Hanukkah is now over, and it was a delightful holiday. We started the week by celebrating the first-ever city sponsored menorah in Bayview Park, with many other members of the Jewish Community, and quite a few city officials. Babka and Latke even came to join the fun. This past weekend we had some friends over to celebrate, and to mark the occasion I made – yes, from scratch – jelly donuts and potato latkes, among other yummies.
There were eight humans, and five dogs, for our festive meal, starting off with mango chipotle chicken wings, and some kosher Keilbasa-style sausage. From there we moved on to salad, and then the good stuff: roasted rosemary chicken, sweet and sour meatballs, worlds best potato latkes with apple sauce, and roasted broccoli.
Our houseguests arrived around 4PM, after I had formed the donuts, and made the apple sauce, but had not started the latkes. After they got settled in, I handed over a 5 pound bag of Yukon Gold potatoes and vegetable peeler. Then I started to fry the donuts. I used a recipe from Epicurious.com. I would make them again, but next time will make small, round donut holes, and fill them with jelly after they are cooked. Filling them before resulted in the filling getting cooked and not having enough of it. The good news is that I now know how to make donuts, and although it requires a fair bit of patience, and yeast, it is not too difficult.
I also made apple sauce, because the thought of serving jarred mush just didn’t work for me. Instead I served homemade mush, that tasted divine. In fact, I am eating the leftover apple sauce as I type, and it is delish. Here is the super simple recipe:
HOMEMADE APPLE SAUCE
Makes about 3 cups.
6 apples (I used Kiku and Gala, but really almost any type will do. If you use apples that are not very sweet, add more sugar)
1 cup water
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup sugar
Peel and core the apples, and chop into large pieces. Places apples into a medium pot, add water, cinnamon sticks and sugar. Turn heat to high until the mixture comes to a boil. Turn down the heat, and simmer for about 45 minutes until the apples are very soft and the cinnamon is fragrant.
Remove from heat and let cool for a little while. Pour mixture into blender, and puree. (Note: you may have to do this in two batches, as you do not want to overfill the blender jar if the liquid is still hot.)
Pour mixture into serving dish and enjoy with potato latkes, or just with a spoon.
THE BEST EVER POTATO LATKE RECIPE
These are a time-consuming, messy treat that requires some patience, a shredding disc for your food processor and quite a few clean kitchen towels. Oh, and don’t skip steps. Not getting all of the water out of the onions or potatoes will lead to disaster. (It may also have you accusing me of lying to you about how good these really are.)
Serves 8 as a side dish (it may serve more, but my friends eat a lot, and they taste really good. Also good as leftovers, for breakfast.)
5 pound bag of Yukon Gold potatoes
3 large yellow onions
1/2 cup of Matzo Meal (keep a little extra on hand)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Oil for frying (canola, vegetable or grapeseed)
Peel onions, cut in quarters and place into the bowl of a food processor. Chop until fine, about 30 seconds. Scrape onions into a colander set over a bowl to drain.
Peel potatoes. Set shredding disc on the food processor, and process potatoes until they are shredded. remove potatoes from bowl, wipe out any excess liquid and place the food processor bowl back on the base, with the regular blade. Put the shredded potatoes back in the bowl and process for another 30 – 45 seconds, until finely chopped. I know you will want to skip this step – I always want to – but skipping this step will yield hash browns, not potato latkes.
Line a large bowl with a clean kitchen towel and allow potatoes to drain for about 15 minutes. Wring out the potatoes to squeeze out as much water as possible. Wipe the bowl of excess moisture. Put the potatoes back in the bowl, add the onions and stir together. Add two eggs, lightly beaten and mix together. Add matzo meal and stir.
Heat one inch of oil in a large frying pan. Once hot, form the potato mixture into patties approximately 1/2 inch thick. This will allow for a nice, creamy, potato-y center. Drop the latkes into the oil for about 90 seconds per side, until they are golden brown.
Remove latkes and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately, or place on a tray and reheat before serving. Enjoy with apple sauce. I know there are those that will also enjoy with sour cream, but I am not one of those people.