(picture from my friend, Linda.)
Last night my son got home at 11pm and asked, “Why aren’t we eating latkes?” I didn’t bother to answer that question; he’s seventeen now and says such things. But let’s face it, coming home on a weekday night and whipping up latkes is not so easy. The weekend is the time to fill the house with the smell of cooking oil and fried foods! Looking for a recipe? I found this recipe in the Temple Beth Abraham bulletin, The Omer. Faith Kramer, of TBA, not only gives a nice recipe, she dispenses advise, like “wear the right clothes oil will be splattered.” Additionally, Faith says that Beth Abraham has just published a cookbook titled, Everyday to Holidays: Favorite Recipes of Temple Beth Abraham. It sells for $25 and is available at their gift shop. See the description on their website (go to www.tbaoakland.org and scroll down). I plan to go by the office and get one if only for the lunch box ideas. Faith also blogs about food here.
Here’s Faith’s Potato Latkes recipe as a teaser.
2 ½ pounds of baking potatoes
1 large or 2 small onions
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. Pepper
about 1/4 cup matzoh cake meal, or 2 – 3 Tbsps flour
Peel the potatoes if you prefer. Shred or grate the potatoes with the onions. Larger shreds will produce lacier latkes with rougher edges. Fine shred or grated potatoes produce more “pancake” like latkes. Squeeze out excess moisture from the mixture. Mix in eggs, seasoning, and matzoh meal or flour. Let sit for 5 minutes to let the mixture absorb the meal or flour. Add more meal or flour if it is still too wet.
In a very large skillet over medium high heat, heat the oil that is about 1/4 inch deep until it is very hot. The batter should sizzle and bubble when dropped in the oil. Spoon the latke mix into the oil or press the batter into a large serving spoon and carefully slide it off the spoon into the oil. Do not over-crowd the latkes in the pan. Fry until browned on both sides and crisp on the edges. Drain on paper towels or brown paper bags.
This recipe makes about 30 three inch potato pancakes. Serves 6 to 8.
My husband is the latke maker in our family and he likes to use the recipe in a cookbook I got as a wedding present from my mother, Love and Knishes. I’ll include that too.
2 cups grated raw potatoes (measure after draining)
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. salt
1 heaping tbsp. flour or matzo meal
pinch baking powder
1 small onion, grated
Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Drop pancake mixture by the tablespoonful onto a hot skillet. Fry on both sides until brown. Serve piping hot with sour cream and applesauce.
(Mrs. Slobodkin, the author of Love and Knishes, apparently fried her latkes in butter! My husband uses vegetable oil. Apparently Mrs. Slobodkin keep kosher because she suggests serving her buttery latkes with pot roast. Mrs. Slobdkin’s cookbook was first published in 1956, the copy my mother gave me was in it’s tenth printing!)
I have also been asked for the transliteration of the Chanukah candle blessing. Here it is. You can also say the blessing in English – luckily God speaks English!
Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam. Asher kidshanu b’mitvotav vitzi vanu le-chadlich ner shel chanukah.
Blessed are you Lord our God, King of the Universe who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the light of Chanukah.
Remember that Hebrew is a gendered language, like Spanish and French. You don’t have to use masculine gender. You can change to feminine pronouns or make it neutral. Go ahead and experiment with it.
Blessed are you Spirit of the Universe who makes us holy with your commandments and commands us to kindle the candles of Chanukah.