Chanukah Potato Latkes- (Read the post below to find out how I came to have this recipe)
With this recipe you achieve latke nirvana; a potato pancake that is light and crispy. You can use a box grater to grate the potatoes on the finer side, but it is easier and faster to use the shredding disc in your food processor. Shredded zucchini makes a terrific add-in, bringing color, flavor and texture to the mixture. Make sure you have plenty of sour cream, applesauce (recipe to follow) or simply sugar on hand to dunk, cozy up to or sprinkle on top.
Yields: 24 latkes
Start to Finish: Under 30 minutes
5 medium Russet potatoes, peeled
1 medium onion, grated (use a large one if you like a strong onion flavor)
4 eggs, beaten
½ cup matzo meal
1 to 2 teaspoons salt
¼ to ½ teaspoon pepper
1 medium zucchini, shredded, optional
½ cup oil for frying (peanut oil is recommended but vegetable oil is just fine)
Cranberry-Raisin Applesauce, recipe as follows
In a food processor using the metal blade, or using a box grater, finely grate the potatoes. Place them in a colander, and squeeze out all the liquid. Grate the onion, using the food processor pulse feature to capture any small chunks. Stir the onions, eggs, matzo meal, salt and pepper ( and zucchini if using) into the potato mixture.
Heat ½- inch of oil in a non-stick skillet, over medium heat, until very hot (a drop of water should dance in the pan). To test the seasonings before frying the entire batch, (you wouldn’t want to taste the raw potato and egg mixture), drop one tablespoon of the mixture into the hot oil, fry for several minutes on each side and drain on a paper towel. Taste the latke and add more salt or pepper if needed. Now you are ready to make the rest. Drop a generous tablespoon of latke batter into the skillet and flatten the pancake with the back of a spatula. Turn the latkes over when the underside is nicely brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Fry until golden on both sides. Drain on waiting paper towels. Repeat, this process adding more oil to the pan and a touch more matzo meal to the mixture if needed to absorb the excess liquid that will collect in the bowl. Serve hot.
*While Chanukah is all about the magic of oil, this recipe is all about perfectly fried latkes. The secret is to have the oil at the right temperature between 350 and 375 degrees, to prevent the latkes from soaking up too much oil.
Cranberry-Raisin Apple Sauce
Tart, sweet, chunky, cinnamon- deliciously easy and fast
Yields: about 1 quart
Start to Finish: Under 1 hour
4 crisp apples any variety ( a combination of apples and pears works well too), peeled, cored and diced
1 orange, juiced and zested
1 cup apple juice or apple cider
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup plump raisins
1 bag whole fresh cranberries
3 to 4 tablespoons light brown sugar (depends on how sweet the apples are)
Peel and dice the apples, (they don’t need to be uniform, it’s nice to have some pieces larger and chunkier.) Place the diced fruit in a large saucepan. Stir in the orange zest, orange juice, apple juice or cider, and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Stir in the raisins, cranberries and sugar. Continue cooking, over low heat, until the cranberries are mostly melted into the sauce and the apples and raisins are soft, about 20 minutes. Serve hot or cold. The sauce will thicken as it stands.
Apples are a great source of pectin, a natural gel enhancer and heart healthy by product found in many fruits. When cooked, the apples release the pectin and the applesauce naturally thickens.