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The Shabbat Table – More Latke Love!

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Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom, Happy Hanukkah! Just in case you haven’t decided yet on what kind of latkes to make for Hanukkah, here are a whole lotta luscious latke recipes for your eating pleasure. Although potato latkes are a traditional Hannukah treat, why not experiment this year by making latkes with other vegetables? With the recipes below, you can enjoy a different kind of latke every night of Hannukah!

Just in case you missed it, here’s the link to my article, Latke Love: https://www.cjnews.com/living-jewish/the-shabbat-table-latke-love

Hear the sizzling sounds of latkes frying and learn some of the tips that Zane Caplansky and I share on how to make the best latkes ever. We recently cooked up a big batch of absolutely addictive potato latkes on Episode 4 of my podcast, Norene’s KitchenCast!

Listen and learn! https://noreneskitchencast.simplecast.fm/latke

If you like lacy potato latkes, use the double-processing method. Grate the potatoes with the grating blade of the food processor, using very light pressure. Empty them into a cheesecloth-lined colander and rinse under cold running water to remove the starch (this also helps to keep the potatoes from turning dark). You could also put the grated potatoes into a ‘soup sock,’ which is a cheesecloth bag. Squeeze potatoes dry and then process in batches using the steel blade, with very quick on/off pulses. Do not over-process. Transfer the grated potatoes to a bowl and mix them with the other ingredients, working quickly.

 

Fry Baby, Fry! If frying latkes, don’t overcrowd the pan as it will lower the temperature of the oil. I find 4 or 5 latkes at a time works well. When the latkes are ready, their outsides will be crisp and the centres will be somewhat creamy.

Baked Latkes: Place the oven racks on the lowest and middle positions in your oven. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Line two baking sheets with foil. Spray with non-stick spray, then brush with oil. Prepare your favourite latke mixture and stir in 2 tsp oil. Drop mixture by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets; flatten slightly with the back of the spoon. Bake 10 minutes, until bottoms are browned and crispy. Turn latkes over with a large spatula. Transfer pan from upper rack to lower rack and vice versa. Bake 8–10 minutes longer. Enjoy without guilt!

Freezing Latkes: Most latkes can be made in advance and frozen successfully. I like to place them upright, like soldiers, in loaf pans. Reheat them, uncovered, at 375°F for about 10 minutes, either right in the loaf pans or on a foil-lined baking sheet, until they’re crispy and piping hot. There’s no need to defrost them first.

Serving Suggestions: Serve latkes with a dollop of applesauce (preferably homemade) or tomato salsa for a meat meal, or with low-fat sour cream or yogurt for a dairy meal. My podcast producer told me she loves eating her latkes with ketchup—ketchup and French Fries pair perfectly, and she considers potato latkes as one big circular French fry! Enjoy…

 

RÖSTI POTATOES

Adapted from The NEW Food Processor Bible by Norene Gilletz (Whitecap Books)

This is the ultimate potato pancake! In Switzerland, rösti (pronounced “rooshti”) means “crisp and golden.” Grate the onion alternately with the potatoes to prevent them from turning black.

 

3 large or 4 medium Idaho (russet) potatoes, peeled (see Norene’s Note, below)

1 medium onion, halved

1 Tbsp olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

  1. Insert grater in food processor. Alternately grate potatoes with onion, using medium pressure.
  2. Spray a heavy 10-inch non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Add oil and heat on medium heat.
  3. Spread potato mixture evenly in skillet. Press down firmly on potatoes with a spatula to form a large pancake; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook on medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until bottom is browned and crusty.
  5. Carefully invert onto a large round platter, then slide potatoes back into skillet, crusty side up. Press down once again with spatula. Cook until bottom is nicely browned and potatoes are cooked through, 6–8 minutes longer.
  6. Cut in wedges and serve immediately. Pass the ketchup!

Makes 3 to 4 servings (or 1 serving if you’re feeding one hungry latke lover!). Leftovers can be reheated in the toaster oven. Do not freeze.

Norene’s Notes:

  • To shorten cooking time, parboil potatoes in boiling water for 2–3 minutes. Drain well and let stand uncovered for 10 minutes to dry before grating. (Potatoes can be pre-cooked and refrigerated the night before.)

 

CARROT LATKES

Adapted from The NEW Food Processor Bible by Norene Gilletz (Whitecap Books)

Different and delicious! Minis make great appetizers. Try the version below using zucchini for a different twist.

 

6 medium carrots

1 medium onion

3 eggs (or 2 eggs and 2 egg whites)

3/4 tsp salt

Dash freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 Tbsp oil (plus more as needed)

 

  1. Insert grater in food processor. Cut carrots to fit feed tube and grate using medium pressure. Measure 2 cups. (Any leftovers can be added to soups or salads.)
  2. Insert steel blade in food processor. Process onion until fine, about 6–8 seconds. Add carrots along with remaining ingredients except oil. Process until blended, about 15 seconds.
  3. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Drop carrot mixture from a large spoon into hot oil to form pancakes; flatten slightly with the back of the spoon. Reduce heat to medium; brown latkes about 2–3 minutes on each side, until golden.
  4. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil if necessary. Drain well on paper towels.

Yields 16 to 18 latkes or 5 dozen hors d’oeuvres. These freeze well.

 

ZUCCHINI LATKES: Replace carrots with 3 medium-sized zucchinis. After grating, salt zucchini lightly and let stand for 15 minutes. Press out excess moisture.

 

CAULIFLOWER LATKES

Yields 14 latkes

These luscious, low-carb latkes are a delicious alternative to traditional potato latkes, with just 42 calories and 4 grams of carbohydrates each.

 

1/2 medium cauliflower, cut into florets (about 4 cups)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic (about 1 tsp minced)

1 large egg

1/4 cup matzo meal or bread crumbs

2 Tbsp minced fresh dill

3/4 tsp salt (or to taste)

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp oil for frying (plus more as needed)

 

  1. Steam the cauliflower for 10 minutes or until tender (or microwave on high, covered, for 6 to 7 minutes). Measure 3 cups cooked.
  2. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process cauliflower until mashed, about 10 –12 seconds. Add remaining ingredients except oil; process with quick on/off pulses to combine. If the mixture seems too loose, add a little extra matzo meal.
  3. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of cauliflower mixture into hot oil to form pancakes and flatten slightly. Brown well until golden, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side.
  4. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil if necessary. Drain well on paper towels.

Makes about 14 latkes. These reheat well, but freezing isn’t recommended.

BROCCOLI LATKES: Substitute 4 cups of broccoli florets for cauliflower.

 

ESTEE KAFRA’S CRISPY CHEESE LATKES

Yields 14 latkes

These cheese latkes have less flour, less sugar and more cheese than most cheese latkes.

 

1 cup low-fat cottage cheese

1 lb farmer cheese

4 large eggs

1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons flour

1/3 cup sugar (or less, or substitute with Splenda)

1 tsp vanilla sugar

Oil for frying

Low-sugar strawberry jam for garnish

 

  1. Place all ingredients except oil into a large mixing bowl. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth and thick.
  2. Heat a frying pan with a thin layer of oil. Drop in batter, a tablespoonful at a time. Adjust the temperature to ensure the latkes don’t burn; flip them once the batter is a bit firm and the bottom is brown.
  3. Remove from pan and place on paper towel to absorb excess oil. Garnish with jam.

Makes about 14 latkes.

 

Variation:

  • Estee sometimes adds a bit of jam into the middle of the latke right before it firms up. To do this, make an indentation in the centre with a spoon and place a small amount of jam in it. Flip over carefully. Enjoy!

 

JUDY KANCIGOR’S “SPLAT!” POTATO LATKES

Adapted from Cooking Jewish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family (Workman) by Judy Bart Kancigor.

Judy writes: “I have noticed through the years that there is a tendency among latke illuminati to view with disdain those who blend. “Oh, no,” they tsk-tsk when they see my recipe, just a touch of feigned sympathy in their eyes. “I use a food processor. I like texture.”

Texture? You want texture? I’ll give you texture. Use my splat! method and you’ll get all the texture you want with these crunchy babies. They’re all crispy outsides, with practically no insides. My family hovers over the pan to fight over the thinnest ones, which are so full of holes you can practically see through them. Cathy Thomas, food editor of The Orange County Register, called them “crunchy wonders” and “crispy-brown snowflakes” . . . but I don’t like to brag.”

 

2 lbs baking potatoes

2 large eggs

1/2 medium-size onion, coarsely chopped

1/2 medium-size firm apple, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 1/2 tsp kosher (coarse) salt, or to taste

1/8 tsp white pepper

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 to 1/2 cup all-purpose flour or matzo meal

Peanut or canola oil, for frying

Applesauce and/or sour cream, for serving

 

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1-inch cubes. To keep them white and release some of the starch, submerge them in a bowl of water while you’re preparing the remaining ingredients.
  2. Place the eggs in a blender. Add the onion, apple, salt, white pepper, and baking powder. Drain the potatoes and squeeze them dry in paper towels. Add enough of the potatoes to fill the blender (all 2 pounds may not fit). Turn on the blender, and pushing down on the sides with a rubber spatula (careful you don’t blend the spatula—there is no rubber in this recipe), blend until the potatoes just move around. Add the remaining potatoes as you’re blending, but do not over-process or make it too smooth. The texture should resemble applesauce. (This takes about 6 seconds in my Osterizer.)
  3. Transfer the batter to a large bowl and add the flour. The batter should be flowing, but not too thin.
  4. Now for the real secret of my very crisp latkes: Pour enough oil into a large skillet to coat the bottom. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is quite hot but not smoking. Use a serving spoon to scoop up the batter (about 2 tablespoons per scoop), hold the spoon about 8 inches above the pan, and spill it all at once. Splat! Remove your hand quickly so you don’t burn yourself. (Like tennis, it’s all in the wrist.) The batter will splatter, forming holes . . . the better to hold the sour cream or applesauce. Repeat with as many as will fit in the skillet without crowding. Cook until browned, about 1 minute. Then flip them over and cook the other side for 1 minute.
  5. Drain the latkes well on paper towels, and keep them warm while you cook the remainder, adding more oil as needed.
  6. Serve immediately, with applesauce and/or sour cream.

Makes about 3 dozen latkes.

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Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer, cookbook editor and now a podcaster. Norene lives in Toronto and her motto is “Food that’s good for you should taste good!” For more information, visit her website at gourmania.com..