Monthly Archives: December 2012

Latke’s The Festival of Frying

Ann Arbor Food Latke's

Ann Arbor Food Latkes

I know Hanukkah is over for the year, but the holiday kind of blends all together with Christmas and vacations, so i made my Latke celebration dinner tonight.

Latkes and other jewish holiday fare hold power over the non-jewish folk who are lucky of enough to have someone make the real thing for them.

The mere statement, “I am a little tire, I’ll make Latkes tomorrow,” can be met with epic pouts too down right addiction withdrawal.

And by all means, make enough of them.

Here is how I make them.

Latke’s Recipe: Makes 15 Large Latke (serves 4)

1 Five pound bag of russet potatoes, peeled and grated
1 large onion minced
7 large eggs
salt and pepper
Oil for frying, I use a combination of Safflower with some Olive OiL

Procedure

After peeling and grating the potatoes, place them in a colander and salt them.

NOTE: Do not run your potato peels down your sink food disposal. The starch will gum up the works and you will need drain-o to fix it. Believe me I have done it before making Latke’s. Also run the sink with cold water when rinsing the potato starch of the colander and plate.

Place a plate under near and let the liquid and starch from the drain off.

Shake the colander to remove the liquid, then finally in small batches squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible. One of these days I will get a press to speed up this process, but it is not a huge deal with a five pound batch.

Place the potato in a large bowl and add the minced onion. Mix and add the eggs and salt and pepper.

Ann Arbor Food Hanukkah Latke's

Ann Arbor Food Hanukkah Latkes

Portion into balls and place on a plate to stage for frying.

Heat a pan with the oil until it is hot. Use a few strands of potato to test the oil. If the potato instantly floats to the top and dances around, it is ready.

Place the balls in the fry oil. Be careful to not get burned.

Then flatten them down with a spoon to 3/4 of an inch thick. Place as many was will fit in your pan. I make my Latkes large about the size of a large hamburger patty.

Ann Arbor Food Hanukkah Latke's

Ann Arbor Food Hanukkah Latkes

Ann Arbor Food Hanukkah Latke's

Ann Arbor Food Hanukkah Latkes

Cook them until they the are golden brown and flip them. (about 3-4 minutes per side, but it varies. Like pancakes, it seems the second side does not need as much time as the first side)

Drain on paper towels.

Add more oil between batches, wait a minute or two for the oil to warm up before adding a new batch.

NOTE: If you are making these more then one night of Hanukkah, filter the oil from the previous night and use it again. Fry cook experts will tell you that using some older oil helps with crisping. (not sure why)

Also the flavor from the odder oil is infused with onion. and potato. The fam swore that tonight’s batch was better then two nights ago probably because of the oil.

I cannot say, but Hanukkah is the holiday of the miracle of the oil.

After frying 12,  place them in a 350 degree oven to warm up while the last three are frying.

Serve immediately with apple sauce, sour cream, smoked salmon and sliced oranges.

 

 

 

 

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Roasted Chestnuts

Ann Arbor Food Roasted Chestnuts

Ann Arbor Food Roasted Chestnuts

 

Lets talk chestnuts. These rich, sweet and creaming nut is a staple for fall and winter eats. It takes some effort to prepare them, but they are worth it.

One my favorite items from my macrobiotic days was sweet rice with chestnuts. It tastes like dessert.

So you probably seen the mess bag of mahogany color chestnuts in the grocer and wonder how to prepare them.

Well here is how.

The common wisdom is to cut an X into them. They even have chestnut X-er gadgets to do it. The thing is chestnuts are kind of slipper and smooth. So what I usually do is take a scissors and make one slit. No X required.

Next roast them in a pan in a 425 degree oven for about 12-15 minutes.

Ann Arbor Food Roasted Chestnuts

Roasted Chestnuts

The picture above shows the chestnut shells busted open. The trick to peeling a chestnut is to peel it hot. I use the sleeves of my longs sleeves to work them and I rest the chestnut on a oven mitt.

Pressing the shells breaks the shells apart, which come off easy.

The real trick is peeling off the papery skins inside the shell. The hotter the chestnuts the easier they come off. I tooth pick helps. Squeezing the chestnuts usually works to loosen the skins.

If you are working a large batch, you will have to re-heat them as you go. I figure I can only peel about 5-7 at a clip before heating them up again.

Roasted chestnuts are great in stuffings and can be boiled and pureed to make a chestnut cream for desserts and baked goods.