Category Archives: Holidays

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


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.





Ann Arbor Paczki 2012

It is Paczki Time again and this year I am on Weight Watcher, but I am still going to have one. Weight impact of the Mega-Doughnut, Fat Tuesday mid-west tradition is 13 points (or more).

To put that into a weight loss perspective, the low end of the daily point range for weight watcher is 26. My daily points is 45 because of height/weight.

Last year I got aced out of Zingerman’s first annual Paczki offering. I think they massively under produced making 50-100 dozen.

But this year I got my order in early. To be honest I am usually go to:

Copernicus European Delicatessen

617 S Main St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 222-9633

This year I am given Zingerman’s a try.

They are not as big as the standard Paczki, Cher, the baker at Zingerman’s told me.

If you want Zingerman’s Paczki here is the deal: (Call early)

Call Zingerman’s: 761-7255 (ask for the bakeshop)

Price: $30 per dozen

Chocolate pudding
Ricotta (sweet…like cream cheese)
Rose Hip

Pick up: at 8:00 am or later on Feb 21 at the bake house

Check out a more complete list on where to get Paczki

Happy Valentines Day: Weight Watchers Deserve Chocolate Too

ann arbor food

Happy Valentines Day.

Most of you know  that I am doing Weight Watchers. So what to do about Valentines Day?

Simple, get some high quality chocolate of course.

I figured that each piece of a chocolate truffle is about Two Points and considering that WW allows seven points extra a day (and 49 a week) that gives plenty of room too have your chocolate and eat it too.

Forget the cheap mystery boxes of chocolate. I say get yourself and your sweetie a hand picked assortment. Three to five pieces each will not destroy your healthy eating program and to be honest, I don’t think a weight loss program that does not include holiday chocolate is sustainable. (Not for me at least)

My favorite place in town (Ann Arbor Michigan) is Sweet Gem Confection

Main Location
1928 Packard Road (inside Morgan & York)
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 929-6513

Sweet Gem is open today 9 – 6
And from 9:30 – 6:30 on Valentines Day

If you go, tell Nancy Hi from me.

Christmas Pizza

Some will recall my rebellious nature this year when it came to Thanksgiving dinner with my Alternative Thanksgiving idea post.

I guess I was still feeling that way when Christmas rolled around. Emily bought me a new pizza stone for Christmas and I have been looking to test ride it.

So I pitched the idea of doing pizza for Christmas. I figure it would be vetoed in the name of traditional or whatever, but to my surprise, it passed the vote in the house.

I think the offer to cook might have won everyone over. (smiles)

The beautiful dough ball above will be a personal pizza with special toppings.

Check out my Pizza at home Post for recipes/instruction

Happy Holidays

Hanukkah Doughnut Recipe

Ann Arbor Food

Jelly Doughnuts

Why was it that we never had doughnuts for Hanukkah growing up was a mystery. It was only when I started being a blogger that I did research into a traditional Hanukkah meal.

I basically make a batch of Latke for Hanukkah and have a little smoked salmon and call it good.

But little did I know that Jelly doughnuts were also apart of the tradition.

My family was in the Latke Camp. Apparently, when it comes to Hanukkah and fried delights there are the Jelly Doughnut (Sufganiot) and Latke (potato pancake) people.

The reason for the divide is that Sephardi Jews had more wheat (warmer climate) and the Eastern European Jews that I come from where potato (root crop) people.

The Israeli Jews (according to wikipedia) seemed to also be in the Doughnut camp. (warmer climate again maybe?)

So to honor my sunny climate brothers and sister and the greatness which is the Jelly doughnut, I have put them on the menu.

The doughnut recipe that I made were actually a Paczki Recipe, which Michigan folk knew is the large jelly-filled doughnut eaten on Fat Tuesday.

 Recipe Note:  (Follow the link to the recipe)

I used 6 eggs and not the egg york and I refrigerated the dough overnight.

Also make sure your doughnuts dough is thin. I tried to make them about an inch thick, but when I fried then they were raw in the center.

So I pressed them flat and fried them and they worked fine.

The recipes calls for the dough to rise for twenty minutes. This is a really sticky dough, so flour the surface well.

The recipe also calls to add the jelly BeFore frying, which I did not do.

I fried them.

And the make sure you use jelly, not preserve if piping.

I used preserves and it clogged up my piping bag, so I had to split the doughnuts and add jam, which actually worked out fine.

I figure that you can get a bunch of jams, preserves and curds and people can jam their own.


Strawberry and Lemon Curd

Alternative Thanksgiving Dinner

It is Thanksgiving and I know I should be really excited about the Traditional meal of turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce and green bean casserole and pumpkin pie.

But for some reason, I am not feeling it. My lack of excitement towards the big day/big meal I think comes from interested in more ethnic food lately.

I have nothing against the main ingredients mind you, but I was thinking about the meal and I just wanted something a little different this year.

Am I the only one?

Of course, I will be out voted, but….I thought I would throw out a few ideas.

-Thai coconut soup with mushrooms and turkey breast and snow peas
-Mexican Turkey Mole with corn sides and cabbage slaw side
-Turkey mushroom pumpkin risotto
-Turkey mushroom cranberry pierogi w/gravy sauce
-Japanese Tempura Turkey with sweet potato udon noodle w/miso broth
-Indian Turkey Curry with saag paneer sides w/cranberry/mango chutney and naan bread
-Turkey Matzoh ball soup
-Turkey Sausage pizza
-Turkey burger sliders with sweet potato salad w/dried cranberries
-Grilled Turkey, cheese and bacon sandwiches with pumpkin soup.
-Turkey Pot Pie or Turkey samosa with mango chutney
-Batter fried Turkey breast with biscuits (or waffles) and gravy and cranberry sauce with roasted sweet potato fries.
-Lemon and herb spiced turkey meatballs with pita and a mint yogurt sauce
-Posale with Turkey sausage and toasted pumpkin seed cilantro verde
-Turkey Parm.
-Turkey Sausage Spinach (or Kale) Quiche

For dessert how about a pumpkin cheese cake instead of pie?
Or even pumpkin chocolate chip  ice cream cookie sandwiches.

Easter Chocolates Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor Food   Ann Arbor Food

Easter is just around the corner and that means chocolate bunnies and easter eggs. Here is a shout out from my favorite chocolate shop in Ann Arbor, Sweet Gem Confections.

From Nancy Biehn of Sweet Gem Confections
Spring/Easter collection will be up on our website by April 1st. Right now we’re busy making all kinds of spring things. We have small and large chocolate laughing bunnies in white, milk and dark, hand-painted milk chocolate eggs filled with delicious pectin jelly beans wrapped in brightly colored foil, organic peanut butter honey bunnies, and crunchy chocolate caramel-icious hand-painted easter eggs.

You can always call in your orders and we can talk to you over the phone, email us, or order from our website. Our Spring Products are available by phone now, and will be available on the website by April 1st.

Our bunnies are semi-solid and hand-poured with our special blend of single origin chocolate in milk, dark or white.  We have small bunnies for $9. and large for $18.

We also have milk chocolate bunnies filled with peanut butter honey filling for $6.00
We have two kinds of eggs this year.
The first is a whimsical milk chocolate egg hand-painted on the outside, and filled
with real fruit pectin jelly beans on the inside.  They rattle when you shake them, and are only $4.00 each.

The other egg is a bit more hoity-toity because of the fancy filling we are making for this one.  It is also hand-painted, but filled with two delicious layers of confection.  The first is a honeycomb crunch and the second is milk and dark chocolate burnt sugar caramel ganache.  Can you imagine the crunchy yumminess you will experience when you bite into one of these?  They come in a pretty little spring package and cost $10.00 each.

Related Posts.

Sweet Gem Convection Valentines Day