Today marks the first day of Hanukkah 2015, and for the first time ever, I’m really getting into the celebration. I don’t want my long term love, Christmas, to feel abandoned (I will, as always, be giving you plenty of attention). But I can’t deny that I am so excited to fully throw Matt’s Hanukkah festivities into the mix from now on.
Matt’s mom gave us the coolest menorah that fits perfectly into our eclectic and colorful decor, and we’ll be doing a nightly gift exchange all week. But I’m most excited for the chance to make a classic Jewish dish, potato pancakes aka latkes. I could have a lot of fun experimenting with these, and no doubt I will in the future, but it’s always best to start with the basics. So I made a perfectly simple version of potato pancakes using my personal favorite, shredded Yukon gold potatoes, along with onion, a bit of garlic, eggs, and potato starch. I tried different ways of making them, and found that the potato starch was a magical ingredient. It keeps the pancakes together very nicely, and bonus, also makes them gluten-free. I also attempted baking instead of frying. It wasn’t the same, I’ll have to work on that one. But frying is just always better, so I think I’ll stick with frying for now.
Now you obviously can’t eat latkes without some yummy condiments (and by can’t I mean, I would do it but I’d rather have some sauce). So I’m serving this batch up with flavorful and creamy scallion Greek yogurt along with a sweetly tart cranberry-apple sauce. Delicious.
This has been such a busy few weeks with the arrival of my new nephew, my parents in town, Thanksgiving, and finally, the pre-fall version of Fashion Week at work (like it’s February counterpart, Fashion Week, it’s always a very long and draining week in the fashion world). It’s so nice to finally have some down time and kickoff the holidays. Next on the list is lighting the candles, getting a small tree for our apartment, and listening to some Christmas Music Pandora. There really is no time like the Winter Holiday Season [smile].
Potato Latkes with Cran-Apple Sauce & Scallion Cream
Serves: 4-5 (appetizer/sidedish portion) Start to Finish: 30 min.
2 lb. Yukon Gold Potatoes, scrubbed and shredded
2/3 cup shredded Vidalia or Yellow Onion (1 med. onion)
2 cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
1 Egg + 1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/4 cup Potato Starch
2 teaspoons Salt, fine-grain (or to taste)
2 cups Fresh Cranberries
3 Gala Apples, cored and chopped
3 cups Water
3-4 tablespoons Sugar (I used three for a tarter sauce)
2 tablespoons Corn Starch
2 tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
1 cup 2% or 4% Plain Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup chopped Scallions
An hour before or up to a couple days before, make sauces. For cran-apple sauce, combine all ingredients, cranberries through cornstarch, in a large pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until reduced by two-thirds, stirring relatively occasionally. This takes about an hour. Stir in lemon juice to taste at the very end. Allow to cool and refrigerate until serving.
For yogurt sauce, combine yogurt and scallions. Cover and refrigerate.
For Latkes, shred potatoes and transfer to a clean towel. Into a bowl, squeeze as much moisture out as possible. Shred onion and mince garlic. Combine in a large bowl with potatoes. Add beaten eggs, stir to combine. Add salt and corn starch, stir to combine.
Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet or two with paper towels.
In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, scoop out latkes, 2-3 tablespoons each, and carefully place in the hot oil. I cooked them 4 at a time. Press down on each latke with the back of a spoon to flatten.
The potato mixture will be very wet, drain off liquid as it accumulate or just gently squeeze moisture out as you make each latke. Cook latkes for 1-2 minutes per side. Remove and place in single layer on paper towels. Keep warm in oven while making the rest of the latkes. Between batches, add 1-2 more tablespoons of oil. This recipe should make 8-10 latkes total. Serve immediately with chilled sauces.