As an addendum to an article published in the 11/21/13 edition of the Milton Times about the combined Thanksgiving and Hanukkah holidays (the second night of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving this year), here is an additional recipe for making homemade latkes (with sweet potatoes), a rustic applesauce and homemade crème fraiche. Enjoy!
All-Star Potato Latkes
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt and freshly ground black pepper, equal parts
Vegetable oil for frying (1/4 inch in pan, amount depends on pan size)
In a food processor (or with a cheese hand-grater), grate the potatoes. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and transfer the potatoes to the sieve. Set the sieve over a bowl and twist the cheesecloth into a pouch, squeezing out some moisture. Let the mixture drain for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour off liquid from the bowl but leave the white potato starch that settles in the bottom of the bowl. (Don’t have a cheesecloth? Place a bowl that is just slightly smaller than the sieve on top of the grated potatoes, squeezing the potatoes between the sieve and bowl. Put something heavy in the bowl, and let the water drain into another bowl below.)
To that remaining starch, add shallots, eggs, flour, salt and freshly ground pepper. Return drained potatoes to this mixture and toss to combine.
Preheat the oven to 200 F (to keep latkes warm after cooking). Line a baking pan with paper towels. When you are ready to eat, in a large skillet heat 1/4 inch of oil over medium-high heat until hot. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of potato mixture, lightly flatten, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes a side; latkes should be golden and crisp on both sides. Eat right away or keep warm in oven. Serve with applesauce, sour cream or cottage cheese mixed with sour cream. Recipe courtesy of foodnetwork.com.
Tip: You can substitute sweet potatoes for more of a fall harvest feeling. If you do, try boiling the grated potatoes in water for a minute before draining; it’ll keep them from being soggy or burning.
Did you know that making applesauce is really easy? All you need to make 1 quart of applesauce is:
8 medium size Apples
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. pepper
¼ of a lemon
Sugar (optional – you probably won’t need it)
First, get yourself your apples, based on how much sauce you want to make. Opt for mostly sweet apples (Macintosh, Fuji, delicious – if you want a little tang in the sauce, grab a couple of Granny Smiths, but go light!).
Core and chop the apples (peel if desired, but they will soften significantly) into 1-inch cubes. Then squeeze lemon over the apples to stall them from browning too much. Sprinkle with salt.
Place apples into heavy-bottomed pan or pot, and fill up to ½ inch with water.
Crank the heat up to high. Once the bubbles are roaring, turn down to medium. Cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Mash the apples by hand for a chunky-style sauce, or blend/process for a smoother texture.
Add cinnamon and pepper to-taste, and add sugar if desired.
Get creative with other spices and fruit flavors (orange zest is a nice one). You can even add some cranberries at the beginning of the cooking process for a hybrid apple/cranberrysauce treat!
Chived Crème Fraiche
Did you know that crème fraiche, which is similar to sour cream but a little lighter, is also super-easy to make? You’ll need:
1-2 tbsp. cultured buttermilk (available at any grocery store)
2 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp. chopped chives
Simply combine the buttermilk and cream in bowl, stirring until mixed. Place a cloth over the bowl and let stand at room temperature (70-75 F) until thickened, about 12-20 hours. Stir mixture and refrigerate to chill. Stir in chives before serving. Adding a squeeze of lemon is also popular. Will keep for about 10 days.
Tip: if time is tight, heat cream to a lukewarm temperature on the stove (80-85 F, about the temp of a not-too-hot jacuzzi) while mixing in buttermilk. This will speed up the thickening time. You’ll probably be able to get away with under 10 hours.
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah!