be added)
(1/4 tsp baking powder)
Add the onion and potatoes mixing well. (pour off the liquid from the drained potatoes and add the 'starch' left at the bottom of the bowl to the mixture)

Over med-high, heat oil that coats the bottom of a skillet (with my Calphalon griddle, I hardly use any oil and they brown nicely). Either use a 1/4 cup or spoon to create the latke pancakes and fry on both sides till golden brown. Can keep warm in a 300 degree oven with paper towel layers.


Applesauce and sour cream are traditional accompaniments. I've seen some latkes made with half sweet potatoes too (we've added zucchini that's been salted and liquid pressed out, too, but not for Hanukkah). The meal often has dairy foods.

Tradition -
Jews say blessings for everything, like, "You abound in blessings, source of light, our God, ruler of all worlds; who has made us holy with Your commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the light ..." or "Blessed are you, O Lord our God, who did wondrous things for our ancestors long ago at this time of year."


They play a game spinning a dreidel top. "Nes Gadol Hayah Sham," each word adorning one of the four sides, reminding them of "A great miracle happened (t)here". They sing a song called "Ma'oz Tzur" which would be similar to our "Rock of Ages." The kids often play act the story.

So enjoy eating tradition.
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