“Hanukkah is the festival of lights, instead of one day of presents – we have 8 crazy nights.” – Adam Sandler, The Hanukkah Song
If these pages could talk…worn spine, cover stained with hard work and love, this cook book evokes memories each time I pull it out for Jewish holidays. Love and Knishes, a beloved favorite in my family, a gift to my mother when my parents were newlyweds. Filled with great recipes, none greater than the recipe for potato latkes from scratch. Friends and family will all agree, no one makes a better latke than my mother Linda. So good in fact, we asked her for a “test run” before Hannukah begins on Sunday so that we may share their golden goodness with all of you.
LATKE INGREDIENTS (plus the 5 lb bag of potatoes)
The most delicious food is always made with the fewest ingredients. Latkes are not difficult to make, but require a lot of elbow grease, sweat, and tears (from the onions!) Recipe to follow at bottom of blog.
5 lbs of potatoes grated by hand. Make sure that you squeeze, squeeze, squeeze every bit of water out that you can before adding anything else to the mix!
My mom always grates her onions for latkes instead of chopping them. It adds a delicate touch of flavor.
Once my Mom began to stir her magical mix, I had such a visceral reaction. Though she has made these every year of my life, standing next to her in my kitchen today I immediately remembered how I would nestle myself between her and the pull out cutting board in my childhood kitchen. I would watch with wonder, not missing a step, as she would whip up delicious dinners and my love for cooking was born.
Before the latkes were ready to drop in the frying pan, we noticed that my cat Spice had perched himself above the stove. Watching every move with wonder, just like I had in my younger years.
The sound, the smell, the crackling oil. For those who are not familiar with the tradition, potato latkes are fried in oil to signify the Miracle of Hannukah. After a battle and the destruction of many temples in 166BC, a small urn of oil was found in one of the synagogues, but with only enough to burn for one night. The oil lasted for 8 days, and thus that is why we celebrate Hannukah for 8 days.
Is there anything yummier than fried potatoes in any shape or form?! The finished product – perfectly golden, crispy on the outside, warm and soft on the inside. Forget the ketchup! These beauties are best served with sour cream and apple sauce, many people like a little of both on each fried delight. Since Hannukah is known as the festival of lights, I love to scatter mercury glass votives around the table and throughout the house to welcome the holiday and set our home aglow with their soft light. These votives are a holiday favorite at our store and come in shades of blue and green perfect for all of the winter holidays and make a great hostess gift. With the first night upon us this Sunday, my kids can’t wait to sink their teeth into more of Grandma’s latkes…neither can I!
PERFECT POTATO LATKES
2 c grated raw potatoes
2 eggs, beaten
1 TSP salt
1 heaping TBS of flour
pinch of baking powder1 small onion, grated
Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Drop pancake mixture by the tablespoon full into a hot skillet filled with vegetable oil. Fry on both sides until brown. Place layers of paper towels in between each batch of pancakes to soak up the oil. Serve piping hot with sour cream and applesauce.
*Let’s face it, there is never a single latke left. My mom doubled this recipe to feed the masses, adjust accordingly to the amount you are making.