Short and plump.
Long and lean. Round and
crisp and spicy? No, Im not
describing some of your family members: Im recalling the
different and delicious varieties of latkes your families
call their own. Some of us use a tablespoon more matzoh
meal, some a pinch of baking powder, some an extra egg or
two or a dash of cayenne. All distinctive, all delicious.
But this year you
can go out on a limb and make your latkes both different and
a lot of fun: try some vegetable variations.
Some of you
already add zucchini to make hearty green latkes, but how
about red pepper and scallions? Or spiced butternut squash
and walnuts? Or apples, onion and yams? Add a few spices, a
roomful of people and a dreidel and you have a great
Latkes with sweet
red pepper and scallions
Use your favorite
latke recipe, but for one third of the potatoes substitute
the same amount of shredded sweet red bell pepper.
Remove the stems,
seeds and membrane and shred by pulsing in the bowl of a
food processor. Drain the peppers and discard the liquid.
To every cup of
peppers you use, add:
2 Tbs matzo meal
3 or 4 cleaned
and finely chopped scallions (green onions)
2 to 3 tsp
crushed basil leaf
2 tsp finely
crushed dry rosemary (or 1 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp minced
garlic (or to taste)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly
ground black pepper
For a gorgeous
red-orange color, add 1 Tbs of hot or sweet paprika.
When frying, add
some extra virgin olive oil to the oil in the pan and fry
the latkes a little longer than usual at a slightly lower
temperature to make sure the peppers dont burn.
Serve with sour
cream flavored with orange or lemon zest (or grated peel).
spiced butternut squash and walnuts:
third of the potatoes in your recipe with peeled and grated
For every cup of
grated squash you use, add:
2/3 cup toasted
and chopped walnuts
1/2 cup thinly
sliced or grated onion
1 tsp ground
1 tsp ground
1/2 tsp ground
1/4 tsp ground
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground
Fry slowly over
lower heat to be sure the vegetables dont burn.
Serve with sour
cream flavored with honey and cinnamon and, if you like,
pears, peeled, cored, sliced and sautéed with a little apple
or pomegranate juice.
apples, onions and yams
quarter of the potatoes in your recipe with peeled, grated
apples and one quarter with peeled grated yams.
For each cup of
apples or yams used, add:
1 or 2 Tbs matzoh
1 tsp dried sage
leaves (or 2 tsp fresh)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly
ground black pepper.
Have ready one
cup of very thinly sliced onion.
To fry, heat oil
in a heavy pan as usual.
Place 2 Tbs (or
so) of the sliced onions in the spots where you will be
putting the latke batter to fry.
Let the onions
wilt, then place batter on top of them, covering them
Cook slowly till
the onions and the latkes are deep golden brown and crisp,
then turn over and fry on the other side.
Serve with yogurt
or sour cream flavored with curry and a touch of brown
Hanukkah, as we
know is all about the oil. Thats why we eat latkes or other
cakes fried in oil, and why many of our luscious desserts
are deep-fried. There is another embellishment for Hanukkah
eating that can help cut down on the fat while letting us
have our festive Hanukkah oil.
Flavored oils are
simple to make, have a huge variety, and can be drizzled on
food to add flavor. For example, one night for Hanukkah,
instead of having red pepper and scallion latkes fried in
all the oil that latkes need, you can have crispy roasted
potatoes drizzled with scallion and red pepper oils. Or,
instead of searing a chicken in oil and braising it in red
sauce, you can broil chicken breasts and serve them drizzled
with oregano, sundried tomato and chive oils.
The principle of
making flavored oils centers on infusing or blending an
intense, pungent flavor into a pleasant-tasting oil. The
flavors can be based on fresh herbs, spices, fruit flavors
or fresh or roasted vegetables. To make herb oils, the fresh
herb leaves are simply washed, chopped and put into a
blender jar with a little kosher salt and some fresh,
light-flavored olive oil. Then theyre allowed to steep for
a few days to allow the oil to accept the herbs flavors.
usually toasted to increase their flavor before being
crushed and mixed with warmed oil. Fruit oils are often
based on the flavorful zests (outer portion of the skin) of
citrus fruits or on re-hydrated, pureed dried fruits.
Infused oils made with fresh vegetables are usually made by
blending finely chopped vegetables (such as green, red or
hot peppers, or fresh peas) with a light flavored oil; they
are very perishable and most delicious when used
immediately. Roasted vegetables are also simply chopped and
blended with good extra virgin olive oil to make the
heartiest of flavored oils.
Lets try two: an
infused herb oil and a roasted vegetable oil.
1/2 oz fresh
rosemary leaves, chopped fine
1 oz fresh
oregano leaves, chopped fine
2 cups light,
fruity extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher
parsley, leaves only, chopped coarsely
ingredients in a blender jar and process for 2 minutes on
low, and then 2 to 5 minutes on high, until the herbs are
emulsified into the oil. If a brighter green color is
desired, add the parsley and blend for 3 additional minutes.
Pour into a clean
glass jar and let steep in a cool place for 1 to 3 days.
and the oil becomes opaque, gently heat to melt the oil
without cooking the herbs. Will last about 3 to 4 weeks.
To make the oil
without a blender, crush the herbs and salt in a large
mortar and pestle. Slowly add 1/2 cup of the oil, drop by
drop till a smooth, homogenous paste is reached. Blend the
paste into the rest of the oil.
12 cloves garlic,
3 cups extra
virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher or
Place the olive
oil into an ovenproof dish or pan and mix in the garlic
cloves. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake in a 375º
oven for 20 minutes or until the oil is fragrant and the
garlic is very soft. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon
Allow the oil to
cool to lukewarm.
Place half the
garlic in the jar of a blender; save the rest for another
Add the oil and
salt to the blender jar and blend on low for two minutes,
then on medium-high for two to three min or until the oil is
Store in a glass
container (the scent of the garlic will cling to plastic) in
a cool place. Will last about 3 weeks.
Have a wonderful