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The Cookstr 10: Ten Recipes for Hanukkah

December 11, 2009

Let’s hear it for latkes and fritters!

Whatever your religion, the words “potato pancakes” probably send a pleasurable little shiver up your spine. Crunchy and tender, still hot from the pan, maybe with a dollop of apple sauce or sour cream, or (look at you!) even a little scoop of caviar, potato pancakes are certainly one of the most symbolic foods of Hanukkah, but also one of the nicest items to serve at any holiday party. Also known as latkes, they can be served very small, as an hors d’oeuvre, as an appetizer, or alongside lots of different holidays roasts and main courses.

The story of Hanukkah tells us that 2,000 years ago an oil candle was lit in the Temple, and while the oil was supposed to last for only one day, it burned for eight days and nights. Foods cooked in oil are prepared over the holiday to symbolize the miracle of the oil lamp. Potato pancakes and fritters, or doughnuts, sometimes called sufganiyot, are all traditional holiday foods.

Now, the great news is that whether you’re Jewish or not you are still entitled to your fair share of latkes and doughnuts. All you need is a few cups of oil and a hungry crowd and you are well on your way to making December a little more delicious.

1. Judy Bart Kancigor’s Potato Latkes. If lacey, crunchy, almost see-through latkes are what you crave, you’re in the right place. These have practically no insides, so they’re all crunch.

2. Jesse’s Favorite Crispy-Baked Potato Pancakes. These latkes are attractively speckled with scallions instead of the usual onions. And instead of being fried, the pancakes are baked, but still crisp up nicely thanks to a liberal brushing of oil on the baking sheets.

3. Joan Nathan’s Aharoni’s Pan-Sephardic Leek Latkes. This is an updated version of a typical Sephardic leek patty: pine nuts, shallots and a handful of grated cheese are blended with the leeks for hey-now flavor and texture.

4. David Waltuck’s Paul’s Potato Latkes. A bit of carrot mixed into the potato adds a touch of sweetness and a nice shot of color. Keep in mind that the more water you’re able to squeeze from the shredded ingredients, the crispier the latkes will be.

5. Nigella Lawson’s Zucchini Fritters. These are so light and simple–just grated zucchini mixed with feta, herbs and scallions, stirred up with flour and eggs and dolloped into a frying pan. Another bonus is that these are perfect served at room temperature.

6. Anne Bramley’s Honey-Ginger Carrot and Parsnip Latkes with Creme Fraiche. These latkes trade in the traditional old New World tuber–the potato–for a parsnip-carrot combo that will have your family debating the merits of old versus new with their mouths full. Ground ginger is a surprising and winning touch, and dollops of crème fraîche on top are quite modern.

7. Dave DeWitt’s Wasabi Potato Pancakes. East meets latkes. If you’re looking for a real twist on the classic, these potato pancakes laced with green onions, cilantro, wasabi paste and garlic make for a bracing change.

8. Faye Levy’s Israeli Doughnuts. For many children (and hey, grown ups, too) soofganiyot, or doughnuts without holes, are the most anticipated Hanukkah treat. Some are filled with red jam; others are plain, and often served sprinkled with powdered sugar. This recipe starts with a traditional yeast dough, with a hit of lemon rind.

9. Sheila Lukins’ Orange Sour Cream Doughnuts. A bite of these cakey doughnuts reveal a hint of orange and the tang of sour cream. Wrap them loosely in a linen napkin so they’ll stay warm. These have no yeast, so the dough only needs to rest for 20 minutes before you cut and fry the doughnuts (save the holes!).

10. Victoria Blashford-Snell and Brigitte Hafner’s Portuguese Apple Fritters. These light, batter-coated rings enclose tender apple slices, with the aromatic flavors of anise and cinnamon.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 24, 2009 11:07 am

    Thank you very much. This forum very useful information.
    I hope you can take the time to visit the website, http://www.thai-food.in.th.   It is only just beginning but I think you will eventually find it to be a great resource to learn about Thai food basics and beyond.
    No one can argue about the popularity of Thai food today.  From Tokyo to Toronto and all places in between you will find, at the very least, one restaurant serving the increasingly popular fare.  Simply peruse your local bookstore’s cooking section and you’ll find multiple titles dedicated to Thai food.  Why such great interest in the dishes of this small country located at the center of Southeast Asia?  Inside the website http://www.thai-food.in.th we will try to explain the phenomenon by bringing you the depth of Thai cuisine.  This includes the regional differences among similar as well as varying dishes.  We hope you will learn the amazing variety that exists from the spicy grilled Laps in the North to the smooth and fiery Gaengs in the South. 
    In addition to exploring the basics of Thai food, http://www.thai-food.in.th will provide helpful explanations of Thai ingredients including the various herbs, fruits and vegetables that are common to the tropical country. We’ll teach you about naturally sweet Thai desserts and the common Thai beverages that accompany Thai food.
    As the website grows, we’ll be adding recipes so you can try your hand at creating exotic Thai dishes as well as bringing you on a face-to-face journey to stalls, stands and restaurants around Bangkok and the country so you can see, first hand, how the Thais enjoy their unique and complex cuisine.  We’ll include some of the most popular places to find particular Thai dishes and, hopefully, get a couple of secret recipes along the way.
    I hope you can take the time to visit our website, http://www.thai-food.in.th.  We are only just beginning but our hope is that, as time goes by, you’ll find it to be a great resource.  We hope that whether you are just beginning your exploration of Thai food or you are looking to expand your understanding, you will find what you need at http://www.thai-food.in.th.

  2. December 27, 2009 12:01 am

    Cool Recipes from all over the world. Create meals that will wow your friends and family over? Don’t reinvent the wheel, make proper use of it!

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