Hannukah: the commemoration of the victory of a rag-tag group of farmers-turned-soldiers (the Maccabees), led by Judah, over the pagan Syrian invaders, celebrated by lighting candles on a menorah for eight days (commemorating the small amount of oil that kept the Maccabees’ crude menorah lit for eight days in their newly rebuilt and re-koshered temple), cooking fried foods (again, tied to the idea of oil) like latkes and sufganiyot (traditional Jewish jelly or custard-filled doughnuts), and…by giving out and receiving presents for eight days straight.
That last part doesn’t make too much sense, but who is complaining? Santa and his one day of presents has nothing on Hannukah Harry’s eight crazy nights.
My favorite gifts to receive—and especially to give—aren’t the ones you can simply buy at the store or order online on a whim. Better yet, it could be immaterial. The present that spawns a great experience or an incredible night, the one that leaves a lasting impact, the one with a clear intent behind is the kind that really resonates with me.
Therefore, what better gift for girlfriend on the 5th night of Hannukah than to spend a great Sunday night making latkes! Luckily, girlfriend loves cooking and finds the idea of peeling, grating, dicing, mixing, and frying appealing—as long as it’s all followed by eating.
And eat we did.
Well, at least I did. A lot.
Luckily, the family was there to join us and take part in the latke-fest. Thank goodness, because I would have eaten all of these latkes! Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside without being soggy and greasy, and an extra bite from the green onions. Delicious!
Latkes With Green Onion
Adapted from this LA Times article
6 to 8 small russet potatoes (about 3 1/2 pounds)
1 medium onion
2 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup flour
3/4 cup chopped green onions, green part only
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup canola oil for frying (Personally, I would use olive oil, but I had none on hand)
To prepare your latkes:
Wash, peel and grate the potatoes and onions. Add salt and allow the onion-potato mixture to drain in a colander for 10 minutes. Place the mixture in a clean dish towel and wring out the excess moisture. Place the potato-onion mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, flour, green onions and pepper. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until it is hot—but not smoking. Form latkes by packing a one-fourth-cup dry measuring cup with mixture. Place latkes in skillet and flatten slightly with a spatula. Cook until golden brown underneath, (about 3 to 5 minutes) then turn and cook the other side to golden brown. To keep oil hot, cook only 4 to 5 at a time. When ready, remove tongs or a slotted spatula and let excess oil drip off. Place on a plate lined with paper towels; to keep warm, place in oven set at 200˚. Serve with applesauce. Makes 20-25 latkes.
I’m glad that this became a family affair after all of the hard work girlfriend and I did. Even the youngest member of the family decided to join! But he was not so photo-friendly…
Chag sameach l’koolam! Happy Hannukah, everyone!