Monday, March 17, 2008

Festival of... Lost?

So this past Hanukkah, I decided I was going to make homemade latkas instead of using the store bought mix, like I usually do. In fact, there's a great story (and since I can't resist, it goes like this) from when I was in college. Sometimes, as you may know, I get startling food cravings that I must fulfill or I end up feeling like the world may end. And one late night in Junior year of college, at the beginning of Hanukka, I got a terrible craving for latkas. Georgia and I drove to the nearby grocery store and there was only sweet potato latka mix. While that sounds yummy, I wanted the real thing. We left that grocery store and headed to another. Still, they ONLY had the sweet potato latka mix. I was dumbfounded.. who knew there were some many Jews buying latka mix in rural PA. Anyway, I was about to suggest we call it quits, with great sorrow in my heart, when Georgia announced in shock that there was a box of latka mix right behind me, IN THE FREEZER ISLE. What the latkas were doing there is beyond me. I speculated that maybe someone tried to hide the very last box for themselves and we somehow managed to find it. It was a true Hanukka miracle.

For those who don't know, Hanukkah is also known as the Festival of Lights because the myth of Hanukkah is about when the Israelites reclaimed back the Temple from Syrian monarchy. After the temple was reclaimed, Judah ordered the temple and alter to be cleansed and for the menorah to be lit and burn throughout the night for 8 nights. Unfortunately, there was only enough oil for the menorah to burn for one night. Miraculously, though there was only enough oil for one night, it burned for 8 whole nights. A Rabbi told me once while I was going through confirmation that this story is a load of crap and it was like being told Santa Claus is not real. Anyway though, the whole point of telling you this is because the miracle Hanukkah box of latkas made a total of 8 latkas (when it should have actually made 12.. no I did not rig this).

Despite my love of the box latka, making your own is far superior and totally easy. So the other night, a Thursday to be precise, I got the urge to make latkas. And while its not Hanukkah, it was a night for watching my favorite show, Lost. So I'm calling today's post "The Festival of Lost."

Latkas (AKA Potato Pancakes)

2 cups shredded potato (I used yukon gold)
1/2 large onion, shredded (I just used the food processor to shred these things, but you can use a hand box grater)
2 eggs
3 Tbs flour
1/3 tsp baking powder
oil for pan (i used olive, but vegetable or another substitute works)

Shred potato and onion into a bowl and squeeze the water out using paper towels or any other method you like. Dispense of excess water.

In a small bowl, combine flour and baking powder. In a large bowl, combine onion, potato, eggs, flour/baking powder mixture, and salt and pepper to taste.. be generous (or don't).

Heat 1/2 inch of oil in pan on med head. When oil is hot enough, add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of mixture to oil, pressing down lightly with spatula to spread out a tad. When you can see a bit of browning around the edges, flip them. If this mixture isn't holding together when you flip, either you didn't wait long enough before flipping, or you should add another tbs of flour to the mixture. Let drain on a paper towel while cooking the other batches.

Serve with applesauce and sour cream (or greek yogurt - this is what I used and it was a great substitute) on the side. I love these. Slightly indulgent, but serious comfort food for me.


Big Boys Oven said...

so lovely, yummy delicious I think!

Selah said...

I love the story... I can just picture ya'll at F&M wandering around a grocery store late at night.

Peter M said...

Randi, they look browned nicely, crisp and easy enough.

Georgia said...

So delicious! And yes, it was a hanakuh miracle :) I forgot all about that until this post, thanks for reminding me!

Kevin said...

Those look good. I have never had latkas before. I will have to try making them.

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