Sunday, December 5, 2010
happy hanukkah! it really snuck up on me this year. i mean, it was just thanksgiving and i'm already supposed to be ready for another holiday? well i'm not. sorry hanukkah. sorry everybody who won't be getting a gift for a few more weeks. but there is one thing i'm ready for....latkes! it really is a shame when the eight nights pass without a single latke and i wasn't going to let that happen this year. in fact, i would place latke eating as a higher priority hanukkah necessity than a proper menorah.*
so for the second time in a week the cast iron skillet** came out, the vegetable oil poured out in glugs and deep frying was under way! no question, latkes are always worth the frying hassle.
when i was growing up my mom made latkes using the recipe in the vegetarian epicure and this is the recipe i use as a guideline now. though here's a little latke secret - most recipes use eggs in them but they're really not necessary and you don't even have to replace them with anything, just pretend that whole part about adding eggs doesn't even exist. the rough recipe as i make it is below, this is just a guide and you may have to add more or less matzo meal depending on how good you are at squeezing the liquid out of your potatoes.
makes about 15-20 small-ish latkes
2 1/2 cups grated raw potatoes (about 3 baking potatoes)
4 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons matzo meal
black pepper to taste
oil for frying
first you've got to grate your potatoes
(oh please please please can i buy a big food processor with a grating attachment?) squeeze out as much water as you can. then measure (you'll probably have more than 2 1/2 cups so just add a little more of everything else cause that's much smarter than wasting potato). chop up your onion and add it to the shredded potatoes in a large bowl. add the matzo meal, salt and pepper to taste. mix it all up and try forming a patty to make sure it holds together. add more matzo meal if needed.
heat up your oil. when it gets to around 350 (i got this "meat" thermometer from foodbuzz and was pretty excited to be able to track the oil temperature. if you don't have one just test the oil with a bit of potato and when it bubbles it's ready) it's time to stop taking pictures and start frying! cook for a few minutes on each side until nicely browned and crispy. drain on a paper bag or paper towels.
we topped these with applesauce and vegan brunch cashew sour cream (staying on theme here!). and since fried potatoes are not a complete meal we also had some broccoli topped with vegan brunch hollandaise sauce. this was a delicious dinner! i want to eat it again right now.
*though i did look for candles for my menorah. really.
**these recent frying episodes have made me fall in love with my cast iron skillet. i'm convinced that this little pan is the best frying vessel there is. the oil heats up quickly and stays hot and i find it's much easier to clean up afterwards than when i've tried frying in any other pan.