Mom’s Amazing Latkes

Latkes. Fried potato goodness dipped in sour cream and/or apple sauce. We eat them once a year on Hanukkah. They are worth every single calorie and every minute of frying. Of course if you are only cooking for a small family, it’s not that labor intensive. But if you are like us, and want to make 50+ latkes, it takes a bit of time…

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There are many, many variations on latkes. This year since Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving, we are seeing lots of sweet potato latke recipes with sweet and fun toppings. We are sticking to the traditional. We only have them once a year and I want them the same way I’ve been enjoying them for the last few decades. ūüôā However, I highly recommend adding zucchini and even some garlic powder for some extra flavor and goodness. Using less potato and more vegetable is obviously a good thing, and you can’t taste the difference. It’s a great way to hide some veggies and make your kids eat them! ūüôā More photos to come post Thanksgivukkah!

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium potatoes (or substitute one or two potatoes with zucchini)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 eeggs, slightly beaten
  • 3 tbsp. flour – add more as needed
  • Salt & Pepper (season liberally!)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • Vegetable oil for fying
  • Garlic powder (optional)

Instructions:

Peel and rinse potatoes in cold water. Half the potatoes to fit in the grater and then grate the potatoes and onion- I recommend a food processor with a grating disc. You can do them by hand but why bother? We use the julienne grater so our latkes have texture. Otherwise they’re like mush.

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Strain out the liquid. Add eggs, flour, salt, pepper and baking powder. Mix well.

You’ll want to keep your mixture cold if you aren’t frying immediately–especially if you have a large batch like us. Place ice in a large bowl and set your bowl with the mixture in it, in the ice bath.

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Using a slotted spoon, take a small spoonful of the mixture to the frying pan. I suggest using another spoon to press down on the latke making it thin and squeezing out any excess liquid. We like thin and crunchy latkes (see photo). If you want thick potato pancakes, look elsewhere. Then slide the mixture off the pan into the oil.

Taste one of your first latkes. You may need to add more salt so now is the time to test it ūüôā

Fry until golden brown on each side. Drain on paper towel-lined brown grocery bags.

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Serve with applesauce and/or sour cream. We made a delicious sour cream topping by adding parmesan cheese and truffle salt.

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Potato Salad Two Ways

I love the summertime for all the fresh produce readily accessible. Fairfield county has numerous farmers markets and many of my family members have their own gardens.

This weekend we went to Kyle’s parents house and his mom sent me home with a large shopping bag full of red¬†potatoes, onions, cucumbers, kale and string beans from their garden.¬†My mom also just brought me a large bag of hot peppers from her garden. After seeing all the ingredients at my disposal I decided to make potato salad two ways. The first was a warm Italian style potato salad with roasted hot peppers, string beans and oil and vinegar. ¬†Because Kyle doesn’t like as much heat as I do, I made him the old-fashioned style recipe. The first is warm in temperature and hot in flavor, the other is cold, creamy and crunchy.

Ingredients

Warm Italian Potato Salad:

  • Red Potatoes, boiled until fork tender and cut in large pieces
  • 1/4 Red Onion, sliced thin
  • Hot Peppers
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Dried Oregano
  • Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder
  • String Beans
  • Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • Celery salt

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Place your hot peppers in a baking dish. ¬†Add a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Sprinkle with a fair amount of salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano. ¬†Mix well, cover with tinfoil and let roast for at least an hour. ¬†You really can’t over cook them.

Set the hot peppers aside. Cut up 3 peppers and add to a large mixing bowl. (Save the extra peppers in your fridge for later use on sandwiches, with eggs, over a nice pork chop, etc.)

Place string beans in the same pan the peppers were in. Mix the string beans in the sauce and add a drop of water. Place in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or you can add them to a saute pan and cook that way. ¬†I like the string beans to be the crunch in the salad so I don’t cook them any further than that. ¬†Pour the entire dish with sauce into the mixing bowl.

Add the potatoes. Then sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder and celery salt.

American Potato Salad:

  • Red Potatoes, boiled until fork tender and cut in large pieces
  • White onion, diced thin (normally I use red onion but I couldn’t turn down these fresh onions!)
  • Salt & Fresh Cracked Pepper
  • 3-4 Celery Stalks
  • Celery Salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Light Mayo
  • 1 tbsp Reduced Fat Sour Cream

Instructions

Chop celery into bite sized pieces. Add to large mixing bowl with the potatoes.

Add mayonnaise, sour cream, salt, pepper, celery salt, parsley and onion. Mix well.

Eggs in a Basket

How perfect and balanced is this recipe? You get your potato, eggs, meat and cheese all in one nicely packed basket. ¬†All the flavors work so well together and they are pretty easy to make! I concocted these baskets for Easter brunch (yes the Jewtalian hosted a brunch on Easter) so I wasn’t as on top of the photo taking as usual but thank goodness for Lisa! ¬†Luckily, in our family we have an “Easter Exemption Rule” whenever Easter happens to fall during Passover so we were allowed to enjoy this brunch. ¬† The baskets didn’t come out as pretty as they could because I was doing too many things at once but I highly recommend using the large cup cake pans as the smaller ones are trickier. ¬†I will say the small bite sized baskets made it very easy to just pop in your mouth!

The inspiration for these tasty bites came from here.

To make life easier I bought frozen potato hash browns from Whole Foods. They had no additives in there (just potato) and it saved me from lots of potato shredding. ¬†I was cooking for 12 people so I won’t provide you with my measurements. If you can’t eyeball it, I would follow the measurements from the recipe above. ¬†I also used butter which is unlike me. You can certainly make this dish a bit more calorie friendly but since it was a holiday I was going for maximum flavor, not calorie counting ūüôā

INGREDIENTS:

  • Bag potato hash browns, frozen
  • Eggs
  • Fresh grated Gruy√®re and parmesan cheese
  • Zucchini
  • Shallots
  • Prosciutto, sliced thin and cut into smaller pieces
  • Maple Syrup (few tablespoons)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Low fat sour cream
  • Non stick cooking spray
  • Butter for the pan

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Put your hash browns in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder. I added one egg white to help the potatoes stick together.
  • Making the baskets out of potatoes takes a bit of practice but you get the hang of it after a few. I recommend putting a spoonful into your sprayed cup cake holder and use your thumb to push it down. ¬†Then use your thumb to push the potato up the sides making sure you have the side covered at least half way up so it holds your eggs. ¬†Add more potato as necessary. I made mine using a very thin layer as I wanted them crispy, not mushy.
  • When you have filled all of your cupcakes, spray with olive oil and bake for half hour or so, until the edges are browned. ¬†You can do this in advance and set them aside until you are ready to bake the eggs and eat. ¬†As you can see in the photo I was skimpy on some with the potatoes so I added a little more to cover the holes knowing they would cook more in the oven.

  • I had leftover potatoes after filling my muffin trays so I decided to also use a quiche dish with the remaining.

  • Place your prosciutto in a shallow bowl and marinate in maple syrup while you prepare the rest of the dish. This can be done well in advance. ¬†The sweetness and saltiness of the prosciutto on top of your basket is heavenly, in my opinion anyways.
  • Chop up the zucchini and shallots into small pieces.
  • Put a pan on the stove on medium heat and melt butter. ¬†Add the zucchini and shallots and saute for a few minutes. Add salt & pepper.
  • In a large bowl crack your eggs and mix well. ¬†Add a spoonful of sour cream to make your eggs a little creamier (optional). Add to the pan with the zucchini and onions. ¬†At this point I also added some of the grated cheese. Add a bit more fresh cracked salt and pepper.
  • Cook the eggs until they are almost finished. Remember they will cook more in the oven. You want them to be a tiny bit runny still but not so¬†liquid¬†that they won’t hold in the baskets.
  • Fill each cup with the egg mixture. ¬†Top with cheese and a piece of prosciutto. ¬†Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and the prosciutto looks crispy (about 10-15 minutes).

Eat and enjoy!!

I feel it’s perfectly acceptable to pick these baskets up with your hands and pop them in your mouth! Deee-licious.

You can see how the tiny ones were a bit messy but it didn’t affect the taste ūüėČ

Here is a photo of our Easter table. Don’t worry, the recipe for the french toast casserole made with challah is coming soon.

Healthy, Hearty, Potato, Leek & Spinach Soup

When it gets cold, who doesn’t love a big bowl of hot soup? ¬†Well, Kyle. He detests soup which is so upsetting to this cook because I would make it almost every night in the winter if he would eat it! ¬†Soup is easy to make, hearty and can be very healthy. ¬†There are really just two soups he will eat, Potato-Leek and New England Clam Chowder. ¬†Usually these soups are heavy with cream and high in fat. ¬†In order to satisfy our healthier diets, I’ve created a very healthy recipe for Potato Leek soup with no bacon, cream or butter, and this time I added spinach for some extra nutrients and a pretty green color.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 leeks
  • 1/2 of a sweet onion
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup (roughly) of skim milk
  • Box of chicken or vegetable stock
  • Roughly 1 bag potatoes,¬†diced
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Handful of spinach
  • Fresh chopped parsley

Directions

  1. In a large soup pot over medium heat, saute chopped leeks, garlic, onion in olive oil until translucent. (You don’t have to waste time finely chopping the ingredients as you will¬†puree them later.) Add salt & pepper and fresh parsley. ¬†I like a lot of fresh cracked black pepper in this recipe for a nice spice. ¬†You could also consider white pepper for better coloring in the soup.
  2. Add about 3/4 of your diced potatoes leaving some on the side for later.  Stir, season and let cook for 3-5 minutes.  Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.  You can also add the big green stalks from the leeks into the soup to add more flavor to your broth.
  3. Add milk, reduce the heat to summer and cook for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Then add the spinach.
  4. Remove the green stalks. Using a hand blender puree the soup until all chunks are gone.  Pureing the potatoes will help thicken the broth and give it that creamy texture without all the calories.
  5. Add the remaining diced potatoes you set aside for a chunky, hearty soup.  Simmer the soup until potatoes are cooked through.  Serve with chives or fresh chopped parsley and/or a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

I have also made this soup with broccoli, adding some during the pure process and some at the end for extra chunks.  If you like a cheesy broccoli soup and want a healthier version, try it!

A Breakfast of Champions… Or the Hungover!

Feast your eyes on this delicious concoction of eggs, potatoes and onions. We weren’t feeling the greatest last weekend and a quick inventory of the fridge¬†yielded¬†eggs, potatoes and not much else!

 Ingredients
  • Eggs, scrambled with a touch of skim milk
  • Potato
  • Onion
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Olive oil
  • Lawrys Seasoning
  • Black Pepper
  • Salt
  • Ketchup and Franks Hot Sauce
  • Parmesan cheese.

Instructions

  1. On a grill pan saute onions in olive oil. Cut a potato in thin slices and add to pan. Season with salt, pepper and lawrys.
  2. When potatos start to blacken and soften add scrambled eggs to pan. Sprinkle with a touch of parmesan cheese.
  3. When eggs are cooked through plate and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.
  4. Mix half ketchup and half hot sauce to dip.

Additional notes

You can certainly add peppers to this recipe, mexican cheese and salsa instead of parmesan and ketchup. Have fun with it!