|I was honored to have The Kosher Gastronome guest-post on Daily Cheapskate over here, and I'm thrilled that Nossi Fogel is back again! We're almost halfway through Chanukah, but if you are making special latkes for Shabbat, you must try The Kosher Gastronome's recipe. Nossi likes his latkes the old-fashioned way, both in substance and method, and the result looks amazing. For more wonderful recipes like this, traditional and otherwise, please check out Nossi on his wonderful culinary blog, The Kosher Gastronome.|
Hey there, The Kosher Gastronome here, with yet another break from being cheap and frugal, to bring you a second awesome guest post. And at what better time than Chanukah? Is there any food better than The Latke? No, of course not, and that’s why I’m here today to talk latkes with you.
Latkes have become somewhat of a popular recipe of late, with the blogosphere all a-bloggin about it, using many varied ingredients, from potato to sweet potato, to carrots, to you-name-it. Now, in my opinion, there are two types of cooks: traditionalist and non-traditionalist. I consider myself a traditionalist, and to me, anything but a potato latke is just not a latke. It might be super-tasty, but I'm a purist when it comes to latke ingredients. And even more than that, I am strict about the method as well as the substance. These must be made by hand, with a special type of grater that is sold only in desolate Eastern European countries, usually by an elderly lady on the side of a road, walking a horse. I must use this specific type of grater which turns the potatoes into a mush, rather than little shoestrings. It can’t be made any other way.
But wait. There's more.
The latkes have to be made with the exact same directions as a potato kugel recipe, just fried by the spoonful. It might sound fussy, but the results are little airy potato kugel bites with a crisp exterior. Many recipes will have you pressing out the excess water from the grated potatoes, and only frying up the little pieces of potato. I’m not a fan of this, because as I said, I want that pillowy, potato-kugel like interior.
One of my initial callings to the culinary world came when I was a wee adolescent, and was taught to make potato kugel and latkes from my Babbi (Grandmother), and the traditional aspects of these dishes have held a spot in my heart ever since.
Not to sound like a weirdo or anything. You see, with most of the foods that I make, I need to know and understand why certain things are done a certain way. It’s my scientific geeky side. But potato kugel is different. It transcends science, and there’s no messing with it. I’ve been making potato kugel the same way that my grandmother has been making it her whole life. It’s like a connection to my past. Too mushy?? (You see what I did there? Mushy?? I’m so weird it hurts sometimes).
Well I don’t want to keep you too long; there're some latkes to be made. Onward!
Obviously the first thing to do is peel the potatoes. I like to place them in a bowl of water as I peel them, so they don’t brown, and if you really want to buy more time against the browning process, drop in a ton of ice to get the water really cold. You know how you move more slowly in the cold? Well so do chemical reactions, so it will just take longer for the potatoes to brown, even after they are grated. (All right, so maybe there's a little science here).
Whip out your trusty grater, which you just got from your local "Eastern European knick-knack store," and put those biceps to work. By the way, this whole grating process is the reason for my muscular physique. It’s true! With just ten minutes a week, I went from a scrawny weakling to a muscle man! And you can too!
When your potatoes are all grated, add your spices: only salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder. I'll explain why I don't use fresh onion and garlic another time; I gotta finish this post, so we can get to the eating.
I like to pour some hot oil into the mixture, and make the whole thing sizzle (and "bloom" the garlic, onion and pepper while I’m at it), and blend that around, and then add my beaten eggs.
In keeping with the whole non-modernized theme of the dish, I pretty much eyeball everything in terms of amounts, from spices to eggs. If it’s for a typical meal for, say six people, I'll use about eight potatoes, and I’ll throw in 4-5 eggs, depending on how I feel.
I fry them in a neutral oil (like canola or vegetable oil) in a skillet over medium-high heat, for about 2-3 minutes per side. Drain them on paper towels before serving.
And then you know what I do? I inhale them...not eat...inhale. It's not pretty.
Well, I hope you enjoy your Chanukah, and these-here purdy latkes. And remember to check me out at – The Kosher Gastronome, and if that’s not enough, we’re now on Facebook!. But wait, there’s more... follow me on Twitter @koshrGastronome! Yes ladies and gentleman, Facebook AND Twitter, two great offers, for just one low price.
You enjoy it (That’s apparently Hungarian for – "Enjoy")
Download a pdf version of the latke recipe here.