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Firsts: Have Yourself a Happy Little Hanukkah

December 8, 2010

B and I are not Jewish, but over the years we have been told that we are honorary ones.  B went to a university for his undergraduate career that is traditionally and primarily made up of Jews, so many of his best friends are of the Jewish faith.  I had always been fascinated by the faith (don’t ask me why… I think it has something to do with my dad’s obsession with World War II…) and ate up any chance I got to ask questions and deepen my understanding.  Our wedding had a lot more Jewish custom than we had originally thought, thanks to our Jewish wedding party members, and we have loved every minute of learning and understanding.

This past weekend, our good friend and B’s groomsman Dave invited us to his apartment near Boston for Latke Fest 2010.  I loooooove latkes, and while I cannot eat anything of the fried variety thanks to my gull bladder, I decided to throw care to the wind and partake in the noshing of traditional Jewish cuisine.  B has no such qualms about food and was on board from the get-go.  Teaching him to say the name properly took a little more doing, though…

In total, eight people joined in on latke fest, and while many of the males decided to create a gaming clubhouse in the living room, I stayed with Dave as he put the latkes together.  One of my favorite things about Dave is how open and caring he is.  I never feel judged for how many questions I ask about Judaism or customs, and his answers are honest and candid.  He even taught me the recipe for latkes!  The joy of sharing a holiday tradition with someone outside of my faith was exciting and unique.  Living in Maine, I don’t have oodles of opportunities to do so, though I certainly do have more now that we live near an urban area.  Having Dave teach me how to make this dish is something I will probably never forget.

Around ten pounds of potatoes and five pounds of onions later, we probably made around 90 latkes, none of which would have come out so well or gone so smoothly without a sturdy food processor.  Dave, simply put, is a latke genius and claims that there is no secret latke recipe; you can doll it up however you want.  It’s really all about the love that goes into them (and enough flour to make the stick…).

I feel compelled to share the love with you as well, as it is the season of sharing and giving.

Famous H Latkes

3 white potatoes peeled

1 large white onion

2 tablespoons of flour

a pinch of salt

one egg

Lots of canola oil

Process

1.  Put a large skillet on the stove.  Fill to about halfway up the side and then turn the burner on to high.  You want the oil nice and hot for those latkes!

2.  Place chunked up potatoes and onions into the food processor and shred.  You want the setting that cuts them into skinny strips.

3.  Using a colander, place the shredded mixture into the colander in the sink.  Have another pot ready on the side.  Using your hands (and make sure you take off rings!), take a handful of the potato mixture and squeeze the moisture out.  You will be surprised how much comes out!  When the handful has been squeezed, place it in the pot on the side.  Keep going until all of the mixture has been drained.

4.  Add the egg, flour, and salt to the potato mix.  Thoroughly mix through with your hands.  (Dave said there is NO SUCH THING as using a spoon to mix latkes together!).

5.  Take about a palm full, gently smoosh into a flat clump, and place in hot oil.  Don’t worry if some potato falls off.  You can get those crispy pieces out later.  If the whole thing falls apart, then you need to add a little more flour to the mix.  Repeat for as much space as you have in your pan.

6.  When the edges look like they are golden brown, flip the latke onto the other side.  Let the latke cook on this side before removing from the oil.

7.  When done, place the latkes on a baking sheet lined with paper towels.  This will absorb the extra grease from them and allow them to cool.

8.  Repeat until you have made as many as you and your guests want!  I recommend eating them with apple sauce and/or sour cream on top! Mmmmmm…

What new holiday traditions are you celebrating this year?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 20, 2010 11:00 pm

    My goodness I dont know why it took me so long to realize that cheesecloth does a much better job seriously just twist tighter and tighter until the excess liquid is gone and is ten thousand times easier to hand-wash uh because you dont have to. I have yet to see a better bed to rest your poached or fried egg upon home fries latkes distant black sheep of a cousin just weep with jealousy in their presence.

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